New York Fashion Week (NYFW)
To help kick off the week of fashion, I attended the fabulous lifestyle brand, Anjé’s, Pop Up Event and interviewed the founder, Angela Brasington. Anjé designs and creates high quality, American-made products that are wardrobe staples for sophisticated and fashion-savvy women. The pieces in the collections are timeless, stylish, and comfortable. Anjé collections are predominantly manufactured in NYC, which helps to sustain and preserve NYC’s historic Garment District. In fact, the motivation behind the pop up event was Angela’s desire to bring more awareness to American-made products, young entrepreneurs, and women-owned businesses. Angela was able to find multiple businesses from NOT JUST A LABEL and asked local entrepreneurs to join the event ~ it was a huge success! Learn more about Angela and Anjé in my interview below.(*DN will stand for Dale Noelle)
For some up-close and personal peeks and behind the scenes footage of some of the hottest runway shows, be sure to follow me on Instagram @DaleNoelle_TRUE.
DN: How has Anjé’s business model evolved over the years? (What is your current business model vs. what it was in 2014?)
Anjé’s business model has evolved each year since our launch. I just completed this year’s update, as I had a meeting with the SBA last week. What began as a plan to launch an apparel company has grown into a full out women-empowering, industry-disrupting, innovative plan for a company that is ready to sky rocket into the tech-driven future. I am a dreamer and I believe that as long as we keep learning, we can keep growing and becoming…becoming whatever we dream. My business plan backs this.
DN: On average, how long does it take for one of your designs to go from a sketch to a product ready for shipping to customers/retailers? (What is your creative process? What influences your creativity?)
Thanks to producing locally, we can turn styles very quickly. I don’t follow the traditional “rules” of processes. I design a primarily seasonless collection, using high quality materials and minimalist, chic silhouettes that effortlessly carry you through the seasons and your travels. The creative process includes an inspiration period, designing a sketch, sourcing fabric and trims, sample making, fittings, tweaks to samples and patterns, grading, and finally pass off to the factory for production. This process could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on the construction and intricacy of the garment and how many garments we are working on at once. A lot of things influence my creativity. I like to think nothing is off limits because you never know when inspiration will strike. Music, the gym, the outdoors, business articles, entrepreneurial wins, patterns in the clouds or trees, the outdoors in general, are all inspiration to me. Inspiration is a feeling and many of the things I mention give me great feeling, which inspires me to keep going and to do more.
DN: How do you keep a competitive edge over other designers in your market?
I stay true to myself and the Anjé brand with everything I do. We are focused on local and domestic manufacturing, exceptional quality, materials that are luxurious to the touch not just the eye. We believe that women should feel as good as they look. So many people put the emphasis on how they want to look, and then squeeze their way into an uncomfortable outfit to look good. Anjé is about feeling just as beautiful as you look. We sometimes take fabrics and flip them to use the face of the fabric against the body, for an added luxe feel on the skin.*
*(some of our silk tees and dresses.)
**Our care labels have a fun little note to our customers: “You’re beautiful ;)"
DN: Why is the women's empowerment movement so important to you?
The women empowerment movement is so important to me because there is no longer an excuse for inequality. For anyone that works as hard as it takes to move their way up in their career, it is the work that matters and not a thing more. The fact that this is even in question in someone’s mind in 2016 is absolutely puzzling to me. I have experienced inequality in pay and respect in the workplace, but I didn’t let it stop me. No, instead it drove me to create Anjé.
DN: How does it make you feel when brands such as Under Armour, Cover Girl, and Always replace traditional “perfection-portraying and sexy” campaigns with empowering messages?
I absolutely LOVE them! It makes me feel we are making strides in our world, even if slow. It’s a tough world out there and I like to see the positivity coming through wherever possible. It’s also extremely motivating and inspiring as I am on this entrepreneurial journey!
DN: What are some of the key ways to engage others in supporting women’s advancement and equality?
I started doing Women Empowerment Interviews on our blog. It’s been so exciting to meet the amazingly talented and brilliant women I have interviewed. I have a long list of wonderful women I want to interview to help spread the word in support of women’s advancement and equality. I also use the hashtag #WomenEmpowerment in some of our social marketing. I think a collaborative event with other women powerhouses would be a great way to engage others and support our equality.