W Hotels Partners with CFDA Fashion Incubator

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Social​ ​Lifestyle​ ​recently​ ​visited​ ​a​ ​fashion​ ​showcase​ ​in​ ​Los​ ​Angeles,​ ​CA.​ ​this​ ​past​ ​week. However,​ ​this​ ​wasn’t​ ​just​ ​​any​​ ​showcase.​ ​J. Ryan Ulsh / W Hotels Worldwide.

Jeannie Camtu Mai - w hotel beverly hills - cfda

This​ ​showcase​ ​in​ ​particular,​ ​was​ ​created​ ​by​ ​the​ ​.​ ​It​ ​featured​ ​5​ ​designers​ ​who were​ ​chosen​ ​from​ ​hundreds​ ​of​ ​qualified​ ​candidates​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Incubator​ ​Program,​ ​a program​ ​that​ ​granted​ ​10​ ​lucky​ ​designers​ ​opportunities​ ​that​ ​young​ ​emerging​ ​designers​ ​in​ ​today’s day​ ​&​ ​age​ ​could​ ​only​ ​DREAM​ ​of.​ ​We​ ​had​ ​the​ ​honor​ ​of​ ​speaking​ ​to​ ​each​ ​and​ ​every​ ​one​ ​of​ ​them as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​their​ ​official​ ​mentor,​ ​Celebrity​ ​Image​ ​Architect,​ ​Law​ ​Roach.​ ​We​ ​also​ ​had​ ​the​ ​pleasure of​ ​speaking​ ​with​ ​the​ ​Global​ ​Brand​ ​Marketing​ ​Director​ ​of​ ​the​ ​W​ ​Hotels,​ ​Pablo​ Henderson.​ ​Every one​ ​let​ ​us​ ​in​ ​on​ ​their​ ​personal​ ​experiences​ ​while​ ​being​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​​ ​the​ ​Incubator​ ​Program,​ ​their overall​ ​brand​ ​development,​ ​evolution,​ ​and​ ​they​ ​​even​​ ​gave​ ​us​ ​a​ ​sneak​ ​peak​ ​into​ ​what’s​ ​to​ ​come in​ ​the​ ​near​ ​future.

Designer:​ ​​Daniel​ ​Dugoff

Brand:​ ​​DDUOGOFF

Looking​ ​to​ ​create​ ​“unbasic-basics”​ ​Daniel​ ​Dugoff’s​ ​collections​ ​of​ ​carefully constructed​ ​clothes​ ​incorporate​ ​fine​ ​fabrics​ ​but​ ​avoid​ ​being​ ​too​ ​delicate​ ​so​ ​they​ ​coincide​ ​with how​ ​one​ ​moves​ ​and​ ​lives​ ​in​ ​their​ ​everyday​ ​lives.​ ​DDUGOFF​ ​is​ ​currently​ ​sold​ ​in​ ​the​ ​US,​ ​Canada, and​ ​Japan.

Q:​ ​How​ ​has​ ​your​ ​experience​ ​been​ ​while​ ​being​ ​apart​ ​of​ ​W​ ​Hotel​ ​+​ ​CFDA​ ​Incubator Program?

A:​ ​So​ ​the​ ​CFDA​ ​Incubator​ ​Program​ ​is​ ​underwritten​ ​by​ ​W​ ​hotels​ ​and​ ​its​ ​an​ ​incredible​ ​partnership because​ ​it​ ​gives​ ​the​ ​10​ ​brands​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Incubator​ ​access​ ​to​ ​travel​ ​in​ ​a​ ​way​ ​that​ ​small​ ​brands never​ ​have.​ ​So​ ​they​ ​give​ ​us​ ​the​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​travel​ ​internationally​ ​for​ ​a​ ​week​ ​long​ ​Inspiration trip​ ​and​ ​then​ ​also​ ​to​ ​do​ ​a​ ​domestic​ ​business​ ​activation​ ​and​ ​then​ ​also​ ​to​ ​do​ ​a​ ​showcase.​ ​So there’s​ ​some​ ​amazing​ ​travel​ ​that​ ​not​ ​only​ ​forms​ ​the​ ​collections​ ​but​ ​also​ ​helps​ ​build​ ​business and​ ​introduce​ ​us​ ​to​ ​publications​ ​and​ ​stylists​ ​and​ ​stores​ ​around​ ​the​ ​world.

Q:​ ​Nice​ ​and​ ​what’s​ ​the​ ​application​ ​process​ ​like​ ​for​ ​the​ ​CFDA​ ​Incubator​ ​Program?

A:​ ​Yeah​ ​its​ ​a​ ​similar​ ​process​ ​to​ ​applying​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Vogue​ ​Fashion​ ​Fund​ ​through​ ​the​ ​CFDA.​ ​You have​ ​to​ ​build​ ​a​ ​portfolio​ ​book​ ​and​ ​you​ ​have​ ​to​ ​give​ ​all​ ​this​ ​financial​ ​information​ ​about​ ​how​ ​your company​ ​has​ ​done​ ​since​ ​you’ve​ ​been​ ​in​ ​business​ ​and​ ​they’re​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​key​ ​accounts​ ​that you’re​ ​working​ ​with​ ​and​ ​like​ ​a​ ​whole​ ​range​ ​of​ ​things.​ ​Then​ ​you​ ​hand​ ​all​ ​that​ ​in​ ​and​ ​then something​ ​happens​ ​in​ ​a​ ​couple​ ​of​ ​months,​ ​or​ ​like​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​months​ ​later​ ​and​ ​then​ ​you… FIND​ ​OUT​ ​(laughs).

Q:​ ​So​ ​what​ ​was​ ​your​ ​reaction​ ​when​ ​you​ ​found​ ​out​ ​that​ ​you​ ​made​ ​the​ ​cut?

A:​ ​It​ ​was​ ​incredible​ ​because​ ​it​ ​meant​ ​that​ ​this​ ​project​ ​that​ ​I’ve​ ​been​ ​toying​ ​around​ ​with​ ​on​ ​my own​ ​for​ ​YEARS​ ​has​ ​been​ ​recognized​ ​by​ ​somebody​ ​else​ ​that​ ​sees​ ​it​ ​of​ ​value​ ​and​ ​are​ ​wiling​ ​to prepare​ ​to​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​stamp​ ​it​ ​with​ ​“we’re​ ​going​ ​to​ ​support​ ​this​ ​guy”.

Q:​ ​Where​ ​did​ ​you​ ​go​ ​for​ ​your​ ​Inspiration​ ​Trip?

A:​ ​I​ ​went​ ​to​ ​Taiwan​ ​last​ ​December.​ ​Then​ ​that​ ​trip​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​helped​ ​laid​ ​the​ ​groundwork​ ​for​ ​the inspiration​ ​for​ ​the​ ​spring​ ​’18​ ​collection,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​what​ ​I’m​ ​showing​ ​here​ ​today.

Q:​ ​What​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​inspiration​ ​did​ ​you​ ​draw​ ​specifically​ ​from​ ​Taiwan?

A:​ ​There​ ​was​ ​incredible​ ​colors​ ​and​ ​textures​ ​in​ ​the​ ​city.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​really​ ​amazing​ ​because​ ​it​ ​was industrialized​ ​and​ ​became​ ​post-industrial​ ​really​ ​quickly.​ ​There​ ​was​ ​this​ ​moment​ ​when​ ​we​ ​were driving​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the​ ​city​ ​into​ ​a​ ​national​ ​park​ ​that​ ​was​ ​like​ ​RIGHT​ ​next​ ​to​ ​the​ ​city​ ​and​ ​we​ ​were​ ​going up​ ​this​ ​steep​ ​mountain​ ​road​ ​and​ ​we​ ​were​ ​driving​ ​through​ ​the​ ​clouds​ ​and​ ​we​ ​had​ ​like​ ​tropical forests​ ​around​ ​us​ ​and​ ​they​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​disappeared​ ​into​ ​this​ ​fog​ ​and​ ​that​ ​became​ ​the​ ​inspiration​ ​for like​ ​all​ ​of​ ​these​ ​prints!​ ​(points​ ​to​ ​examples​ ​from​ ​his​ ​collection).

