Flying Solo debuted the collections of designers of global representation for their New York Fashion Week runway show in February at Canoe Studios on Manhattan’s west side.
The minimalist, metallic and white set accentuated the dramatic and often colorful pieces that took off down the catwalk– backdropped by the glittering city skyline and Hudson River. The production boasted an array of textures, techniques, and creative vision, and each look consisted of pieces from multiple brands– styled to perfect cohesion. Below are summaries of personal accounts from several of the designers who showcased their collections with Flying Solo, as well as a glimpse into the inspiration behind each collection.
Flying Solo’s NYFW Show Clothing
33:3 by Linda Liz
Linda Liz, a Puerto Rican-born, Costa Rican-raised fashion designer, attended the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles to pursue her passion. Known for her purpose-driven vocation and innovation, Linda is committed to sustainability in every stage of production. She founded 33:3, an athleisure and swimwear brand that emphasizes inclusivity and adaptive innovation in honor of her sister, Coco, who is an oncology and ostomy patient. The brand’s essence is feminine with an urban-futuristic twist, offering multi-use and reversible styles that empower customers to express themselves in a comfortable way.
Linda shares her top three skills for designers: embrace individuality, be moldable while staying true to the brand identity, and possess a detail-oriented nature with every aspect of design serving a purpose. She stresses the importance of gaining industry experience to fully understand the apparel business and acquire certain skill sets that can only be attained through immersion in the field. Overall, Linda’s brand and design philosophy prioritize sustainability, inclusivity, and empowering customers to feel confident in their attire.
Anton Jones, the Owner and Creative Director of ANTON DENNARD, is a passionate fashion enthusiast who started his brand out of his love for fashion, creativity and not finding his desired look in stores. As a result, he decided to create a brand that would meet his personal style and tastes. When asked about his ideal customer, Anton mentioned that currently, men are looking to take their look in a different direction. As such, ANTON DENNARD is catering to those men who want to stand out and make a statement with their fashion choices.
According to Anton, fashion entrepreneurs need to have three key skills: attention to detail, effective communication, and the ability to sell. For those who want to start their fashion brand, Anton’s advice is to trust your ideas, but also be prepared to transition and evolve. The fashion industry is constantly changing, and it’s essential to be adaptable and willing to learn and grow.
Meet Ella, the founder of BEB Queen, an independent brand that creates high-quality, one-of-a-kind clothing for plus-sized women. Ella was inspired to start her brand when she saw a lack of elegant and inspiring clothing for plus-sized people. BEB Queen’s designs are not form-fitting, but rather allow every woman to express herself confidently and uniquely. The ideal customer for BEB Queen is any plus-sized woman who wants to express herself fully with her wardrobe. The brand’s upcoming collection features some of their newest and most amazing clothing to date, with each garment being a one-of-a-kind piece.
According to Ella, fashion entrepreneurs need three key skills: inspiration, dedication, and imagination. She advises those who want to start their own fashion brand to work hard, stay persistent, and create designs that empower every woman. In summary, BEB Queen is an independent brand that provides elegant and inspiring clothing for plus-sized women. Ella’s passion for fashion and dedication to empowering every woman drives her to create unique designs that allow women to express themselves confidently and uniquely.
Asia Suber is a fashion enthusiast who recently started her own brand, Briarwood Fashion. She was inspired to start her brand due to her love for fashion styling and expressing her personality through clothing. Her ideal customer is a confident, multifaceted woman who desires quality and self-care. Asia believes that the top three skills for fashion designers are creativity, the ability to reach their target audience through social media, and transparency.
Her advice for someone looking to start a fashion brand is to do their own research, find a business mentor, and be coachable. She recommends using YouTube and taking advantage of courses and webinars, especially during the pandemic when many successful business owners were offering them. Overall, Asia Suza’s passion for fashion and her dedication to learning and researching have led her to start her own brand, which is focused on providing quality and versatile clothing for confident and multifaceted women.
Buckanaga Social Club
Her name is Amber Vaga and her brand is Buckanaga Social Club. She was inspired to start her brand because of her interest in fashion and her Ojibwe heritage, which led her to make accessories and modern clothing. She aims to be inclusive and dresses all types of people, regardless of age or gender. In terms of her upcoming collection, she plans to introduce new colors, silhouettes, and accessories that she hasn’t tried before.
