Your clothes are hard to stereotype because it shifts a little each season.
In my opinion, which is very subjective because it is my brand, I like that each season that it has a different story. I like to learn more stuff for myself. But I do believe at the end of the day, it’s pretty much similar clothes. Just packaged differently. Meaning, you will always see certain silhouettes and certain staple design details. Because it’s still what I like.
You won’t radically change direction?
No. I’ll style it differently. We’ll have an Indian Theme. A Wall Street theme. The Immigrant theme. But no matter what, I hope it still has the same kind of brand identity. Usually we choose a certain kind of model for the story of the season, almost like the casting of a movie. But if you take away the make-up and the smoke and mirrors, I still think it’s consistent. Or at least I hope so.
How do you manage the challenge of store buyers who want you to vary the line in a more extreme way ?
It’s a fine line. Every season you are trying to present a fresh new perspective. For me, I try to design something fresh and new so I don’t get bored. But on the other hand I aim to keep my storyline or plot. I’m very aware it. Sometimes I think it might be a little too subtle to see the similarities.
Do you see extending the Siki Im story into advertising? The magazine ads… the billboards and posters?
We’re a young brand so I’m not sure we need advertising per se. Secondly, maybe in 10 years I’ll think differently… but it is exactly what we talked about before. I don’t want to push our brand in someone’s face. I believe there’s more depth in the customer finding it. But you have to be smart and also do interviews with people like you (laughs).
Well it is not like you sent us a PR blast. We saw your shows and became excited. Organically.
Thank you. It’s why I like Betty so much (Ed. note: Betty Sze, managing editor at models.com). She supported us without me saying anything and it is something I really appreciate. Your coverage had those Hipstamatic shots which were a really interesting angle too on the show. There’s something to be said for “No PR is PR”… like the old school Margiela. I just want to be careful and be controlled in how I put it out there. On the one hand I don’t want to PR it all over the place, but on the other hand we have to sustain. People don’t know us. It’s still a very young brand. There has to be a fine line.
We are coming out of a phase where the luxury conglomerates would scan the young designer scene to see who they could move into those big brand labels. Is the idea of making an alignment with a big company appealing to you?
I think those guys are really smart. And I don’t think they would approach me right now (laughs)… maybe in a couple of years. But let’s dream that someone like that comes and knocks on the door. It’s very seductive. Because you could push to the next level and you would have all these resources. But then you have these board members you have to report to. You have to show numbers.. The real side to it is you have to have a sell through. You have to have a budget and projections. So then the pressure level goes up. Then probably I start thinking… OK… I have to make more t-shirts. To hit those numbers gets to be scary. Then you have fear and then suddenly you lose courage and faith and start designing a different way. Which could easily lead to something different from how I tried to build the essence of my brand. This is why the Helmut Langs and Jil Sanders that got bought ended up in a falling out. There’s good and bad things to the scenario. You just have to be smart. And have a good lawyer. Or maybe one day I’ll just sell it out and make baby clothes.
The Siki Im fragrance! The Siki Im underwear! The keychain!
I would love to! Actually I love that stuff. I love accessories. A Siki Im computer would be great (laughs) . It’s all a part of designing. You just have to be careful, is the thing. It could easily become so loud and lose its identity.
Will we ever see you marketing yourself as the cool scenester with the must-crash Fashion Week after-party?
I think I partied really hard a long time ago. I just moved to Brooklyn and I like it so… Listen, I like to go out dancing but the thing is that all has to do with your own personality. Of course I was thinking of doing an after-party after my show but I’m so exhausted afterwards I just want to go home. I admire those people who have the energy… to have another event to produce. I should go to more events. It is a part of the business. To hang out and have your picture taken with good names.
Even architects have to do that now.
Everyone! Artists. Scientists.
What’s your take on retail given your architecture background?
We had the opportunity to do one last year with Boffo. We collaborated with two brothers who are architects, super-cool and smart and fun. We did this temporary space, like a pop-up store. I remember when I was in university and Commes des Garçons was doing their guerilla store I remembered thinking… whoah that’s so cool!
There were other brands who did this before but Commes des Garçons had such good marketing, they really were definitive. Then everybody, even Target had to do the pop up store.
I fully understand the wisdom of growing Siki Im very slowly and carefully but do you have a vision of the brand as one day being global ?
Sure. The retail space… womenswear… definitely again creating buildings, are in my long term plans. My dream is to have an all around design firm, designing anything. Music. Posters. Water bottles. (laughs)
Which is a fashion essential in its own right. Thank you so much Siki for your openness and humor. I really enjoyed talking to you!
No, I have to thank you guys for all your support! I really appreciate it.