Vanda Fine Clothing | Handmade neckties and pocket squares
Just over 24 hours remaining before our preorder discount ends for these sweet summer tweed neckties.
A complex blend of cotton/silk/linen/wool/nylon (in the slubs), these lightly lined, four-fold neckties have tonnes of texture! We’re calling them summer tweed is they’re full of texture like tweed, but have a lightweight, open weave that won’t have you sweating buckets when the sun’s up.
As this is a preorder, we are offering these deals:
– Preorder any summer preorder neckties and enjoy a 10% discount off the regular price of S$170 (excl. local sales tax).
– Preorder three or more summer preorder neckties and enjoy a free shipping upgrade to DHL/FedEx express shipping in addition to the 10% discount.
Three more days to preorder our summer specials at 10% off!
There’s some real neat stuff amongst those, like this Purple-White wool/silk/linen number that looks and feels refreshingly light.
No better time to stock up for the imminent grand return to the office 🤘
Our preorder for summer neckties is now open!
Featuring a slubby quality we are calling summer tweed, these are full of texture like tweed, but have a lightweight, open weave that won’t have you sweating buckets when the mercury is rising.
We also have a white warp wool/silk/linen blend in green and purple, as well as a rare burgundy mohair hopsack that is a great casual alternative to a silky burgundy tie.
For this preorder, we are offering these deals:
– Preorder any summer preorder neckties and enjoy a 10% discount off the regular price of S$170 (excl. local sales tax).
– Preorder three or more summer preorder neckties and enjoy a free shipping upgrade to DHL/FedEx express shipping in addition to the 10% discount.
This preorder deal only lasts for 5 days, and will close on 5 April 2021, 2359hrs, GMT +8. The neckties will be ready for delivery around early-mid May 2021.
Vanda Fine Clothing – Put This On
Diana Chan and Gerald Shen have been selling well-made, handrolled pocket squares to discerning customers at StyleForum for the last two years. Last summer, they began making neckties under the name Vanda Fine Clothing. Whereas most new neckwear companies rely on a faux-heritage image or “Made in the USA” label to sell their wares, Vanda is about quality in the way that I think a more thoughtful customer can appreciate.
Over the summer, I was lucky enough to get one of Vanda’s first designs. It’s a completely handcrafted, half-lined, six-fold tie made out of Adamley silk, one of the best mills in the world. The edges of the tips are handrolled, which give the tie an artisanal feel, and the half-interlining makes the it feel a bit lighter. Most ties you’ve come across have a full piece of wool or cotton interlining. This gives them a meatier feel and heavier drape. Vanda’s ties, however, feel a bit more airy and scarf-like, and they wear in a more unique way.
Admittedly, such construction won’t be to everyone’s taste. If you’ve never worn an unlined or half-lined tie, you may find it’s a bit too light for your liking. However, if you’re an enthusiast of men’s clothing and style, I strongly recommend you at least try one out. For some people, including me, once you’ve worn one, it’s impossible not to get more. I appreciate such ties in the way I appreciate mechanical watches. They take more time, silk, and handwork to make, and I take pleasure in knowing how they’re crafted. I also find that Vanda’s ties yield a deeper, more handsome dimple, and since the edges aren’t pressed flat, they have nice rolling edges, which give them a fuller three-dimensional shape.
I’ve liked my tie so much that I recently ordered another from Vanda’s webstore (I bought the brown glen plaid made of Huddersfield wool). I also recently had a chance to speak to Gerald about the new company, their ties, and Vanda’s future plans.
Where did the name Vanda Fine Clothing and your logo come from?
We really wanted the brand to represent our identity, and so we’ve worked with the name Vanda, which derives from the national flower of Singapore – Vanda Miss Joaquim. It was designed by a good friend of ours in the style of a Japanese mon, which is a tribute to the humble beginnings of our small business selling pocket square made of vintage Japanese fabrics. The simple lines and clean design are also reflective of how we like our goods to be – elegant and minimal.
Can you tell me some of the basic points of how your ties are constructed? Are they three- or six-fold? Are they half- or fully-lined? Lastly, are the interlinings made from cotton, wool, or some blend?
With our neckties, we aim to achieve a result that is more lively, supple and most importantly, comfortable to wear. Bearing that in mind, we choose the construction method and lining on a case-by-case basis to best suit each individual fabric.
