1- Hello Cheyenne, can you tell us a bit about yourself
I was born and raised in a traditional Chinese family. I have been immersed in arts since the age of seven, when I began studying classical piano performance. Although I no longer competes, the piano remains one of my passions and sources of creativity. I was trained as an economist with a Master’s degree in Economics from Texas A&M University, but I continue to seek my true purpose in life. While working in the economics and finance area for 7 years, I gradually discovered a desire and passion for a career in a creative field and started studying fashion design in 2012. The rest, as they say, is history. To me, fashion design serves as the amalgamation of both of my analytical and creative mind. I believe in the importance of methods & techniques in fashion design, but try not to be confined by them. In order to develop a unique and independent creative perspective, I think one must challenge the established limits with positivity, humility and temperance; seek simplicity within the difficulty: and consciously aware that garments are to be created to embody the essence of art — designed to move and inspire and fashion is to be run like a business — careful planning, discipline, and processes.
2- How would you describe a “Verity & Volition” in under few words?
Verity & Volition’s a premium quality women’s fashion brand with a sense of wisdom. It embodies the fundamental belief that truth, wisdom and integrity can be expressed through one’s fashion choices.
3- How did you first get the idea to start “Verity & Volition”?
Verity and volition are truly the most important two things in my life. Not only are they dictating my actions and pursuits, they are where my faith lies, they are what I believe is missing in a lot of people’s lives, at least those I have had the pleasure to meet. I hope to connect those who share the vision of truth, empower those who are on their quest for truth, and inspire those to embark on their journey to seek the truth. Furthermore, I hope those who have already found their true purpose have courage and perseverance to execute it. I want to convey this idea through something that I am passionate about and enjoy doing — fashion design. People are more likely to listen to you when you are doing something you love and happy.
4- How do you differentiate yourselves from your competitors?
I don’t look at other designers as my competitors, but my collaborators. We are constantly learning from each other and growing. The pie is big enough for everybody to make money as the clothing business is still growing based on my research. Having said that, I do believe Verity & Volition is different from other designers brand because our ultimate goal is not just to clothes people’s physical body, but clothes their soul and encourage them to seek truth and find happiness. Other clothes brand mainly focuses on the aesthetic and social aspect of fashion, then Verity & Volition is focusing on the spiritual and philosophical aspects of it and trying to marrying these two.
5- What are your focus style lines and why?
I don’t have any. I believe what any type of creators’ creations (including fashion designs) are a true reflection of their internal world and their belief system, what they perceive is true.
6- Your style is very unique, what inspires the Verity & Volition’s team in term of fashion?
Anything that moves and inspires us to be better human beings, from literature to culture, from philosophy to mathematics, from human development to creative entrepreneurs, and from eastern to western. We are interesting in bringing in seemingly contradicting elements or ideas and weld them into our designs to spark a thinking process of the viewers and wearers.
7- What were some of the biggest challenges Fashion entrepreneurs encounter while trying to start their new companies?
I think the challenges that all entrepreneurs face — time, energy, finance, logistics, deadlines, and relationship building. It is challenging to manage all aspects of business since we have limited resources and help at an early stage. But fashion is very unique in terms of the turn-over of the product offering. You cannot sell one or few products for a very long time and new designs need to come out very fast which puts a lot of pressure on the creativity of the designers. In reality, the design only takes about 20% of the time during the whole collection cycle while the rest of the business tasks takes about 80%. It is hard to balance those two at times and we have to switch minds pretty fast to keep up. The second is that we have limited knowledge to predict how the market will react to our designs because every designer has a different point of view which is always acceptable to the mass market. So the challenge is to find those who do accept and believe in you and share your perspectives and values. There are people somewhere on this planet sharing the same interests as you, the trouble is where they are and how to find them. And this takes a lot of time, effort, and perseverance, and learning.
8- And what were some of the biggest challenges you encountered personally as an entrepreneur?
First is to balance the time, energy, and most importantly money. When I first started my brand, I was an intern, so I had plenty of time to work on my designs every day, but money drains pretty fast that way. Then I started a full-time job as an assistant designer in a clothing company which put a lot of pressure on me as I can only work at night when the time is limited and energy level is pretty low. But that helped to ease the finance quite a bit. There is always this dilemma. Second is battling self-doubt. There are quite a few times that I think I could not make it happen, nobody likes my design, I don’t have enough experience, my photo shoot was not good enough… Third is dealing with people who broke their promises. The sewing contractors don’t have time, the cutters changed mind and decided not to cut my designs, the photo shoots stylist back out due to personal reasons.
9- What tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in the fashion industry?
There is nothing glamorous about the fashion business. It is a lot of hard work, perseverance, constantly learning new things and careful planning. Keep up with the occurrence in the fashion industry. I mean the business of fashion, not just the runway shows, editorials, and fashion films. Knowing what is going on in the industry can be very beneficial in growing the business. Don’t spend a lot of money on producing fashion shows unless you know you can boost sales. Treat your pattern makers, graders, cutters, sample makers, sewing contractors well and with respect. Without them, there will be no products to be sold.
10- A last Word or final thoughts?
Live compassionately, yet righteously; humbly, yet victoriously; fearlessly, yet purposefully!