HOW QUITTING FASHION WEEK HELPED NOMIA'S YARA FLINN GROW HER BUSINESS

Categories:Fashion

Yara Flinn. Photo: Chelsea Lauren/Getty ImagesYara Flinn.

In our long-running series, "How I'm Making It," we talk to people making a living in the fashion industry about how they broke in and found success.

Despite describing herself as a very cautious person, New York designer Yara Flinn's career is marked by major risk-taking. When she didn't get into graduate school for sculpture, Flinn took it as a sign to follow her interest in fashion design and launch Nomia in 2007. More than five years later, when she felt her business was stagnating and her designs weren't true to the kind of simple but distinctive style she initially set out to create, she quit fashion week, left her showroom and PR agency and went back to the drawing board. The resulting collection was her most successful to date, and Flinn has been growing that momentum ever since. After finishing the 2014-2016 CFDA Fashion Incubator program this spring, she moved back to her Williamsburg studio to focus on her dedicated customers and building her advanced contemporary collection of sleek, slightly architectural pieces that are now carried by Barneys, Totokaelo, Mohawk General Store, French Garment Cleaners and many more specialty boutiques. 

I spoke with Flinn about selling her first collection, navigating the business during the financial crisis and learning to trust her gut. Read on for our conversation. 

What did you study in college and when did your interest in fashion begin?

When I was at Oberlin, I was studying Studio Art, so I was doing sculpture and sound and video installations. I used to customize men's shirts and stuff, nothing huge, and then I did an art installation that [featured] fashion. It was a cool video thing. It was clothing but it was more meant to be art. So that was my experience with fashion before then. And then when I graduated I got a job at Prada’s art foundation [in New York].

How did you get that job and what did you do there?

I speak Italian, so that was a really big help and then my stepmother's friend had the job and she was leaving it, so I interviewed for it — which obviously was very helpful, to have that connection — but I thought I had no shot at it.

The Nomia fall 2016 collection. Photo: NomiaThe Nomia fall 2016 collection.

Did you want to be a curator at that point?

No, I knew that I always wanted to make things. I wanted to apply for a master's program, in sculpture mostly. And I ended up applying to three places and I didn't get into any of them. It was obviously very disappointing at the time, but it was also so fundamental for me to even end up taking this risk because I really thought my path was one direction. I've always really been into fashion and I've always been specifically more into style and the way that clothing and dress communicate to society. I wrote my high school thesis on the sociology of fashion.

What did you do after the Prada Foundation closed its New York office in 2006?

I worked at different retail jobs part-time and then I started making my first collection, literally three pieces, and that's when the this whole story aboutPamela Love happened. I know her through an old friend who worked atUrban Outfitters with her in 2005, so we're all friends. She had started working at Barneys and I made one linen sack dress thing and she said, "I want to wear that dress to a meeting." So she wore it to the meeting and she looked so cool in it, even though it was literally cut raw seamed at the bottom, when it wasn't cool to do that. They said, "Who makes that dress?" She basically helped me set up an appointment with them. I had to make a few other pieces last minute, but it was at a time when Barneys had a very different kind of way of buying. It was item driven, so they'd buy pieces.

At that point it was 2007, it was a totally different time. I sold dresses from pictures that I took on a digital camera because camera phones were that bad, and I would email them to buyers and they would buy it. It was crazy, I got into Totokaelo’s first store and I sent her pictures and there was another store called Jonathan & Olivia in Vancouver. There were way fewer brands. I had interned at United Bamboo for a bit also, which was something that really helped me. Once I decided I wanted to do fashion in 2006, I took pattern-making classes, which were amazing and super hard and technical. I'm pretty much still making all the patterns.

How did the recession impact your business?

[Before 2008] I went in for another appointment with Barneys and [they said], "We're not buying this season." I was too young to even know what the conversation should be, I didn't know that I should be following up with them all the time: "How is it going? Is it selling? Can I help with things?" But it made me start working harder to get other accounts, which is great. I don't know how many I was selling to when 2008 happened, but that was a crash, almost. A lot pulled out, some went out of business and some hung out for another year or two but eventually went out of business.

