What’s a typical workday like for you?
I work out of my apartment studio for now, so everything is sort of centralized in the studio. All our fittings, the whole development process happens at the factories. We work with different factories because it’s a menswear collection, so each factory specializes in their respective product categories. You have your shirtmaker, your tailored clothing, your sweater guy and then the outerwear guy, and you have one more. It’s true they’re my friends
Do you work with a small team?
I have a small team: one girl, who works on a part-time basis, and two interns. It’s a very small infrastructure but it exists. We’re growing slowly and I’m happy about that.
What would you say is the most challenging part of your job?
By far, the challenge I think would be the financial restrictions. There was a time when nice clothing, good aesthetics and good craftsmanship were enough for people to buy clothing but it’s not enough today and especially in New York. Brand image, brand visibility, credibility, are all important factors, and that takes time, and more importantly, it takes money, and it takes financing. The challenging part is not only the financing part, but it’s finding good financial partners. It’s important to find the right person and make sure that they understand the context of where you’re coming from, your intent, where you want to take your business
What is the most fulfilling part of your job?
When you come up with a good collection and you know that the results are what you wanted them to be. But then again, that’s not enough, it’s never enough. You need to sell it and you need to make sure you communicate the message to the editors and buyers, and then you need to make sure that once it’s in the stores is that the sell-through is good and that the customer understands it. So there are different things that I find fulfillment in: When the collection comes out well, when it sells at retail, and when the sell-through is good. I think I’m doing a lot more custom now and that’s very fulfilling.
What’s a risk that you’ve taken to keep your design business going?
Everything else. [Laughs] So I think the biggest risk is understanding at what point will you get to that threshold where not just financially, but sometimes psychologically, or morally, you can or can’t do something. You have to trust your intuition.
What do you feel like you gained from being a part of that CFDA fashion fund experience?
I think everything. It doesn’t define me, it just makes me part of the New York dialogue. When you work really hard and you believe in what you do and you sacrifice a lot of things in your life, to have that exposure and recognition is nice, is a fulfillment.
And you’re nominated this year for the Swarovski Award in Menswear. Are you nervous?
No, because I’ve got a great PR office that’s going to make me win! [Laughs]
When did you feel that you had made it in fashion?
I can’t answer that question. It’s an exciting time for me, and it’s the first time in my whole career there are times of real satisfaction and of accomplishments.
How do you hope your brand will grow in the future?
I think that the plans are for the brand to grow with specific demographics in mind. We are really catering to multi–label stores, specialty shops, department stores that carry luxury brands and fine designer menswear. Right now I’m focusing on the high end with some opening price points in the collection and eventually want to grow the business on a second tier and get into accessories, but that would be with a financial partnership so until that happens I think we really need to grow the business in the way we’ve been doing it and go from 10 stores to 15 to 20 stores to 25 stores…