Fernando Garcia, co-creative director of Oscar de la Renta and founder of Monse, discusses his rise to become the top designer of a luxury fashion house and founder of his own independent label.
On filling the white space in the luxury fashion market: “We just had developed a big network by that point with buyers and stylists and people who cared for our success. And we knocked on doors and we were just really humble and asked for people's opinions. ‘What do you feel like is the freshest idea that we have here?’ But like in everything I do design-wise, it's always about what's missing in our eye. And what was affordable at the time was to take a bunch of shirts that we found at Goodwill and my shirts … So, we just started chopping up shirts and deconstructing became the sort of DNA by accident. But we did get really important people's feedback and opinions before we started to go for that.”
On the creative disruption of launching an independent label: “The two years we left Oscar [de la Renta] to start Monse was the best decision we’ve ever made as creatives. It forced us to think outside of that umbrella …. So, that sort of disruption was good for us … It was very important to leave the company and think outside of the box for a little bit.”
On business considerations when conceptualizing collections: “The business side of it, we always have to carry over -- at least 50 percent of the new collection has to be new versions of what was successful in the last one. And then the other 50 is experiments, which 20 percent will probably fail and not work. So, you get a mix of exciting new things. But making sure that your business side is covered to a certain extent.”
On developing a competitive edge by designing for global clientele: “I think 50 percent of the Oscar de la Renta business is in America. But 50 is the rest of the world. And during the first two years … we really were sent everywhere in the world to get to know our clients and understand them. Having that visibility shows in your product. Even if it's like because I have to design caftans for Ramadan, I design an embroidery that eventually maybe becomes a gown that I can sell for an American woman. So, the trajectory of my brain, starting from something that I need to design for that part of the world, bleeds into the product that I'm making for a customer in Texas … I just don't know if there's a lot of American brands that have the need to serve so many types of women. And because of that, I've had to bleed all of those ideas together, it probably shows in the products.”
This episode was recorded on June 27, 2022