Q:​ ​What​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​fabric​ ​were​ ​you​ ​originally​ ​drawn​ ​to​ ​when​ ​designing​ ​this​ ​collection?

A:​ ​One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​first​ ​fabrics​ ​that​ ​I​ ​was​ ​obsessed​ ​with​ ​and​ ​that​ ​I​ ​just​ ​HAD​ ​to​ ​use​ ​was​ ​this​ ​cotton that​ ​has​ ​little​ ​lurex​ ​threads​ ​in​ ​it​ ​because​ ​it’s​ ​shiny​ ​but​ ​it’s​ ​still​ ​totally​ ​wearable​ ​for​ ​a​ ​guy​ ​that works​ ​in​ ​an​ ​office​ ​and​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​too​ ​‘showy’.​ ​That’s​ ​what​ ​I’m​ ​always​ ​thinking​ ​about​ ​it.​ ​It’s​ ​like,​ ​can my​ ​friends​ ​who​ ​like​ ​work​ ​at​ ​tech​ ​companies​ ​wear​ ​this​ ​to​ ​work?​ ​If​ ​all​ ​of​ ​they’re​ ​friends​ ​are wearing​ ​mall​ ​brands,​ ​are​ ​they​ ​still​ ​going​ ​to​ ​fit​ ​in​ ​or​ ​are​ ​they​ ​going​ ​to​ ​look​ ​like​ ​the​ ​crazy​ ​person? It’s​ ​like​ ​teetering​ ​that​ ​line​ ​of​ ​whats​ ​beautiful​ ​and​ ​amazing​ ​but​ ​also​ ​‘what​ ​can​ ​he​ ​wear​ ​everyday’? I​ ​don’t​ ​want​ ​these​ ​to​ ​be​ ​like​ ​“special​ ​occasion​ ​shirts”.

Q:​ ​What’s​ ​next​ ​for​ ​you,​ ​after​ ​this?

A:​ ​I’ve​ ​been​ ​thinking​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​about​ ​HOW​ ​i’ve​ ​been​ ​selling​ ​the​ ​collection​ ​recently​ ​and​ ​I​ ​think​ ​its​ ​way more​ ​exciting​ ​for​ ​the​ ​customer​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​about​ ​something​ ​new​ ​and​ ​see​ ​it​ ​right​ ​away.​ ​So​ ​I’ve​ ​been thinking​ ​about​ ​how,​ ​for​ ​my​ ​collection,​ ​I​ ​haven’t​ ​quite​ ​figured​ ​out​ ​what​ ​form​ ​it’s​ ​going​ ​to​ ​take​ ​but I’ve​ ​been​ ​thinking​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​more​ ​about​ ​doing​ ​smaller​ ​projects​ ​and​ ​doing​ ​a​ ​bunch​ ​of​ ​projects​ ​in​ ​a year​ ​and​ ​releasing​ ​those​ ​through​ ​online​ ​and​ ​Instagram.​ ​I​ ​did​ ​a​ ​collaboration​ ​with​ ​a​ ​women’s designer​ ​this​ ​summer​ ​and​ ​we​ ​didn’t​ ​sell​ ​it​ ​any​ ​stores.​ ​We​ ​just​ ​sold​ ​it​ ​online​ ​and​ ​did​ ​SO​ ​well​ ​and it​ ​was​ ​so​ ​much​ ​easier​ ​than​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​wrangle​ ​stores​ ​to​ ​come​ ​and​ ​see​ ​the​ ​collection.​ ​So​ ​it​ ​was just​ ​like​ ​maybe​ ​this​ ​is​ ​what​ ​I​ ​should​ ​be​ ​doing​ ​or​ ​at​ ​least,​ ​PART​ ​of​ ​what​ ​I​ ​should​ ​be​ ​doing.​ ​So moving​ ​into​ ​the​ ​next​ ​year​ ​I’ve​ ​been​ ​thinking​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​about​ ​do​ ​I​ ​present​ ​it​ ​as​ ​a​ ​full​ ​collection​ ​or​ ​do​ ​I tell​ ​a​ ​story​ ​that’s​ ​like​ ​6​ ​pieces​ ​and​ ​then​ ​a​ ​couple​ ​months​ ​later​ ​tell​ ​a​ ​a​ ​new​ ​story​ ​that’s​ ​a​ ​different story.​ ​Thats​ ​the​ ​fun​ ​part​ ​about​ ​fashion.​ ​You​ ​can​ ​play​ ​around​ ​with​ ​the​ ​strategy.

Designer:​ ​​Alexandria​ ​Alvarez

Brand:​ ​​ALIX

 ​In​ ​2014​ ​Alexandria​ ​Alvarez​ ​of​ ​Alix​ ​founded​ ​an​ ​entire​ ​brand​ ​around​ ​bodysuits, after​ ​realizing​ ​the​ ​void​ ​in​ ​the​ ​material​ ​in​ ​market​ ​for​ ​cool,​ ​contemporary​ ​options.​ ​Her​ ​brand​ ​is currently​ ​carried​ ​in​ ​​Net-A-Porter,​ ​​Shopbop,​ ​​Saks​ ​Fifth​ ​Avenue,​ ​and​ ​​Harvey​ ​Nichols.

Q:​ ​How​ ​has​ ​your​ ​experience​ ​been​ ​while​ ​being​ ​apart​ ​of​ ​the​ ​W​ ​Hotel​ ​+​ ​CFDA​ ​Incubator Program?

A:​ ​My​ ​experience​ ​with​ ​the​ ​W​ ​Hotel​ ​+​ ​CFDA​ ​Incubator​ ​Program​ ​has​ ​been​ ​really​ ​incredible​ ​in​ ​a sense​ ​that,​ ​they’ve​ ​given​ ​me​ ​opportunities​ ​that​ ​I​ ​wouldn’t​ ​necessarily​ ​have​ ​as​ ​a​ ​young​ ​designer. From​ ​a​ ​business​ ​activation​ ​in​ ​Miami​ ​during​ ​Swim​ ​Week​ ​to​ ​an​ ​inspiration​ ​trip​ ​in​ ​Thailand,​ ​to showcasing​ ​now​ ​in​ ​LA​ ​you​ ​know?​ ​These​ ​are​ ​things​ ​that​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​do​ ​on​ ​my​ ​own.​ ​I​ ​cant​ ​afford​ ​to​ ​do because​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​have​ ​the​ ​privilege.​ ​So​ ​I​ ​think​ ​that​ ​that’s​ ​been​ ​the​ ​most​ ​impactful​ ​thing​ ​about having​ ​the​ ​W​ ​Hotel​ ​+​ ​CFDA​ ​Incubator​ ​Program​ ​behind​ ​us​ ​and​ ​having​ ​this​ ​experience.

Q:​ ​You​ ​mentioned​ ​your​ ​trip​ ​to​ ​Thailand,​ ​did​ ​you​ ​draw​ ​inspiration​ ​from​ ​that​ ​trip​ ​for​ ​your current​ ​collection?

A:​ ​It’s​ ​an​ ​upcoming​ ​process.​ ​I​ ​went​ ​there​ ​at​ ​a​ ​point​ ​where​ ​I​ ​already​ ​had​ ​to​ ​create​ ​the​ ​new​ ​swim season​ ​so​ ​the​ ​season​ ​that​ ​I​ ​drew​ ​inspiration​ ​from​ ​isn’t​ ​out.​ ​It’s​ ​still​ ​a​ ​work​ ​in​ ​progress.​ ​I​ ​definitely drew​ ​inspiration​ ​from​ ​it​ ​though.

