In writing, the hardest part is to start. Especially when what I would like to share with you is an experience that not everyone wants to see and through a negative connotation.
Basically, Mokoš, and the sparrows on the branch already know that, is a young fashion brand, founded as a kind of hobby of a mom who is overworked, first of all, with her children, and after that, on a hundred different professional sides. In the summer of 2022, that mom decides to dedicate a part of her life to something she’s always dreamed of, and that’s exactly what it sounds like. Like a child when he dreams of a toy, this mom dreamed of creating styling or many stylings for some wonderful women, styling with their courage, experiences, struggles. So when he designs it, he draws it, then when he draws it, he prepares a pattern, then when he prepares a pattern or cut picture, he sews it, then when he sews it, he prints it, then when he prints it, he presents it to the Ladies, and when the Ladies look at it, they decide whether it is it’s really the styling that suits them for this or that occasion. Sometimes Ladies don’t decide by themselves, they have valuable people who deal with it, they are called stylists, etc. It is art, in a picture as it should be. That’s how this hobby is this mom’s creative valve, a valve through creation, through love, through enjoyment. Not two days have passed since I founded the brand, the fashion world of Serbia noticed it, followed by performances at renowned fashion shows, exhibitions, collaborations with people who are great entrepreneurs both in the world of fashion and in other industries. The hobby grows and turns into something that will be both beautiful and useful overnight, as they say. It sounds wonderful. Now let’s move on to the useful part. In order for something to be useful in today’s world, it must be profitable, in order for this hobby of mine to become profitable, I have to believe and/or recalculate based on instinctive variables, not empirical data, a few long years, these are all economic indicators that are not I don’t deal with it either when I started the experience that I would describe in this text, or now, when I have gone through the experience and I want to be honest about what it was like in case someone else finds themselves in the same situation, and has doubts…
Elem, fashion designers in Serbia, especially at the beginning of their careers, have a few options when it comes to presenting their work. The first and probably the best option is to join one of the renowned Concept Stores. The next thing is that you have your own studio, in Serbia the location must be Belgrade, the furthest is Novi Sad (this is an option if you are a long-term resident there, so your creative thinking is somewhat closer to Europe, which I am not, I am a proud Serbian woman, tradition is important to me, so Belgrade). And the last option is that the entire communication with the market takes place virtually. There are various options, not to be long, Instagram is the base, a couple of fine platforms are being developed, something like Asos, but that potential has not yet been realized. This is my least favorite option simply because you lose the direct contact with the customer who is in the design business with all the feedback about your art, valuable.
Smart me, I choose the first option, although I don’t enter the Concept Store, which is among the best, but where the doors open first. Error.
You expect that if you sign a Contract with someone, anyone, in any business, clearly, capital U, the law included in the agreements, you have an obligation. And it’s always like that with me, what is my obligation to make something happen, to cooperate? Yes, so much and so much, within such and such a deadline, I’m analyzing, it’s valid, agreed.
And what about rights? And somewhere, I want to highlight this story, to emphasize it, to tell it to all fashion artists, including myself. You don’t have to degrade your work for the sake of a good relationship with shop owners and because you are new to the market. Because you have no experience in the industry, you do not have to pay a larger guild than the one that certainly expects you. You don’t have to, you can’t and you shouldn’t ever cooperate with stores that don’t exclusively exhibit the creative work of our designers, if they present themselves as representatives of the creative work of domestic fashion designers. Even if we exclude that it is all a disloyal business story (read deception of business associates), we must not exclude the damage caused to creativity, visionaries, their talent and individual efforts. And again, I’m seconding here the financial damage, the unrealistically low prices of designer pieces, which illegally eliminate real fashion designers from the game with their valuation of their clothing. No, it’s not important. Not compared to what you are doing to art itself, to the very will that culture in Serbia prospers through fashion design. Are we not going to insult the unique fashion of a nation with cheap copies? We’re not going to trade the hand-crafting of fashion designers for machines overseas for individuals to make money? Well, maybe someone wants this, but then that someone is no longer a fashion designer in Serbia who deals with high fashion and handicrafts. We will not devalue honesty, dedication, hard work and unfavorable business conditions that are certainly brought by the economic crisis and the political situation of our country in these unstable times. Or? And now what keeps me awake. You won’t lie to a proud customer that you designed something yourself, that your production sewed it, that high fashion items are monotonously emblemated tracksuits, right? I mean, if you will, we have Laws, ultimately because of them we sign the aforementioned Contracts, with a capital U. I am not a part of it, that is, my hobby and my creative valve do not want to join it.
Beginners, fashion designers, your fashion sculptures are valuable and that must not be forgotten, unless, of course, we start to forget it, to allow it, at the beginning of our career. If any of us wanted to start industrial production of clothes, I’m almost sure that at least one of us would have succeeded. So Zara and the others would have another competitor from Serbia. It is another industry, similarly noble, but by no means the same.
Dear colleagues, dear fashion designers, I appeal to you to cooperate with shops that preserve ours, our location of production, our method of production, our sketching, our choice of materials, our creativity, our way of placing on the market and the culture of presentation. No one is allowed to hang your pieces on a stand and put them in an invisible corner of the shop while charging you for sales and display. We can, actually we can, only then it’s called space rental. The price is much lower. Not to mention that we all invest in the virtual visibility of our brands. Now, if you have already hung our designer pieces on a stand, accepted that you are selling them for us and on our behalf, then it would be your obligation to deal with sales, and not to use the marketing resources of the designers themselves as the only form of promotion. And that’s fair, not everyone knows the definition, and they don’t have to, unless of course you’re a store! Clearly Selling in a Store where a Seller Sells.
Let me go back just briefly, I don’t even know if you are aware that you must not use the marketing potential of fashion brands (Instagram for example) to your advantage, which for example just because we pay for advertisements, we pay photographers, we pay models, and you you post on the store’s official profile, and when, and how, and if you want, you certainly do. It doesn’t work like that, if you have already got all the powerful means of promotion at your disposal then you are at least obliged to use them with all your might. It is your responsibility to have a result behind it. The result for all of us, not your individual if you got confused. You don’t know how, you don’t have experience, you don’t have success… No offense, change the branch and don’t knowingly or unknowingly steal from people. It’s all an honest investment of fashion designers that you squandered. And don’t get mad while you’re reading this, it’s just the truth, not a drop more, not a drop less.
There is a code of conduct and business functioning that if you are a fashion designer you know very well. You must not violate it. Stylists, please research what you represent, help preserve the fashion potential of some new big names and artists. Designers, read the Contracts you enter into and pay attention to your obligations, which are your rights. You seek to be presented in the right light. Demand commitment from sales agents in the full sense of the word. Promotion and market propaganda are self-explanatory. These are the basics of marketing, the basics of economic functioning in any business. Demand that the stores-exhibition spaces treat your things like the art exhibitions themselves treat handmade uniques in painting, for example. Don’t let the value of your artwork be compromised by selling it in the wrong place. Fight for the profession you belong to. Fight for everything you’ve dreamed of to get the shape it deserves. Fight for yourself. You are above all that.
I did not intend to offend anyone with this text, only to help young fashion designers in their future endeavors. Don’t mind, I care deeply about this industry and I believe that everything can be defended and preserved with culture and knowledge. Not everyone likes this attitude, that’s for sure. Happy New Year. All the best, Your Mokoš.