Behind The Label: Kyle Fitzgibbons | Native Son [Pt.II]

 Welcome Back to our Behind the Label interview series with Native Son designer Kyle Fitzgibbons–

There are some interesting things that we chatted about re: social media & branding in this 2nd installment of BehindThe Label, but this go-round Kyle talks about about his Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award, style vs.confidence and his weakness for the Sartorialist…

TS: You just recently received the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award* for menswear—Briefly explain exactly what this means for you and the significance of getting this.
I think the significance of this award is twofold.  First and foremost, every up and coming designer can use additional financing and I am no exception to that, so 25K is a huge help to even keep the brand going.  Secondly, this award is important in the sense of who has won in the past and where those brands currently are.  It is always nice to get recognition from people who time and time again have recognized people of validity in this industry.

TS: What are the next steps between yourself and Ecco Domani?

Our next steps are planning a great show, and making sure that I communicate my appreciation for the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation, and how they have helped designers like me for the last 10 years.

TS: Given that you just been granted this award amidst other wins you’re creating with the business, when did you realize the need for proper PR?

KF: I think I just realized I need proper PR about a month ago. HAHA I am a huge DIY’er and I love to believe I can manage far more than I actually can. It was the moment that I realized I was missing opportunity after opportunity in order to retain control, I finally gave into the fact that if you want something to grow sometimes you have to let it go a little.

TS: How important is social media to you in the business of fashion?

KF: Social media is similar to my previous view of PR: I know it exists I just don’t really engage it as a brand strategy. I think the artist in me believes that it destroys part of the allure of my brand and the industry as a whole.

TS: As a business man do you embrace fashion and future technologies?

KF: As a businessman and a designer I love the marriage of fashion and technology. In my mind the two complement each other in really powerful ways if collaborated correctly.

TS: How important is marketing for a luxury brand such as yours?

KF: As a business owner if my strategy was to get rich from selling $2,000.00 suits I would really have to reevaluate the plan. The truth is there are very few of those customers. For those who can afford it; I offer a product. For most of us who cannot; I offer an ideal. A majority of what I create is marketing, and hopefully one day there will be a substantial brand platform to really be able to create clothes for the other 95%.

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TS: Describe the Native Son man.

KF: The Native Son man is strong and confident, a modern man. A man that has one eye on the past, one eye on the future, and exists perfectly in the present. A man who values quality above all else, knowing that the things and people in his life will accompany him on his journey.

TS: Anyone you have an eye on dressing?

KF: No.

TS: (laughs) What are your philosophies on men’s style?:

KF: Most people confuse style with confidence. Confidence is the thing that makes clothes look good, style is what makes other people want to buy them.

TS: How would you define your personal style?

KF: Blue collar.

TS: What do you like best about designing clothes?

KF: The ability to conceptualize an idea or direction in 6 months, hate yourself for how you fail the idea and turn around and do it again.

TS: How do you stay inspired?

KF: Websites, magazines, and books are great for reference but there is no better inspiration than imagination… Oh and I’ll shamefully admit I do go on the Sartorialist far too often

TS: Any advice for menswear designers wanting to make a go of it?

KF: Work hard, all the money in the world can’t buy experience. Dream big, all the work in the world can’t buy you creativity. And fail well, creativity and hard work don’t always equal success; just authenticity.

[End Interview]

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*The Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation is all about helping emerging designers fulfill their dreams and join the ranks of fashion’s elite. The stylish Italian wine brand that started the foundation 10 years ago has since invested more than $1 million to help launch the careers of over 60 internationally known designers, including Prabal Gurung, Erin Fetherston, Zac Posen, Derek Lam, Proenza Schouler, and more. The EDFF just kicked off its 10thanniversary season with the announcement of its 2011 honorees, and these seven talented up-and-comers will each receive a $25,000 grant, plus a chance to showcase their collections during New York’s Fall 2011 Fashion Week. This year’s recipients, in four categories, are Bibhu Mohapatra, The Lake & Stars, M. Patmos, and Mandy Coon (women’s); Native Son (men’s); Pamela Love (accessories); and STUDY NY, (sustainable).


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