Q:​ ​Im​ ​sure.​ ​I​ ​mean,​ ​how​ ​could​ ​you​ ​not?​ ​Its​ ​THAILAND,​ ​it​ ​was​ ​a​ ​beautiful​ ​place​ ​right?

A:​ ​Yeah!​ ​Just​ ​the​ ​colors​ ​and​ ​everything​ ​about​ ​it…I​ ​just​ ​cant​ ​even​ ​BEGIN​ ​to​ ​get​ ​into​ ​it.​ ​It’s​ ​kind​ ​of crazy​ ​because​ ​they​ ​were​ ​just​ ​showing​ ​the​ ​video​ ​of​ ​me​ ​there​ ​that​ ​they​ ​shot​ ​and​ ​I’m​ ​like​ ​in​ ​a bathing​ ​suit​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​time​ ​so​ ​Im​ ​just​ ​like​ ​man​ ​can​ ​you​ ​take​ ​me​ ​back​ ​(laughing)?​ ​But​ ​yeah​ ​I DEFINITELY​ ​drew​ ​inspiration​ ​from​ ​there.

Q:​ ​Nice.​ ​How​ ​has​ ​your​ ​business​ ​evolved?​ ​You​ ​started​ ​it​ ​in​ ​2014​ ​and​ ​it’s​ ​been​ ​almost​ ​4 years​ ​since​ ​then,​ ​so​ ​how​ ​would​ ​you​ ​say​ ​it’s​ ​evolved​ ​and​ ​what​ ​are​ ​you’re​ ​immediate goals?

A:​ ​I’ve​ ​always​ ​been​ ​the​ ​type​ ​to​ ​maintain​ ​the​ ​aspect​ ​of​ ​‘baby​ ​steps’.​ ​So​ ​I​ ​try​ ​to​ ​really​ ​not​ ​try​ ​to​ ​get too​ ​ahead​ ​of​ ​myself​ ​for​ ​creating​ ​such​ ​big​ ​goals.​ ​I​ ​think​ ​that​ ​a​ ​really​ ​big​ ​opportunity​ ​and​ ​step​ ​for that​ ​felt​ ​like​ ​a​ ​stepping​ ​stone​ ​was​ ​really​ ​to​ ​be​ ​accepted​ ​into​ ​the​ ​CFDA​ ​Incubator​ ​Program because​ ​I​ ​really​ ​had​ ​no​ ​clue.​ ​It​ ​just​ ​happened​ ​in​ ​a​ ​way​ ​that​ ​was​ ​so​ ​organic.​ ​So​ ​I​ ​felt​ ​like​ ​that was​ ​a​ ​big​ ​step​ ​and​ ​I’m​ ​definitely​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​evolve​ ​my​ ​business​ ​and​ ​see​ ​what​ ​the​ ​next​ ​big​ ​step​ ​is with​ ​the​ ​body​ ​suit​ ​because​ ​I​ ​feel​ ​like​ ​I​ ​want​ ​to​ ​grow​ ​the​ ​business​ ​but​ ​I’m​ ​also​ ​a​ ​very​ ​strong believer​ ​in​ ​doing​ ​something​ ​that’s​ ​very​ ​organic​ ​and​ ​real​ ​and​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​like​ ​to​ ​do​ ​anything​ ​that doesn’t​ ​come​ ​from​ ​my​ ​heart​ ​so​ ​I​ ​actually​ ​feel​ ​like​ ​I​ ​need​ ​to​ ​get​ ​off​ ​the​ ​business​ ​aspect​ ​of​ ​it​ ​all right​ ​now​ ​and​ ​get​ ​back​ ​into​ ​the​ ​creative​ ​aspect​ ​of​ ​it​ ​so​ ​that​ ​I​ ​can​ ​evolve​ ​it​ ​in​ ​a​ ​way​ ​that transitions​ ​really​ ​well​ ​and​ ​smart​ ​and​ ​has​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the​ ​balances.​ ​Just​ ​like​ ​when​ ​I​ ​came​ ​up​ ​with​ ​the bodysuit,​ ​I​ ​knew​ ​that​ ​there​ ​was​ ​a​ ​HUGE​ ​void​ ​in​ ​the​ ​market.

Q:​ ​The​ ​designs​ ​of​ ​these​ ​bodysuits​ ​have​ ​such​ ​a​ ​flare.​ ​Did​ ​you​ ​START​ ​with​ ​bodysuits?

A:​ ​Yes​ ​(laughing).​ ​My​ ​main​ ​goal​ ​was​ ​BODYSUITS.​ ​I​ ​came​ ​in​ ​HARD.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​after​ ​I​ ​graduated and​ ​long​ ​story​ ​short​ ​I​ ​was​ ​really​ ​good​ ​at​ ​bottoms,​ ​and​ ​surprisingly​ ​NOT​ ​tops.​ ​And​ ​I’m​ ​very​ ​basic at​ ​the​ ​top​ ​SOOO​ ​I​ ​had​ ​to​ ​​style​​ ​my​ ​bottoms.

Q:​ ​Wow​ ​so​ ​how​ ​did​ ​you​ ​get​ ​into​ ​designing​ ​an​ ​entire​ ​collection​ ​around​ ​tops​ ​then?

A:​ ​Because​ ​when​ ​I​ ​was​ ​styling​ ​for​ ​my​ ​portfolio​ ​I​ ​realized​ ​that​ ​I​ ​couldn’t​ ​put​ ​everything​ ​with​ ​a t-shirt​ ​and​ ​when​ ​I​ ​went​ ​to​ ​look​ ​for​ ​bodysuits​ ​they​ ​were​ ​all​ ​very​ ​um…outdated.

Q:​ ​So​ ​what’s​ ​next?​ ​I​ ​know​ ​you​ ​said​ ​you’re​ ​very​ ​into​ ​‘baby​ ​steps’,​ ​but​ ​have​ ​you​ ​been thinking​ ​about​ ​what​ ​you​ ​want​ ​to​ ​do​ ​next​ ​as​ ​a​ ​designer?

A:​ ​I​ ​have​ ​been​ ​thinking​ ​about​ ​it​ ​but​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​tell​ ​you​ ​that​ ​I’ve​ ​pinpointed​ ​it.​ ​The​ ​pressure​ ​is definitely​ ​there.​ ​I​ ​do​ ​swimwear​ ​and​ ​I​ ​really​ ​see​ ​an​ ​opportunity​ ​in​ ​growing​ ​my​ ​resort-wear​ ​in​ ​the swimwear​ ​category​ ​and​ ​I​ ​think​ ​the​ ​one​ ​question​ ​for​ ​me​ ​is​ ​how​ ​do​ ​I​ ​expand​ ​my​ ​contemporary ready-to-wear​ ​line​ ​that​ ​isn’t​ ​so​ ​difficult,​ ​competitive​ ​wise,​ ​because​ ​there’s​ ​already​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​out​ ​there right​ ​now.​ ​So​ ​I​ ​think​ ​a​ ​big​ ​question​ ​to​ ​really​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​is​ ​what​ ​makes​ ​you​ ​different​ ​and​ ​what’s missing​ ​in​ ​the​ ​market?​ ​So​ ​that’s​ ​what​ ​I’m​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​figure​ ​out.​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​say​ ​I​ ​know​ ​the​ ​answer​ ​yet though​ ​(laughs).

Designer:​ ​​Molly​ ​Yesdadt

Brand:​ ​​Yesdadt​ ​Millinery

Launched​ ​in​ ​2009,​ ​Molly​ ​has​ ​worked​ ​to​ ​redefine​ ​the​ ​role​ ​of​ ​hats​ ​in​ ​the​ ​luxury accessories​ ​market.​ ​Her​ ​line​ ​includes​ ​uniquely​ ​woven​ ​straw​ ​hats​ ​and​ ​has​ ​been​ ​developed exclusive​ ​collaborations​ ​with​ ​The​ ​Row,​ ​Public​ ​School​ ​New​ ​York,​ ​Creature​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Wild​ ​and​ ​more. The​ ​brand​ ​is​ ​sold​ ​in​ ​cutting​ ​edge​ ​stores​ ​includingO​​pening​ ​Ceremony​ ​Japan​​ ​and​ ​​Isetan, alongside​ ​retailers​ ​including​ ​​Neiman​ ​Marcus,​ ​​Bloomingdales,​ ​and​ ​​Anthropologie,​ ​as​ ​well.

