October 3, 2009
career karma – Adriana Fulop
Adriana Fulop is a fashion designer and entrepreneur. I can’t remember when I met her, but it seems like she is all over Toronto and the internet, collaborating with other artists and designers and sharing the success. Currently she is the co-designer for cyber-gothic label Plastik Wrap, she is organizing the Bazaar of the Bizarre – a Hallowe’en designer market, and she collaborates on Bitchcraft with Gabrielle Neveu of Trap Door.
Somehow she found time to answer a few of my questions. Thanks Adriana!
Gothic has mixed meanings… of course one cant help but think of the grand gothic architecture throughout Europe especially growing up in Slovakia, with its many castles and ruins.. For me its more of a feeling of somber tones, love of darker shades (not necessary only black) weird quirky music, ambient moods….I would usually not label myself Gothic but cant say that I am not influenced by it.
I am really glad that Mrs. Steele described the Gothic style in such a wide range. Hopefully people realize that its not all just crushed velvet, crosses, cemeteries and melancholy music.
Does being a designer with a “subcultural” client base mean that you don’t draw inspiration from current trends or mainstream designers? Does the craze for vampires, or the hard-edged superwoman looks we’re seeing for Fall 2009 draw new customers to Plastik Wrap?
I don’t think we (Ryan and I, Ryan Webber the other designer for Plastik Wrap) can say that we don’t draw inspiration from current trends, since we draw inspiration from everything in our lives, we try not to limit this, however; we make an effort to avoid trade publications with the latest runway fashions preferring to draw from our interpretations of trends that we see on the streets, in new music and from the topics of interest of today.
Regards to the inundation of vampires in today’s literature and film/television: I don’t feel that these sorts of trends have a direct impact on us as far as a customer base. These trends are consumed most heavily by a young audience who are prone to change with every season…Although; this audience being exposed to these aesthetics may lend to future increases in our customer base as they grow a deeper fondness… we will have to wait and see.
Do you produce collections seasonally, or are you able to create your own conventions when it comes to business cycles?
We produce 2 seasons a year, Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Sometimes we offer the collections right in the season. Our wholesale customer, which are mostly small boutiques most of the time prefer to buy from us in the season, rather than half a year ahead.
We are realizing that the way small boutiques look at order wholesale is changing, and we are working on a few new models for sales. Hopefully, we will make the process easier for the retailer and open up new markets for us at the same time.
Through out the year we do make some mini collections or introduce new styles, fabrics, colors. Especially now, having an actual boutique, is a great way to test out a product before deciding to put it in our seasonal catalogues.
Plastik Wrap has a very active online store and a wholesale business. More recently, you opened a bricks-and-mortar location in Toronto. Why is it important to have a storefront?
As I previously mentioned, having a boutique is a great way to test out new products. Interacting directly with our customers has also helped us improve our fits and designs. We offer alterations which helped us acquire a broader market since we all know there is such a wide variety of body types. We can show more of our aesthetic in merchandising, accessorizing outfits, so that our customers have a better sense of our style.
Having an actual boutique is the best market research we could have done.
What are the differences between selling fashion to online clients versus visitors to your physical location?
I guess the main difference is the personal contact…on-line its harder to get to know your customers, to see what they like, to help them to get the best fit. But on the other hand, you do not have to make decisions for them. They see and buy what they want, instead of changing 20 times and wanting you to choose for them. Both sides have their pros and cons.
Although, I have to say, its fun to see our designs in action, on real people, looking stylish and happy.