YHP Interviews fashion designer and founder of Concreterose clothing
Hi Rachy? How is it going?
Hey, I’m good, just a bit tired, but all in all, I’m good
Can you give us some background information about you? What do you do?
I am 21 from North London, and I’m a fashion designer. I have a bespoke fashion label named Concreterose clothing.
When was Concreterose clothing started? Why the name?
I started it about 5years ago...well maybe longer than that...but I made it official 5years ago.It is a bespoke label, and every piece of clothing is handmade and created to the satisfaction of the customer.
The name is based on me really. As I grew up in an area which isn’t considered to be of high value...and I’ve always tried to achieve the unexpected or the best out of a negative situation .So I created the tagline, ‘in an environment so damaged and cold, the beauty now shines through as you are the Concreterose .’ Concreterose clothing’s aim is to create something different from the norm, just like a rose growing from concrete which is unheard of and that is what Concreterose clothing creates, unseen, unheard of and new designs.’
What inspired you to start it? How has the journey been so far?
I kind of inspired myself; I only have family as role models really. I don’t really think there are a lot of people around me doing what I am doing. I am inspired a lot by my love for old school hip-hop and Neo-Soul. I also love the American fashion of the 80’s-90’s, like Salt and Pepa, LL Cool J, Run DMC, Mc Lyte, but then I like the elegance of the red carpet and the high fashions of the world. And I think that’s where you get the two differences of the label, the ‘concrete’ being the hardcore, hip-hop side and then the elegance high fashion being the ‘rose’ of the label. The journey has been hard, aswell as fun. I love what I do and I will continue to love what I do. But then if it wasn’t hard, then it wouldn’t be worth it. I love a challenge.
At what age did you fall in love with fashion?
I got my first singer sewing machine around 8 so, it was quite an early age, but I was mainly into becoming a dancer at that age. I guess fashion came out of dancing, as I used to watch music videos and like the outfits and then I would design outfits for the dance group I was in. Because I started out as a customizer, which I still do. I bought my airbrush machine at about 16
What makes your line stand out from other competitors?
All the garments are one off pieces. Most of the clothing is womens wear but in the last year I’ve opened a menswear line. The general customers interested are people looking for something, new, different and unique and affordable . Every Concreterose piece created is original and unique, ‘no two pieces are the same’, separated by features such as beading, ribbons, sequins, diamantes and much more, which are all hand applied and sewn.
Who are your competitors?
To be honest ... I don’t think I have any in this country. I don’t see anyone doing what I am doing. So I wouldn’t know, plus I don’t look for them. They can look for me if they want to.
Who are your target market?
My target market is really from the ages of 15 upwards. I make clothing that is custom made and made to fit. So whoever wants an outfit can order one. I cater to everyone who is interested in looking good.
What inspires your designs?
I am inspired by a lot of old school hip-hop and a lot of catwalk dresses. The label has so many different sides to it. It doesn’t just cater to one type of audience. I make dresses, I made hoodies. I make t shirts, I make skirts. I don’t just do one type of garment.
Who is your role model in life and business?
My mother is my role model; she is the person who gives me hope and drive. She has always told me, don’t settle for second best. And I don’t. I consider myself quite on a higher level compared to a lot of females my age. I don’t smoke; I don’t have any kids or man issues. I am very smart and successful. I have a different mentality thanks to my mother and my great grandmother who passed away last year. She told me that I can do what I want and don’t let anyone tell me anything. She was a strong woman who died at 81 who had a heart of a 21year old and I have always felt like I have an old woman trapped inside of me and I think it’s her spirit. It keeps me going and makes me who I am.
Who is your favourite entrepreneur at the moment?
Erm, I don’t really have one. I do like what Kimora Simmons has done with the empire she has created. As a person people may hate her, and at times I think she is high maintenance and annoying, but I only recently understood why she is like that. She is a business woman and time is money. I also like Vanessa and Angela Simmons, and their whole pastry movement, even though I’m not a big fan of the brand. I appreciate of what they do.
What is the favourite piece of clothing you own?
I have a white knitted shawl that I found in H and M on the floor, it was the last one, and cost £5 and up to this day I haven’t seen anyone with it!! It is so comfy and cute. I have this retro-vintage vibe about me. But I also like kind of granny type clothing. My mum always says that is what a grandma wears and I’m like I don’t care. I like it!
Who is your favourite designer?
I don’t really have an all time favourite designer, but lately I have fallen in love with Jeremy Scott’s collections. He is like out of this world and so creative and talented. He is coming to the UK this autumn and I hope I get to meet him. I also like some of Marc Jacobs work.
What do you like/dislike about the industry?
At the moment, I can’t stand all these t-shirt printing brands. They are annoying me and taking away opportunities for real designers. Come with something new and original and I will respect it. If you can make the t-shirt from scratch then I can give you respect for that. It’s like someone does it and then everyone else follows. I am not a follower, I’m a creator.
What has been your most valuable lesson learnt so far as an entrepreneur?
To live life! If you don’t enjoy what you do, then make it fun! I am trying to make my life happy for me and if it isn’t fun then why am I doing it?
What do you feel is key when starting a business especially a clothing line?
Know your talents, your skills and if you are not fully skilled, learn them. I took five years to develop my craft and still haven’t finished. As the label grows I grow and I don’t know everything about fashion, neither do Versace and Gucci. They have developed with given time and still will. Also know who you are targeting and what the customer wants, if they don’t want it, why give it to them.
What are your plans for the future?
I am trying to build connections with New York at the moment, so I can do shows over there, as I plan to move over there in the next 3years. But also I am trying to make my mark in this country and let people know what Concreterose clothing is. Not just in London but everywhere in the UK, to the point where you can go to a boutique in Manchester and see a piece of my clothing.
Thank you for your time and we wish you the best in the future.