Most of our neckties are made with a true six-fold construction throughout the length of the tie. We enjoy the complication and symmetry of a six fold construction, and we also find that the extra silk used (about three times the amount of a regular three-fold tie) gives our six-fold ties more elegant drape. We place our bar tack higher on the reverse side of the tie so that you can peek at the folds.
As some fabrics are too bulky to make an elegant six-fold tie, we sometimes apply a four-fold construction. These four-fold ties are made with the same amount of care as our six-fold ties, which in our opinion is the true hallmark of a well-made necktie.
In most cases, we use no interlinings at all. When we feel that a lining is required, we partially line our ties with a lightweight, springy pure wool interlining imported from Italy. Our wool interlining is made with a double twisted thread in the warp, which gives it added resilience. It is also made with a natural finishing without chemicals products or brushing, which ensures that there is no unnecessary bulk.
What materials will you be using for the envelope, and what mills will they be from?
We use a range of materials that varies somewhat seasonally – textured wools in F/W, lightweight cottons and linens in the summer, and woven/printed silks all year round. A majority of the silks are woven by specialty necktie silk weavers such as Vanners in Suffolk or Adamley in Macclesfield, and we are also in contact with a few weavers in Como for grenadines and more colourful options. We also use quite a bit of cottons woven in Japan, and wools made in Huddersfield.
Occasionally when we chance upon some quality deadstock fabric, these may also end up as limited pieces of neckties or pocket squares.
We don’t compromise on the quality of our trimmings either – we use Gutermann buttonhole silk thread for the slip-stitch, and two different weights of Japanese silk threads from TIRE and Kinkame for the hand rolled edges and bar tack.
What handwork is involved in making each of your ties and how long does it take to make each one?
All our products are individually cut by hand, one piece at a time, to ensure precision. We use sharp scissors, and not complicated machinery to cut fabrics.
Our pocket squares are completely cut and sewn by hand. Other than the joining of the blade and the tail with a sewing machine, every part of our neckties are stitched by hand as well. This includes hand sewing the continuous slip stitch that joins the tie, the bar tacks that secures the ends, as well as the hand rolling of edges to finish the fabric ends.
Our pocket squares are finished with hand rolled edges. Our neckties are untipped and the edges are finished with this same technique.
Hand rolling the edges gives our products a refined, three-dimensional appearance that machine sewing simply cannot achieve. While hand rolling in itself is not rocket science, achieving a luxury finish (with a tight roll and neat, narrow stitches) is a skilled operation that takes over an hour to accomplish a pocket square and approximately 3 hours to complete a necktie.
While we strive for perfection, the reality is that a handmade product is never going to be 100% perfect. As such, minor variation in stated widths and lengths should not be considered as defects, but rather the nature of a product made by hand with fine fabrics.
What will the price points be?
Our neckties range from SGD$125 ($97 US dollars) to SGD$145 ($112.50 US dollars) and our pocket squares are SGD$45 ($35 US dollars). We will also have lapel pins handmade from Japanese clay. These will go for SGD$25 ($19.40 US dollars) a pair.
I didn’t know you also made lapel pins. Can you tell us a bit more about them?
The lifelike orchid flower lapel pins are designed by us in six colours that complement our range of neckties and pocket squares. These are made for us by a very talented lady in Singapore – she makes them individually by hand from Japanese deco clay, which is lightweight and durable.
What other products do you have planned for the short- and long-term future?
We will build on our neckties and pocket square collections for the first half of 2012. In time to come, we will be adding ready-to-wear lines for shirts (which will certainly feature some handwork) and trousers to our lineup.
I remember you mentioning some training you’ve been receiving from a master shirt-maker. Could you tell us a bit about that?
Diana and I have been learning shirtmaking from the Chairman of Singapore Master Tailors Association, Mr. Thomas Wong. While we have a long way to go before being anywhere close to the high standards we have set for ourselves, we are determined to achieve this well through hours of practice, exactly like how we did it with our pocket squares and neckties.
Thanks for your time, Gerald. Is there anything else you’d like to leave our readers with?
We gave up lucrative opportunities in the corporate world in pursuit of my passion for quality menswear and Diana’s love for handsewing and creation of beautiful clothing.
They say that if you find a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Since we established the company, we have had time for little else except work and sleep, but we are definitely enjoying every moment of it.
The immense satisfaction we derive from crafting beautiful goods by hand is what keeps us going. We feel most accomplished when our customers are able to appreciate and understand the amount of work we put into each of our products, and most importantly, wear them proudly.