The Nomia fall 2016 collection. Photo: NomiaThe Nomia fall 2016 collection. 

Between dedicating yourself full time to the brand in 2011 and joining the Incubator in 2014, what happened?

That was a lot of struggling. I think that was a time when I had lost myself. We had PR people, we had sales showrooms and everyone was telling us different things. We did Made [Fashion Week], which was awesome, and it was very reasonably priced, they offer a lot, and we would always get hair and makeup sponsors. But it does still cost quite a bit even if you do it at a shoelace budget, like we literally were. But it's a significant cost [with] no return — I didn't feel like I was getting huge press from it and whatever press I got didn't seem like it was impacting my sales much. There became a very one-lane approach to how to make it as a young designer.

I wasn't wearing anything that I was making and that, to me, was a problem. Eventually a friend-slash-mentor told me, 'You know, you're cool, you're from New York, you dress like this, why are you making these clothes?’ He felt like I was fighting what I could be doing. I worried too much about how the run of show is going to look, and I'm just like — this isn't what my brands, that's not what I want, I want easy clothes, I want everyday clothes, I want statement pieces that people are going to wear all the time.

You decided to stop doing shows?

Fall 2013 was when I stopped doing any presentations... At that point I was depressed, it really had gotten to me, because it's emotional and it's personal. You're putting your ideas out there, they're not working. So I [decided] I'll just try [designing for myself], and then I ended up having probably one of the best seasons I've had to date at the point, in terms of sales. and I [thought], "Whoa this is crazy." Without having done a show and just reaching out to buyers myself.

Why did you apply to the CFDA Fashion Incubator program?

I've never had a business plan, I've never had to be all about my margins and my costing sheets. I had been "in business" very loosely for five years at that point and [I thought if] I can't survive this, I've got to figure something out, this is not sustainable. Then I had the issue of [paying] rent for the [CFDA Incubator] studio. They're subsidized but it was more than twice what I was paying for my studio [before]. I'm just overly cautious, I didn't realize it was an investment and it was something that we would be able to eventually pay for it if I was able to implement the advice that they would be giving me. I borrowed a little money from my parents until I could catch up.

Who is your team at Nomia?

I started with a consultant basically to help me with production and that was 2014, right when I got started going to the Incubator. That's a thing that a lot of young designers struggle with because when your units are the smallest, you get pushed to the back of the line. It's tough, you have to get in there really early and you have to establish a really good relationship with the factory. Who I have right now is our production manager and then the other person is our studio manager, basically a catch-all thing — sending our e-commerce out and organizing our shipping and doing the press pulls.

What are your goals for the next year?

I want to increase our reach on PR, our awareness. I want to do events: having an open studio maybe, things where people can come in and look at things in person. I, myself, am a very tactile shopper.

I really enjoy collaborating with people, that's something I feel I've been missing out a little bit on, so hopefully if we hire more people I'll be able to put into place all those things. Because otherwise, they're just ideas. 

Tags: bag Alexander Wang New Bucket

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Johnny Coca’s First Designs for Mulberry are Finally Available to Buy

Categories:Other Brands

Tags: bags Givenchy Fendi And New Pre-Fall with FROM More 2016 Pre-Orders Bergdorf Goodman Opens

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Givenchy Leather Guide

Categories:Other Brands

Givenchy-Calf-Leather

Givenchy Calf Leather
When it comes to Givenchy Calf Leather, there’s so many positive benefits it’s not even funny. It’s the go-to option for the majority of women due to its price, its appearance, and its functionality. It’s a lightweight leather that looks magnificent in any color, and its buttery smooth texture won’t get rough with time. It is practically resilient to everything and is not prone to scratches or scuffs in the slightest. Definitely a top notch leather with a sleek and slick appearance that is absolutely beautiful in every way. If you want an easy-to-use leather that won’t be easily damaged, this is a wonderful choice.

