Where once designers spent most of their time on the creative elements of a fashion label, focusing on the business side has become increasingly important in order to succeed in such a competitive industry.
In order to address this trend, my interviews will not just cover a designer's work, but also include discussion on the business elements underpinning a label.
Since launching her label in 2005, Gail Sorronda designer Gail Reid has built a strong following for her luxe designs and unique tailoring. Favouring black and white in her collections, Reid has not only achieved success in Australia, but has attracted the eye of international fashion followers. Hand picked to be displayed in Dolce and Gabbana's boutique Spiga2 in Milan, Reid has a celebrity following including the likes of Dita Von Teese, model Lily Collins and blogger Susie Bubble.
I was lucky enough to interview Gail to learn more about her experience in the fashion industry.
1. You started your label in 2005 after winning the Mercedes-Benz Start-Up Awards. Why did you want to work in the fashion industry, and in particular, be a designer?
I’ve always been inspired by body adornment and I personally enjoy expressing myself through my clothing. When I first started my label I designed with myself in mind, six years on I still do to an extent. I never gravitated to the industry; I gravitated to the art of fashion design.
2. Being a designer is not just about designing, it’s also about business. What were some of the challenges you faced dealing with the business side of fashion (e.g. manufacturing products, promotion of your brand and sourcing stockists)? How do you believe up-and-coming designers today can be better equipped to deal with these challenges?
Combining the creative with commercial viability was and will always be a challenge. If what you create is desirable and had a distinct point of difference then challenges such as building your stockist list and brand promotion are dealt with organically. Young designers need to be true to themselves. A mentor helps too!
3. You have had a lot of international success with your brand, stocking beside Dolce & Gabbana at Spiga2 in Milan. Why do you choose to still support the Australian economy by manufacturing your clothes in Australia? Why do you believe it is so important for Australian designers to do so?
I don’t like the idea of exploiting cheap labour offshore. And I don’t like the idea of planned obsolescence. I personally would rather purchase a beautifully made dress made in Australia for $600 that will last a lifetime than a $60 mass produced dress that will end up being landfill.
4. Your collections are very dynamic and continuously evolving while maintaining your brand aesthetic. How do you ensure you keep developing as a designer so your designs are fresh every season?
All of my designs are inspired by a feeling, and feelings are infinite.
Find Part 2 of my interview with Gail Reid here.
Here are some of the beautiful designs from Gail's current collection Polar Desert:
Desert Kisses Dress
Star Dust Dress
Polar Desert Jacket
Polar Desert Hat
Solarise Shirt Dress
Solarise Jacket Dress
Images courtesy of http://gailsorronda.portableshops.com/