We are not a 100 year-old establishment deeply rooted in tradition, and neither do we pretend to be. We simply do what we love without compromise, and ultimately we hope our customers enjoy our products as much as we enjoy making them.
Review: Vanda Fine Clothing unlined 6-fold garza…
Review: Vanda Fine Clothing unlined 6-fold garza fina grenadine
I’ve been admiring the neckties in recent months coming out from Vanda Fine Clothing, but the pricepoint always made me hesitate and hold off. While I don’t necessarily mind paying for high-quality, hand-crafted neckwear from a small business, the product I buy has to be an absolute “must-have” for me that I feel is completely unavailable elsewhere.
Enter Vanda’s untipped, unlined, 6-fold garza fina navy grenadine necktie, first seen at La Casuarina, who received two prototypes from Vanda. I was immediately reminded of La Casuarina’s vintage Hermes 7-fold garza fina grenadine and how much I wished I could find a similar necktie.
Given my addiction for navy neckties and the irresistibility of a multi-fold grenadine, I quickly shot off an email to Vanda, asking if they would take a pre-order for a similar necktie. Gerald was kind enough to write me back and let me know that it was still in prototype stages, but could still be purchased. He even offered to let me send it back for a lining if I felt the unlined construction didn’t work.
I placed an order and waited. And it was completely worth the wait and price.
The most obvious first thing you notice is how sheer the necktie is without a lining or tipping. It feels lighter than a silk pocket square or linen shirt, yet the texture feels actually durable despite the very open weave.
The 6-fold construction actually gives the tie some much needed heft and thickness when you tie it. It cinches up well and drapes nicely in an arch around the knot. You don’t really have to try to tie a good knot – it’s almost if it naturally forms itself.
But the real amazing stuff is found in the details. You can’t help but love the hand-rolled edges and the sewing at the tip. It’s all exposed and you almost can’t believe it’s done by hand. The meticulousness of the stitching is astounding when you examine it up close and feel the edges with your hand.
What I really love though about the necktie though is how it’s reduced to its bare-bones. No blade keeper. No labels. Just an absolutely well-crafted piece of neckwear.
How does this necktie stack up to others I own? Frankly, it doesn’t – because I own no other neckties like this one and it sits alone as a unique piece in my collection that I’m glad to have and wear.
Interview with Diana Chan and Gerald Shen from Vanda Fine Clothing
VR: Your age and occupation?
D&G: We are both 27 years old and under our label Vanda Fine Clothing, we sew neckties, pocket squares and soon, shirts for a living.
VR: Your educational background?
Gerald: Double Degree in Economics and Business Management (Finance).
Diana: Degree in Business (Marketing).
What hobbies or passions do you have have besides sewing and apparel?
Gerald: Like every good Singaporean, I enjoy eating tremendously, and I’m often cooking/baking when I’m not making clothes.
Diana: I enjoy sewing clothing for myself, practicing yoga, and learning new languages (I am now learning Japanese).
VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your style enthusiasm)?
…and your parents and siblings’ reactions back when you were younger?
Gerald: I’ve always been interested in clothes, so I don’t think it came as a terrible shock to anyone that I got deeply interested in classic menswear. My father is a businessman as well, so he’s been very supportive of me following my dreams to start Vanda Fine Clothing.
Diana: My family has always been very supportive of me pursuing my interests, and building Vanda Fine Clothing was no different — after all, they get to have new clothing articles every now and then!
VR: How did you first become interested in clothing, and when did you turn your eyes towards classic goods? Why classics instead of fashion?
Gerald: I’ve always had a tendency to get deeply obsessed with things I was interested in. My first interest in clothing was actually in streetwear, and in particular Japanese raw denim. When I enrolled in business school, I started to pay more attention to classic menswear, and it didn’t take long for me to be sucked in to the magical world of menswear.
Diana: My interest lies in the ability to use various materials to create items (not confined to clothing) that I would be happy to own. Since I was schooled in a convent school, my alma mater’s motto, “Simple in Virtue, Steadfast in Duty,” has been imbued into me. My parents are also simple folks, and reinforced that one does not need to be extravagant to lead a happy life. So I guess this has translated into the clothes that I wear and my take on life.
Unlined six-fold construction
VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of apparel and tailoring — from books, in-house training, workshops or somewhere else?
