1. Why did you apply for Threads?
I have been struggling for a while in the fashion business and found myself at a stage where I felt stuck. Things like how to manage my finances, how to market my brand better and how to position my brand to compete with international brands were constantly on my mind. I was looking for guidance and support. A mentor. Someone who understand what I do and where I want to take my brand. That’s when a customer told me about Threads. It seemed to answer all my questions while addressing more aspects to consider for taking my brand to the next level.
2. What has inspired you to start your brand/business?
My inspiration was the lack of variety in the South African clothing industry and the fact that we are always looking to the western countries for inspiration, trends, ideas. The people I am surrounded with, would constantly complain about how expensive the clothes they liked were and how complicated it was to buy them online. I saw an opportunity to address their wants, needs and desires while also improving the quality. The rest is history 🙂
3. Tell us more about your brand
WIC is an urban street style brand with a modern twist. Our focus lies on comfort and appealing designs. We want our clients not only to look good but also feel good. Our styles are meant to grab attention through simple but bold designs. Every single piece carries our signature logo, the letter “W”. We also give the customers the opportunity to personalize the garments to suit best their wants and needs.
4. What is the greatest challenge you faced so far as fashion entrepreneurs in South Africa?
The lack of resources is one of the main challenges in South Africa. It is difficult to find local suppliers who offer affordable, high quality and unique fabrics. Although there’s always the option to outsource internationally, it drives the production costs up which in turn will drive the final price up.
This is why you see designers using similar or the same fabrics. Making it very difficult to justify a high price tag on a dress when the same fabric is found on every second hanger in YDE.
Further limitations can be found in local manufacturing and CMT’s. The majority of South African CMT’s don’t specialise in complex, high-quality fashion manufacturing. They specialize in more simple, basic production like uniforms for example.
South Africa is bursting with design talent, this is not the problem. The problem is often the lack of business skills required to transform a small business into a profitable company, that is sustainable in the long term. Things like financial knowledge, marketing, pricing models, general management skills are critical to transform a good designer into the owner of a successful, profitable business.
5. What is your favorite side of doing business in the fashion industry?
The design process. From sourcing and testing different fabrics to seeing the idea come to life is priceless. That goes hand in hand with client interactions, listening to their opinions on our locally produced products and reading their reactions when touching, trying and finally buying a style.
This is what drives you as a fashion designer, the power of your garments to create emotions, thrill, excitement in the customers.
6. Tell me about an accomplishment you are the proudest of.
Firstly, establishing a business and brand with a lot of growth potential.
Secondly, in 2016 I launched a project to help students struggling with registration fees by creating a print brand to support this cause financially. They were challenged to work towards raising half the funds and we would provide the other half. It all worked out well, although the time frame was quite short.
7. What trends do you currently see in the fashion industry, in SA and abroad?
Personalization is the new approach. You have to talk to your customers and understand them. Building brand trust and brand loyalty has become more important than ever before and retailers have to be more than just traders. They need to stand for something to get their brand across and create loyalty.
Another strong trend is the growing desire for health, beauty and fitness. At the same time social media gives us the opportunity to become influencers while engaging with our consumers on different platforms, understanding their expectations and needs. With internet and technology taking the fashion industry to new heights, South Africa needs to keep up.