When it comes to the top three skills that fashion entrepreneurs need to have today, she believes managing social media well and good customer service are important. For those who want to start their own fashion brand, she advises focusing on what they want to offer people clothing wise and getting good at that first before expanding.
Jake Leone is the owner and creator of Buckethead Productions, a handmade crochet-wear brand that blurs the lines between masculine and feminine archetypes. Leone’s background in architecture, studio art, and art history informs his unique approach to fashion, which focuses on combining textures and colors to create sculptural, wearable forms. Leone draws inspiration from materials found on construction sites and is motivated by his father’s work ethic and approach to projects.
Leone’s ideal customer is someone who appreciates the play on materiality and context of gender and sexuality, and he cites Emma Chamberlain, Remi Wolf, and Harry Styles as his dream clients. Leone’s upcoming collection incorporates repurposed hardware and fibers common on construction sites and represents his favorite materials to use. According to Leone, fashion entrepreneurs need extreme work ethic, confidence, and mental stamina. His advice to aspiring fashion entrepreneurs is to never feel imposter syndrome or insecurity and to show people what they’re missing.
Camila Frater is a multidisciplinary designer/artist based in NYC from Toronto. Her work is heavily influenced by her process of drawing and fine art, and she looks at design from a fine arts perspective while questioning the limits set in place of our current fashion industry. Camila started her brand to put her work out and open up to more communities of people who make similar work. Her ideal customer is anyone who wants to wear something sculpturally fitted.
Her upcoming collection’s best thing is the bridge between the 2D and the 3D. Camila’s top 3 skills that fashion entrepreneurs need to have are persistence, attention to detail, and being strategic and planning toward their goals. Her advice for those who want to start their own fashion brand is to take one step at a time, be patient with the growth and development, find communities and opportunities that are in line with their brand’s identity, and stay true to themselves.
Designs by A Mari
Mari Ramos is the founder of Designs By A Mari, a fashion brand that aims to provide unique custom styles for people who dare to live in their truth. Inspired by her sister’s struggles with self-esteem due to the lack of clothing options for plus-size individuals, Mari started sewing and creating a brand that is inclusive and leading in plus-size fashions. Her upcoming collection is a reflection of her authentic self, combining a few of her interests that speak to her true essence.
As a fashion entrepreneur, Mari believes that strong business/adaptability skills, an authentic sense of style, and strong visualization skills are essential. Her ultimate goal is to build a global brand using conscious and sustainable materials and make an impact in the lives of little girls who grew up like her. Her advice to those who want to start their own fashion brand is to be themselves, do research, and just start.
Juliette, a fashion designer from the UK, has launched her own brand, Ettie, which focuses on handmade and limited edition planet-friendly fashion pieces. Her ideal customer is someone who enjoys luxury fashion while also wanting to stand out and wear something unique and glam. Juliette’s upcoming collection features special fabrics such as feathers and sequins, along with bright colors, and is designed to emphasize feminine shapes.
When it comes to fashion entrepreneurship, Juliette emphasizes the importance of creativity, confidence, and perseverance, and advises others to be brave and go for it if they have a passion for starting their own fashion brand. With the right mindset and skills, anyone can succeed in the fashion industry and create something truly special.
Francini_K is a luxury women’s clothing brand created by its founder after a long career as a lawyer and subsequent fashion studies in Paris. Inspired by the fashion of the 1960s, Francini_K’s designs are colorful, short, and structured. The brand’s milestone was achieved when the founder became the laureate of her school in Paris in 2021. Francini_K’s ideal customers are active women who want to look and feel their best throughout the day. The designs achieve a balance between comfort and elegance, allowing women to look great without sacrificing their comfort.
To succeed as a fashion entrepreneur, Francini_K emphasizes the importance of creativity, endurance, and leadership. It takes a great team to build a great fashion brand, and a leader who can inspire and guide that team is essential. Francini_K advises aspiring fashion entrepreneurs to have a clear view of their goals, believe in themselves, and take the leap. With passion and hard work, success can be achieved in the fashion industry.