Q:​ ​How​ ​has​ ​your​ ​experience​ ​been​ ​while​ ​being​ ​apart​ ​of​ ​W​ ​Hotel​ ​+​ ​CFDA​ ​Incubator Program?

A:​ ​It’s​ ​the​ ​reason​ ​why​ ​we’re​ ​here​ ​in​ ​L.A.​ ​I’m​ ​originally​ ​from​ ​New​ ​York​ ​so,​ ​being​ ​based​ ​in​ ​New York,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​a​ ​presence​ ​in​ ​New​ ​York.​ ​So​ ​to​ ​be​ ​here​ ​in​ ​L.A.​ ​with​ ​the​ ​W​ ​Hotel​ ​and​ ​the​ ​CFDA opens​ ​up​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​different​ ​opportunities​ ​here​ ​on​ ​the​ ​west​ ​coast​ ​that​ ​we​ ​wouldn’t​ ​have​ ​had otherwise.

Q:​ ​After​ ​speaking​ ​with​ ​the​ ​previous​ ​designers,​ ​I​ ​was​ ​informed​ ​that​ ​you​ ​all​ ​have​ ​been​ ​on some​ ​pretty​ ​cool​ ​Inspiration​ ​trips.​ ​Where​ ​did​ ​you​ ​go​ ​for​ ​your​ ​Inspiration​ ​Trip​ ​in particular?

A:​ ​We​ ​did​ ​a​ ​showcase​ ​in​ ​New​ ​Orleans​ ​during​ ​Jazz​ ​Fest.

Q:​ ​Very​ ​nice.​ ​Did​ ​you​ ​draw​ ​inspiration​ ​for​ ​this​ ​collection​ ​from​ ​your​ ​trip​ ​to​ ​New​ ​Orleans?

A:​ ​No,​ ​only​ ​because​ ​the​ ​spring​ ​hats​ ​for​ ​us​ ​are​ ​about​ ​travel.​ ​It’s​ ​about​ ​having​ ​fun,​ ​it’s​ ​about movement.​ ​The​ ​straw​ ​hats​ ​provide​ ​some​ ​protection,​ ​it’s​ ​easy​ ​to​ ​travel​ ​with,​ ​it’s​ ​like​ ​we’re​ ​selling in​ ​locations​ ​where​ ​people​ ​shop​ ​in​ ​an​ ​experiential​ ​way.​ ​So​ ​that’s​ ​a​ ​big​ ​component​ ​to​ ​the​ ​spring inspiration​ ​in​ ​the​ ​spring​ ​collection.​ ​There’s​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​information​ ​and​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​special​ ​elements​ ​in each​ ​piece,​ ​and​ ​it​ ​all​ ​small​ ​production​ ​runs,​ ​handcrafted,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​attention​ ​to​ ​detail.​ ​It’s special.​ ​It’s​ ​what​ ​makes​ ​an​ ​accessory​ ​and​ ​what​ ​makes​ ​our​ ​hats​ ​awesome.

Q:​ ​How​ ​long​ ​does​ ​it​ ​take​ ​to​ ​produce​ ​the​ ​average​ ​hat?

A:​ ​Some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​straws​ ​can​ ​take​ ​a​ ​day​ ​to​ ​weave.​ ​​ ​We​ ​work​ ​with​ ​a​ ​community​ ​in​ ​Haiti​ ​which​ ​is​ ​a really​ ​special​ ​artisan​ ​community​ ​and​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​straws​ ​takes​ ​a​ ​day​ ​or​ ​two​ ​to​ ​weave​ ​so​ ​it depends​ ​on​ ​how​ ​fine​ ​the​ ​straw​ ​is.​ ​There’s​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​care​ ​that​ ​goes​ ​into​ ​it.

Q:​ ​How​ ​has​ ​your​ ​business​ ​evolved​ ​since​ ​2009?

A:​ ​I​ ​think​ ​the​ ​collection​ ​is​ ​smarter,​ ​cleaner,​ ​and​ ​we’re​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​be​ ​more​ ​responsive​ ​to​ ​our customersand​ ​tell​ ​a​ ​consistent​ ​story.

Q:​ ​Whatdo​ ​you​ ​see​ ​in​ ​your​ ​near​ ​future​ ​forwhat’s​ ​next​ ​to​ ​come?

A:​ ​We’re​ ​launching​ ​our​ ​first​ ​straw​ ​handbag​ ​for​ ​spring!

Designer:​ ​​Katie​ ​deGuzman

Brand:​ ​​K/LLER

K/LLER​ ​is​ ​a​ ​recycled​ ​brass​ ​and​ ​sterling​ ​silver​ ​jewelry​ ​line​ ​created​ ​by​ ​Katie deGuzman​ ​and​ ​Michael​ ​Miller.​ ​The​ ​collection​ ​of​ ​rouch​ ​metals​ ​delicately​ ​cast​ ​over​ ​skeletal organic​ ​material​ ​and​ ​is​ ​gritty​ ​yet​ ​sleek,​ ​hard​ ​yet​ ​soft,​ ​dark​ ​yet​ ​sweet,​ ​but​ ​overall​ ​timeless.​ ​Most of​ ​the​ ​jewelry​ ​is​ ​constructed​ ​from​ ​100%​ ​recycled​ ​metal​ ​and​ ​the​ ​by-products​ ​are​ ​sourced​ ​from the​ ​farming​ ​industry.​ ​The​ ​brand​ ​has​ ​been​ ​sold​ ​inH​​elmut​ ​Lang​​ ​international​ ​flagship​ ​stores, Barney’s​​ ​CO-OP​ ​stores​ ​and​ ​is​ ​carried​ ​in​ ​more​ ​than​ ​60​ ​stores​ ​worldwide.

Q:​ ​How​ ​has​ ​yourexperience​ ​been​ ​while​ ​being​ ​apart​ ​of​ ​W​ ​Hotel​ ​+​ ​CFDA​ ​Incubator Program?

A:​ ​They’ve​ ​been​ ​the​ ​most​ ​amazing.​ ​In​ ​2014​ ​we​ ​won​ ​the​ ​CFDA​ ​Lexus​ ​Eco​ ​Fashion​ ​Challenge​ ​so that​ ​was​ ​our​ ​first​ ​instance​ ​in​ ​working​ ​with​ ​the​ ​CFDA​ ​and​ ​there​ ​we​ ​met​ ​Lisa​ ​Smilor​ ​who​ ​I​ ​think​ ​is my​ ​fairy​ ​God​ ​Mother.​ ​She’s​ ​the​ ​Vice​ ​President​ ​of​ ​the​ ​CFDA​ ​and​ ​there​ ​she​ ​was​ ​like​ ​like​ ​“APPLY FOR​ ​INCUBATOR”.​ ​So​ ​we​ ​did​ ​and​ ​obviously​ ​we​ ​got​ ​in​ ​and​ ​that​ ​was​ ​amazing​ ​for​ ​us.

Q:​ ​What​ ​was​ ​your​ ​reaction​ ​when​ ​you​ ​found​ ​out​ ​you​ ​made​ ​it?​ ​The​ ​cream​ ​of​ ​the​ ​crop.

