Most of the greatest fashion companies in the world are the result of a creative-business partnership. Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole. Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giametti. Marc Jacobs and Robert Duffy. Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli. The list could go on and on.
A business partner can share the immense workload of starting and managing a business, shield the designer from the day-to-day management so he or she can focus on the creative side, and provide a different set of skills which are important to the running of any business. This is the role that Kikka Hanazawa, a former classmate of mine, has been playing at VPL, one of New York's most promising fashion start-ups.
The company was founded by Victoria Bartlett, a talented stylist-turned-designer from London. Her collections were initially conceived to meet the growing demand for utilitarian yet stylish under garments that could be mixed, matched and layered with other designer clothes. Since its inception in 2004, the line has gradually evolved to include accessories, bags and shoes while VPL’s foundational concept of underwear as outerwear remains intact. Earlier this year, VPL was named as one of the 10 finalists for the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize for 2007.
The Business of Fashion sat down with Kikka to ask her a few questions about the role she plays at VPL. Young designers take note. Kikka and Victoria are following one of the tried-and-true methods for building a successful fashion business: the promise of a creative-business partnership.