Flying Solo put on yet another glamorous series of shows for New York Fashion Week on September 10th.
These 7 shows occurred throughout the entire day, and featured brands from around the world that create clothing and accessories. This production is particularly unique due to its careful selection of independent fashion houses which collaborate with each other to create full looks that are runway-ready. Below are interviews from several of the brands that walked. Be sure to see the entire lineup through the link on Instagram @flyingsolonyc. Also follow along with future productions by Flying Solo, like the Paris Fashion Week shows happening on October 2nd.
Flying Solo’s Showcase of Independent Accessory Brands
AURELIA + ICARUS
Tracy Greenan is the founder of AURELIA + ICARUS, a New York-based ‘phygital’ (digital + physical) jewelry company. The brand has integrated virtual and physical luxury jewelry with wearable NFTs and augmented reality filters to provide a vibrant and original collectible option for men and women. After living and moving around Europe for twenty years, Tracey dabbled in shoe design and fabrics before settling on jewelry for practical and logistical purposes.
“I want people from all backgrounds and all ages to be able to enjoy my pieces. My advice in starting a fashion brand is to identify a need in the market, know your niche, and evaluate your variables. Don’t be afraid to charge the true worth of your creations” AURELIA + ICARUS is a proudly woman-of-color run and powered business.
Nancy Danielle Berman is the founder and chief creative designer of Nandanie ties re-imagined. She was inspired to begin this brand after watching her teenage son clean out his closet, and realizing that there was not much left that he still fit. After giving him a tie from the 90s, she realized how much it updated his wardrobe – and how few ties there were for women presently.
The ideal customer is a modern thinker, and someone who wants their look to help empower them in their everyday life. The upcoming collection has a high focus on varying tie silhouettes, so that they will elevate any outfit from jeans to a suit, made with an array of fabrics to fit everyone’s interest and need – including several ties that are vegan friendly, to ensure that there’s an option for everyone!
Adrine Karapetyan is the founder and designer of Los Angeles based fashion brand A. KAR. She quit her job as a successful scientist and fully devoted herself to creating her luxurious and unique exquisitely handcrafted pieces. Her ideal customer is a confident and bold woman who is not afraid to stand out. “I want to name so many skills for fashion entrepreneurs, but if I must choose the top 3, I will say having faith in yourself, a strong work ethic, and thinking outside of the box.”
Adrine likes to display bold colors and unique textures since she has never stopped experimenting with new patterns, materials, and techniques. Her advice for those who want to start their own fashion brand is to remember to embrace their inner child who is fearless, confident, and has endless energy to create.
Mark Schwartz, Creative Director Of DEIJI, recognizes the need for fashion accessories that fill a void in our world. “The ideal DEIJI customer is a confident woman, one who has a love for life and one who knows where she stands.” Mark thinks that fashion entrepreneurs ought to familiarize themselves with the history of design and have an in-depth knowledge of where the fashion world stands today. “We are forever changing in attitude, in style, in mind and what wasstrong before may not apply to our industry today.”
In starting a fashion brand, Mark recommends just being yourself. Know exactly who you are as a person and how that reflects on your brand/brand ideas. This will automatically create the most authentic version. Have a set direction and vision. “The best advice I can give is learning how to put pencil to paper. The traditional method allows for the most personal outcome, so do it from scratch,” says Mark.
Sirusho is a singer, songwriter, entrepreneur and jewelry designer. Pregomesh is a brand that aims to share the beautiful tradition of Armenian jewelry-making with the world. They offer immaculate craftsmanship and original designs rooted in rich heritage. Most jewelry available today draws inspiration from ancient cultures in Egypt or Greece, for example. Pregomesh brings Armenian culture into the spotlight.
“Our customers are confident, have strong personalities, and carry the legacy of strong and beautiful women in history. We sought those with an inner sense of freedom, those who like to try new things, take risks, and carry the soul of a dreamer,” says Sirusho. “Make sure that whatever you’re doing comes from the heart and is authentic. That’s your winning key.”