House of Jadè
House of Jadè is a sustainable luxury fashion brand that transcends fashion through culture to curate authenticity, innovation, and self-love. Founded by Pamela in 1967, the brand has been passed on to her daughter Sydney, who majored in fashion technology and started a styling company under House of Jadè. House of Jadè’s ideal customers are professional women and men aged between 25 to 65 who value self-love and a rewarding career.
The best thing about the brand’s collection is the innovative, expressive ready-to-wear garments that accentuate relentless passion. To start a successful fashion brand according to Pamela, one must master their craft, stay true to their brand, exude confidence, and create a clear vision of the brand they want to convey. Skills such as building an online presence, understanding the sense of community, and being a good communicator are also essential.
House of Kerry
House of Kerry is a sustainable luxury fashion brand founded by Christine O’Donoghue de Vries in 2016. Based in Ireland, the brand uses natural heritage fabrics and Christine’s prints inspired by nature and the dramatic landscape of Ireland. The brand is committed to conserving resources and creating timeless pieces. House of Kerry’s ideal customer is a conscious, stylish consumer who appreciates culture and the arts.
Christine’s farming background inspires the brand’s sustainability ethos. Each piece in the upcoming collection translates a story, inspired by the dramatic landscape of Ireland, culture and strong women. Top skills for fashion entrepreneurs are tenacity, talent and people skills. Christine’s advice to those who want to start their own fashion brand is to design sustainably and with the ideal customer in mind. She encourages entrepreneurs to embrace individuality and create something different that distinguishes their brand.
Iryna Bezhan, founder of Iryna Shalom, had a passion for fashion from a young age. Growing up in a large family in Ukraine, she learned entrepreneurship through sewing projects with her family. She began selling handmade bow pieces at 12 years old and dreamed of having her own fashion brand. After overcoming personal struggles, she launched Iryna Shalom, known for its uniquely designed leather coats and striking high-quality pieces.
Iryna’s approach to design is to first find the right fabric before creating the style of a piece, ensuring it feels good against the skin and is timeless. She believes success in the fashion industry requires talent, vision, and a strong work ethic. For those dreaming of making a splash in fashion, Iryna advises taking risks and having grit, as belief in oneself is essential for success.
Joya Ma, the founder of her eponymous fashion brand, created her label to empower women and help them feel confident. Her current focus is on designing for strong, powerful ladies who are not afraid to express themselves. In the future, she intends to expand her offerings to include unisex and menswear. Joya aims to design for people who are expressive and unafraid to show themselves. Her upcoming collection features a mix of media such as 3D print technology, with dramatic silhouettes that celebrate the human body as a piece of art.
Joya believes that the top three skills that fashion entrepreneurs need are to keep their authenticity, be experimental and open-minded, and to take risks and manage their time. She advises entrepreneurs to avoid watering down their ideas to fit into the market’s corral and instead to focus on what makes them unique. She encourages them to think outside of the box, experiment with their designs, and be hands-on.
Ko Choix Fashion
The interview with Abdourahamane Barry, the Founder & Creative Director of Ko Choix Fashion, reveals the inspiration behind his custom clothing line that blends African fabrics with contemporary styling. Barry’s father’s sense of style and the desire to start his own business were instrumental in the creation of Ko Choix. Initially, the company designed suits for men, but later expanded to include women’s suits and children’s clothing.
When it comes to skills that fashion entrepreneurs should have, Barry believes that consistency, business knowledge, and communication are key. He advises those looking to start a fashion brand to take their time, research the market, and develop their own unique angle. Additionally, he stresses the importance of mastering basic business skills such as budgeting, marketing, and organization.
Amy Russo, founder of the swimwear brand Lufu Lilly, shares her inspiration and vision for her brand in an interview. Amy’s love for fashion and desire to make people feel comfortable and confident in their swimwear inspired her to create Lufu Lilly. Her upcoming collection is diverse and caters to a wider range of body types and skin sensitivities.
