So as you all know I am blogging for the 1426 Fashion Week, which is a show focusing on integrating the runway and bringing in all sizes and shapes into the fashion industry. As well 1426 Inc. empowers up and coming models and designers to showcase their work in a creative environment, that brings us all together. The first designer that we are focusing on will be Wendy Striggles, of The Wendy S Collection.
My conversation with Wendy was great, she’s been in fashion since she was 9 years old, her mother would take her to fashion shows and watch Style on CNN. In my interview with her, it was evident that her presence in fashion industry was strong.
JB: I have to know, what inspired you to start designing? Was this something you always saw yourself doing?
WS: In the 80’s and 90’s my mother would make my sister and I watch Style with Elsa Klensch on CNN every Saturday morning. It’s where I fell in love with Betsey Johnson, Isaac Mizrahi, Gianni Versace, and Donna Karan. My mother help my mother sew clothes, make patterns out of brown paper bags, and shop for fabric.
I sketched my first collection at 10 years old. I named it Our Time and it was for plus size women. I wanted to be apart of the fashion industry so much that my heart would ache when I watched awards shows growing up. I would imagine celebrities asking me to design a gown for them and I would sketch until it was time for bed. As I got older and the reality of adulthood stepped in, I chose another career. It wasn’t until 2007 when my friend said I’m sick of you talking about making dresses, so I entered your name in a fashion show. She told me I had 4 months to get it together. I laughed but she was so serious! I did the show, the crowd loved it, and after I did my final walk with the models I cried like a baby!!! I knew GOD was setting me up to live my dream.
JB: How does your clothing line express who you are?
WS: My clothing line is a style I like to call Casual Chic. Clothing should be fun, stylish, glamorous, effortless, and most important COMFORTABLE. When I wear clothing I have to be able to do two things eat and dance without feeling constricted. My dress or jumpsuit has to work well with heels and sandals. I don’t believe in spending $80 or more on a garment and I can only wear it for one type of occasion. If I can wear it on the red carpet, shopping with my girls, and on the beach; that’s MY dress.
JB: What will be your involvement with 1426 Fashion Week?
WS: This year I will be showcasing our 2015 Spring Summer Collection. I had so much fun creating this collection! I look forward to sharing my love of fashion with the 1426 Fashion Week audience
JB: What is your opinion of “integrating the runway”, meaning what do you think of showcasing all types of bodies on the runway?
WS: I think showing all body types on the runway gives the audience a chance to see themselves in the garments. Growing up all I saw were standard size models on the runway. I felt like those designs weren’t meant for all women. But because of that it pushed me to design for the excluded women. Linda Scott and many other fashion show producers are changing how the runway is viewed. Hopefully NYFW designers will follow suit.
JB: How long have you been in the fashion industry? Where do you see The Wendy S Collection in 10 years?
WS: I’ve been in the industry since 2007! It has been a learning and growth experience. I just recently changed our name from Big Girlz inc to The Wendy S Collection. We are still in a process of growth. My sites are set on being apart of Magic in Las Vegas and the Atlanta Apparel Market shows. Having our own store is also within our future. I’m optimistic at this point!
JB: Would you like to see your designs in a big retail store or keep them in a boutique style environment?
WS: Every designer would love to have their designs in a big retail store! So I would be lying to your audience if I said no, lol. I do prefer the boutique environments over the big retail stores. The boutiques work harder to get you noticed as an indie designer. Many women prefer shopping in boutiques because they offer unique designs. I’m able to reach more customers interested in the passion in my design.
JB: What is your source of motivation to keep going in this growing fashion industry?
WS: I’ve been disappointed many times during my career in the fashion industry. During the times I felt like quitting, GOD places people and opportunities in my path to encourage me. I’ve become friends with so many indie designers, they understand the struggle. Just being able to talk with them has kept me motivated. The customers, models, and show producers will always ask me, “Okay so whats next, we are ready”. I have a partner that will cut, sew, and stay up all night to help keep my dream alive. The people that GOD has placed in my life keeps me motivated.
JB: Lastly, what advice do you have for people trying to get into this industry?
WS: There is so much advice I could give but I will give the 4 most important
- Don’t compare yourself to others. This is your path. Have mentors instead. Research how to start/run a business.
- Do things (events, shows, marketing etc.) that will grow and benefit your companies growth. If it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.
- Have FAITH! You will doubt yourself before others will. Just know this business doesn’t happen overnight and you will have to work hard to be taken seriously as a designer. You will cry, get mad, fed up, and discouraged. Faith will pull you through it every time.
- Know who your target market is, How will you reach them, and How will you keep them? What type of clothing are you designing? Stay true to your brand’s style. Customers will know you without seeing the label if you stay true to your brand’s style.
More Designs from The Wendy S Collection!
I am so excited to see The Wendy S Collection for the 1426 Fashion Week, October 17, 2014! She will be showcasing her 2015 Spring, Summer Collection and by the looks of it, her designs are going to bring it!
Thanks for reading and hope to see you at the 1426 Fashion Show!