- Aileen Yu |
This Sunday, March 8 is International Women’s Day and to toast all the amazing women out there, FashionUnited has gathered valuable advice from 6 women working in fashion. From learning to succeed by venturing out of one’s comfort zone to how to juggle motherhood while running a budding label, read on to get inspired by these leading ladies paving their own path in the fashion industry.
Sylvie Millstein, Founder and Designer of Hellessy
On finding balance
“Lots of short but sweet family times helps balance the madness of (fashion) show prep. My family inspires me and provides the release to be clear and more creative.”
On designing and creativity
“My understanding of what resonates with the customer, after years analysing it at Chanel, is really what drives my creativity. I do not create to fulfill a fantasy or for pure creative purpose, I always create with my customer in mind - What does she desire? What is missing in her wardrobe? What complements the different moments of her day?”
French-Japanese designer and the mother of four boys, Sylvie Millstein founded Hellessy, a New York-based womenswear label with a focus on pared-back elegance. Her collections are redefining what separates mean in a woman’s wardrobe has made the label a firm celebrity favourite, with fans including Gwyneth Paltrow, Rihanna and Gemma Chan.
Joanna Herrick, Director of Showroom Experience and Operations at The Black Tux
On letting go
“One of my favorite pieces of advice is: ‘Don’t get attached to your work, get attached to what works. I wish I could have understood early on in my management years the power of letting your guard down—really being human with your team. There is definitely a fine line to walk; getting too personal with your team can create a host of other issues. But when you’re real and they know it, they trust you and teamwork flourishes.’”
With her foray into fashion beginning at Portland’s menswear label, Michael Allen, Joanna Herrick got quick exposure to all aspects of the industry. From there she moved on to run operations for the custom clothing and tailoring divisions of Trunk Club and now a director at TBT.
Mia Wright-Ross, Founder and Creative Director of MWR Collection
On slowing down
I’d tell my younger self to slow down. You don’t have to know everything and remain a consistent student, always learning.
“Each morning, I have a mantra that I say aloud: ‘I commit to this practice as a commitment to myself, I commit to the practice for the benefit of myself. I commit to the skills and knowledge growing within myself. I commit myself to this practice.’ This helps me align my mindset for the day.”
With over a decade of experience designing footwear for Tibi, Philip Lim and Calvin Klein, Mia Wright-Ross is the Creative Director of her own label, a consultant for various contemporary designer brands, a professor at Parsons School for Design, and the newly appointed 2020 Artist Fellow at the Museum of Art & Design in New York City.
Lynn Quanjel, Influencer and Founder of Social Nomads
On stepping out of one’s comfort zone
“It’s okay to be out of your comfort zone. These words help me deal with stress when I feel like things are moving too fast. The truth is if you’re not ahead of the curve, you won’t stand out as an entrepreneur so it’s okay to dream big and take ambitious steps to reach your goals. There are only two possibilities when you step out of your comfort zone: You succeed and you get one step closer to your goal. You hit a wall and you learn how to be better next time. If you look at it this way, there is no way you can lose!”
Influencer and brand ambassador @whoisthatblonde has worked with L’Oréal and launched a swimwear collection in 2018 with Dutch lingerie brand, Hunkemöller. Lynn Quanjel has taken her fashion entrepreneurship even further by founding Social Nomads-a social media consultancy powered by influencers.
Moon Choi, Fashion Designer
On finding your inner voice
“Find your voice and believe what you believe,” she said to FashionUnited. “The industry is a red ocean — there are so many talented designers, but customers and the industry are on the continuous hunt for designers with a fresh perspective. It’s important to show your personality in your design and convey what you believe.”
A Parson’s alumna, Moon Choi’s passion for neutrals and minimalist designs have earned her label a devoted following at New York Fashion Week. Celebrity fans include Bella Hadid, Keke Palmer and Kendall Jenner.
Anjhe Marcus, co-CEO and Creative Director of Lucas Hugh
Stay focused and don’t divert from your goal. Find a way to maintain a positive mindset. Try not to let negativity drag you down. Be open-minded, you’re not the best at everything. Find the right talent for your team.
On facing challenges and staying motivated
Running a business, you’re constantly challenged on a daily basis and 50 percent of your job is to find solutions for the problems. So many obstacles happen every day, how to manage it personally is by staying internally positive and not let the negativity get you down. Sticking to a routine with exercising has helped me stay motivated.
Lucas Hugh was the first to incorporate the fully-bonded seam–used in Olympic-quality swimwear –into activewear. The brand caught fire with the release of The Hunger Games in 2013 where Anjhe Marcus designed and developed the training outfits featured in the film.
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Photos: APG Graphics from Pexels, courtesy of Hellessy, courtesy of The Black Tux, courtesy of Purple PR, courtesy of Social Nomads, courtesy of MWR Collection, courtesy of Lucas Hugh