Category: Podcasts

176 – Cucculelli Shaheen

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Cucculelli Shaheen

Husband and wife design team Anthony Cucculelli and Anna Rose Shaheen met while working for Diane von Furstenberg, and then moved to Italy together, where they worked for major houses such as Emilio Pucci and Roberto Cavalli. They now have their own custom demi-couture clothing line, Cucculelli Shaheen, which employs advanced fitting technologies.

Guest co-host Gretchen Harnick (Parsons) joins for this interview which delves into the differences between working with large American and Italian houses and doing business independently in New York.

“In Italy, if you dream it you can do it, and there is a team to make it happen. Whereas, I think sometimes the challenge in New York is you can dream it but you have to figure out how to make it happen. But it goes both ways because if you can figure out how to make it happen you can do it. Whereas, I think in Italy it’s not so easy for young designers to get off the ground, up and running.” – Anna Rose Shaheen

Cucculelli Shaheen is carried in Bergdorf Goodman and on Moda Operandi.

“Each dress has its own palette. That’s the amazing thing. Instead of doing our palette for the collection, we really think about what’s the palette for each piece, and how does each piece sit next to each other.” – Anthony Cucculelli

175 – Fashion Manufacturers United In Los Angeles

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Fashion Manufacturers

“It’s a very exciting time in fashion right now. It’s exciting because anyone that has a passion to start a clothing line– ten years or so ago you would have to go overseas, you would have to get big production, you would have to get into all the big box retailers, if you couldn’t get into them you weren’t selling– now with the advent of the Internet and we can sell online, there are so many brands that are strictly online. So, you could literally draw a sketch of an idea you have, or as long as you could convey your message to a production house in America, anything could be done. The production that we can make in America is amazing, and we’re all previewed to a free brand name that no one knows about, it’s called Made In USA. Made In USA is a great brand name. It’s the same if you and I go buy a suit and it’s Made In Italy. We’re like, ‘oh, it’s great quality.’ That quality still exists in America, so if people want to get into the business, just put your heart into it. Don’t spend a dollar to save ten cents. Do your development– do everything– correctly. Launch it with a small collection, and as long as you are willing to put your efforts into it, people are willing to buy it. Made In America is having a huge comeback. We have a lot of clients who are growing.” – Adam Khoda

Adam Khoda is a long-time garment manufacturer, president of The Elite Fashion Group and founder of veterans-support brand Never Forgotten Apparel. He fled Iran with his family at age 11 and came to the USA when he was still fairly young. He is very proud to be an American citizen and cares a great deal about Made In USA. Adam coordinates factories for both overseas and Made In USA production, but as you’ll hear in this interview he has a definite preference between those two options.

This interview is part of a Los Angeles Fashion mini-series.



174 – Los Angeles Fashion, Fighting In Style

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Los Angeles Fashion

Continuing our Los Angeles fashion adventure, Charles speaks with two men who are changing how boxers and MMA fighters dress for work.

Will Hoover is a veteran designer who knows downtown L.A. fashion like few others. He is the founder and designer at Paul Dunne, a co-founder with J.R. at I.G.M.O.B. Clothing, and teaches at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM). Hoover discusses what L.A. fashion is all about, the impact of runaway real estate development in the Los Angeles fashion district and surrounding areas, and how fashion students are learning their trade on the West Coast.

The FIDM campus is downtown, and in the face of this real estate pressure, they are still expanding. FIDM has been providing associates degrees for some time but is now introducing bachelors degree programs and adding a menswear track as the school expands.

Also in the studio, J.R., whose I.G.M.O.B. label stands for I Got My Own Back. The brand that started as a personal trainer’s basic marketing approach now produces high-end high-performance clothing for the world’s top MMA fighters. J.R. entered fashion sideways after finding himself drawing looks in his real estate office. A very interesting story.

173 – Johnny Was Boho Chic

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Johnny Was

They’re riding high with the boho chic trend, but that look was in the Bob Marley song-inspired Johnny Was brand’s main playbook for a long time before it was popping up everywhere. As executive vice president, Catherine Nation says, “We’ve been doing this for 30 years, these signature embroideries, and it’s fantastic that we’re in-trend right now. That’s very helpful, but this is just what we do, what we’ve always done: signature prints and embroideries.”

In this interview, Catherine Nation and CEO Rob Trauber discuss the classic California brand’s legacy and future, and how they manage e-commerce, their own stores, and selling wholesale for the brand. Johnny Was is opening a lot of stores, uses interesting marketing strategies, and is using big data to keep up with their customers, so Trauber and Nation have a lot of insights in this discussion about how to best approach those things. Johnny Was has recently opened a New York City store on Columbus Avenue in Manhattan.

172 – Lykke Wullf Designer Jemma Swatek

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Ninety percent of my job is paying bills and managing people and answering emails and all of this, but the other part I get to make something come to life. - Lykke Wullf Designer Jemma Swatek

Continuing our look at the Los Angeles fashion scene, in this interview Charles speaks with designer Jemma Swatek, whose popular Lykke Wullf brand is all about the Scandinavian cowgirl.

“I moved here and I tried to get a design job, and I interviewed with some really big companies, and I would be like ‘So where’s your knitting department? Where are your machines? Where are your swatches?’ And they were all like, “Oh, we don’t do that. You just go in the swatch closet and you pick something out and you decide on a yarn and you’re basically making tech packs all day for China. And it’s not like I was completely naive, but I was like ‘Woah, this is like… not what I want to do at all.’ You know, because I’m a creative person, and sitting around doing tech packs, I have nothing against the people who do them, but that’s not really designing to me. Ultimately, that’s why I started my own brand.” – Jemma Swatek, Lykke Wullf

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