Creation Of A Brand

If you have read the article called Why Ties, you will know that one day, out of the blue, an acquaintance of mine had wanted me to get him a job as a fashion designer because he was closing a design school he managed. At that time, I was hosting fashion shows to raise money for abused dogs and I told him that although I knew a lot of models, the same could not be said about designers. I did, however, propose that we work together and create a tie collection. He had made a number of promises, all of which he backed out of two weeks later. By this point I was too enthused about the project and was past the point of no return;  I continued onwards alone.

   I had begun this journey by visiting the Magic (apparel) show in Las Vegas. My goal was to find manufacturers.  Most of the manufacturers I came across were from China or Mexico. Although, admittedly, they both make great clothes, Mexico does not do silk and if I were going to be manufacturing in China, I would be dealing with the mass market. If I did that, few of my friends would wear one of my ties. Although in the future we may consider the thought of a consumer end of ties, at this time I would like to remain an exclusive brand. It allows us the luxury of finding the best money can buy and being confident that is what every client receives. Additionally, if we avoid the mass market, we have the luxury of making custom-made designs for those clients who are seeking the personalized atelier service. If we were in the consumer market I would be pouring over spreadsheets from the CFO all day. Now, instead, I get to oversee a concierge-level design company. I’ll take it.

   Back to the original story, I was walking up and down the many aisles of the Magic Show, with its 3 locations, multiple buses, and 60,000 people from 120 countries. I was almost at the last booth I was going to check out when,  quite accidentally, I found a design company that was based by Milan. We spoke, I examined their outstanding work, and it was exactly what I was looking for.

   Thank God I speak Italian; we were able to communicate. The language for which there is no translation however, is the one in which I explain to them what I am looking for (and I have the language of a businessman) and they translate it into a design. Sending them a number of different graphics online has helped a bit, but not as much as you would think as all of our designs are original and so we really don’t want to use someone else’s design past the inspiration phase.

   We spent several months creating the original tie designs as well as the company logo. The next step was to fly to Milan and meet the lead designer face to face for the first time. What an extraordinary experience; what an extraordinary family. The lead, who has designed for major labels for the past 40 years is the father of the household and his gracious wife is also a painter and designer. His son digitizes everything and together they have an authentic high-end Italian design company.

   What they do for us is limited to creating the works of art. They do not create clothing patterns, however.

   As much as I love Milan, it is impractical for me to fly back and forth as often as I would if my patterns were designed there. What I did, therefore, was conduct a search in San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles for a pattern maker who was creative, intelligent, talented, dependable, and had a personality. Interestingly enough, the person we chose was someone that Katie (our lead model) and I had met in the past 30 days in another venue…small world. We now have the patterns created in San Diego, and from there they are overnighted to Lake Como, where the logistics of the pattern placement are worked out along with our US team (via, yes, Skype). Once that has occurred, the silk thickness and luster is chosen by us, and it goes out for printing. From there, it is hand stitched, assembled, and overnighted to us. Once it has our approval, we order our quantities. Patterns are not required for our ties, as our Italian designer has them, but they are required for when we create a new piece of clothing, such as the “Signorina”, which is on the drawing boards now.

   Having completed the 15 ties, reviewed and returned three sets of printing we weren’t satisfied with, the ties were created and shipped (after many design iterations and a million other details I won’t bore you with), and our first line is under control. What next?

   I was trying to find something that would not compete heavily with existing lines, yet could be made in a distinctive fashion, consistent with our brand.  One of the things that consistently amuses me is that one could be with the sexiest female on the planet, but when she wakes up in the morning and puts on her bathrobe, she looks like a grandmother. I have to put an end to this. We got to work. First step was to figure out a design, then get a pattern, choose which designs to implement, and our second line, the “Signorina” was born. Give us ‘about’ 3 months and we should be rolling them out as we already have the artistic designs in place.

   At the current time, we are working on the designs for our runway models. The problem we face is that we cannot just purchase something, even a no-name brand, off the shelf and put our models into it for the world’s runways. You see, everything they wear is attributed to our designs. As a result, whatever they wear will have to be designed from scratch, using our ‘look’, in one way or another, whether it be something casual or fully elegant. In this case, we are designing a skirt and jacket combination that will be the sort of thing a woman can wear any evening at the Ritz Carlton whilst attending a charity event or at work for a business meeting. Yes, female models will be presenting our ties on the runways. If you recall, we will make it fashionable to wear ties again, and we won’t miss a beat! That catches you up until today, May the 10th.