Givenchy-Lambskin-Leather

Givenchy Lambskin Leather
To put it plainly, Givenchy Lambskin Leather is gorgeous. It is delicately soft and has a beautiful texture with slight grainy detailing. Being one of the most lightweight leathers on the market, it’s a great option for bags or other items that will be used often. However, delicate lambskin should be handled with care as it is more prone to marks and scratches than other leathers. Choosing a bag in a darker color is a wonderful choice as the color will cover up smaller scratches that don’t need professional care.

Givenchy-Sheepskin-Leather

Givenchy Sheep Leather
Sheep leather is a big hit in the fashion industry, and for good reason too. This tough-as-nails material is not only incredibly durable, but is also light as a feather. It can withstand almost anything and isn’t prone to scratches and scuffs like most other leathers, making it a great option for bags you’ll use often. Givenchy Sheep Leather is also insanely gorgeous, with a wrinkled, funky texture that many women adore. If you’re not into the sleek and mod look or just want to switch it up, Givenchy Sheep Leather is highly recommended.

Givenchy-Patent-Leather

Givenchy Patent Leather
Givenchy Patent Leather is unlike any other patent leather on the market. Nine times out of ten, women are afraid of choosing this type of leather as it’s a grounding point for scuffs, scratches, fingerprints- the list goes on and on. However, Givenchy’s patent leather is extremely hardy and actually makes for a wonderful leather on everyday items. Thanks to its plastic covering and wrinkled/washed appearance, Givenchy Patent Leather won’t be ruined by water and can handle almost anything- including those pesky fingerprints that never cease to disappear. All in all, Givenchy Patent Leather gives you that old school 50’s feel that is chic and swank- without all the mess and worry of traditional patent leather.

Givenchy-Buffalo-Leather

Givenchy Buffalo Leather
If you’re looking for a leather that is totally exotic in every sense of the word, then you may as well choose Givenchy Buffalo Leather. This outstanding leather comes with a unique out appearance that has a natural wrinkled textured that is both funky and modern. It’s a wonderful sight and fairly easy to take care of- just taking regular precautions to not damage your bag will work fine. The only downfall to buffalo leather is that is can be a lot heavier than other leathers, which can leave your bag with an overbearing feeling (especially if you’re one too stuff your bag with items).

Givenchy-Goat-Leather

Givenchy Goat Leather
Givenchy Goat Leather is an astoundingly beautiful sight. It comes with a natural wrinkled appearance that is both casual and cool. This sophisticated leather is surprisingly lightweight, which means carrying around your goat leather items is a breeze. Another positive benefit of this particular leather is that it’s fairly durable and can be worn day in and day out without worry of scratches. However, goat leather has a rather sturdy and rough feel to touch that some are turned off by.

Givenchy-smooth-vs-grained

Givenchy Smooth Versus Grained Leather
When it comes to choosing between Givenchy Smooth or Givenchy Grained Leather, it’s really a matter of personal preference. Both are gorgeous to sight and have their positives and negatives. For one, the smooth leather has a more sophisticated and elegant appearance that can easily be dressed up or down. However, scratches and scuffs may show up more easily on this sleek and modern surface. On the other hand, grained leather has a more casual and fun appearance with a funky texture many adore. It’s less prone to scratching or other mishaps, and if such scuffs do occur, they won’t be as noticeable thanks to the engraved pebbles. So which one is right for you? It all depends on whether you want a super sleek or funky, trendy look!

Givenchy-Zanzi-Leather

What is Zanzi Leather?
Don’t be alarmed the next time you see the word ‘zanzi leather’. Zanzi leather is simply just lambskin, otherwise known as the softest and most delicate leathers on the market. Lambskin is smooth and creamy with a decadent texture that looks great on every bag. However, you must take special precaution with this delicate leather as it can easily be damaged with scuffs and scrapes.

Tags: Chanel Launch the New To DRAWSTRING Bag:

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Chanel Golden Class Double CC Bag For Fall Winter 2014 Collection

Categories:Other Brands

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CHANEL has designed many handbags with the CC signature on the front, but not all of them are gorgeous and chic (in our opinion). But handbags that look similar to the Classic Flap Bags are usually to-die-for. For example, this Chanel Golden Double CC Flap Bag, can you turn your back on it?

