Crafting High Fashion: What It Takes to Manufacture Locally

Crafting high fashion is no doubt a tough job, but for some, this comes as natural as breathing.

“I” is the theme of Nannette.  It is a pleasure to listen to her fascinating life journey to the Madison avenue in New York. Her young designer’s struggles, her hard work repaying her father’s house mortgage loan are really inspiring for young designers. 

Based in New York City, Nanette Lepore is a well-known fashion designer of bold, signature styles. Her gypsy-influenced designs are feminine, youthful, and playful. Clothing, shoes or accessories – her brand means freedom, spontaneous decisions, lively fashion. She is famous for her bold, bright colours, evocative prints, ruffles and lace, and signature silhouettes. Being sold all across America and operating boutiques of her own, she definitely knows what it takes to manufacture locally.

During her speech at Hall 4, Lepore tells about the difficulties of starting a design business. She is a good speaker and she manages to engage the audience to pay her really close attention. Apart from women’s clothes she has a home collection – bedding and home accessories. In fact, she discovered her love for fashion by sewing sheets into gowns in her childhood. Then, being raised in an eccentric family of a modern artists, fashion was just a normal part of her bohemian way of life.

However, making fashion in America is very different from this in Dubai. Today, says Nanette, around 18% of clothing in America is made in China. The market is huge and strong, competition is fierce. But she explains that 10 years ago, New York, for instance was not on the map as a fashion capital. “So, why not Dubai become one of the fashion capitals in 10 years time?” With industry growing so rapidly, with fresh talent waiting to be given a chance, and with demand so big, Dubai has the potential to achieve this. And events such as Fashion Forward are driving the fashion industry growth and development.

Nanette also talked about making high-end fashion. She has her own atelier and she manages to sell her clothing online faster than if she is simply relying on boutiques to sell her pieces. Of course, she explains, you need to have good suppliers you know can account on. The designer also explained about her creating shoes and accessories. Of course it’s not that different from dresses, it’s all fashion after all. “I have always been open and I’ve always absorbed everything new, because I constantly learn.” This is essential for every designer and entrepreneur, according to her.

She then gave some useful advice to young designers. First, don’t think you are going to make a lot of money from the beginning. “You will have to think a little smaller in order to get bigger.”, she says. There is always an advantage in slow growth – you have enough time to learn, realize and develop every side and aspect of your business. Then, “Make relationships with the people who make your products because they can help you.”

The successful designer ended her speech with another essential tip that can help emerging designers, “You have to be realistic and stat small and then grow it into something really great”.

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