After college, I was lost. So, I embarked on a journey for an explanation or a visual representation that best reflected my current state. I turned to the rabbit hole of Pinterest, where I came across the image below.
My birth year being the year of the snake, I was attracted to anything snake related. I learned the symbol represented Ouroboros. An ancient Egyptian and Greek symbol that has the literal translation of "tail eater". There are several meanings interwoven into it. One of them being the cyclic nature of the universe: creation out of destruction, life out of death. An eternal cycle of renewal.
If there is a beginning there is an end. If there is an end there is a beginning.
It is inevitable to avoid failure. Through failure, lessons will be taught and the only option is to pick up the pieces and start over. I saw it as an infinite cycle until we part this world. This idea helped in motivating me to create an apparel brand called Orobos, short for ouroboros. This was a personal project that I held very close to me.
I was working for a e-comm company sold phone cases. My boss originally being in the textile industry had garments and samples laying around everywhere. Curious, I asked him about it. He was interested in starting a clothing line and asked if I was interested. I pitched my idea for a performance athleisure brand using highly technical fabrics. He was willing to invest! Coincidently, my father was in the textile industry so I was always interested in apparel. I figured this was a great opportunity to learn and expand my design knowledge. We scraped the phone cases and gave birth to an apparel company.
I immediately knew I wanted to create a brand around the ouroboros symbol. After simplifying I came up with Orobos.
Orobos is a start-up fashion ecommerce company that sells modern classic clothing to men and women of the Generations X,Y,Z who are in the upper-middle class. We will start with ecommerce to gain some traction and recognition then open popup shops around New York City and trade shows around the world. While our initial goal is an ecommerce site, we will plan to expand our business to other fashion ecommerce sites.
With the rise of the athleisure market. We will closely follow fashion trends and cultural shifts to tailor our seasonal looks to the rapidly changing styles. We will solely focus on utilizing technical fabrics and special fit the new age of athleisure. Creating unique fits out of classics will be our specialty.
The total sales reported in the U.S. market for athleisure in 2014 exceeded $100 billion. Big name retailers like Nike, Under Armor, and Adidas were increasing inventory up to 200% at the time. We wanted a peice of the pie.
I have created Orobos for men and women who want modern, functional, considered designs. We want to offer reinvented classics and wardrobe essentials, that are made to last beyond the season. Merging traditional methods with new technical fabrics, we worked hard to create pieces that look timeless. We hoped our customers enjoy the attention to detail and the wide depth of inspiration that defined our collection.
I sought inspiration from watching numerous interviews of established designers in the space. One designer that stood out was Alexander Wang. The rise of athleisure was happening during this time and Wang created daring pieces marrying handbags and Jordan shoes. Accompanied by one piece dresses that were made in highly technical fabrics.
The biggest hurdle was coming up with a business plan. Google was my best friend and reaching out to a small networks of friends who were in the apparel industry gave me some guidance. The boss who was familiar with the retail space had successfully sold garments to huge retailers like Macy's and Costco. So learning the business aspect of the fashion industry was great help.
Learning how to create tech packs presented itself as a challenge. Specing out the details of ever single feature and stitch was time consuming. However having used Illustrator for years the learning curve was shallow.
In industrial design choosing the right materials for a product is just as important as the product itself. The same was for apparel. Each fabric differs in touch, draping attribute, light reflection, the list is endless. The only way to understand these qualities of fabrics was to go through racks of different textiles. Luckily, I had access to all different technical fabrics since the boss had a collection of swatches. It was quite addicting to feel all the fabrics.
With performance wear in mind I was able to narrow down given that heat retention, sweat wicking, and weatherproofing were key factors. Nylon, elastic + cotton blends, and neoprene were primarily used.
In preperation for FW2014 we produced 6 outerwear garments.