When people ask me how 'business' is going?', I'll be the first to admit that the business of fashion is hard. Between designing winning styles, and marketing and selling them profitably, this is a hard industry. The garment industry also gets a bad rap for supporting sweat shops and underpaid workers.
However, my trip to China reminded me of all that is amazing about the fashion and garment industry. I visited the factory where my clothes were made and met the 60+ middle-aged people who worked there. Many of them greeted me with a cheerful 'Nee Hao!'. One of them said to me, 'I wish you success so we can all come up together.' I had a very similar experience as well when I visited the factory's showroom and sales office in downtown Guangzhou. There, I saw dozens of well-dressed, twenty-something year olds employed in savvy roles like online sales, social media marketing and digital design. As I sat with different teams and we discussed my next collection, my excitement knew no bounds because I knew that what we were creating in Guangzhou was going to touch people around the world.
Fashion is hard, but for a designer like myself, fashion is about creating products that transform people's lives on a personal level. For a garment factory worker, every garment produced is a job created, a family sustained, an economy prospered and a nation preserved. For a happy customer, every garment purchased is confidence rekindled and excitement reborn. This isn't an industry that is just about clothes, this is an industry about people.
Going to China has helped me realize that I'm in love. Im in love with the fashion industry. I'm in love with the products we make, the customers we serve and the jobs we create. I've fallen deeply in love with fashion industry because it has given me the opportunity to serve billions of people around the world and to create millions of jobs while I do so.
Thank you Guangzhou.