Fashionistas, do you dream of having your name on a piece of clothing one day? Get your pencils and sketch pads out and take note from today's success story, Velvet Brigade. Velvet Brigade is a new- emerging retailer that is merging fashion designers like never before. Anyone can submit designs to the website and then the voting process begins. The designs with the highest votes get produced and sold.
As a fashion student, I believe in Velvet Brigade's mission and empowering young designers to have their work produced. I was fortunate enough to interview one of the founders, Lindsay Welsh McConnan and hear more about this emerging business.
CollegeFashionista: What is your fashion background?
Lindsay Welsch McConnan: I have always loved fashion, but thought I wanted to be a doctor until I hit college. I don't think I even realized that people had careers in fashion. It was too good to be true!
CF: How did you educate yourself for a career infashion did you attend buissness school, or a design school?
LWM: I moved to NYC upon graduating from college and started off in fashion marketing. After a few years, I realized that I wanted to learn how to run a fashion business, but didn't have the training, so I applied to go back to business school. After graduating from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford, I worked in fashion on the operational side for a few very large retail companies.
CF: What steps did you take to make Velvet Brigade come to life?
LWM: Most importantly, I found my partner, Jena. We had worked together previously and had a great respect level for each other. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely and daunting at times, so having the companionship and collaboration of a trusted partner is extremely helpful.
We also needed the support of our friends, family and colleagues in the industry. We can't go about this alone, but arelucky to have lots of people rooting for us and offering a helping hand. Every bit of advice counts, and our social and professional networks have been key. From manufacturing partners to technology to marketing, all of our partners have come to us through word of mouth.
CF: Where do you see Velvet Brigade 5 years from now?
LWM: I dream that Velvet Brigade will be a transformative fashion brand that will truly level the playing field for aspiring apparel designers. I dream that we will be able to launch the careers of the world's next design superstars, and provide well-deserved recognition to designers who may have been previously frustrated by their professional opportunities in the industry. In addition, I hope that Velvetbrigade.com is a place where fashion lovers can interact online and engage together in creating a brand that means something to them. I hope that people feel proud and inspired when they wear clothes by Velvet Brigade designers because they are supporting a brand that reflects their ideals about how fashion should be created.
CF: Any last words of wisdom or advice for all the CollegeFashionistas out there?
LWM: I would tell them to keep up the good work! I don't think I dressed as sharp as any of the CollegeFashionista readers when I was an undergrad. I had trouble getting my hair out of a bun. If they truly love fashion, they should continue to find outlets for their creativity and never give up on pursuing a career in fashion. Life is too short – and fashion is too fun.