Diana: Since my younger days I have enjoyed taking apart clothes my mom would buy for me, and figuring out how clothes were put together. When Gerald asked me to make a pocket square for him about 5 years ago, I examined his old squares and through trial and error figured out how to hand-roll an edge. The first examples don’t look pretty, but I guess that says we’ve come quite a long way! When we started getting a backlog of pocket square orders from Styleforum, I was unable to handle all the sewing myself doing this and my full time job, so Gerald was given an ultimatum of either giving up the business or learning to sew — he chose the latter and hasn’t looked back since.
Gerald: A year after we started selling pocket squares, as a sort of challenge to ourselves, I wanted to see if we could make a tie. Very little information was available anywhere about tiemaking, so we essentially had to take apart many ties (in the process learning about dirty tricks of the trade) and reverse engineer the make. After literally dozens of failed experiments we finally made a tie I was happy enough to wear — and sell. In 2011, we started taking formal shirtmaking lessons under Mr Thomas Wong, a true artisan who is widely regarded as one of the best tailors in Singapore. His intense curiosity and drive to constantly improve his knowledge and skills despite his age (early 60s) are a constant source of inspiration to the both of us. Having him as a sifu (master) and mentor is one of the luckiest things that has happened to us.
VR: How would you describe your own dress? Have you any particular style or cut philosophy?
Gerald: I think my dress style is actually quite conservative with an occasional touch of fun, and that is reflected in the style of our range of conservative neckties and somewhat playful pocket squares. I enjoy simplicity, and prefer experimenting with texture more than crazy colour combinations. I prefer a soft and natural feel to clothing as it helps one look at ease with his clothes, and again, that’s reflected in our style of very lightly constructed neckties.
Diana: Colours lift my spirit, so I tend to wear many colours. These days, I dress simply in solids with the occasional headscarf just to add a pop of colour. Clothes with breathing room are also much preferred over snug clothing.
Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’ orchid crest ties, the VFC signature model
VR: Apart from Vanda’s products, which RTW makers or tailors do you favour today?
G: Most of my clothing is made either by myself or custom made for me, so I haven’t paid attention to RTW clothing. For shoes, Vass is my preferred shoemaker as I enjoy their quality and simple styling, and I think they offer some of the greatest value shoes around. Nomos watches also appeal greatly to me as they have quite a similar philosophy of in-house production, direct distribution, elegant styling, and most importantly a good, honest product.
Diana: I prefer modest cut clothing, so the wrap dresses from Diane von Fürstenberg are always an inspiration for my dressmaking projects.
Vintage kimono silk handkerchiefs
VR: Please tell us how Vanda was born and what goals you set in the beginning. How have you been received so far?
Diana: Before we started Vanda Fine Clothing we had been selling handrolled kimono silk pocket squares on Styleforum. That venture was born out of Gerald’s desire to have some interestingly designed pocket squares that were well-made and honestly priced. However, the process of making and selling the pocket squares made us realize how much we enjoyed sitting down and focusing on crafting beautiful things with our hands, and that is why we decided to go into the business full time. So I guess you could say Vanda Fine Clothing was born out of a love for the craft. Our ultimate goal has always been rather simple – to craft our products the best that they can be, and to have our customers enjoy our products as much as we enjoy crafting them. To that end I think we have been rather successful. It always brings a smile to our faces when we get a note, or better yet, a handwritten letter air-mailed from an appreciative customer.
Japanese DECO clay lapel pins
VR: How have you two shared the business responsibilities?
Diana: We always ensure that we’re equally well versed with sewing, so the both of us can and do make everything we sell – shirts, ties, pocket squares, from start to finish. On a day to day basis though, while we’re both generally sewing orders, Gerald ends up doing more cutting work, and as the more OCD one, I tend to deal with the important administrative work such as custom orders, keeping track of inventory, etc.
VR: There are hundreds of men’s accessory stores online — why should my readers try you?
VFC: There are so few independent manufacturers these days, which means that even when you buy neckwear from different brands, chances are they were mass-produced in the same factories. Conversely, there is only one Vanda Fine Clothing, where everything is made from scratch in-house. Every single product passes through our hands and eyes. As such, we believe we offer a product that is simply quite unique in both construction and styling. Finally, because we prefer to deal directly with our customers, we have eliminated the middleman markup that inflates prices. We have been often told by our clients that our products represent tremendous value for money, and simply put, we agree.
VR: What’s your definition of style?
Gerald: I think a man is stylish if he carries himself with confidence, dresses appropriately for the occasion and has a certain ease about things. Having a nice pocket square puff or dimple on your tie knot is great, but checking every three minutes in every reflective surface really shows a lack of confidence that puts me off.
