Tag Archives: fashion design

Fashion and Style Reign in Ukraine

Fashion Designer, Ksenia Schnaider talks to FUTURE NOTION on Style post-Soviet.

When one thinks of Fashion in Europe, one thinks Paris, Paris Fashion Week, Paris Couture, Parisiennes. Hardly anyone thinks of Kiev, Ukraine, and neither did we….until now.

Fashion folk, we bring you Ksenia Schnaider – the cooler, friendlier, hipsterer, smarter label that packs more style vision into one season than Kanye ever did.

Ksenia Schnaider Patch work blouse from FUTURE NOTION $235

Ksenia Schnaider Patch work blouse from FUTURE NOTION $235

The achingly cool label debuted their line of menswear and womenswear with a stark, surreal digital fashion show fitting its overarching theme of religion and simplicity. Weaving sartorial elements from monks, nuns and mormons into a tight, cohesive collection of casual downtown separates and dresses, the show comes complete with an uber-cool soundtrack you can access from the front row of your computer.

Ksenia Schnaider Silk Shirt with Contrast Collar at FUTURE NOTIONKsenia Schnaider Men's Short Sleeve Cotton Shirt at FUTURE NOTION $105

Ksenia Schnaider Silk Shirt with Contrast Collar at FUTURE NOTION $209

Thus far, this infant of a label shows a greater maturity than many new brands, as Ksenia has been designing her own label, X’u for the last 5 years. However, wanting to fulfill  a more artistic vision of collaborations with artists and musicians, which would be misleading for X’u’s current aesthetic of a carefree, teen spirit style, she hatched her eponymous label, Ksenia Schnaider.

Ksenia admits that starting a Fashion label in Kiev is especially tough when you are based in a post-Soviet Union country. There were moments of doubt and downs, but she refuses to see the doom, but lives for affirmations such as accolades from the fashion press and strong sales. She draws inspiration from elements that surround her like her feelings in real time, her friends’ stories and her husband, Anton who designed the musical magic accompanying her Digital Fashion show. The new mum also draws strength and focus from motherhood.

Ksenia Schnaider Patch work blouse and Midi length skirt available at FUTURE NOTION

In the long run, Ksenia expects the brand to be a guiding light and inspiration for other aspiring fashion designers in Ukraine and while staying true to their original vision of simple beauty and strength – very much like herself, we think.

Watch Ksenia Schnaider’s SS12 Digital Fashion Show:

Ksenia Schnaider S/S12 Show from ksenia schnaider on Vimeo.

Shop the entire Ksenia Schnaider Collection at FUTURE NOTION to up your style quotient.

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Fashion Designer, Irina Gustavsson talks to Future Notion about her tattoos and fashion views.

Berlin-based Irina Gustavsson of irinalaaja is one Fashion Designer who we think will clearly go the distance…

Displaying the ingredients needed for serious Fashion chops – a need to put utmost energy into her work, trying against all odds and she even has a tattoo of a sewing machine! Chekkit…

Ultimate Fashion branding - Irina Gustavsson tattoos a sewing machine on her arm.
Ultimate Fashion branding – Irina Gustavsson tattoos a sewing machine on her arm.

Her label, irinalaaja is a journey in the making and a story of the trump card nature has over nurture.

Irina’s parents are both artists and her mother used to sew her clothes when she was a child. Even then, she would display a sharp sense of what she wanted by crying whenever a detail didn’t look right. This frustration of a wee child led to her making, or rather, remaking, her own clothes as she grew older. At the age of 17, after many fashion design disasters, she began studying the craft.

Although her taste in fashion might veer on the course of avant garde and her inspirations tipping on the scale of melancholic, she doesn’t see herself as such. Instead, she views her work as a kind of therapy that helps her overcome negative emotions that might have been borne through hard times, preferring to visualise beauty in the destroyed, weird and rough as opposed to a manufactured, sculpted perfection. Very much like her inexplicable inclination towards the number 7 and machines (that explains the sewing machine tattoo)

Intrigued? Experience the fashion of irinalaaja yourself today and be sucked into her esoteric world where seahorses rule, and straightjackets are cool..

Hi Fashion, Meet your Sister, Hard Work…

The Fashion Business is a deceptively breezy one. It appears glamorous, heck, FASHION IS glamorous – look it up in any Dictionary and I guarantee you’d find a picture of Kate Moss striking a pose-just kidding!  But the truth of the matter is that it takes hard work, an astute business mind, an unerring taste level and a passion for Fashion so deep that it your pockets aren’t just empty but burningly so.

