The fashion industry is quite harsh for young talented designers. Not only design and innovation are decisive to get a young label off the ground – outstanding entrepreneurship is asked. What does it take for these fresh-faced designers to get a foothold in such a highly competitive industry? We have talked to up-and-coming design duo huber egloff who have left behind the initially romantic idea of doing fashion. With an avant-garde look and professional approach, they are about to establish themselves in the luxury fashion market.
This week they presented their AW16 collection during Paris Fashion Week.
PLATEA: You founded your label in 2013. Where have huber egloff met?
We met at Akris in 2010 where we both started as designers. We instantly realised that we were talking the same language when it comes to work ethic, vision and taste. After Akris we did our first small collection, which we then submitted to the Swiss Design Awards. We even made it to the second round!
What challenges does starting a fashion brand include?
From day one, we had a clear strategy where to start and where we want to go with our products. The only question was how we get there. Starting something new requires not only a story and international experience but also contacts. They are not lying on the doorstep, particularly not in Switzerland where you have no industry in the ready-to-wear sector. These are hurdles that need to be addressed realistically.
What was the driving force to continue?
One determinant was surely the fact that we could sell our first collection. What was financially important for us was in turn crucial for potential buyers and investors to support us. Since then we continuously work on establishing our language and product portfolio. This we try to bring in a frame, which of course has a commercial value.
What is essential for young fashion brands to be successful?
First off, the product must be perfect. Only the technical challenge is extremely big. Then you need to handle business structure, pricing, sales, press and logistics. There are many things coming together. Design ultimately constitutes perhaps 5 per cent from everyday. In the end you are not only designer but entrepreneur.
How should fashion be tackled nowadays?
Each product needs to be portable and speak for itself. In the end, a product needs to function at the hanger in stores! Ideally, you should be able to mix your collections and still feel the same identity. For us, the environmental background is important, too. We find it contemporary to work with people you know and respect and who are nearby. We are manufacturing all our collections in Ticino, Switzerland, and northern Italy. Altough this improves quality, we have noticed that international buyers and consumers still not rely heavily on manufacturing and quality. They do not look explicitly for clothes «Made in Switzerland». Many do not even know that Switzerland has an outstanding textile industry.
Huber egloff is based in Zurich. How do you sense the Swiss fashion design scene?
At the moment there are definitely different young voices with a unique language that try to give Switzerland a place in the global field. Mode Suisse certainly is crucial for that. Also in order that people from the Swiss industry perceive the fashion sector as a lucrative market and see potential in it. We also create synergies amongst eachother. For our accessoires collection we have partnered up with Swiss brand QWSTION.
Your ultimate goal?
Making clothes for a worldwide community. We are super happy that buyers from the United States and Asia start to show interest in us. Of course we are only beginning. Buyers always need a degree of certainty to buy a label. With patience and a little luck you then find an opinion leader, a risk taker, who believes in you and invests in your label.
In their AW16 collection, huber egloff mixes dark floral silk blouses and embroidered dresses with blend grey hoodies and functional windbreakers or wide cut trousers.
TEXT BY ANDREA LUCIA BRUN