Designer bootcamp put hopefuls on path to fame

August 29th, 2011
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David Tyreman and Theo Garcia hold designers’ attention at the “Launch Your Line Bootcamp” Aug. 27 at The Venue.

Designers got a practical earful during the “Launch Your Line Bootcamp” presented by Hawaii Red magazine and Hawaii Fashion Incubator Aug. 27 at The Venue on Bethel Street.

Fashion and branding experts Theo Garcia and David Tyreman of The World Famous Company where the speakers for the day. Although I had to leave midday for a prior appointment, I saw how the workshop’s exercises, in which designers had to articulate their ideas to a partner, put the process of clarifying their ideas in motion. In trying to get the other person to understand their lines, they really had to focus on fleshing out ideas that often started out generic and nebulous, like “I design T-shirts.”

One person said she wanted to start the next Crazy Shirts, but how does a person get there when there hasn’t been a local T-shirt brand that has topped that name in more than 40 years? Another well-known local brand is Cane Haul Road, and more recently, Organik is making its name with its eco wear.

From a editor’s point of view, there are hundreds of T-shirt companies out there, so you really have to differentiate yourself to stand out. Garcia said key to effective branding is honing in on your brand DNA. That is, your story and your values that go into painting a vivid picture of who you are as a designer and what your brand stands for. His belief, for instance, is that men should be peacocks and he brings processes he learned in childhood to his designs.

Designers also tend to live inside their own heads but it helps to read and know what’s going on in the world. Garcia talked about trend spotting and it’s really hard to spot trends if you’re creating in a vacuum, without considering what’s going on in media, film, music and the way people live in general. Companies like DKNY hire directors of inspiration to spot trends years in advance of various seasons.

About two years ago, I started predicting that a Hawaii moment in fashion was coming based on Hawaii’s high profile in the long-running series “Lost,” to the number of Hawaii designers who have turned up on “Project Runway,” to the then-pending reboot of “Hawaii Five-O.” In journalistic calculus, two events are coincidence, three mark the start of a trend. Then, when John Galliano sent tropical colors and hibiscus prints down the Dior Paris runway in fall 2010, it became literal.

Sure enough, this summer saw an Opening Ceremony collaboration with Reyn Spooner, a Barney’s Tokyo collaboration with Catherine’s Closet and ‘Iolani Sportswear, and Island Slipper collaborations with Japanese designers with the intent of introducing their men’s slippers to European runways.

Those aware of the looming trend could have put themselves in the position of capitalizing on the rare occurrence. The last time Hawaii had such a high-profile national fashion moment was in the 1960s.

That doesn’t mean one can’t sell Hawaii style year after year. There was some debate about category dressing and Hawaii fitting in only two seasons, resort and spring/summer. But established local designers have been successful making winter sales in both warm-weather climates and cold climates where the fashion savvy know how to layer lighter weights with leggings, sweaters and coats.

The information shared in the workshop was valuable and applicable to other entrepreneurial endeavors as well. Just talking about ideas seem to help designers hone in on their values and what they want their lines to be. It was very exciting to listen to everyone share their ideas, including people who have worked for major fashion companies and are now aiming to branch off on their own. More frequent workshops might help designers along every step of the process.

I wrote down about a third of the names of people that I would want to talk to if they had their samples right now. If Tyreman and Garcia have their way, you’ll be hearing about these designers very soon.

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2 Responses to “Designer bootcamp put hopefuls on path to fame”

  1. Tyson Joines:

    Sounds like it was a success overall! I wish I could of went!!


  2. Nadine Kam:

    I wish I could have stayed longer! I have a story in the works with one of the participants already! Stay tuned!


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