"Being a designer and a business owner is not as glamorous as you might think," confessed New York-based designer Pamela Dennis to an eager audience of designer wannabes.
Dennis, who was the keynote speaker at a Fashion Group seminar for fashion students and their teachers, related tales of 24-hour days and an endless parade of trunk shows. She also told how she had to lean on her father for a $25,000 loan and commandeer his office -- conveniently located on Seventh Avenue -- to fill her first order, for Henri Bendel.
While most of the 600 audience members are learning the orthodox approach to the fashion industry, Dennis did things her own way -- backwards. An aspiring lawyer with no formal fashion training, her first designs were executed by a tailor who cut a pattern around her body as she lay on the floor. Only now is she learning the basic skill of pattern-making. "You never know when you're going to need it," she said.
Dennis's advice to fledgling designers: Pay attention to what your customer wants. "I'm the queen of specials," Dennis said. "I'm very keyed in to the customer, and I believe that is 100 percent of my success."
Following her address, the audience was treated to a show of Dennis's collection for spring '94. Then it was the students' turn, with designs from the Fashion Group Foundation student design competition. The contrast between Dennis's pared-down, wearable silhouettes and the students' otherworldly creations offered yet another lesson in the realities of fashion.
@juicebeauty, where @gwynethpaltrow holds the title of creative director of makeup, has become one of the foremost labels in the organic beauty category –– with sales on track to hit $100 million this year. What’s behind the rapid growth the brand is experiencing right now? It all started in 2005 when the wellness movement was just getting started. Read more on WWD.com. #wwdbeauty
Stay up to do date with breaking news and trending stories with WWD’s “The Essentialist.” Our newsletter delivers the top news in fashion right to your inbox. Want more info? Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
"I want to tell a story that inspires people to feel good about themselves, but also I'm making a commentary about the lack of female stories and female directors and saying this should change," said @imheathergraham on her latest project "Half Magic." The comedy feature, which the actress wrote and directed, is based on her own struggles as a woman in show business. Read @andrewnodell's full interview with Graham on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
@meltcosmetics cofounders @lora_arellano and @danabomar built their brand on a single idea: a true matte lipstick. To set the brand apart, they said they always put their customers first –– including a personalized note in each package. #wwdsummits #wwdbeauty
@moncler unveiled its latest project, #MonclerGenius, yesterday at Milan Fashion Week. The Italian outwear maker gave show-goers a preview of the monthly collections – which were created by eight designers and creative talents including Pierpaolo Piccioli, Simone Rocha, Craig Green and more – that will start rolling out in the summer.