Desert Daisy Jewelry
Emma Roberts and her brand, Desert Daisy Jewelry, uses raw crystals to celebrate the idea that what makes us different truly makes us beautiful. Her ideal customer is someone strong, bold and risk taking. The concept behind the work is exploring how we are all emerging out of the last few years. “There is beauty in the hope and resilience seen as fashion returns. I think the top three skills you need to succeed as an entrepreneur are strong voice, determination and resilience, and not necessarily the talent of making a garment/accessory”
In sharing some wisdom, Emma said, “Being an artist or entrepreneur can be lonely, and no one understands your struggles like another entrepreneur. This life is a gift many never get to realize, it is truly a joy to be able to create for a living.”
Natalie Cardenas is the creator and founder of Santuario (“sacred place”). The brand offers 100% handmade, premium Colombian leather handbags. “Our mission is to unite fashion with tradition for an intentional statement. We aim to bring awareness to the artisans of Colombia, who have mastered this craftsmanship over decades.”
Santuario’s ideal customer is a fashion savvy woman who is looking to update their wardrobe with a statement piece. In Natalie’s view, the top 3 skills fashion entrepreneurs need to have are attention to detail, problem solving and to not be afraid to creatively express themselves. “Starting a fashion brand can be very intimidating so start with a small project. You will easily find that one small project starts evolving over time and with time it turns into an actual brand,” Natalie says.
Since a young age, Sarah Stratte Quickel has always geared towards unique and handcrafted artistic jewelry. “I guess the love for one-of-a-kind contemporary accessories was my inspiration to start my brand, Enchanté. I want my wearer to be able to connect to the design I create emotionally.”
Enchanté’s ideal customer includes all the wearable jewelry fine art lovers who adore exquisite design. Sarah offers her top three skills to have when entering the fashion industry and starting your own brand as creativity, having an artistic sense, and being unique. “Take the courage to turn your passion into action. The unknown can be scary at times but do not let any fear or others deter you, as we only live once!” she advises.
Vintage Fusion Jewelry
Elizabeth Clar is the founder of Vintage Fusion Jewelry. She has been creating her entire life and has a wild and colorful imagination. She deconstructs old items to create modern wearable art and loves to see models wearing her creations. Vintage Fusion also takes great pride in helping clients recreate family heirloom costume jewelry into beautiful pieces that can be worn or gifted to future generations.
Inspiration is drawn from unique and bold patterns, textures and colors in the items that are selected for her upcycled designs. She draws her clients out as people who let their imaginations run wild. Elizabeth reckons the top three skills when getting started in fashion are passion, patience, and perseverance. “Creating wearable art is very therapeutic for me in my grief following the loss of my husband 3.5 years ago,” she explains.
Katie Struve is the creator of the jewelry line ALBF. She created ALBF because she was lost in the motions of motherhood, and it found her in a dream. One of her driving goals has always been to build a business that has family at the center.
“In a world saturated with creative people, being genuine could be the only thing that sets you apart. Don’t wait for everything to be just right before you give life to your ideas. Visualization is everything. I’ve imagined so many designs just because I looked around. Learn to embrace your failures. Failure can be your greatest teacher,” she shares.
Lew Elle Wedding
Lew Elle specializes in bespoke bridal lingerie & accessories. Laura Llewellyn is the owner and creator of the brand. Lew Elle has been featured across 3 issues of British Vogue Magazine, Brides up North Magazine and Kent Wedding Magazine. The brand specializes in bridal garter, working with clients to design unique, comfortable and classy items. “Just because it’s a hidden accessory does not mean it should not look incredible,” she states. “My motto is that ‘beauty begins underneath.’”
One of her top tips in starting your own fashion brand is to find your niche and figure out how you can make it better. “Use all kinds of mediums to help promote – social media and word of mouth,” she adds. Lew Elle’s ideal customer is someone who wants to work and collaborate with Lew Elle Design to create a piece that is unique and bespoke to the bride.
Nectar Nectar New York
Nutan Roonga is the founder of Nectar Nectar New York, an intentional global hive anchoring women’s economic independence through artisinal gemstone jewelry that celebrates women’s divinity. Every step from ideation to a customer buying and wearing a piece of our art helps lift and celebrate women globally. “I wanted to lend a hand to women in ways that I didn’t get,” says Nutan Roonga.
