133 – Nicole Giordano – StartUp Fashion

Nicole Giordano

“It’s okay if your answer to ‘do you have another job right now’ is ‘yes.'” – Nicole Giordano

There are a lot of sites that promise to help emerging and independent designers, but few have the depth of Nicole Giordano’s StartUp Fashion portal. What started as a blog has grown into a global community, where designers share knowledge and resources online.

In this interview, Nicole talks about her community and the two biggest problems independent designers face: financing and manufacturing.

“I hope that I’m never making them think that the more traditional approach is something they shouldn’t do. All I’m trying to do is remind them that it’s not the only option, and there’s a lot that they can be thinking about that is just as great.” – Nicole Giordano


132 – Fashion Branding and Marketing

Fashion Branding and Marketing

A consultant on fashion branding and marketing with several decades of experience in the field, Bill D’Arienzo, PhD, is in the studio talking about right and wrong approaches to marketing and sales in the fashion industry. His company, WDA Brand Marketing, advises some of the biggest players in the business. Whether they listen is an interesting story.

“You have to characterize the differential nature of your customers. Who is spending? For what? And if you just have the names, you don’t have a database.” – Bill D’Arienzo

“We’ve got to get some of the words out of our heads. You hear retail, wholesale, those are traps. Because the realities are no longer what those old definitions are about.” – Bill D’Arienzo

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131 – American Giant Founder Bayard Winthrop

American Giant founder and CEO Bayard Winthrop

Bayard Winthrop, American Giant CEO

Vertically integrated Made In USA brand American Giant has become an icon in the movement to “make it here.” Founder and CEO Bayard Winthrop is the man who hired a former Apple engineer to design their first sweatshirt, and has driven the company to be consistently best-in-class among the new generation of Made In USA brands.

“I think that if you’re asking a customer to make an exception for you because you are a U.S.-made brand, I think you are never going to get out of first gear. At the end of the day we owe our customers the right to make a decision based on fit and quality. And after that, after clearing all of those hurdles, if they want to support American Giant because we are an American-made brand, that’s awesome. That’s fantastic. But I owe it to my customer to compete on fit and quality and value first, because that’s what they ought to be making their decision on.” – Bayard Winthrop


130 – How To Wing A Fashion Show

Fashion Show

photo by Hagop Kalaidjian, courtesy BFA

The retail incubator Flying Solo (224 Mulberry Street) decided to mount a fashion show on short notice for New York Fashion Week. Normally this would not be advisable, you really need good lead time to do these things, but with 30 talented member-designers pulling together, it becomes a little more possible to pull off.

this and additional photos by Charles Beckwith

In the studio is Flying Solo founder Elizabeth Solomeina, along with member designers Elena Rudenko, Silvia D’Avila, Jenny Lai, and Stephanie Schedraui, who were instrumental in helping to plan and execute the collective’s fashion show.

On the phone is the fashion show’s publicist, Cathleen DaCosta Bombard. Cathleen is also the founder of the opiate addiction awareness non-profit Heroin Is Not Chic.

The American Fashion Podcast hosts are a bit more a part of the story in this episode. Charles Beckwith produced the show for Flying Solo, and pulled in co-host Cathy Schepis to help manage backstage.

This episode also introduces a new joint venture podcast, between Flying Solo and Open Source Fashion: The SoHo Show (iTunes).

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129 – How CLO Is Changing Everything


CLO Virtual Fashion Director of Operations Daniel Seo

A fashiontech startup called CLO Virtual Fashion (link) has developed software that lets you drape fabric in the computer and see how it will really fall and move. This is remarkable and groundbreaking technology. Our guest in the studio is Daniel Seo, Director of Operations at CLO, who has been responsible for much of the thinking behind how the software supports designers’ visions and needs.

“At the core of what we’re doing, we’re really trying to change the way that design is communicated. And that’s not just between designers and the end consumer, it’s more so between teams. Patternmakers can talk with the designers. They can understand what they’re doing because you see it actually happening as you’re making the changes, so any change you make to the 2D CAD pattern, you see it immediately reflected in the 3D environment.”
– Daniel Seo