A:​​ It​​ was ​​like​​ ‘Shit​​ we​​ have​​ to​​ move!’,​​ because​​ we ​​were​​ in ​​downtown Brooklyn.​​  But​​ seriously​​ we were​ ​so​ ​excited​ ​and​ ​honored.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​like​ ​going​ ​into​ ​business​ ​school.​ ​We​ ​had​ ​classes​ ​and​ ​we got​ ​to​ ​really​ ​analyze​ ​our​ ​business​ ​and​ ​streamline​ ​the​ ​company​ ​because​ ​obviously​ ​I’m​ ​a designer​ ​but​ ​theres​ ​just​ ​so​ ​much​ ​more​ ​to​ ​it​ ​than​ ​just​ ​design.​ ​Design​ ​is​ ​just​ ​a​ ​small​ ​part​ ​of​ ​what​ ​I do.​ ​The​ ​mentorships​ ​have​ ​been​ ​amazing,​ ​working​ ​with​ ​W​ ​Hotel​ ​has​ ​been​ ​absolutely​ ​incredible. In​ ​July​ ​we​ ​had​ ​our​ ​inspiration​ ​trip​ ​and​ ​went​ ​to​ ​Bogota,​ ​Colombia​ ​which​ ​was​ ​incredible​ ​as​ ​well.

Q:​ ​Can​ ​you​ ​tell​ ​me​ ​more​ ​about​ ​Bogota?​ ​Were​ ​any​ ​of​ ​your​ ​pieces​ ​inspired​ ​by​ ​that​ ​trip?

A:​ ​Yeah,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​some​ ​pieces​ ​that​ ​were​ ​inspired​ ​by​ ​that​ ​trip​ ​for​ ​sure.​ ​We​ ​went​ ​to​ ​Bogota because​ ​it’s​ ​the​ ​capitol​ ​of​ ​gold!​ ​I​ ​love​ ​latin​ ​cultures​ ​so​ ​that​ ​wasr​​eally​​ ​amazing​ ​and​ ​we​ ​had​ ​such an​ ​amazing​ ​time.​ ​They​ ​took​ ​us​ ​to​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​most​ ​amazing​ ​places.​ ​I​ ​really​ ​loved​ ​seeing​ ​how things​ ​are​ ​made​ ​and​ ​what’s​ ​the​ ​story​ ​behind​ ​them.​ ​We​ ​didn’t​ ​just​ ​see​ ​jewelry​ ​but​ ​we​ ​also​ ​got​ ​to see​ ​leather​ ​makers,​ ​weaving,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​went​ ​to​ ​the​ ​gold​ ​museum​ ​and​ ​that​ ​was​ ​INCREDIBLE.

Q:​ ​Nice.​ ​So​ ​How​ ​do​ ​you​ ​think​ ​you’re​ ​brand​ ​has​ ​evolved​ ​in​ ​the​ ​7​ ​years​ ​that​ ​its​ ​been​ ​in business​ ​since​ ​you​ ​launched​ ​it​ ​in​ ​2010?

A:​ ​Definitely​ ​understanding​ ​our​ ​customer​ ​more.​ ​It’s​ ​become​ ​more​ ​streamlined​ ​and​ ​I​ ​think​ ​in​ ​this collection,​ ​especially​ ​too,​ ​the​ ​pieces​ ​are​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​lighter.​ ​So​ ​letting​ ​each​ ​piece​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​that​ ​they can​ ​speak​ ​on​ ​it’s​ ​own.

Q:​ ​What’s​ ​next​ ​for​ ​you?

A:​ ​Aside​ ​from​ ​currently​ ​being​ ​with​ ​child,​ ​Continuing​ ​to​ ​streamline​ ​the​ ​collection,​ ​more​ ​travel, doing​ ​more​ ​personal​ ​appearances,​ ​and​ ​talking​ ​product​ ​knowledge.​ ​Really​ ​want​ ​to​ ​partner​ ​with our​ ​wholesale​ ​accounts​ ​more,​ ​boosting​ ​our​ ​online​ ​and​ ​social​ ​media​ ​presence​ ​as​ ​well.​ ​I’m​ ​such a​ ​hands​ ​on​ ​person​ ​so​ ​I​ ​really​ ​want​ ​to​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​having​ ​those​ ​hands​ ​on​ ​interactions.​ ​I’d​ ​like​ ​to work​ ​more​ ​on​ ​telling​ ​women​ ​empowerment​ ​stories.​ ​I’ve​ ​had​ ​women​ ​tell​ ​me​ ​that​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the pieces​ ​I’ve​ ​created​ ​make​ ​them​ ​feel​ ​powerful​ ​and​ ​sometimes​ ​in​ ​the​ ​fashion​ ​industry​ ​you’re​ ​like how​ ​is​ ​this​ ​helping​ ​anybody.​ ​There’s​ ​so​ ​much​ ​going​ ​on​ ​in​ ​the​ ​world​ ​so​ ​how​ ​is​ ​this​ ​necklace going​ ​to​ ​change​ ​anything,​ ​but​ ​when​ ​you​ ​hear​ ​stories​ ​like​ ​that​ ​of​ ​people​ ​saying​ ​‘I​ ​have​ ​to​ ​wear this​ ​when​ ​i​ ​go​ ​on​ ​my​ ​interviews’​ ​or​ ​‘I’m​ ​having​ ​a​ ​tough​ ​day​ ​and​ ​this​ ​brings​ ​me​ ​confidence’.​ ​So making​ ​sure​ ​that​ ​any​ ​story​ ​that​ ​I’m​ ​telling​ ​is​ ​a​ ​good​ ​one​ ​and​ ​just​ ​making​ ​sure​ ​that​ ​there’s purpose​ ​behind​ ​it​ ​all.

Designer:​ ​​Tim​ ​and​ ​Dan​ ​Joo

Brand:​ ​​Haerfest

Jeannie Camtu Mai - w hotel beverly hills - cfda

Haerfest​ ​is​ ​a​ ​series​ ​of​ ​modest​ ​bags​ ​for​ ​the​ ​modern​ ​professional​ ​designed​ ​by NY​ ​based​ ​design​ ​duo,​ ​brothers​ ​TIm​ ​and​ ​Dan​ ​Joo.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​their​ ​combined​ ​philosophy​ ​that​ ​good design​ ​can​ ​lead​ ​to​ ​a​ ​greater​ ​and​ ​smarter​ ​work-life​ ​balance.​ ​The​ ​brand​ ​is​ ​currently​ ​available​ ​for purchase​ ​online​ ​with​ ​luxe​ ​accessories​ ​designed​ ​for​ ​both​ ​men​ ​and​ ​women.

Q:​ ​So​ ​Dan,​ ​you’re​ ​in​ ​partnership​ ​with​ ​your​ ​brother,​ ​what’s​ ​the​ ​age​ ​difference?

A:​ ​DAN:​ ​Tim​ ​is​ ​3​ ​years​ ​older,​ ​but​ ​I​ ​feel​ ​like​ ​I’m​ ​3​ ​years​ ​wiser.​ ​I​ ​joke​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​about​ ​that​ ​because​ ​we have​ ​a​ ​great​ ​dynamic.​ ​I​ ​mean​ ​the​ ​fact​ ​of​ ​the​ ​matter​ ​is​ ​that​ ​we​ ​really​ ​understand​ ​each​ ​other​ ​but at​ ​the​ ​same​ ​time​ ​we​ ​compliment​ ​each​ ​other’s​ ​strengths.​ ​Where​ ​he’s​ ​strong​ ​in​ ​certain​ ​areas,​ ​I can​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​pick​ ​up​ ​in​ ​others.​ ​Tim​ ​and​ ​I​ ​lived​ ​together​ ​and​ ​worked​ ​together​ ​for​ ​a​ ​period​ ​of​ ​time so​ ​it​ ​gets​ ​hard​ ​but​ ​when​ ​you​ ​work​ ​with​ ​someone​ ​that​ ​you​ ​can​ ​trust​ ​it’s​ ​like​ ​you​ ​can’t​ ​take​ ​that away.

Q:​ ​Tell​ ​me​ ​a​ ​little​ ​about​ ​your​ ​partnership​ ​with​ ​the​ ​W​ ​hotels​ ​and​ ​the​ ​CFDA.