Diana: A stylish person is always comfortable in his or her own clothes and skin. Clothes that do not make you feel good, cannot possibly make you look good.
Navy ties, purple orchid boxes
VR: Over the years you must have learned quite a bit about neckties. Is there something you wish more men would know? This is a great opportunity to make a lasting influence on my younger readers. Most of us aren’t blessed with rakish relatives, which makes learning about style a challenge later in life and yet another trait men are supposed to master. All tips and thoughts are valuable.
VFC: While there are many excellent online sources of information on style and clothing, we think it is important to approach the subject in a less academic way than we’ve seen many do these days. When the opportunity presents itself to allow us to learn from someone more well-versed than us in any subject, listen with an open mind and you’ll find yourself learning far more than what strangers on the Internet can teach you. Focus less on magical numbers (3.5” lapels, 2” cuffs, etc.) and more on developing a sense of proportion, and a feel for what suits you.
Respect the rules but don’t take them too seriously, and finally, to quote a very stylish good friend, “wear without care.”
Pictures: © Vanda Fine Clothing
Eye Candy: We Speak To Gerald Shen of Vanda Fine Clothing
PUBLISHED May 12th, 2017 07:00 am
From humble beginnings of selling hand-rolled pocket squares made on his bedroom floor on online style forums, Gerald Shen’s Vanda Fine Clothing has since ballooned to a four-man operation at a Paya Lebar studio. With his keen (and a tad obsessive) interest in classic menswear and eye for quality design, the ever-expanding range now includes handsewn neckties and self-tie bow ties.
In this edition of Eye Candy, we caught up with Gerald as he shares his vision for the brand, his favourite articles of clothing, and tells us about his artistic streak.
How and when did you start getting interested in menswear?
My interest in clothing began around 12 years ago, during my days in national service. I was initially interested in raw denim, but started getting into tailored mens clothing when I started school at Singapore Management University. If you get to the core of it, the principles of streetwear and tailored clothing are actually quite similar – it always boils down to fit and quality.
How did Vanda Fine Clothing get started? Do you have a background in fashion or with textiles?
I have a double degree in economics and business management, but I had no formal training in fashion. In 2009, I was looking for unique pocket squares that were well-priced and of good quality, but couldn’t find anything suitable in the market. So I gave my then-girlfriend (now wife) Diana one of my old pocket squares and some fabric and asked her to take a shot at it as she’s always had a knack for sewing.
When we bought fabric, the excess pocket squares we sewed were sold via a USA-based clothing online forum, and it took off from there. Since both Diana and I enjoyed the process of sewing and running the business, we decided to delve into it full time and started Vanda Fine Clothing in late 2011. We’re very proud of the quality of our products that we believe can hold their own even against the best brands worldwide.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Dealing with difficult customers is probably the hardest part of my job. We always try to go the extra mile to serve our customers, but dealing with rude customers with unrealistic expectations of a completely handmade product crafted by a team of four can sometimes drive me up the wall. We’ve had to refuse business from a few customers because of this reason – sometimes it’s just not worth it.
What do you think about the way the majority of Singaporean men are dressed?
Ten years ago, when I started getting interested in clothing, I think Singaporean men were much more poorly dressed than they are today. Very fortunately for the classic menswear business, tailored clothing has been in the spotlight in recent years, and Singaporean men have been exposed to better quality information about how to dress. I think we’ve seen local gents become less obsessed with brands and more with quality, and that’s a great start.
Is there a basic tie that every guy should have?
I always recommend investing in a good quality plain navy silk tie – it goes with just about anything. People tend to spend less on the simple, basic designs, but I think the basics are the ones you end up wearing the most, and people can always tell great quality when they see it.
Do you have a personal favourite tie and pocket square?
While we were on a buying trip in Japan four years ago, we found a very unique roll of striped seersucker in navy and blue and made them into ties. There was only enough for 18 ties, and it sold out almost immediately. I kept one for myself and it’s my absolute favourite. I only managed to find the weaver of the fabric a few months back, and we have placed an order for more of this fabric that should be arriving in June this year.
My favourite pocket square is made from a vintage kimono silk, and we call it The Phoenix. The colours and texture of the square complement just about any tie and coat combination I wear. The fabric was sourced from Kyoto and was really quite expensive, and is only offered as a reward through our loyalty points program, so it is truly a pocket square that money alone can’t buy.
What do you do on your off days when you’re not sewing?