“We want women who believe that having a voice, independence and choice is as beautiful as the jewelry itself. Those who aren’t afraid to make bold choices based on what’s right for them, for others, for the world and radiate that because it’s who they are.” Nectar Nectar’s pieces carry the energy, love and care right from the conceptual stages and it gets felt by the person who wears it.
Blue Bone Jewelry
Maria Jaeckel is the founder and CEO of Blue Bone Jewelry. She started Blue Bone Jewelry when she was only sixteen years old, the moment that she was legally able to take a long standing idea and turn it into a full business. Her ideal customers are females between ages ten and sixty, as she has a firm belief that jewelry should be affordable to everyone.
Her collection presents endless possibilities of layering. Some will be as low priced as six dollars, and it’s encouraged that each customer should layer the jewelry the way that they personally want it. She has made everything adjustable in an attempt to encourage those wearing the jewelry to stack and create a look that is uniquely their own.
Lise Charmel was started by Sandra Jones. She is not the creative designer, but rather works in the development board for the North American market. She was inspired to create a brand that would produce luxurious clothing for independent women. This line was meant to feel like a treat to all those involved, a central piece that can be accentuated by other existing pieces in your collection.
The collection has been heavily influenced by customer feedback to create something truly custom, and has a central focus in single pieces with embroidery detail. It also means that it should be wearable no matter the gender – the garters, for example, have been stated as being fully removable. From body suits of the smallest sort to teller jackets, from silk pieces with architectural inspiration on down the line, this collection has something in it for everyone.
Ashley Grotolli is not only the founder and CEO of Peekabras, she’s also the inventor of bra skins. It was originally founded as she wanted a bra that would not hinder her style and personality, something that many women struggle with. As such, the ideal customer for this product is anyone who wants to have a bra that matches their style, rather than having to shape their style around available bras.
The collection is in partnership with It’s All Love Clothing Co. “Wearing a bra is not negotiable for women like me and statistics show there are billions of us. That’s a lot of money being left on the change room floor. Bra skins make fashion stylish and accessible for bra wearers and we couldn’t be more proud of our impact.”
The designer and the brand share the same name – Claudio Civitico. This brand was inspired by women in nature, and years spent painting. Every design featured in this brand has women in mind, and you can see this most clearly with the jumpers that are frequently featured. The ideal customer is one who can see the craftsmanship that goes into each outfit, and who can see that these are high fashion designs sold at a lesser price.
The collection continues to put a focus on women in nature, but it also provides a high volume of colors to put on display. These colors have been carefully picked to help highlight the craftsmanship of each design, and to show the high quality of not only the materials but the make of the clothing.
Kingdom of Wow
Godie, a Dutch woman living in Cambodia, is the owner and founder of Kingdom of Wow, an ethical footwear brand that creates the world’s most comfortable woolen slipper. Their brand is all about creating comfortable and sustainable products in a fair and empowering environment.
Godie moved from China to Cambodia due to corporate and manufacturing pressure, and she sought out a fairer, friendly and more sustainable working environment.
Their ideal customer has an appreciation for paying slightly more for a quality product that’s made to last. “For them, it’s simply not an option to buy garments at rock bottom prices, because it’s not sustainable and vulnerable workers can be exploited,” Godie explains. Their products often feature colors representing relevant environments, like a cozy fireplace.
Tuli is an ethical fashion brand that fights poverty by creating fair trade jobs in East Africa, where all their products are handmade using recycled materials. “Our goal is to end poverty, and we do so by empowering artisans to feed their families, educate their children, and rise out of poverty,’ they state. The idea was conceived when Megan Kitt, Tuli’s founder, met a group of Ugandan single mothers so desperate to work in a country facing staggering unemployment that thy were upcycling salvaged paper into jewelry.
“Our ideal customer cares about others and their impact on the world. We are obsessed with elevated design, but what truly makes Tuli special is the story behind our products. When you wear Tuli, you’re wearing your values,” says Megan. Have tenacity, passion, and insight when entering the fashion world. Megan believes these values will bring you success.