male founder

Don't Judge Me, But I Run A Female Fashion Store (With NO Women Co-Founders)

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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 get on with it 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 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 take the 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.

The largest takeaway that he has from growing up in a fashion-centric environment, says Elvynd, is the importance of personalized service. As Qlothè is operating out of an online store rather than a physical shopfront in Singapore, it isn't particularly easy for the team to reach out to, and engage, its customers. That having been said, Elvynd does still strive to achieve a high level of service through Qlothè's other consumer touchpoints.

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. They look at macro trend forecasts to stay one step ahead and understand what colors, textile, prints, and silhouettes are currently trendy; they also regularly analyse their product sales data, and attend fashion-related trade shows such as Hong Kong Fashion Week.

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.

These collections are conceptualised to tell a certain story about a certain persona, with the designs you see in each collection seeking to tell an entire story about said persona. Although each character - and each collection - is markedly different, the point of consistency lies in the versatile, eclectic charm that shines through in each and every one of Qlothè's designs.

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 - and Elvynd is excited about being able to reach out, through Qlothè, to the underprivileged and give them a voice.

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, and all the items on Qlothè's website!

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