A:​ ​DAN:​ ​The​ ​program​ ​that​ ​we’re​ ​in​ ​with​ ​the​ ​CFDA​ ​is​ ​called​ ​the​ ​CFDA​ ​Incubator.​ ​It’s​ ​a​ ​business development​ ​program​ ​thats​ ​for​ ​2​ ​years​ ​and​ ​really​ ​what​ ​it​ ​was​ ​created​ ​for​ ​is​ ​to​ ​foster​ ​young designers.​ ​They​ ​provide​ ​valuable​ ​mentorships,​ ​workshops,​ ​and​ ​to​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​get​ ​our​ ​grasps​ ​on​ ​the industry​ ​today.​ ​And​ ​the​ ​reason​ ​why​ ​I​ ​say​ ​today,​ ​is​ ​because​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​like​ ​it​ ​was​ ​yesterday​ ​or​ ​one year​ ​ago​ ​or​ ​two​ ​years​ ​ago.​ ​Retail​ ​is​ ​changing,​ ​manufacturing​ ​is​ ​changing,​ ​and​ ​all​ ​very​ ​quickly. So​ ​to​ ​have​ ​the​ ​right​ ​networks​ ​and​ ​to​ ​work​ ​with​ ​the​ ​right​ ​people,​ ​that​ ​will​ ​give​ ​us​ ​the​ ​ability​ ​to really​ ​strive​ ​in​ ​this​ ​industry​ ​today.

Q:​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​guys​ ​have​ ​a​ ​business​ ​mission​ ​statement?

A:​ ​DAN:​ ​Our​ ​mission​ ​and​ ​purpose​ ​is​ ​to​ ​equip​ ​and​ ​inspire​ ​visionaries​ ​in​ ​motion.​ ​And​ ​in​ ​that regards​ ​we​ ​are​ ​always​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​people​ ​who​ ​are​ ​imagining​ ​the​ ​workplace​ ​a​ ​little​ ​differently​ ​and who​ ​are​ ​just​ ​creators​ ​in​ ​general.​ ​Working​ ​with​ ​W​ ​Hotel​ ​+​ ​CFDA​ ​has​ ​allowed​ ​us​ ​to​ ​go​ ​and​ ​do business​ ​activations​ ​and​ ​go​ ​on​ ​inspiration​ ​trips​ ​for​ ​us​ ​to​ ​really​ ​explore​ ​that.

Q:​ ​Nice!​ ​You​ ​mentioned​ ​Inspiration​ ​trips,​ ​where​ ​did​ ​you​ ​guys​ ​go?

A:​ ​DAN:​ ​We​ ​will​ ​be​ ​GOING​ ​to​ ​Hong​ ​Kong​ ​next​ ​month!​ ​It’ll​ ​be​ ​really​ ​great​ ​because​ ​Hong​ ​Kong​ ​is one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​greatest​ ​international​ ​hubs​ ​for​ ​business.

Q:​ ​Nice.​ ​So​ ​since​ ​you​ ​two​ ​have​ ​yet​ ​to​ ​partake​ ​on​ ​your​ ​inspiration​ ​trip,​ ​did​ ​anything inspire​ ​your​ ​mission​ ​statement​ ​or​ ​the​ ​collection​ ​itself​ ​in​ ​particular?

A:​ ​TIM:​ ​Everyone​ ​can​ ​be​ ​an​ ​entrepreneur.​ ​As​ ​long​ ​as​ ​they​ ​have​ ​the​ ​good​ ​idea​ ​and​ ​that​ ​passion and​ ​the​ ​grit​ ​and​ ​persistence​ ​to​ ​really​ ​pursue​ ​and​ ​execute​ ​what​ ​it​ ​is​ ​that​ ​they​ ​want​ ​to​ ​do.​ ​I​ ​think those​ ​are​ ​the​ ​people​ ​that​ ​inspire​ ​us​ ​and​ ​thats​ ​the​ ​way​ ​that​ ​we​ ​want​ ​to​ ​give​ ​back​ ​as​ ​well.​ ​I shouldn’t​ ​say​ ​this​ ​as​ ​a​ ​business​ ​person,​ ​but​ ​there​ ​are​ ​so​ ​many​ ​bags​ ​in​ ​the​ ​world.​ ​We​ ​don’t necessarily​ ​need​ ​to​ ​sell​ ​another​ ​bag,​ ​so​ ​I​ ​think​ ​its​ ​more​ ​so​ ​about​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​connect​ ​with​ ​people and​ ​seeing​ ​what​ ​they’re​ ​about​ ​and​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​connect​ ​with​ ​communities​ ​and​ ​being​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the conversation.

Q:​ ​How​ ​do​ ​you​ ​think​ ​you’ve​ ​evolved​ ​from​ ​when​ ​you​ ​first​ ​launched​ ​you’re​ ​business​ ​in 2011.

A:​ ​DAN:​ ​I​ ​feel​ ​like​ ​both​ ​the​ ​industry​ ​and​ ​ourselves​ ​have​ ​evolved​ ​collectively.​ ​From​ ​the​ ​industry perspective,​ ​people​ ​aren’t​ ​discovering​ ​brands​ ​the​ ​same​ ​way​ ​they​ ​used​ ​to.​ ​Maybe​ ​if​ ​anything,​ ​a designer​ ​might​ ​say​ ​‘this​ ​is​ ​the​ ​new​ ​blue’​ ​or​ ​‘blue​ ​is​ ​the​ ​new​ ​black’​ ​and​ ​that​ ​would​ ​be​ ​the​ ​thing. Then​ ​it​ ​was​ ​the​ ​storers​ ​that​ ​would​ ​say​ ​‘hey,​ ​this​ ​is​ ​the​ ​new​ ​thing’​ ​and​ ​the​ ​stores​ ​would commend​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​influence,​ ​but​ ​NOW​ ​people​ ​can​ ​find​ ​them​ ​on​ ​social​ ​media​ ​through​ ​influencers and​ ​bloggers.​ ​So​ ​through​ ​that​ ​we’re​ ​learning​ ​how​ ​to​ ​connect​ ​with​ ​consumers​ ​directly​ ​through both​ ​relationships​ ​with​ ​stores​ ​and​ ​with​ ​other​ ​partnerships.

A:​ ​TIM:​ ​Outside​ ​of​ ​the​ ​design​ ​and​ ​the​ ​business​ ​aspect,​ ​I​ ​think​ ​that​ ​we’ve​ ​evolved​ ​as​ ​brothers and​ ​business​ ​partners​ ​as​ ​well.​ ​We​ ​come​ ​from​ ​very​ ​different​ ​backgrounds​ ​so​ ​in​ ​the​ ​beginning​ ​it was​ ​really​ ​tough,​ ​you​ ​know.​ ​We​ ​had​ ​the​ ​same​ ​goals​ ​in​ ​mind​ ​but​ ​our​ ​approaches​ ​were​ ​so different.​ ​So​ ​I​ ​think​ ​as​ ​we​ ​continued​ ​to​ ​work​ ​together​ ​we​ ​improved​ ​on​ ​our​ ​communication​ ​and​ ​I think​ ​that’s​ ​what​ ​really​ ​helped​ ​us​ ​define​ ​our​ ​roles​ ​more​ ​and​ ​workin​ ​a​ ​more​ ​healthy​ ​type​ ​of manner.​ ​I​ ​think​ ​that​ ​has​ ​really​ ​ALLOWED​ ​us​ ​to​ ​remain​ ​in​ ​business.​ ​I​ ​think​ ​if​ ​I​ ​were​ ​to​ ​be​ ​in business​ ​with​ ​my​ ​friend,​ ​then​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​know​ ​if​ ​it​ ​would​ ​really​ ​last​ ​this​ ​long.

Q:​ ​Nice,​ ​so​ ​tell​ ​me,​ ​what’s​ ​next​ ​for​ ​you​ ​two?

