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December 03, 2020
Suzanne Vinnik is the founder of VINNIK - the ethical size-inclusive womenswear line from LA. Although her clothing line is making waves internationally, it's all been sparked from Suzanne's own incredible journey.
Think haute couture without the price tag - this gorgeous bespoke range incorporates free flowing fabric, intentional yet flattering vectors and deep vibrant colours. From robes, dress and capes to wraps, masks and footwear, Suzanne has created a one stop shop of size-inclusive, ethical and elegant outerwear.
But her business drive is just as powerful and intricate as her collections.
"She has has been recognised as one of the most influential women in classical music as an opera artist, community engagement leader, photographer, and now successful clothing designer."
Suzanne left an abusive marriage and restricted career, and truly undid her shackles. No longer contained, her passion for fashion and internal drive sparked the launch of VINNIK, a line now praised by legends of classical music and television such as Lin Manuel Miranda and Jennifer Rowley.
"When people ask how my business is going during this time, I say, I am sur-THRIVING."
The landscape of business is in constant fluctuation, yet becoming your own boss is an increasingly easy step. But thriving there, and as a woman, is a whole other story.
We caught up with Suzanne to get an insight into her journey, and she passes on the lessons she fought hard to learn, in hopes of helping other woman succeed like she is.
When people ask how my business is going during this time, I say, I am sur-THRIVING. I try to remember that if a business can stay open, continue to employ others without severe financial interruptions and support others through acts of service and charity - that is something to be proud of (regardless of my frequent lack of sleep)!
If you want to be successful, sometimes you have to gamble on yourself! I launched byVINNIK at my parents' kitchen table in May 2019, after ending an abusive marriage, moving across the country, and caring for my father before he passed away. Even with all that going on, I needed to take back my power as an artist and do something different with my life.
Everyday, I show up for my clients and give them the best experience I possibly can utilizing social media to really connect with them on a human level.
If you're going to do something, do it right. When I created byVINNIK, I decided that I would do everything I could to be the change I wanted to see in the fashion world. I committed myself to ethical in terms of both sustainability and treatment of our workers. Our garment workers are paid a living wage and work in a clean and safe facility in Los Angeles, which is unfortunately a rarity in the fashion world. We are also fully committed to body diversity and size inclusivity. If an independent fashion line can do it, so can the rest of the fashion world.
Inspiration for me is looking inward and reflecting on everything I've seen in my day to day life whether it's a photograph, painting, a piece of music and especially my clientele who are creative. We are bombarded daily by imagery on our phones through social media. I love the podcast, 'Dressed' which explores fashion history. I enjoy going down rabbit holes researching many of the topics covered but, I've had way less time to do that in 2020 as I'm constantly pivoting to keep surthriving as a business.
I'd tell other women to be more mindful moving into 2021. I learned a lot in 2020 about being unafraid of a pivot. When the year started, I just launched my website and had a whole marketing campaign and plan for my branding. Weeks earlier, I did a photoshoot featuring a few other opera singers sharing diversity. I had all of us wear the same dress in different colors or different styles in the same textiles for many of the photos. When the lockdowns began in March. I realised I couldn't release many of my design as we needed elastic for masks with shortages due to the fashion district being closed and my clientele needing different types of apparel than what I prepared for SS2020. We worked with what we had from elastic to cotton for mask manufacturing donating PPE with every order while there was a great need. One of the core values of byVINNIK is to honour our textiles by working in a way to creates little to no waste, I took it to a new level in 2020. I've found even more ways to create new pieces with existing materials and have pushed myself creatively. This past year, I also dedicated more time to utilizing social media to grow my audience beyond the people I know already through classical music and my immediate friends and family. I found a fashion community of women I'm so excited to meet when it is safe to travel and be social in person again. Many have become friends and loyal customers supporting my line when I was truly afraid I would be swept out to sea due to the pandemic! I've always been a workaholic but this year, I've become hyper-focused on my clothing line's surthrival. Many of my customers fail to remember, I've only been in business for a year and a half. I am more determined than ever to create something long lasting with real intention.
We would like to thank Suzanne for sharing her beautiful story and providing insight to help young females realise their full potential.
Explore Suzanne's beautiful collection.
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