According to Amy, fashion entrepreneurs need to know their audience, have a clear vision for their brand, and be willing to adapt their ideas to cater to a broader audience. Her advice to those who want to start their fashion brand is to start writing down and experimenting because it’s never too late to start. Overall, Amy’s goal is to make swimwear that fits and flatters everyone, regardless of body type, and she hopes to continue doing so with her brand, Lufu Lilly.
Elise Goncalves is the owner and designer of Marca Elise, a sustainable fashion brand that celebrates personal expression through crochet and handmade pieces. Inspired by the beauty of the earth, her Portuguese heritage, and vintage fashion, Elise creates romantic and captivating designs that blend elements from the past with modern artistic touches. As a self-taught designer, Elise started making her own clothing while studying at McGill University and noticed people taking an interest in her original pieces.
After taking a minor in entrepreneurship and learning how to crochet, she launched her brand in May 2022 and moved to Portugal shortly after graduating. Elise’s ideal customer is someone who values sustainability, uniqueness, and feeling empowered in their style. Her advice to fashion entrepreneurs is to be passionate, resilient, and think outside of the box, and to not be afraid of failing.
Pineapples Don’t Have Sleeves
PDHS is a fashion brand with a distinct and edgy design aesthetic. The brand’s clothing designs are characterized by bold graphics, vibrant colors, and an overall urban streetwear vibe.Their collections feature unique graphic designs and a range of colorful prints that incorporate geometric shapes, street art, and other pop culture references. The hoodie and sweatshirt designs continue this trend with oversized graphics and bold typography.
In addition to their clothing line, PDHS also offers a range of accessories, including hats, bags, and face masks. These accessories feature the same graphic elements found in the clothing collection and add an extra layer of style and edge to any outfit. Overall, PDHS’s designs are eye-catching, bold, and innovative, with a clear commitment to the brand’s unique aesthetic. If you’re looking for clothing and accessories that make a statement, look no further than Pineapples Don’t Have Sleeves.
Ready Set Romper
Carin Baxter is the founder of Ready Set Romper Apparel Inc. In this interview, she discusses her inspiration behind starting her business, which came from her experience of diaper changing two boys and feeling that there was a lack of creativity and quality in the fabrics. She developed her rompers with an elasticated pull-down panel to solve this problem. Ready Set Romper’s target market is families who want soft, sustainable bamboo clothing and accessories for children aged zero to four years.
The company has now expanded to include adult loungewear, two-piece sets, and blankets. Baxter’s upcoming collection features fun, bright, playful colors, and trendy designs that can be dressed up or down. She advises fashion entrepreneurs to learn from people who do it better, never stop learning, and find something meaningful that resonates with them. Baxter also stresses the importance of having a give-back program and being sustainable in business.
In an interview, fashion designer Renee Car Johnson shared her inspiration behind her brand, RKJ Design, and how she wants to create clothing that bridges the gap between American and South Asian cultures. As a daughter of an immigrant family from India, Johnson struggled with feeling like she had to fit into two separate categories, her American and Indian/South Asian sides, and couldn’t combine them to feel like she belonged. Her brand aims to redefine how South Asian and Indian attire is viewed and make it more accessible to people from all backgrounds.
Johnson’s upcoming collection for Flying Solo showcases the beauty of two cultures coming together to create something unique and creative. When asked about the top three skills fashion entrepreneurs need to have, Johnson mentioned being an active listener, being collaborative, and exposing diversity in representation. Her ideal customer is someone looking to express themselves in fun ways and make a statement through fashion.
Simona Mangiante is the founder and designer behind SIMONA MANGIANTE COLLECTION, formerly known as AGAPE by SIMONA. Her brand is centered around the philosophy of embracing one’s femininity and uniqueness, and being confident in one’s own skin. The name “Agape” comes from the ancient Greek word for love, representing the higher form of love between God and man, and between humans themselves.
Originally from Italy, Simona Mangiante is a fashion model, actress, and designer currently based in Los Angeles. She draws inspiration from the California vibe and its creative energy, infusing it into her designs. The brand initially started as a swimwear collection but has since expanded to include a clothing line. Simona’s passion for creation and her Italian taste for fashion are the foundation of her collection, creating an ocean of feelings and ideals behind each piece.
