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Posted Jan 11, 2010 in For Both | 0 Comments

SUCCESSful Interview

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Bruce Barton said “Most successful men have not achieved their distinction by having some new talent or opportunity presented to them. They have developed the opportunity that was at hand.” This stands true for Montreal graphic designer turned entrepreneur and Success label owner.

1.  Where does the inspiration of Success Clothing come from?

The inspiration that fuels the brand comes from my own will to achieve success. They say everything is contagious.  So is motivation. I truly believe in the power of success, everything that it implies, as well as the dream that lies in all of us. I never thought that this word would create such hype! I do not promote success itself. I’d rather promote the road that leads there. Real success is achieving it, because once you have it, the fun is over. It’s how you get it that matters. We are a generation of young entrepreneurs, hard working people that can get together to achieve big things.  We all work for success, no matter what it means.

2.  Why the name Success clothing?

The real story behind the name is this: it did not start out as Success Clothing. It was called Swag Clothing in 2007, but with the rise of Swagger Clothing from Japan, it was a bit confusing for people and I could feel that the word was being overly abused. So after 4 months of thinking and sketching new names,  I had this dream on night in which I was searching for a golden box in the jungle. Inside that box was a piece of paper with success written on it. I jumped out of bed and went to the drawing board. It really represented all I wanted to express in one single word, a powerful word that everyone can relate to. So after a few sketches, I came up with the same “handwritten” logo we use today. Yes, the Success logo consists of  a piece of paper, a black sharpie marker, and my handwriting. That’s how low-budget it was back then.

3.  How long have you been designing?

I need to clear something up : I am NOT a fashion designer. I don’t do any sewing or patterns. I am originally a graphic designer, specializing in Interactive Medias that uses clothes and fabrics as a platform for visual creations like any other platform, such as paper, web, TV, or radio. If you ask me how long I have been drawing, well, I’ve been drawing all my life. It all started from baby doodles in kindergarden, then drawing cartoons and painting with acrylics in elementary, to doing graffiti in high school, which lead to typography and graphic design in college. And somehow, I ended up in the clothing industry after that.  I will alway express myself through my creations.  It just so happened that, at this stage of my life, my medium is clothing.

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4.  If you could name your style icon, who would it be and why?

There are many style icons that I love.  One person that I really look up to is Nigo, the creator of Bape (A Bathing Ape) in Japan. He created a monster in the streetwear industry, whether you like the Bape style or not . To be honest, I don’t even have ONE piece of Bape in my wardrobe. I am not the biggest fan. What I admire in Nigo is the vision he’s put under that name. From a simple concept, such as “A Bathing Ape,” (because Nigo likes the movie Planet of the Apes) he built an empire all over the world, especially in his own city, the beautiful Tokyo. He was one of the first brands that’s so exclusive, that it is only available at Bape Stores. He created the concept of Flagship Stores that looks like a Design Museum, each store being different and unique. Nigo had that vision of success and accomplished it. Just youtube Nigo or Bape Stores and you’ll see why I admire this man.

5.  If you could choose one person to be the face of your line who would it be and why?

It’s hard to put one face to such a universal concept like Success. Everyone has their own interpretation of what Success is. If I think of a local success story, it would definitely be Guy Laliberté’s road to success. If you don’t know his story, he was a regular guy from Quebec who was homeless at some point in his life, but who had a passion for amusing people. He had a vision, a dream, and a goal.  He created Le Cirque du Soleil in 1983. Look at what it has become today. It is really a billion dollars industry on an international level. He would be my best frontman, even though I’m pretty sure he’s not into this type of clothing!

6.  What can we expect from Success in the future?

The brand is constantly growing and gaining maturity with each year. I’m trying to bring more diversity to the table, and am giving a little more attention to the ladies collections than before. I realized after doing the 2009 accounts, that ladies made up 55% of our sales! I will also adopt a new, more sober and mature style in 2010 for the Spring Collection. I’m working on a few collaborations with other brands and shops.  It’s all about showing love to the family in this sneaky industry. Besides clothing, Success will be working on introducing accessories, jewelry, and some lifestyle products in 2010. This has nothing to do with clothes.  It’s more like products for your house. I can’t say more than this at this point…

7.  What is your production ritual like (what helps you create)?

The process is like a routine. It is always the same for each collections. It is all fragmented in chunks of processes that are much simpler than they seem. Here is how I would break it down : Research – Design and Creation – Production Samples – Samples Corrections – Full Production – Photoshoots – Promotion – Distribution. These are the steps I have to go through each time. I can’t do everything on my own, so I have very talented people that are with me that I can always seek for help.

