FIP Designers Turn Entrepreneurial Dreams into Reality
DMatters September 2022 Issue
The ‘follow your passion’ mantra isn’t always enough to make the cut as a successful entrepreneur, especially in the ever-changing fashion world. The Fashion Incubation Programme (FIP) has been empowering home-grown emerging fashion design talents with the business mindset and industry knowledge that help take their fashion labels off the ground. These 5 fresh graduates, who have made a name for themselves in the trade, share their wonderful FIP journeys and some tips for the programme’s new joiners.
KAY KWOK : Building a fashion brand for the ‘here and now’
It has been a fruitful 2 years for Kay Kwok, an eponymous menswear label, as he deepened his understanding of the global industry through FIP events. ‘FIP has provided me with fresh perspectives on how to build a young fashion brand for the “here and now” on making a viable business plan.’ Kay learnt to run a tight ship, setting milestones as he juggled multiple projects from designing concert costumes to launching collections in London Fashion Week. He thinks learning and exploring are a must for emerging designers. ‘Be a sponge – absorb as much as you can from all the events and networking opportunities you get invited to.’
Kay Kwok presented his AW22 collection titled ‘Chapter 1 – The Journey Begins’ in London Fashion Week.
Be a sponge – absorb as much as you can from all the events and networking opportunities you get invited to.
Cafuné : Fusing online and offline brand experiences
Cafuné, an online accessories brand founded by longtime friends Queenie Fan and Day Lau, were able to break into the physical world through FIP. They had the opportunity to participate in the kapok x FIP ‘The Female Edit’ pop-up with two other FIP designer brands. After that, they started their first Japan pop-up project at Tokyo Isetan Shinjuku and they continued their presence in Japan by introducing other upcoming projects. ‘As we became immersed into the fashion world through FIP, we have also grown our business and established more connections with industry veterans.’ While they continue to expand their direct-to-consumer business through TMall and new physical pop-up projects in Japan, they encourage new joiners to never stop until they find their uniqueness. ‘Be clear about your brand’s proposition and stay focused.’
Cafuné developed their own product showcase at Tokyo Isetan Shinjuku's Holiday Pop-up.
As we became immersed into the fashion world through FIP, we have also grown our business and established more connections with industry veterans.
KKLUE : Targeting the right customers with the right products
Another hand-picked brand in the kapok x FIP collaboration, the fine jewellery label KKLUE has launched a number of collections that nailed the right product-market fit during FIP. ‘A deeper understanding of our customer segmentation enabled us to target the right audience with the right products, and our mentors definitely helped us clear our doubts.’ As they strive to grow their online business, FIP’s branding and digital marketing training are also a boon to them. ‘We are now working to strengthen our visual identity with unique jewellery and graphic designs […] Projects in the pipeline are a co-branded collection with a leading US lifestyle brand and store openings in four major international cities.’
KKLUE’s ‘Unlock Illume’ collection celebrates every woman who has a passion that shines from within.
A deeper understanding of our customer segmentation enabled us to target the right audience with the right products, and our mentors definitely helped us clear our doubts.
CAR|2IE : Increasing visibility with new store opening and fashion collaborations
The womenswear brand CAR|2IE managed to turn the game around amid the pandemic with their first retail pop-up store opening at Harbour City. ‘We managed to identify our true business goals and what our customers need, as we cultivate stronger connections with people.’ With plans to expand to Japan, they have been expanding their presence through fashion shows and new collaborations lined up by FIP, like dressing up Serrini and her team in the ‘EarUp Gig Online 2020’ concert. Embracing both a creative and a business mindset, its founder Carrie suggests that new joiners ‘use the FIP funding wisely, especially the empowerment funds, which is helpful for our business and personal development.’
CAR|2IE’s first pop-up store ‘Merge’ at Harbour City
We managed to identify our true business goals and what our customers need, as we cultivate stronger connections with people.
ALPS Annie Ling : Expanding both product offerings and global footprint
Regardless of the travel constraints during the pandemic, the womenswear brand ALPS Annie Ling successfully expanded their product offerings and clientele, won a number of international accolades, and made their mark in fashion shows and pop-up stores such as CENTRESTAGE and ZTYLEZ with the support of FIP. ‘FIP’s empowerment workshops and training enabled us to acquire the knowledge to navigate a wide spectrum of business landscapes.’ They are shifting their focus to enhancing the lifestyle offerings and expecting to secure more stockists to make their way back to the international market.
ALPS Annie Ling made a mark in CENTRESTAGE virtual runway events with its collection ‘WARRIOR’.
FIP’s empowerment workshops and training enabled us to acquire the knowledge to navigate a wide spectrum of business landscapes.
It is encouraging to see how these talented, successful FIP design entrepreneurs have pursued their passions and gotten to where they are today. We hope to see them continue to grow their brand presence, and trust that the knowledge, experience and connections they gained in FIP will equip them for future success.