I clipped a fashion spread from New York Magazine last winter – I think from the spring fashion issue. The article featured three indie fashion designers and something that one of them said really spoke to me. Mona Kowalska, who worked for small labels in Italy and Sonia Rykiel in Paris, decided to start her own label in NYC and opened a shop called A Détacher. She has a few wholesale clients in Japan but sells mostly from the racks in her shop. And she’s perfectly OK with that. She said
“It’s easy to get caught up with ambition and plans. But sometimes I just say, “What about a small, well-run company? Is that such a terrible thing?’”
I don’t think so, either. I don’t want my business to get so big that I can’t be involved personally in every aspect of it. I’ll gladly let someone else do my accounting, taxes, and shipping – that’s the boring stuff. But I always want to be involved in the creative part. I think that’s why I’m on the fence about selling wholesale on a larger scale than I do. Right now I only sell to shops that appreciate that my things are one-of-a-kind. There’s a level of trust involved—they’re buying a style but each piece will be different. And not everyone is OK with that. I could do things differently—buy large quantities of fabric (although that’s hard with vintage), hire seamstresses, and turn out multiples of pillows all exactly the same. But, what fun would that be? And why would customers want the same thing as everyone else? There are lots of stores that do that.
Anyway, I thought it was interesting to hear that view from another designer, albeit a fashion one. And, speaking of fashion design, it’s almost time for Season 3 of Project Runway. I don’t watch much television, but I’m glued to mine on Wednesday nights (Bravo, 10pm). The impossible deadlines, the dresses made from food and plants, Heidi Klum saying “you're out!” to the rejected designer, Tim Gunn's deadpan "Make it work!", and the general drama and theatrics (love ya, Santino)—it’s too much fun to miss!