Daniel Vosovic, owner and creative director, Daniel Vosovic: Vosovic's first meeting with his mentors was a tough one. "I just felt like they were ripping me open. It was so raw and so seemingly brutal because it was like, 'Why did you spend $10,000 here?' It was a very realistic look at the facts." That led to a focusing of the business. "I can do beautiful gowns and I can do this and that, but at the end of the day, do people want that from me right now? No. I had to focus on my sweet spot, for me it's this high-end advanced contemporary space." Timo Weiland, creative director, Timo Weiland: "We learn something in the morning and we apply it in the afternoon. It's really been a huge thing to be able to talk to people who have decades of experience in production and sampling and costs and brand-building. We have a very presentable business plan now that is professional, whereas before we didn't." Greg Lawrance, cofounder, Number:Lab: "They've given us a tremendous amount of focus and not just for everyday business, but focus on the actual merchandising and the products…our true brand DNA."
Max Stein, cofounder and chief executive officer, Reece Hudson: Mentors encouraged Stein and cofounder Reece Solomon to make a brand book to help focus and communicate the company's message. The book includes pictures and "statements about who we are and who our customer is and words that describe us. We've used it already: We are going to be developing a Web site and we shared the book with some [Web designers] to give them a feel for our brand." Arielle Shapiro, owner of lingerie firm Ari Dein: "Nobody has come in here and tried to change what I'm doing or aesthetically make me into something that I'm not. It's been very helpful…in terms of adding new product areas. It's very important to stay focused. Not everything is going to be right for your company. It comes down to a numbers game. We only have the resources to get it right the first time. I can just come into a meeting [with my mentors] and bounce 30 ideas off the wall and see what sticks instead of putting 30 ideas into production." THE MENTORS
Douglas Hand, founding member of Hand Baldachin & Amburgey: "It's extremely gratifying to identify young talent and be able to nurture that talent—providing positive support and sound business and legal counsel. To truly succeed in the world of fashion, one needs not only artistic talent and a gifted eye, but the ability to exercise judgment and pay close attention to the health of the company—namely proper legal structure and a watchful eye on the bottom line."
Lisa Metcalfe, production-operations, Skaist-Taylor: "It's great to be able to give knowledge that we take for granted to these young, hugely talented people who are supercreative—some of them only have the creative and not the business side of it. We are really pushing and challenging them to think of themselves as a business, not, 'Oh, I'm excited and I feel good about being a designer and having a business.' It's like, 'No, you don't have a business; you're not making money.' The biggest thing that they need is real-life experiences. It's a reality check." Gary Wassner, president of factor Hilldun Corp.: "For me, it's a dream program. You're running this small company and you're getting a board, basically, of experienced industry veterans who come and spend their time helping you build your business. What we've learned as a program is that it's not enough to just have talent…you really need to understand the business basics. You can't wing it. If you want to make it in this business, you really have to understand where you're going and you need to have realistic sales goals. It's not a wish and a prayer." Roopal Patel, fashion consultant: "The program is changing and it's evolving and growing to fit the needs of all these designers. There's no road map how to be a successful designer. This [program] really gives them the tools to become a part of fashion's mainstream. One of the things we're starting to see is that the designer should really take full advantage of the two years [of the program]. They really have the whole industry at their fingertips. It's just wonderful; it's almost like paying it forward to be able to see a new group of designers evolve under your guidance."
Jeffry Aronsson, ceo, Chado Ralph Rucci: "Lisa Smilor and Johanna Stout [at the CFDA] are driving the means for promising early-stage designers and Stern School M.B.A. students to learn by experience how to build that critical bridge between creative design talent and the disciplines of business management." Steven Alan, ceo and designer, Steven Alan: "We've had a showroom since 1997 representing about 20 different brands. One of the most satisfying things is to be able to work with designers and for me, [the Fashion Incubator] is helpful because [I see] different approaches, other people who are also mentors with ideas. You can spend a lot of money early [when starting a design house] and unfortunately that could be the end of it. Focus is certainly something that keeps coming up with [the] designers." Jayne Harkness, business consultant: "It's a series of support systems. [Vosovic] had some preview meetings with some retail buyers to really give him the courage and the knowledge that he's headed in the right direction. Everyone from his mentoring circle has contributed to [Vosovic's merchandising plan]. That's the genius of the CFDA: putting together these great professionals who are able to say, 'This is really the right way to go.'"
Kyle Andrew, senior vice president, marketing, Kate Spade New York: "[The Fashion Incubator] has exposed me to a different, less cynical side of the fashion business. The designers I work with—Ari Dean and Reece Hudson—are both extremely talented and ambitious, yet they have a fresh, somewhat naïve approach that I find refreshing and energizing. I have found it very rewarding to work with them, as I know they will be successful and will have an impact in this business. I think I have been of some use in helping them clarify who they are as a brand. It was clear from the start that their design aesthetic was solid and strong. I tried to help them with the need to clarify their brand stories so that they are unique and distinctive in a very crowded field."
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)