So, you’re a Fashion Designer who really wants your Fashion Business to succeed – please know that building a sustainable company in the often finicky world of Fashion, Fun and Frivolity is not, well, frivolous nor always fun…BUT! it can be done, many have done it, and you can too! 🙂

The first and most important point is to get your pricing correct. Yes, it is easy to just say I want to sell a dress for $800 because that is the way it should be, but will it alienate your customer? Does it reflect accurately the quality of the work. MOST IMPORTANTLY, do you make a profit? If your piece requires hand sewn beads and torched lace, then chances are, $800 is your cost price and you can spend the next few months starving. So, get pricing right okay? VERRRRY important. You DO want to live to see the next collection. (It might be wise to also start getting some consumer confidence and eyeballs on your brand by selling at FUTURE NOTION (just sayin’) )

Once you nail that down, it is time to get some customers and buyers – a.k.a the bread and butter of your business. Fashion buyers are not an easy lot to please, and many of them have a very precise vision of what they’d want their store to look like, so be patient and polite as traipsing from one buying meeting to another is super stressful!

So, but you know, once you got that done, you are a bona fide Fashion Designer. It IS gratifying, that’s for sure…and don’t worry, humble pie is something many have eaten – just think of it as an appetizer to the juicy steak of success that is coming soon.

Rebecca Minkoff, we all know is a super successful Accessories Designer who has had a long and illustrious career, but read on for what it took for her to get to where she is today. (the take we get from it is that, well, credit card debt ain’t thatUNcommon in the pursuit of a career as a Designer and as an Entrepreneur – perhaps we should cover Entrepreneurs and Designers who have gotten themselves into some kind of Debt before Distinction.)

So now that you know a little more on how business is conducted in the Fashion World, jump at it & drink tons of Champagne while you’re at it okay?

There’s No Business like Fash Business

Building a business from scratch is not easy. Building a Fashion Business, with its double whammy of competition and saturation is even more difficult. Building a Fashion EMPIRE…well, whooooo, well..but it can be done. Baby steps okay?

But as they say, those who can, Design, get a guest judge gig, get a tanan IPO, anda few Fashion week shows thrown. (feelin’ like an underachiever? who? ME? no, not really, okay a little.)

Being able to craft a collection and mould a piece of clothing, art or furniture out of a 2 dimensional piece of material is a talent, and one that should be celebrated. Everybody’s gotta start from somewhere, I mean, c’mon Rome wasn’t built in a day, yes?

Here are some basic things to do if the going gets tough! 

1. Work on outward facing situations first – if a seam needs to get fixed, fix it, if resolutions need to get adjusted, do it, if logos need to be re-worked, fire up photoshop or illustrator. These things tell people you are meticulous and care about your brand.

2. Get your Collections visible. Get your own online store, sell on (ahem, shamless plug) FUTURE NOTION, walk around stores in your neighborhood to ask about consignment opportunities. Get the word of your brand out there! Connect, connect, connect!

3. Get Social – Facebook, twitter, yes, there are many social media channels out there, and it will seem daunting. But instead of being overwhelmed, think of it as a glass full of opportunity and publicity channels for YOU!

4. Send a nicely crafted email out to friends and press. It’s free. again, IT’S FREE! Some free tools you might want to use are mailchimpconstant contact and vertical response.

5. Always respond to emails and Deliver top notch Customer Service. If you missed one or two, it’s okay. Just apologize profusely.

6. Remember that Fashion, like Real Estate, is CYCLICAL. Far better than WGSN and any other trend-spotting tools, is this infographic that might help you in your Merchandising next season.

Hipster Fashion Cycle - Merchandise Forecasting Remixed for being more on-trend
Hipster Fashion Cycle – Merchandise Forecasting Remixed for being more on-trend

What we would like to know is how are YOU doing? What are the challenges YOU are facing? Let us know in the comments if we can help you in any way!

When your Craft is Fashion Design, it is also your Voice.

Fashion Designer, Aries Sin.

 

Fashion Designer Aries Sin wears her own Double Breasted Onesie in Khaki.

We chat with one of FUTURE NOTION’s featured Fashion Designers, a wee 27 year old Hong Kong native, Aries Sin, to uncover how she uses her passion for Fashion Design to create social change in her home country. 

In the 1960’s – 90’s Hong Kong was the epicentre of garment production, and many had family members working in factories as production assistants and sewers. In 2005, the Multi Fibre Arrangement  – a short term measure introduced in 1974 to allow developed countries to gain a domestic advantage in garment production – was lifted and China asserted her dominance and multiplied its production for export many fold. Hong Kong saw a natural decline in garment manufacturing.

FN: So, tell us about your label, MODEMENT.

Aries: I started MODEMENT back in January 2010 after a year’s stint in a Leather Wear Company.

FN: Nature vs Nurture – did u have family in the design business or were you influenced by factors surrounding you growing up, for example mentors, creative energy of Hong Kong, creativity of friends etc

Aries: My family background is pretty average and my mother was the catalyst that sparked my interest in fashion. Ever since I was a child of 7, my mother who worked as an assistant in a garment factory always took me along and it was there that I watched and learnt garment construction, fabric and fabric textures. In my young eyes, fabric swatches were the basis of couture for my Barbie dolls! It was also during those years that my interest in deconstruction and pattern making were sparked.

