Style On Them are a brand that speak volume for the ambitious ones among us. Style On Them is a message to anyone who has ever doubted or stood in the way of your dreams, saying to “Them”, go ahead and say what you want I am going to shine anyway. This is a message that very much resonates with the three founders of the London based brand. Style On Them is a clothing brand that represents diversity within London and celebrates the different cultures that make our city great.
Your brand is influenced by the streets of London City. How is this conveyed in your collection?
The inspiration from the streets of London City refers to the fact that we (the 3 founders of Style On Them) were all born and raised here and this is reflected in our style of clothing, however our design concept as a whole focuses on blending high end fashion with street wear and this is the main thing that we convey through our brand. We’ve kept our logo simple to give our products a touch of class and elegance, and the beauty of our design is in its simplicity (for now anyway – we are working on some bolder designs for Fall Summer 17 and our ‘Handmade in East London’ collection for AW17 which you can read about on our blog: www.styleonthem.com/blog) We’ve always maintained garment quality as our key goal; we refuse to put anything out there for customers until we get it to a quality level that we are willing to put our name on the line for and that’s the main reason why even though we started our business in 2015, we didn’t actually begin releasing products until over a year after that – that time was being spent travelling around studying fabrics and sourcing suppliers that can craft garments to the premium standards that we want our customers to enjoy.
Who is the average Style On Them wearer?
I wouldn’t put a label on it. We want everyone to Style On Them; it all boils down to our message, its not just about being able to prove people who doubted you wrong by shining on them with success, but it’s also about being able to find and embrace yourself and what you’ve been blessed with in order to do so. That is the reason we have tried to include as much diversity as possible on our social media platforms and website – we didn’t have any particular look in mind when we were selecting our models because we wanted to use our brand to celebrate the beauty of diversity in our city. In some of our shoots we even just literally picked models off the street and tried to get as many different ethnicities in there as possible. Our new kids’ collection also focusses heavily on diversity. It was probably one of the hardest shoots we’ve done to date because we had like 15 young children running around in a small Kensington apartment but it was so worth it. We managed to get children from various different cultures, races and backgrounds which is what we were looking for. Each of the founders are also of different ethnicities and backgrounds, and many people find it hard to picture how we would have come together the way we have to form this business – that was due to an interesting series of events in itself. But our brand reflects the way we have united as a family regardless of these differences.
Your brand message is to use your talent and skill to shut down anyone who has ever doubted you. How have you/how do you deal with naysayers yourself?
I wouldn’t say its to shut down, its more to just shine on them. As you become more successful those people become irrelevant anyway, you don’t have time to give them any attention but the bigger you get, the more likely they are to see you shine without you having to do much to show them.
Dealing with these people hasn’t been easy – We’ve had close family and friends telling us this is a waste of time, to the point that we’ve actually began to question ourselves at times. But at the end of the day when we think of the reasons we started, sacrifices we’ve had to make, the brotherhood that’s been built in the process and how much we’ve enjoyed doing this over our jobs, it just reminds us why we have to block these people out. This is more important to us than anything else we see ourselves doing in the future simply because it’s taught us that being content is much better than making a lot of money.
We’ve lived lifestyles in the past where we’ve made quick money in large amounts and not really been at peace with ourselves. Whereas since we started this business, we’ve all ended up broke from constant investments, but we can’t ever say that it was a bad move because we are happier than we’ve ever been, we’ve experienced things we would never have experienced, learnt things we would never have learnt and began relations with so many amazingly talented people on our journey.
So when people make us feel like giving up I’d say a bit of self reflection and looking at how far we’ve come from where we started makes us realise that we can’t really go back now. And for anyone who is trying to make a start to their journey, my advice would be to start by making some lifestyle changes. I once heard the quote “If you want to change the world you have to change yourself” in the film “Notorious”, but never actually understood it until we begun this brand. Changing to a healthier lifestyle, waking up earlier, eating regular good food, going to the gym etc. was the most important phase in getting this brand going, and the reason for that is because it implements into you the positive mindset required for starting any business, and with that positive mindset in place follows the self belief needed to actually get things going and ignore people telling you things aren’t possible.
Starting a clothing brand these days is slightly easier than it was back in the day. What are some of the tools that have helped you grow your brand?
I don’t know if I completely agree with that. Because there are so many clothing brands emerging, it’s becoming much more competitive. A brand really needs to stand out to even get a second look because of how common independent labels have become. But that topic aside, I’d say our best platform at the moment has been Instagram (@styleonthem) which generates most impressions and sales out of all outlets we currently have in place. Social media is a huge factor in getting a brand out there, but it all ultimately comes down to how well you portray your product. When conducting research at early stages of the brand, I met a successful entrepreneur who also owns his own independent clothing line and I remember him telling me “there are thousands of ways to market one single product” – this is key. Even if you do use social media, what’s going to make your page stand out from the next independent brand? I feel like that bit of advise was really important to me because it allowed me to explore different ways to portray our product, begin putting concepts behind our collections and just in general getting more creative with the content that we post.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced as a self-funded brand?
So many challenges. At the beginning before we reached the level of quality that we were willing to work with, we were literally giving away all of our sample stock. So imagine thousands and thousands of pounds worth of investment just on trial and error, ending up in the hands of grime artists, singers actors etc. It was sometimes good publicity but there was literally no income for that whole year apart from some of our most loyal customers who would offer to pay for the samples. Then when we finally reached the quality that we were happy to put out there, we had the mission of getting people to now believe in the product as much as we did and making them understand that this isn’t just something made overnight. The hardest part is getting potential buyers to understand that we’ve tested and hand sourced the fabrics we want to use, spent time working on the fit, gone through several manufacturers to find who can put it together at the highest standard, and continually paid close attention to the finer details. And we have had a lot of people saying that we’re over priced, but they’re comparing us to brands that probably haven’t gone to some of the lengths we’ve gone to, and that’s what makes our garments more of an investment into a longer lasting product than something that might only survive a few washes.
What more can we look forward to from Style On Them?
Recently we’ve been making a transition from staying with the safe neutral colours to going into making more loud and vibrant garments. As a part of this campaign we have added a kids range to our collection. We’ve also switched up our design slightly for our upcoming summer collection which is definitely something to look forward to.
We’ve been inspired by some high end brands to explore some new styles and have also been researching a lot into high end brands for inspiration. Gucci’s latest wildlife collections pose some good ideas for design inspiration and Supreme’s recent collaboration with Louis Vuitton has been an eye opener on how Haute Couture is evolving in this era in regard to the street fashion image.
Our brainstorms from this research will be used to guide what is probably our most luxurious collection to date – Our “Made in East London” range in which we have brought everything back to our place of origin by collaborating with local fabric suppliers and a fashion house in East London where we will personally be hand making garments with the help of experienced tailors and fashion students. That is definitely something interesting to look forward to this A/W fall. What we as a brand can achieve is limitless, there are no boundaries, sometimes we even surprise ourselves with the ideas we think of.