male founder

“I’ve Tried On Women’s Clothing Samples Myself”: Confessions of a Male Founder In The Female Fashion Industry

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Running a fashion business is tough enough as it is. But running a womenswear label as a male founder? It’s a whole new level.

According to Elvynd from local label Qlothè, it’s often inconvenient being a male founder of a womenswear label. Take fittings for sample pieces, for example. “My days are always packed, so sometimes I don’t get around to looking at the samples sent by my suppliers till late at night,” says Elvynd. “At that time, there isn’t anyone in the office except me – so when that happens, I just suck it up and try on the items – many of which are dresses – personally.”

Problems also arise during meetings with his supplier, when he’s trying to fine-tune certain his designs. “Perhaps it’s because I’m a guy,” Elvynd says, “but on a few occasions, my supplier’s assistant who doubles as an in-house model wasn’t too keen on trying the items in front of me. As you can imagine, this is pretty problematic - because I need to see how the sample fits, and whether it sits well on the model!”

Those who meet Elvynd for the first time and learn of his line of work might find it bizarre. Why would Elvynd decide to plunge into the world of women’s fashion (and alone - without any women co-founders)? There’s actually a backstory to this - Elvynd didn’t just decide to go into womenswear on a random whim; he actually grew up around fashion, with his mother owning her own label and retail store.

During his childhood, Elvynd recalls spending all his spare time at his mother’s shop, and soaking up everything he saw like a sponge. His largest takeaway? The importance of personalized service.

“My mother paid attention to all her customers’ preferences, and would recommend them items based on their specific tastes whenever they visited her shop,” he says. “Obviously I can’t do the same with Qlothè, because we don’t have a physical store in Singapore. But if we do go into retail one day, I’d definitely strive to achieve the same level of service.”

We hope our next questions posed to Elvynd aren't too candid – given that he’s a guy, does he find it difficult to come up with designs for his label? Also, how does he cope with not having that innate understanding of womenswear?

“I’m a very data-driven person,” explains Elvynd, “so everything we do with Qlothè is backed by numbers.” What he means is that the team puts a lot of effort into research and development – amongst other things, they study fashion students’ textbooks, as well as data from trend forecasting companies. Putting theory aside, and moving more into the “real-world”, the team even attends fashion events (such as Hong Kong Fashion Week) for inspiration.

It goes without saying that there’s a few months’ worth of grueling work behind each and every collection that Qlothè launches. To keep things fresh, each collection is conceptualized with a specific character in mind – for example, the fun-loving girl who always speaks her mind and doesn’t shy away from loud colours, the too-cool-for-school girl who is a trendsetter instead of follower, or the modern woman who thinks nothing of shattering expectations and going against traditions.

Although it's early days for Qlothè just yet, Elvynd has big plans for the future. On his list of to-dos is to move towards green manufacturing, so that Qlothè can reduce their carbon footprint and become an environmentally responsible company. Plans for collaborating with various charities are also in the pipeline - so stay tuned!

Check out Getfash's top picks from Qlothè's latest collections. Getfash readers get to enjoy 5% cashback on the items featured in this article, as well as all the items on Qlothè's website!