STFU is a bold and edgy urban clothing brand with over 500 striking and creative designs for both women and men. The brand aims to empower individuals to express themselves unapologetically through fashion. The founder of STFU started the brand as a way to find their own voice and to stand up for themselves after dealing with depression and carrying shame for not having their own voice. STFU’s collections boast vibrant and eye-catching designs that make the wearer feel more confident with every wear.
Fashion entrepreneurs must possess time management, creativity, and perseverance to balance their role as creators and businesspersons while enduring criticism and rejection. Branding is crucial in any business, and with the right branding, almost anything can be successful. STFU hopes to be a tool for the movement of self-confidence and power.
The Debonaire Club
John Cecil Milton Waller, founder of the Debonaire Club, custom clothing, started his brand inspired by his passion for suits and custom clothing. His brand specializes in suiting for both men and women, with a focus on customers who want a bit of edge to their suiting without going too far out on the edge. Waller is excited about his upcoming collection that will feature more women’s suiting, as he believes it unlocks a different level of creativity and diversity.
When it comes to fashion entrepreneurship, Waller believes that creativity, business etiquette, and passion are the top three essential skills. He emphasizes the importance of having a passion for fashion as it can drive an entrepreneur to get things off the ground. For those who want to start their own fashion brand, Waller suggests focusing on sourcing, particularly when it comes to manufacturer and fabrics. He encourages immersing oneself in different fabrics and taking time to create their garment.
The World of Siempre
Alondra Rojas, the Founder and CEO of “The World of Siempre,” draws inspiration from Selena Quintanilla and aims to create a luxury womenswear brand that empowers bodies in any shape or form. Siempre’s direction is to create one-of-a-kind fabrics that are sourced in Los Angeles, showcasing beautiful curves and silhouettes in limited pieces that honor a forever touch with superior quality comfort.
The ideal customer is someone who loves to explore and expand their style, loves color, and has a staple piece that turns heads. The top three skills that fashion entrepreneurs need to have are strong visualization skills, detailed-oriented, and strong decision-making skills. Rojas advises aspiring fashion entrepreneurs to explore and find what sparks their interests and adds change to it as fashion is storytelling, and it is up to the individual to start their own book for the world to read.
The brand owner was inspired to create products that would make women feel beautiful and confident just the way they are. The ideal customer is a woman who wants to feel happy and secure with herself. Each collection is special, and the upcoming winter collection is particularly rich in detail.
The top three skills that fashion entrepreneurs need to have are consistency, transparency, and commitment to the customer. The advice for those who want to start their own fashion brand is to not give up, as obstacles are there to be overcome, and with passion and hard work, success is achievable.
VJG CLOTHING COMPANY
Valandus Gibson is the founder of V.J.G Clothing Company. The brand represents the sexy, hidden, unspoken side of every person, depicted through fashion. VJG aims to bring out the alter ego of its customers and encourages them to appreciate the unapologetic art in things that others may judge. Valandus started his journey as a predominantly male designer, but God led him more towards women’s fashion.
The ideal VJG customer is someone who looks to accentuate their “juicy,” whether that be their boldness, artistic flair, exclusivity, or someone looking for the perfect piece to tie their shoes in. The top three skills that fashion entrepreneurs need to have, according to Valandus, are perseverance, marketing skills, and the ability to make their own prices. His advice to those starting their own brand is to make a plan, stay true to themselves, and keep reinventing, developing, and growing.
Yvette Libby N’guyen
Libby Yvette N’guyen is the founder of Yvette LIBBY N’guyen Paris, a sustainable and gender-fluid outerwear brand. Inspired by her great-grandmother Yvette N’guyen, a couturier, and her passion for fashion, Libby pursued her dream by studying fashion and launching her own brand in 2016. Yvette LIBBY N’guyen Paris offers timeless, elegant, and eco-responsible designs, inspired by the fashion of Europe and Asia.
The brand’s motto is to “treasure the past, enhance the present,” and they achieve this by using natural fibers and dyes and producing only two pieces of each style per size. The ideal customer is someone who appreciates retro and ecological fashion and is nostalgic about the past. The top skills for fashion entrepreneurs are passion, persistence, and resilience. Libby advises aspiring entrepreneurs to believe in themselves and their vision and to never give up.