This bag is a true statement-maker, it stands out even more than the Chanel Classic Flap Bag. The golden CC embellishment is not only shining bright, but it’s the first thing that any human eye will point to whenever they see you carrying it on your shoulder. It’s all about flaunting without effort and it is still a perfect everyday wear at the same time, for the weekends or the evenings.

The Chanel Golden Double CC Bag is quilted and comes with an interwoven chain link; it’s so luxurious that you will want to add it to your exclusive bag collection. On the other hand, if you already got the Classic Flap Bag, this version has an entirely different appearance.

Even today, one of the most regular questions we get is: ‘Is this bag still available?’. The answer: ‘Yes, Chanel will drop this bag for the Fall Winter 2014 Collection Act 1’. Now, let’s dive into the details:

Chanel Golden Class Large Flap Bag
Style code: A92151

Chanel Golden Class Medium Flap Bag
Style code: A92135
Sizes: 7.4 x 9.6 x 2

Chanel Golden Class Small Flap Bag
Style code: A92133
Sizes: 5 x 7.6 x 2

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Tags: bag Bottega Veneta the Introducing New Bucket Brand

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Mother’s Day 2016: For The Mum Who Adores/Likes/Needs/Wants…

Categories:Other Brands

IMAGE: BAGAHOLICBOY

Yes, Mother’s Day is almost upon us, and for everyone’s who ready, #highfive.

For everyone else, good luck and start reading this post. It’s going to be a long one, but at least I can safely say you’ll have enough options to mull over before deciding which would be the best gift for Mummy Dearest.

And because it’s going to be a long post (ok, the truth is I’m still finalising all the gift options), here’s the first one, For the Mum Who Adores Anything Cute. Which I’ll then follow up in the coming days with For The Mum Who Wants A Tiny Number (Bag), For The Mum Who Needs A Workhorse Wallet, For The Mum Who Likes Her Bling and of course, For The Mum Who Already Has Everything Else.

Without further ado, here’s today’s post. Enjoy.
For the Mum Who Adores Anything Cute (look up)
Yes, Mummy might not be young anymore, but she’s young at heart and you know, has a good sense of humour too. And because which mother doesn’t love tea or remember the days when Wrigley’s chewing gum was freely available in Singapore, the first two picks are both clutches, the first from Kate Spade New York, their new Down The Rabbit Hole English Tea Clutch (SGD570, buy online via Kate Spade) that’s mostly metallic PVC with 14K gold-plated hardware. And then there’s Anya Hindmarch’sWrigley’s Spearmint Gum clutch that’s now 60% off over at THEOUTNET. Was USD1595, now USD638, which also makes it a good deal, no?

Yes, this is still gift ideas for the Mum who loves anything cute, and nothing can be cuter than Fendi’s bugged-eyed wallet. Measuring 19 cm by 12 cm, it’s basically a wallet-on-chain with enough card slots, zip compartment, patch pockets and a long metal chain that’s actually the sling (USD1102, buy online via Net-A-Porter). Then there’s the Powerpuff Girls iPhone cases by Moschino. Yes I know, too cute, right? Still, it’s guaranteed to bring a smile to most anyone’s face, and beside the one in Blue you see above, Moschino Paragon also has the ones in Green, in both iPhone6 andiPhone6Plus sizes. And at SGD90 each, you really can’t complain.

And for something really affordable, the cutest post-its I’ve ever seen, the EUR14 a box Paperways sticky notes that you can get from Colette. If you’re really getting the cheap post-its, make sure you get a nice card too, like this one from The Paper Bunny which costs just SGD5.90.

Tags: Birkin For New Set Expensive MOST Record Sold

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LOUIS VUITTON DEBUTS NEW MONOGRAM ECLIPSE PRINT AT MEN’S FALL 2016 SHOW

Categories:Louis Vuitton

Tags: Louis Vuitton Monogram New Debuts Print ECLIPSE

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