Choosing fabrics in a Kabul souk with mom in 2005 for a bohemian Afghan-women made collection, inspired by the tribal embroideries of Afghanistan. My dream then was to open a sewing factory for Afghan women to create jobs but unfortunately it didn’t happen as planned (a long story for a rainy day). Those were pre-social media days meaning an independent fashion designer like myself had limited channels to not only source + produce small batch productions but also to show and market work: orders came through website (e-commerce was at its infancy), trade shows and showrooms. From 2001 when I launched my first collection, I walked from block to block, avenue to avenue in the garment district in NYC and knocked on doors of fabric mills, contractors, notions/trim wholesalers, showrooms and boutique doors to produce and market my line. There were times I would drive from city to city myself to show it each season. I built a business from zero to selling to over 60 boutiques without knowing a single person in NYC.
Independent designers don’t realize how much easier it is right now to reach and sell directly to consumers, not to mention the resources available to find suppliers and manufacturers. But it gave me a world of experience that I’m so happy to have now
because nothing now seems “hard”.