Three years ago, when I was 16 years old, my mother was living in London, but she had just moved to Los Angeles to start a career as a model.
At the time, she was on her way to her first fashion show.
She had already won a prize for her runway looks, and when I asked her how she was going to cover it all, she said that she had a wardrobe she would make.
“That’s what you should have in the back of your mind,” she said.
She told me she had her “black dresses, black shoes, black jackets”.
I had always wanted to be a fashion designer, but I had never really looked at it seriously until I was in London at age 17.
And then, after living in LA for the past six years, I had the idea to start my own fashion brand, and I began to think about my future career.
I would go on shoots, I would make my own clothes and then sell them online.
I also bought a brand called Bali, which was designed for a young Australian man, and the first thing I did when I arrived in London was to visit the studio.
“I had to meet the guy,” I said.
“It’s not just me, it’s the entire team, and you can’t be this cool without being the coolest.”
I was inspired by the way that he had grown up in a very traditional Australian community and had been told to be more conservative than the girls.
He was a big boy, with a good sense of style.
I wanted to follow that path, and we had a very good conversation about it.
“We are not going to make money off of it,” he said.
I was surprised.
“You’re going to start your own brand?”
“Yeah, it’ll be a small brand, but you can expect a lot of revenue.”
“Can you do a small run?”
He gave me a quick, serious look.
“What about the budget?”
I had no idea what he was talking about.
I had been thinking of starting my own brand as a hobby and I knew that I needed to know how to build a budget for the brand, so I asked what the budget would be.
He gave a number of estimates, including about $50,000 to $75,000.
“Don’t get me wrong,” he continued.
“But I’m not going through this alone.
I’m going to hire a few people and do the bare minimum and then maybe bring in more.”
I asked him what would happen if I didn’t get a deal.
“Well, you can count on us,” he replied.
“If we don’t get you in the studio, you’re going nowhere.”
I had just been introduced to an Australian brand called the Flutter.
The idea of starting a fashion brand in Australia, and then opening it in LA, was something I had dreamed of for years.
I’d always dreamed of doing it as an independent business, but now I had a chance to get it started.
So I asked how I could do that.
“Just go for it,” said my mentor.
“So you get into a small business, and in that small business you will sell a product, and that product will be your name, your logo and everything.
And you can keep all of that, so you can be a brand, too.”
I knew I was on to something, but the next thing I knew, I was going out and buying a business card for a small boutique called Staple and Bistro.
It was a little bit of a gamble, but my dream of doing a fashion business seemed like a good bet.
The next few months were spent meeting with clients, getting feedback, and getting my feet wet.
It’s been six years since I’ve worked in fashion, and it’s still hard for me to come to terms with how to move forward in a business that has been the subject of a lot more criticism than it has enjoyed.
I’ve struggled with the idea of whether I should continue to be an independent brand, or whether I would just go and do whatever it is I was doing.
My father has never been a fashion expert and when my mum asked him about the brand name, he said that was all he could think of.
But my father’s father had been a successful fashion designer and he had told me stories about being a kid in the early 1950s and being invited to a dinner party at a local club.
He told me about being asked to show the other boys around his house.
It had been quite a while since my mother had ever heard a child tell a story about being invited over to a club.
So as I sat in the lounge with my mentor and our team, I realised that I had stumbled into something that could change the way people look at the fashion industry.
At first, I thought that it would be just another casual evening