A:​ ​TIM:​ ​I​ ​think​ ​for​ ​us​ ​what’s​ ​next​ ​is​ ​really​ ​just​ ​strategic​ ​partnerships​ ​that​ ​we​ ​have​ ​and​ ​really​ ​just trying​ ​to​ ​get​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​our​ ​modern​ ​professionals​ ​lifestyle​ ​which​ ​is​ ​really​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​shared economy.​ ​Really​ ​about​ ​getting​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​the​ ​different​ ​communities​ ​and​ ​being​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the conversation​ ​because​ ​we​ ​cant​ ​necessarily​ ​grow​ ​and​ ​learn​ ​if​ ​we’re​ ​just​ ​in​ ​our​ ​own​ ​bubble.

Celebrity​ ​Image​ ​Architect:​ ​​Law​ ​Roach

Celebrity​ ​Image​ ​Architect​ ​and​ ​America’s​ ​Next​ ​Top​ ​Model​ ​Host​ ​has​ ​served​ ​as the​ ​mentor​ ​for​ ​these​ ​young​ ​designers​ ​and​ ​merchandised​ ​each​ ​brand’s​ ​showcase.

Q:​ ​What​ ​brings​ ​you​ ​to​ ​this​ ​event?

A:​ ​I​ ​was​ ​asked​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​mentor​ ​to​ ​the​ ​designers​ ​here​ ​at​ ​the​ ​The​ ​W​ ​Hotel​ ​+​ ​CFDA​ ​Incubator​ ​and​ ​I couldn’t​ ​believe​ ​it.​ ​I’m​ ​so​ ​honored​ ​and​ ​humbled​ ​to​ ​be​ ​around​ ​all​ ​of​ ​this​ ​young​ ​talent​ ​and​ ​to​ ​just be​ ​a​ ​soundboard​ ​for​ ​them​ ​and​ ​to​ ​just​ ​give​ ​them​ ​any​ ​advice​ ​for​ ​anything​ ​that​ ​they​ ​could​ ​possibly want​ ​to​ ​ask​ ​me.​ ​It​ ​just​ ​feels​ ​so​ ​good​ ​to​ ​be​ ​around​ ​CREATIVES.​ ​I​ ​Just​ ​feel​ ​like​ ​if​ ​you​ ​get​ ​to​ ​a certain​ ​point​ ​in​ ​your​ ​career​ ​where​ ​you​ ​can​ ​give​ ​back​ ​or​ ​mentor​ ​or​ ​help​ ​anybody​ ​out​ ​or​ ​be somebody’s​ ​friend​ ​at​ ​the​ ​moment​ ​then​ ​it’s​ ​amazing.

Q:​ ​As​ ​far​ ​as​ ​your​ ​personal​ ​career,​ ​Who​ ​are​ ​you​ ​working​ ​with​ ​currently?

A:​ ​Well​ ​currently​ ​I’m​ ​working​ ​with​ ​um,​ ​are​ ​you​ ​ready​ ​for​ ​this?​ ​Celine​ ​Dion,​ ​Zendaya,​ ​Ariana Grande,​ ​Demi​ ​Lavoto,​ ​Jessie​ ​J,​ ​Isabella​ ​Moneir,​ ​Mary​ ​J.​ ​Blige,​ ​and​ ​many​ ​more.

Q:​ ​So​ ​quick​ ​question,​ ​when​ ​do​ ​you​ ​SLEEP?

A:​ ​I​ ​don’t!​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​sleep,​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​eat,​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​have​ ​a​ ​love​ ​life.​ ​All​ ​I​ ​have​ ​is​ ​clothes​ ​and​ ​beautiful women​ ​(laughs).

Q:​ ​So​ ​how​ ​has​ ​that​ ​been?​ ​I​ ​know​ ​when​ ​I​ ​first​ ​talked​ ​to​ ​you,​ ​you​ ​were​ ​only​ ​working​ ​with Zendaya​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time​ ​and​ ​now​ ​you​ ​have​ ​a​ ​wide​ ​range​ ​of​ ​clients.​ ​How​ ​do​ ​you​ ​manage​ ​it​ ​all?

A:​ ​I’ve​ ​worked​ ​with​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​girls​ ​and​ ​I​ ​love​ ​every​ ​single​ ​one​ ​of​ ​them​ ​and​ ​I​ ​take​ ​a​ ​piece​ ​of​ ​every woman​ ​I’ve​ ​been​ ​around​ ​with​ ​me.​ ​It​ ​helps​ ​me​ ​prepare​ ​for​ ​the​ ​next.​ ​I​ ​just​ ​take​ ​it​ ​one​ ​day​ ​at​ ​a time​ ​and​ ​I’m​ ​just​ ​happy​ ​and​ ​grateful​ ​that​ ​people​ ​like​ ​me.​ ​(laughs)

Q:​ ​So​ ​curious​ ​to​ ​know,​ ​how​ ​do​ ​you​ ​manage​ ​taking​ ​care​ ​of​ ​your​ ​very​ ​FIRST​ ​baby, Zendaya,​ ​while​ ​still​ ​managing​ ​to​ ​take​ ​care​ ​of​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the​ ​rest?

A:​ ​Well​ ​Zendaya,​ ​she’s​ ​my​ ​number​ ​one​ ​and​ ​she’s​ ​also​ ​like​ ​my​ ​partner.​ ​She​ ​motivates​ ​me​ ​and wants​ ​me​ ​to​ ​do​ ​well​ ​and​ ​wants​ ​me​ ​to​ ​be​ ​the​ ​best​ ​that​ ​I​ ​can​ ​be​ ​and​ ​she​ ​understands​ ​when​ ​I​ ​get busy.​ ​Her​ ​and​ ​I,​ ​we​ ​just​ ​have​ ​a​ ​system​ ​that’s​ ​unbreakable.​ ​But​ ​I​ ​do​ ​have​ ​a​ ​team.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​two amazing​ ​assistants​ ​that​ ​work​ ​so​ ​hard​ ​and​ ​they​ ​give​ ​me​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​and​ ​I​ ​try​ ​to​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​that​ ​I​ ​give them​ ​just​ ​as​ ​much​ ​so​ ​that​ ​I​ ​can​ ​prepare​ ​them​ ​for​ ​what​ ​they​ ​want​ ​to​ ​do​ ​in​ ​the​ ​future​ ​after​ ​this.

Q:​ ​What​ ​can​ ​you​ ​tell​ ​me​ ​about​ ​what​ ​the​ ​next​ ​big​ ​thing​ ​is​ ​for​ ​you?

A:​ ​If​ ​all​ ​goes​ ​well​ ​I’m​ ​going​ ​to​ ​have​ ​something​ ​major​ ​at​ ​the​ ​AMA’s​ ​on​ ​sunday.​ ​I​ ​cant​ ​tell​ ​you

what​ ​it​ ​is​ ​but​ ​I​ ​can​ ​tell​ ​you​ ​that​ ​you​ ​should​ ​definitely​ ​pay​ ​attention.

Q:​ ​When​ ​are​ ​we​ ​going​ ​to​ ​see​ ​LAW’s​ ​debut​ ​as​ ​a​ ​designer​ ​in​ ​NYFW?

A:​ ​You​ ​know​ ​it’s​ ​funny,​ ​I​ ​think​ ​that​ ​being​ ​around​ ​this​ ​right​ ​here​ ​gives​ ​me​ ​more​ ​of​ ​a​ ​push​ ​and motivation​ ​to​ ​really​ ​get​ ​in​ ​and​ ​think​ ​out​ ​what​ ​I​ ​want​ ​to​ ​do.

Global​​ Brand​​ Marketing​​ Director​​ of​​ ​​Hotels: ​Pablo Henderson

Q:​ ​How​ ​has​ ​your​ ​partnership​ ​been​ ​with​ ​the​ ​CFDA​ ​Incubator​ ​Program?