You’ll probably find me in my kitchen baking sourdough bread or cooking for friends. I’ve very recently also started pottery classes, because I’ve been quite interested in ceramics in the past few years and figured I’d spend some time learning how to make functional ceramics for my own kitchen.
What’s casual wear for you? Surely you don’t wear a shirt and tie everyday?
A well-fitted oxford shirt with sleeves rolled up and denim always works for me. I love selvedge denim because of how it evolves over time with use and abuse. Natural materials like that evolve – linen, brass, vegetable tanned leather, have always interested me more than synthetics that are too perfect and degrade with use.
So what’s next in store for Vanda Fine Clothing? After ties and pocket squares?
We started sewing bow ties last year, and don’t plan on increasing the range of products any further. Specialising in a few products gives us the scale to offer a huge variety of fabrics and the ability to customise our ties in size to suit just about any body size or shape. We plan to work more on original designs for neckties and pocket squares, as the response to our ‘Simply Shiok’ food pocket squares and Zodiac series pocket squares has been promising.
Shop Gerald’s intricate pocket squares, ties, and bowties at Vanda Fine Clothing, 140 Paya Lebar Road, #07-14, AZ @ Paya Lebar, Singapore 409015, p. +65 6384 6160.
Gary is one of those proverbial jack of all trades… you know the rest. When not writing about lifestyle and culture, he dabbles in photography, graphic design, plays four instruments and is a professional wearer of bowties. His greatest weakness: spending more money on clothes than he probably should. Find him across the social world as @grimlay
Interview with the Vanda Fine Clothing Duo
The Duo Behind Vanda Fine Clothing
“What do you do now?”
“What do you want to do twenty years from now?”
It’s pretty rare to find business owners who don’t want their label to become a fashion powerhouse, but for Gerald Shen and Diana Chan of homegrown label, Vanda Fine Clothing, it was never about fame and fortune – and never will be.
What’s the story behind Vanda Fine Clothing?
Gerald: It started back when I was in SMU. I was looking for something that was of good quality, well-made but but well-priced, and couldn’t find anything suitable in the market. So I gave Diana one of my old pocket squares and some fabric and asked her to take a shot at it as she’s always had a knack for sewing.
Diana: This was back in 2009.
Gerald: We bought fabric, but we couldn’t buy material for just one pocket square, so we decided to sell the excess pocket squares we had through a clothing forum online and it took off from there. After a year, we decided to challenge ourselves by making ties and had to learn from scratch. We finally got a product that was good enough to sell, so we sold our first batch of ties in 2011.
Diana: We stopped selling ties after the first batch after Gerald graduated from SMU. While we were on vacation to Portland, Oregon a few months later, we saw lots of independent stores operating from their front porch, and that set me thinking seriously about Gerald’s previous playful comments about sewing full time. Although I had just gotten a promotion, we figured since we had no commitments back then, it was probably now or never that we’d start Vanda Fine Clothing. The fact that we found that we really enjoyed the zen moments of sewing also influenced our decision significantly!
What’s a typical workday like?
We start on weekdays at 8am and finish at 5pm. We get coffee, print out orders, and then get working. As the products get sold, we try to replenish them so it never runs out and allows us to do custom orders easily too.
What was it like to be in a relationship and then mix it with work?
We’ve been together for 9 years now, but we’ve never formally worked together before this – so it was hard! We’re both really stubborn and knew there’d be problems along the way; sure enough, in our first year, there were many days where we ended up disagreeing with each other and not talking for the entire day. But after 2 years, we’ve come to understand that we have different ways of working.
Gerald: In the morning, I come in and take half an hour to run around, make coffee, and get into the zone, but when Diana comes in, she puts her things down and starts right away. I don’t know how she does it!
Diana: Yeah, back then when I needed his help because of all the hype and orders coming in, I couldn’t understand why he was sitting there zoning out!
Have you ever thought about branching out? We noticed on your website you might create bespoke shirts.
Yes, but everything will still be done from here. We’re control freaks!
Do you guys see yourself doing this for the next 10, 20 years?
For as long as these hands can sew and these eyes can see.
Diana: It looks easy, but when you get down to it, we literally sit there for hours just sewing. When we first started I was sewing so much I had a case of minor arthritis in my left hand. Since then I’ve recovered and we’ve learnt to not spend so much time focused on one task and take regular breaks in between. And I forced Gerald to learn how to sew so he could help me out!
How do you guys plan on growing Vanda Fine Clothing?
