Many of our readers, despite no formal training, are yearning to see people wearing the fashions they designed. Those readers should pay close attention. Jenn Tavarez, a self-taught fashion brand CEO, has done just that. Jenn is now successfully selling her designs to consumers and celebrities right here at home and in her biggest markets: Germany, UK and Canada. Jenn is backed up by the brilliant up-and-coming street style designer Bobby Scalia--designer and co-owner for Street Star.
The Street Star Lifestyle Brand has been creating high-end tees, hoodies, button-ups, thermals, dresses and jackets since its inception in 2008. Their one-of-a-kind and limited-quantity run clothing offer their customers the opportunity to wear celebrity-sported clothing—while standing out from the crowd, a shrew business move that has contributed to the company and Jenn's success.
For more information on Jenn's brilliant marketing strategies and successful entrepreneurial practices for her Made-In-America brand, read her interview with us below:
What inspired you to get into the fashion industry?
I started working in my parent's retail store. We sold blank tshirts and hats. Customers started asking me to make them custom stuff and it just went from there. I started experimenting with different designs and materials and decided to start my own line.
What is your focus within the industry?
I am focused on making unique things that you can't find everywhere else and designs that will get people to stop you on the street. I am focused on individuality and self-expression. Let your clothes do the talking...
What type of education did it take to get you where you are today?
I have no formal fashion education. I am self taught, through experimentation, trial and error.
I guess you could say this started out as a hobby, but now I am selling all over the globe and participating in fashion shows across the country, even NY Fashion Week. I plan to only make it go further and get bigger.
What is your favorite part of working in the fashion/design business?
This is a really unique business, where you are able to spend time and effort of something you actually love. It doesn't feel like "work" when you love what you do.
What advice would you give to aspiring fashionistas?
Be a go getter. If you want it, you have to go after it. No one is ever going to notice you if you just sit around waiting for it to happen. You have to be bold, aggressive and network. Don't sell yourself short.
What school(s) does your company generally recruit new hires from?
The Art Institute of Philadelphia
Do you think there is an overall increasing or decreasing need for people
in the fashion industry?
There is an increasing need for unique people, not the cookie cutters, or the celebs that think just because they have money that they can have a clothing line. Indie artists and designers have all the talent. We're not just telling people what we like and having them make it. We do it from start to finish, with our own hands.
Which roles in the fashion industry do you think will offer the best career
opportunities moving forward? eg. designer, PR, entrepreneur, etc.?
Being an entrepreneur no matter what career path you choose is always the best option, whether you want to be a designer, a stylist, makeup artist or consultant.
What designer(s) or brand(s) influenced you the most as a creative
I like the independent and up-and-coming designers; names people probably have never heard of. They have such raw talent and a uniqueness about them. Designers that you wouldn't see in any department stores.
Do you think today's jobs in the fashion industry require more of an
artist's touch or business-like ruthlessness?
Of course, the business is always ruthless. Its all about the talent, the passion and the perseverance to get where you want to go.
Which skills do you consider to be most critical for a career in fashion?
Patience, knowledge and an ability to network and make yourself known.
What do you think the future of fashion and design holds?
Its hard to say. I could answer what I want to happen, but the economy dictates pretty much everything. I hope that people can find their own unique style without always following the pack. We were created to be different.
Check out more interviews at The Fashion-Schools.org Interview Series.