So I would say it’s probably my childhood environment and my innate inclination towards design.

Additionally, Hong Kong is quite an interesting city. Although small, we are really cosmopolitan and media reach is so fast and deep, but at the same time, this metropolis also possesses a special character and cultural history that is established and entrenched. I never run out of inspiration and ideas here!

FN: Do you see (your label) MODEMENT as a voice or a statement of sorts – a response to the situational factors of hongkong, for example, the bustle of the city, constraints of living in a landlocked country – do you see your work as a response to that…is it only for one collection or is it a running theme in your career?

Yes, MODEMENT is the shadow of Hong Kong.

In our previous collections, we used our home as a reference for “The Place We Live” Collection & our food for “The Eggette We Eat” Collection as a running theme for each collection. We make use of different factors and ideas from our home-town and It is our secret wish that people would not only wear Hong Kong design, but feel our culture. This is our direction.

That’s also why we carry different messages from each collection as opposed to just designing what the market needs.

FN:Describe some ups and downs – what are some of the joys of being your own boss, creative director, one woman super power and what are some of the challenges? We can imagine rising costs would be one of it..

Aries: Being a one-woman show (& bank!) isn’t easy, especially since we don’t have any financial support. But being able to work in what I am passionate about is really such an amazing thing.

Yes,  rising costs are definitely a concern, and it’s a constant tight rope to strike a balanced relationship between technique, quality & costs.

Although the cost of labour is rising in Hong Kong, my team and I keep to our stance of using workers in Hong Kong as our manufacturers because of their professionalism and the respect they have for technique and fabric. You know, almost 90% of Hong Kong  factories had been moved to mainland China for production, and tons of skillful sewers are left behind.

There is a social enterprise that was set up to faciliate a collaboration between these sewers and up-and-coming designers, and we choose to work with them for our manufacturing to keep MODEMENT of a high quality and contribute to our society at the same time.

We are really proud of our concept and aim to keep it up!

We hope people from all around the world could experience Hong Kong’s fashion language and feel confident in wearing our designs.

You know, whenever we see people wearing MODEMENT, our hearts always feel such a rush of joy! It’s almost like the heart of a mother making clothes for her children, with love and care.

FN: So, if you weren’t a Fashion Designer, what would you rather be?

Aries: Probably a chef! I think cooking and fashion are both art forms and so creative. In fact, whenever I see a beautifully presented dish, I can feel the passion and creative energy from the chef!

FN: Thanks for your time, Aries and have a great day!

Aries: You too! 🙂

-end-

Click here to discover & shop Aries’ SS12 Collection at FUTURE NOTION!

*this article has been edited for grammer and length.

Design is when you see the ceepy and make it pretty.

Sometimes, it takes a really open mind to make the grotesque sublimely beautiful. An eye for beauty and certainly inner peace to make the world at large re-look, re-think and re-assess how we can re-interpret what is aesthetically pleasing to us.

Here are some creepy pretty insect prints on expensive silk from Giles Deacon SS10 Collection, Karen Walker SS12 Collection & Klaus Haapaniemi’s Scarf Collection – do you have any you’d like to add? Have you ever saw beauty in something rather gross?

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FUTURE NOTION IS LAUNCHING SOON!

FUTURE NOTION IS LAUNCHING SOON!

So we have some extremely exciting news –  we are launching soon – end of this month to be exact!

So, if you’d like PRIORITY ACCESS during our private beta launch, do send us an email at info@futurenotion.com

If you are a DESIGNER looking to sell on FUTURE NOTION, do drop us an email at designers@futurenotion.com.

Send us a few pictures of your work, with a little bit about yourself and we’ll hit you up with our designer kit.

But in case you’re wondering WHY FUTURE NOTION, here are the top 5 reasons why we rock:

1. We are a low-cost & economical way of launching your brand, selling your collection & publicizing your work. We want you to succeed.

2. We focus our resources on digital and social trends so that you can concentrate on what you do best – create, design and innovate. Leave the selling, marketing and tedious social strategies to us. Already working an online store? No worries, think of us as an additional sales channel to reach a global audience.

3. Expose your brand to a design-centric community. Our huge database is chock-full with architects, stylists, interior designers, media/PR professionals, retailers and design-savvy customers – take advantage of it!

4. We understand branding, more importantly, we understand how selling in a well-designed social store can contribute to the image of your brand. Thus, FUTURE NOTION will never misrepresent your brand’s image, because we too, have standards. We believe in winning by adding value, constantly innovating and looking to the future, NOT pushing for price reductions.  Did we mention we prefer to build a strong brand proposition over bargain basement prices and throwaway goods?

5. We truly believe in the value of Design to Solve, Simplify & Inspire.

Most of all, tell us what you need – we want to hear from customers, designers, educators, artists, writers, and your neighbors.

Have a happy Monday & hope to hear from all of you soon!