Our aim isn’t to make this a multimillion business. At the end of the day, all we want to do is keep it small, keep the quality high, and be satisfied with what we’ve done.
The easy way out is to take measurements and send it out to a factory, but that isn’t us. If we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it here and we’re going to do it properly.
Each product is carefully inspected by the both of us, as it is critical that every single product that leaves the workshop is perfect. This is essential because we deal with mostly overseas clients, and there is no room for error. If there is a small mistake, you may not hear their complaints, but it’s also likely that you will never hear from them again.
What’s the most fulfilling part of your job… and the most difficult?
This trade is very small, and there aren’t many factories left that do make products by hand, so we’re very proud to make everything from start to finish in our little workshop. We love it when we get notes from clients telling us how happy they are! That really makes our day.
The most difficult part of the job is probably getting people to understand why our products are priced the way they are. We get people who walk into our shop and let out a big “huh?!” when we tell them the prices, but once we explain the process they tend to calm down.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learnt?
A lot of people think that being your own boss means you can do whatever you want, at your own pace. But the greatest discipline is to teach yourself that this is your own business; what you earn is what you keep, so if you want to work hard and make it big, you have to work at it.
Diana, we read that your motto is ‘simple in virtue, steadfast in duty’ and we found that really interesting because we don’t know any IJ girl to actually live by that!
I have been an IJ girl all my life; it wasn’t so much the teachers telling me I had to abide by the school motto but it kind of got built into my system. My parents have always told me “as long as you work hard, you’ll be happy!”
What’s the one thing you’d tell upcoming start-ups, considering you started from scratch?
Focus on doing what they do best, rather than trying to think of how to make it big. Focus on what you do, do it well, and people will see that you are genuine and they’ll buy your product. We didn’t start this thinking we’d become a fashion giant, all we wanted to do was to make a product to the best of our ability and stand behind it. If someone comes in and tells us he’s not happy with our product, we’ll fix it or make it better and if we can’t, we’ll strive to do it better tomorrow.
Doesn’t it get tiring to do this day in day out though?
Gerald: Our teacher is 65, and has been in the trade for about 40 years. He’s still extremely driven and is probably one of the few people who can do everything from start to finish on his own. He truly practices what he preaches. There’ll always be something to learn; it’s a lifetime commitment.
He tells us daily to never ever stop learning and to strive to do better than yesterday. That’s the kind of mentality that has carried him forward to where he is today, and that’s something that we’ve adopted.
What do you want to be remembered for?
We want to be remembered not for the brand but our products. At the end of the day, you can’t even see where we place our label tags unless we tell you! Great quality, taking pride in what we do, and moving forward with passion – that’s what we want to be known for.
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Postulación Interna 2019 – 2020, programa de Movilidad Internacional Estudiantil
fuerte orientación práctica, basada en casos, ejercicios y trabajos en grupos, la que se combina con clases expositivas por parte del faculty del Programa.
Formar especialistas en la gestión de los negocios internacionales brindando herramientas actualizadas que favorezcan el desempeño y desarrollo de las personas y las empresas.
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“I have nowhere to go.” How depressing it sounds!
📍 You work in an office – there is nowhere to go except the office, and there is also a dress code.
📍 You work from home – you only go to the store once a week and take out the trash. Nobody is looking at you.
📍 You don’t work, you take care of your child – all the more so. Not to dress up in a kindergarten. Not to the playground.
The only thing left to do is to buy sporty rustling sweatpants, bring them up to outstretched knees and … continue wearing them! But in the evening, when you close yourself in the bathroom, you can dream about putting on that dress that has been hanging in the closet for two years and going with your husband to a restaurant or theater.And then, that’s when … everything will be as it should with the appearance, but for now – if there is nowhere to go, then there is no need to dress up and there is no one for anyone.
I rested! For the first time in 1.5 years (the previous time was at Burning Man in 2019) I took a vacation, which is not just a trip. A vacation. I liked it very much! In May I will go on vacation again. The work takes up all the space that is not occupied by anything else. I need to keep it busy so as not to die from work.Rough, but true.
Realized that I am not a “champagne reception”. And “man is a wine bar.” I can communicate in a very interesting and deep way – with people interesting to me. One on one or so. To enter a room full of strangers, and there to enchant, just float by, strike up conversations on the go and be a bright star in the company – no, I don’t know how. And I don’t. In such a situation, I will stand in the corner and be bored. And I don’t need to change that. You don’t have to squeeze it out of yourself.Continue reading →
Why I will never write about it.And there will never be a webinar on this topic either. And ether. Nothing. And why didn’t I steadfastly write about it for 5 years.
