Exclusive Interview: Designer Rebecca Minkoff

Known for her playful and subtly edgy designs, designer Rebecca Minkoff sits on the panel of the new reality show, Project Runway: Fashion Startup. Find out what she has to share to aspiring entrepreneurs!

By The Weekly | May 18, 2017

What motivated you to start your own label?

I was working for another designer at that time and I knew that I wanted to have my own label. After working for that designer for three years, I figured if I wanted to keep doing this and working this hard that it should be at my own company.

How important is digital to your brand and business?

Digital is everything! It’s how we grew our platform and is going to become our main focus because you can have a direct one-to-one interaction with our consumers and you get to own the customers from the beginning through the life span of that relationship and that’s more valuable than anything.

Based on your experiences, how can start ups progress from small players to global brands much like yourself?

I think you have to have a clear vision and being able to identify what your product is, have good branding and its important to surround yourself with people that have strength that you don’t have so that when you’re going up for a fight you have strength all around

What are the obstacles you had to overcome and how did you do it?

Millions! Lack of funding, lack of acceptance from certain stores and certain magazines,  production issues, quality issues. Name any issue and I can tell you that we’ve been through them. Each time something catastrophic happens, I think it’s about sticking together figuring out the solutions to the problem. Again surrounding yourself with people who know more than you and utilising that strength to solve problems.

 Do you take risks to push your brand forward? Why?

We built our brand by taking risks and now we embrace the risks. We started talking to our costumers before what was allowed or acceptable. We changed Fashion Week and we feel very comfortable taking risks we feel that’s part of our success.

What is that one thing in your career that you regretted the most?

For about two years we decided that when we launch our apparel that it needed to be of very high concept. And we stopped talking to our customers when we did that so I think we should have just made available pretty clothing that everybody wanted to wear. We do that now but we made that mistake in the beginning.

How’s the fashion landscape today and how has it changed since you started?

The fashion landscape has changed tremendously. Back then during Fashion Week is only between designers and models. You used to not being able to see the images from Fashion Week because it still wasn’t a magazine and everything is moving away from an in-store shopping experience to online and how to make in-store experience different for consumers and I think e-commerce changed how people shop and interact with products so it‘s moving ahead.

How do you come up with fresh ideas for your label?

I think the key is to constantly think to yourself whether it’s art or just a good look and into shopping just constantly looking at new things and I’m lucky that I get to travel for what I do so constantly being in a new culture and seeing new cities definitely helps.

What are the trends this year that you would recommend?

Trendwise, anything embellished and overly novel, wide leg pants, cropped jackets, lots of off-the-shoulder tops.

Do you have any advice for aspiring fashion designers out there?

You need to be persistent and to find a wide space to figure out what makes you different and special and why they should want to buy you over the brands that already exist. When you discover that, that’s the ultimate thing you need to know before you start out.

What are the top 5 qualities that you are looking for in a Project Runway: Fashion Startup winner?

A solid business plan, a great product and entrepreneurial spirit and being tenacious in knowing that failure would be a part of success.

Project Runway: Fashion Startup premieres on May 18, Thursdays, 9pm at Lifetime (Astro Channel 709).



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