8.  What made you decide to become a designer?

The term “designer” is very controversial. I don’t even know when or how I switched from “artist” to “designer”. I am in love with design in all its forms. If I had the knowledge to do all forms of design, there would be no limit to my creations! I’m talking about architecture, designing buildings and spaces (industrial design), creating chairs and iPods, or even designing a car! Until someone knows all spheres of design, I don’t think they can appropriate the term “designer”. You can be a graphic designer, a fashion designer, or a web designer, but what’s being just a designer?

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9.  What is you favorite fashion era? Why? Do you think it influences your way of designing?

I love our current era because it’s a big mashup of all past decades in fashion all at the same time. There is so much diversity in so many different fashion categories. It allows creators, like myself, to have eclectic creations and put in cultural references too.

Fashion is a big loop. Trends and eras come back every few years. We saw the coming back of the 80s in the past year, and now we’re going back into the 90s, and the wheel keeps spinning… To know the history of fashion helps you see the future trends, but repeating is not fun. It’s always better to innovate, or at least, to improve upon the designs of the past.

10.  Do you have advice to new designers about staying true to themselves?

It’s not about being true to yourself, it’s more about about remaining true to the message your brand is transmitting. At the end of the day, clothes are just rags with prints and cuts. What makes it unique is the message, the vibe, or the idea that it’s promoting. Know your target well enough to talk to them specifically. A t-shirt line without a direction will never be a brand. It will end up as an humorous or souvenir product.

11.  Why the switch from graphic artist to having your own clothing line?

I didn’t like working in design agencies or studios. I was working 9-5 in a design firm, doing some boring designs for boring clients. So I left my job to be a freelance graphic designer, which I’ve been doing for the last 6 years. It allowed me to work on very interesting projects, a lot of branding and logotypes mainly, some projects for cinema and television too, but I still didn’t like my job. Why? Because the clients are the boss. They tell you what to do, and I hate being told what to do. So I wanted to be my own boss. I started selling my first 12 shirts in early 2007 in my car, delivering door-to-door, even for just one t-shirt! Since then, I’ve been doing both freelance project and the Success clothing line to earn a decent living.

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12.  What were some of the hardships you face with Success in the Canadian market ?

I think the hardest part was getting on the market. It’s hard starting a brand in the streetwear industry, which is already saturated with tons of brands from all around the world. Building up a name, networking with the right people, and getting the public’s attention is definitely the hardest part. Once you’ve established yourself, everything flows much smoother. Right now, the hardest part is exporting your products out of Canada. I am definitely going to expand my brand in the USA and EUROPE this year, because some opportunities have opened up in these places.

13.  What has the feedback for Success been like?

The reception has been pretty good so far. It’s mostly constructive comments to help me readjust every season. I wouldn’t be at the point I am today without the love Montreal showed me when I first started. The crowd then became bigger and crossed borders thanks to the internet! I think connecting with people though social networks such as Facebook or Twitter really helped me. It makes the relation between the brand and the customers or stores a little more intimate. People can comment, discuss, or diss my products, which also helps me understand my target crowd better. The closer they feel to the brand, the more they attach themselves to it, which creates a pretty stable fanbase. 2009 was the first year I actually shipped outside of Montreal, which really proved to me that more people are in the same vibe than I thought! I get emails and orders from Japan, France, USA, UK, Netherlands, Italy, and even from Africa! I have no idea how they heard about Success, but all I know is that they love it…

14.  What was a pivotal moment for you or your line since you started?

My turning point was definitely the last Back To School Collection 2009 (Success ‘Til Infinity). That ad campaign really created a lot of noise and gave me a lot of credibility on the fashion scene. I had a great idea for that campaign : creating a unique character for each design with a different personality so that each shirt design had a story to tell. The result was a marketing monster : a photoshoot with 9 characters (The Cool, The Bitch, The Snob, The Heartbreaker, The Bully, The Nerd, The Fresh, The Skater, and The Hood). Each day on my blog, I would release one character with their story. I would discuss who hangs out with who, who hates who, just a like a mini soap-opera. People were so curious about the characters that they would come back every day to see who was next. That definitely created the biggest hype so far. It caught the attention of thousands and thousands of visitors on my blog in just 9 days. From there, I made a printed catalogue and went on roadtrips to sell my product. 

15.  Quotes you live by

If A is success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.

-Albert Einstein

The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration.

-Confucius

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

-Sir Winston Churchill

So how can people get Success?

We Got Success.com – Everything is located on this site

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