A:​ ​The​ ​partnership​ ​with​ ​CFDA​ ​has​ ​been​ ​amazing.​ ​This​ ​has​ ​been​ ​an​ ​incredible​ ​class​ ​and​ ​you can​ ​see​ ​just​ ​from​ ​the​ ​5​ ​designers​ ​that​ ​are​ ​the​ ​caliber​ ​and​ ​the​ ​passion​ ​in​ ​the​ ​craft.​ ​In​ ​a​ ​day​ ​in​ ​an age​ ​where​ ​we​ ​have​ ​this​ ​instantaneous​ ​gratification,​ ​you’re​ ​actually​ ​seeing​ ​people​ ​putting​ ​time into​ ​what​ ​they​ ​make​ ​and​ ​bringing​ ​things​ ​to​ ​life.​ ​The​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​there​ ​is​ ​aglobal​ ​brand​ ​like​ ​W Hotels​ ​with​ ​a​ ​footprint​ ​of​ ​53​ ​Hotels​ ​around​ ​the​ ​world,​ ​working​ ​with​ ​emerging​ ​artists​ ​through​ ​a platform​ ​like​ ​CFDA​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Incubator​ ​Program​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​opportunity​ ​and​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​things​ ​to​ ​life, because​ ​you​ ​have​ ​your​ ​fashion​ ​insiders​ ​who​ ​are​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​this​ ​clique​ ​and​ ​then​ ​it’s​ ​our​ ​job​ ​to​ ​also educate​ ​and​ ​to​ ​raise​ ​the​ ​bar​ ​for​ ​everybody​ ​else.​ ​And​ ​I​ ​think​ ​that’s​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​most​ ​exciting things​ ​about​ ​this​ ​because​ ​you​ ​might​ ​not​ ​be​ ​the​ ​most​ ​saviest​ ​or​ ​fashionable​ ​person,​ ​but​ ​through W​ ​Hotels​ ​and​ ​travel​ ​you’re​ ​going​ ​to​ ​broaden​ ​you’re​ ​horizons​ ​and​ ​you’re​ ​going​ ​to​ ​maybe​ ​hear about​ ​a​ ​designer​ ​that​ ​you​ ​might​ ​not​ ​have​ ​known…YET.

Q:​ ​“YET”.​ ​Nice.​ ​That’s​ ​the​ ​key​ ​word.​ ​How​ ​have​ ​you​ ​addressed​ ​the​ ​business​ ​development aspect​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Incubator​ ​Program?

A:​ ​It​ ​would​ ​be​ ​a​ ​real​ ​missed​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​not​ ​address​ ​business​ ​development.​ ​Especially​ ​in​ ​the retail​ ​industry​ ​and​ ​the​ ​need​ ​for​ ​designers​ ​to​ ​constantly​ ​evolve​ ​because​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a​ ​business​ ​side to​ ​all​ ​of​ ​this.​ ​That​ ​came​ ​about​ ​through​ ​feedback​ ​that​ ​we​ ​received​ ​in​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​first​ ​or​ ​second classes​ ​and​ ​it​ ​was​ ​like​ ​‘It’s​ ​great​ ​that​ ​we’re​ ​getting​ ​inspiration​ ​trips​ ​and​ ​that​ ​we’re​ ​getting​ ​the opportunity​ ​to​ ​highlight​ ​our​ ​work​ ​but​ ​we​ ​need​ ​to​ ​add​ ​a​ ​more​ ​business​ ​development​ ​layer​ ​to​ ​what we’re​ ​dong’.​ ​So​ ​I​ ​think​ ​its​ ​important​ ​to​ ​be​ ​responsive​ ​and​ ​we​ ​heard​ ​that​ ​feedback​ ​loud​ ​and​ ​clear and​ ​I​ ​think​ ​that​ ​this​ ​year​ ​has​ ​been​ ​the​ ​perfect​ ​marriage​ ​of​ ​creativity,​ ​inspiration,​ ​or​ ​testing​ ​new boundaries.​ ​The​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​we​ ​can​ ​provide​ ​support​ ​in​ ​that​ ​space​ ​makes​ ​me​ ​feel​ ​good​ ​because I’m​ ​doing​ ​something​ ​that​ ​is​ ​a​ ​tangible​ ​way​ ​of​ ​adding​ ​value​ ​to​ ​the​ ​designers.

Q:​ ​So​ ​what’s​ ​to​ ​come​ ​in​ ​upcoming​ ​CFDA​ ​+​ ​W​ ​Hotel​ ​projects?

A:​ ​One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​exciting​ ​things​ ​that​ ​we’ve​ ​been​ ​working​ ​on​ ​and​ ​that​ ​we​ ​launched​ ​yesterday​ ​in New​ ​York​ ​was​ ​our​ ​collection​ ​with​ ​Joan​ ​Smalls.​ ​It’s​ ​a​ ​capsule​ ​collection​ ​inspired​ ​by​ ​Joan​ ​Smalls “Off​ ​Duty”​ ​and​ ​its​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​the​ ​looks​ ​that​ ​she​ ​wears​ ​when​ ​she’s​ ​not​ ​on​ ​the​ ​runway.​ ​Im​ ​heading​ ​to Paris​ ​on​ ​Sunday​ ​where​ ​we’ll​ ​launch​ ​that​ ​collection​ ​in​ ​Europe.​ ​Obviously​ ​it​ ​makes​ ​sense​ ​to launch​ ​it​ ​in​ ​New​ ​York,​ ​but​ ​we​ ​also​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​hit​ ​another​ ​fashion​ ​capital​ ​where​ ​we​ ​have​ ​a​ ​W Hotel.

Q:​ ​Nice,​ ​Is​ ​there​ ​anything​ ​else​ ​that​ ​we​ ​should​ ​be​ ​on​ ​the​ ​lookout​ ​for?

A:​ ​Yes,​ ​the​ ​Joan​ ​Smalls​ ​project​ ​ended​ ​up​ ​taking​ ​a​ ​really​ ​huge​ ​turn​ ​that​ ​was​ ​really​ ​not​ ​foreseen. She’s​ ​originally​ ​from​ ​Puerto​ ​Rico​, which suffered from ​​ ​a​ ​major​ ​storm​ recently ​and​ ​the​ ​island​ ​is still​ ​recovering​ ​so​ ​Joan​ ​committed​ ​to​ ​using​ ​this​ ​collection​ ​to​ ​providing​ ​disaster​ ​relief.​ ​So​ ​that’s one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​most​ ​impactful​ ​things​ ​that​ ​we’re​ ​doing​ ​right​ ​now​ ​because​ ​there’s​ ​an​ ​immediate​ ​need. Next​ ​year​ ​will​ ​be​ ​a​ ​continued​ ​celebration​ ​of​ ​not​ ​only​ ​this​ ​class,​ ​but​ ​of​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the​ ​prior​ ​classes​ ​that we’ve​ ​worked​ ​with​ ​so​ ​I’m​ ​really​ ​excited​ ​to​ ​see​ ​this​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​homecoming​ ​and​ ​this​ ​idea​ ​of celebrating​ ​the​ ​third​ ​graduating​ ​class.​ ​​ ​I​ ​think​ ​that​ ​will​ ​be​ ​interesting​ ​as​ ​far​ ​as​ ​evolution​ ​because The​ ​W​ ​Hotel​ ​is​ ​all​ ​about,​ ​not​ ​only​ ​what’s​ ​new​ ​and​ ​next,​ ​but​ ​once​ ​we​ ​get​ ​too​ ​comfortable​ ​we​ ​like to​ ​shake​ ​things​ ​up​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​(laughs).​ ​So​ ​that’ll​ ​be​ ​the​ ​most​ ​interesting​ ​thing,​ ​to​ ​see​ ​how​ ​we​ ​decide to​ ​shake​ ​things​ ​up.

Images:  J. Ryan Ulsh / W Hotels Worldwide.


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