I can’t even count how many times this question has come up. In a wide variety of forms. From being thrown like a rotten tomato onto the stage: “Men don’t like things like yours!” To a very polite one: “But still, Wanda, I don’t want to overdo it. To be both fashionable and comfortable, but also appreciated by the man. ”
A couple of weeks ago it dawned on me. I realized what was wrong with statements like “this is my opinion, I have a right to it”.Gave thoughts to lie down. The thought did not get any worse. So let’s go figure it out.
When the question “what do you think about this?” Is asked, many perceive it this way: I am asked to express my opinion and even my assessment. So I’ll express it! The right is there!
If at the same time there is not enough knowledge, then there is a salutary formulation.
“I don’t understand fashion, but I think that …”.
“I, of course, am not a doctor, but I think that …”
“I, of course, am not a football player, but even I understand that …”
Have you heard that there are people with a fixed mindset and there are people with a growth mindset?
Scientists have researched success stories and developed such a division.
📌 The first think that talents are innate. If you have them, then you can achieve something. And if not, then there is nothing and time to waste – all the same, there will be no result.
📌 People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, are confident that if something doesn’t work the first time, you just need to train harder and try different approaches.
In favor of the growth mindset, there are many examples when talented people were blown away without training and ruined their gift. And those who at the beginning showed mediocre results, after hard work, became outstanding athletes, artists, scientists.
Do you understand what I’m driving at? Many people are still convinced (despite my educational activities) that the sense of style is innate. Either there is or not. “Well, not given to me! What are your courses to me, but I’ll waste my time ”. Doesn’t it remind you of any installation?
Have you noticed that many women who change their wardrobe have their entire image updated as well? A bold haircut, a new hair color.
This happens 100% to my students.And this is not at all a cunning trick, as in fashionable TV programs, where the heroine is asked to come with an unwashed head for greater effect before and after. This happens gradually. I liked myself in my clothes, I was surprised. I was delighted. She remembered that she once wanted a different hairstyle, but still did not dare. Now she dared.
In my course, the students do not just change clothes, they:
📌 get rid of attitudes that prevent you from being what you want;
📌 realize that there is no need to suffer in uncomfortable clothes and follow other people’s stereotypes;
📌 gain confidence – because now they themselves know how and understand how to look stylish and beautiful;
📌 and most importantly – they learn to allow themselves.First – a large bag with a small stature, a jacket one size larger, trousers from the men’s department. And then this attitude spreads to other areas of life.
“” What, there is nothing to wear again? ” – the husband with a familiar grin looked over his shoulder. Yes, I myself do not understand how. Just an anecdote classic: the wardrobe is full, but there is nothing to wear. ”
The main reason for this situation is that the clothes do not meet your current needs. The system needs to be built from the foundation.Therefore, first, answer your questions:
📌 Where do I go?
📌 How many times a month?
📌 What are my usual things (walking with my child on the playground, going to work, events that require evening dress)?Continue reading →
“What nonsense! What can be understood from this at all? What is fashionable now to wrap a bag with polyethylene? ” – this or something like that every beginner thinks when looking at photos from couture shows.
Look, if we cook only in our little world, we won’t achieve any variety.If you want bright, interesting images – then it is extremely important to be saturated with ideas, to expand your perception. For this, you need to watch fashion shows.
📍 Composition by color is one of the points worth paying attention to.
“I took spring blouses-skirts out of the closet and was upset: everything was somehow faded, joyless, but here in general ruffles. In what condition did I buy it? And what is interesting is that every year. ”
I talked about dividing the wardrobe into seasons in a previous post.Who has not seen – read it.
Were sad, what next? See what they advise, of course. I opened the Internet and went to get inspired: “But a good image, now I will try the same.” But no. It doesn’t look like the picture at all, it’s even comical somehow.Continue reading →
The snow is already melting, streams are running,
Hurry up, hide your down jackets!
A little more, and we will pack winter things and put them on the distant shelves. I don’t want to say that this is too bad. I hope you won’t need a warm down jacket for the next six months.
But let’s remember this. Some winter clothes can be used in summer! You don’t need two clothing budgets. Do not artificially divide the wardrobe in half: this is our winter, and we do not have access to it in the summer, and this is our summer, and we do not touch it in the winter.
Here is my set of conditionally “winter” things that I use in cool summer:
Wanda hooded | Igor Dorokhov
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