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5 October 2014

Go digital NOW – and other lessons learnt from YCE Fashion & Design

Camila Zupo runs Salpic Wearable Art, a fashion label based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She came to London Fashion Week as part of the YCE Fashion & Design tour. Here she blogs about the important business lessons she learnt from the week.

Salpic Wearable Art

I realised I had a business problem: My studio sees fashion as art; however, the week showed me how hard it is to have a healthy and successful business using this approach. So I will divide my studio into different labels: the couture label will keep the art approach, but I'll add a more commercial ready to wear label. This way I will keep the studio’s focus on art but also extend its reach through a more accessible label.

I realised I needed to be less local:  By inviting my clients into a process of co-creation with me, I was limiting them geographically (ie to people living in São Paulo). This became clear to me when I spoke to my YCE colleagues about their businesses and understood how all of them aimed for international market.  Being in the international hub of London also brought this home to me. I had been oblivious to this and yet it was so obvious!  I am now working on redesigning my business model but without losing the essence of co-creation- I will keep the concept but change the format.  I’ve already had at least three new ideas that seem to be right to scale the business and market and promote it internationally.

Salpic Wearable Art

I realised I was missing out on an important opportunity: The studio already has a minor accessories line produced from waste fabric, but I hadn't promoted this seriously.  Through talking to YCE colleagues, and business experts I realised this could be a viable line.  I will definitely dedicate time and energy on the creation of this line.

I must be more forward thinking about the design itself: At London Fashion Week, I saw many designs that promoted a new silhouette. I realised that the key to my aesthetic is deconstruction of gender through garments, and so my designs must be more daring and forward thinking.  I must not be shy or scared about taking that extra step- my garments must carry a strong political message and statement as this is the whole point of the studio.   They must tell the story on their own!

I realised I can collaborate more: During the YCE week I was able to see amazing work done by makers from all over the world.  This was an eye opening experience that made me understand that collaboration has no limits, physical or conceptual. I understood that I’m proposing an international discussion regarding gender issues and everything that comes along with it: mobility, health, policies, and so on. I will definitely approach discussions around gender from not only a local perspective, but a global one. 

Last but not least, I realised I must go fully digital: I have never been a tech geek nor had much to do with tech, but to be around so many internationally driven businesses made me realise that this is the only way to reach an international market.  I need to go digital NOW. I am already searching for a digital partner to start a digital strategy for the studio. I think I might have found one already!  

Camila Zupo was the Brazilian winner of YCE Fashion and Design 2014.