In episode 32, Elizabeth Frenchman shares what worked and what didn’t about starting a sleepwear brand in her home town of NYC after retiring from a career in graphic design.
Elizabeth Frenchman is an apparel designer who adheres to the “less is more” philosophy as well as G-d being in the details. She was born and raised in Ohio but escaped to earn a BA in printmaking from Rutgers in New Jersey. This led to a long varied graphic design career in Boston and New York. An MLS from Pratt facilitated a switch to architectural materials librarianship. Many courses at both FIT and Central Saint Martins (London) prepared her for launching a sleepwear line, Fichu Bedwear.
In architecture, in fashion, in graphics, the designer must listen to her materials. Design serves a purpose: to shelter, to clothe, to mediate harmoniously with nature yet it harness nature for knowledge, beauty and utility.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Why Elizabeth started a fashion brand after a career in graphic design
- Why she chose sleepwear as her product category
- How Elizabeth approaches design
- When it might be better to work with a one-stop-shop factory versus outsourcing each step to different vendors
- How Elizabeth made connections with patternmakers, fabric suppliers, and factories
- How being in NYC shaped how Elizabeth started Fichu Bedwear
- What Elizabeth wished she’d known about selling before starting Fichu Bedwear
- The advice Elizabeth would give to new designers starting a brand
- The advice her FIT professor gave her that she didn’t follow, but wished she did
People and resources mentioned in this episode:
- Fichu Bedwear website
- Elizabeth’s email
- Fichu Bedwear Instagram
- Elizabeth’s studio website
- Shilo Byrd patternmaker
- Mint Collaborative
- Central Saint Martins
- Evolution STL knitwear factory
- Fashion Group International of Saint Louis
- Saint Louis Fashion Fund
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