GRLA Pop-Up: Student Retail Start-Ups
This year, the Georgetown Retail and Luxury Association held its fourth annual Global Luxury Summit on April 17th, 2018. In the past, the Global Luxury Summit had the focus of bringing in outside professionals from various backgrounds in the retail and luxury industry to come talk to us about their experiences. This year, the club took a different approach and invited current Georgetown students who had started their own fashion company to come and speak about their journey. The event featured a panel regarding student start-ups and it featured Asli Acar (Founder of Bassigue), Joshua Sitt (Founder of Madhappy), Camryn Leibowitz (Founder of Enigma Culture) and was moderated by Tatiana Hadchiti (President of GRLA). After the panel, we hosted a pop-up shop during which each of the speakers could sell their clothes and interact with guests on a 1-1 basis. The pop-up also featured GRLA’s own Giulia Sohi-Isolani (Founder of Is This Real).
Bassigue was found on the basis of trying to find a brand that balanced both fashion and comfort. The apparel from Bassigue can be worn to a nightclub on a Friday night or just for lounging on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Asli Acar started the company with a friend, Gamze Keklik (currently a student at George Washington University), in Turkey in 2016. “No matter where you are, if someone sees your shirt, they will come talk to you,” said Asli when asked what the inspiration was behind her brand. The clothing is meant to be daring and fun, and it features shirts that say “drunk in love,” or “another girl, another problem.” Asli said she wanted to create a brand that would serve as an icebreaker between two strangers. Asli said the most important thing she learned while building her brand is that it is important to know everything about your company. She learned this the hard way when she met with someone who was interested in buying the brand wholesale. Asli’s journey was very exciting to listen to and we loved hearing her story. To buy any of Bassigue’s products or to learn more about the brand, check out their website: https://international.bassigue.com/.
Joshua Sitt is the founder of Madhappy, a street-wear brand focused on expressing optimism through style. Joshua’s inspiration behind the brand is from the fact that other street-wear brands such as Supreme focus on a rebellious attitude and going against something. Joshua wanted to create a company that expressed happiness and celebrated the optimism in life. Madhappy clothing features slogans such as “local optimist,” and “No Agenda? No Problem!” reflecting the brand’s theme of optimism. Jousha’s approach to building his brand was very different than that of the other speakers. Madhappy is able to generate buzz around itself through having its own pop-up shops in various cities. To this day, Joshua has held pop ups in Los Angeles, CA, New York City, NY, and Aspen, CO and even had his clothes featured in Paris’ renowned Colette. “One day you’re a designer, the next day you’re a constructor,” said Joshua when describing how building his brand has been a learning experience everyday. To learn more about Madhappy or to purchase any of the brand’s clothing, check out their website: https://www.madhappy.us/
Camryn Leibowitz very recently found Enigma Culture while creating t-shirts for the March for our Lives march in Washington D.C. The goal of her brand was to express the message of the March to everyone, not just those who attended. Her designs are meant to be thought – provoking and feature phrases such as “thoughts and prayers are not enough.” The messages displayed on her shirts reflect her views on social issues that still have not been solved. Though her brand has just started, Camryn looks forward to building her brand and experiencing both the struggles and accomplishments she will have going forward. Check out more about her brand here: https://www.instagram.com/enigma_culture/.
Though she was not part of the panel, the pop-up also featured Giulia Sohi – Isolani. Giulia started her brand as a hobby, however, after her designs gained traction, she started to create custom denim jackets for all types of people. More about her brand can be found here: https://www.instagram.com/is.thisreal/.
It was such a great experience to host these student – entrepreneurs talk about their dream and their journey in the fashion industry. Each of them provided a unique perspective and definitely gave helpful advice to anybody looking to start their own brand. The pop-up after the panel was also very successful as guests engaged more personally with the student entrepreneurs. We look forward to seeing where these young stars will take their brands in the future.