This is a bit of a difficult post for me to write. I tend to be a very open person, yet still hold my cards close and don’t reveal too much. But I have received a ton of comments from a variety of sources lately that I feel need to be addressed, and require me to show my hand.
Bri Seeley is a fashion brand, but it’s only a piece of the bigger picture which is my life. I currently sell my brand wholesale, and via e-commerce. In the next year, you will also see my brand as a retail store. I am also in the process of writing a book The Wearable Man (which has garnered interest from several agents/editors AND I have reason to believe that it would make an excellent film). In the future, I plan to own a ‘Made in U.S.A.’ manufacturing facility. While I am a Fashion Designer, it has been made very clear to me that there is so much more in my future. On Friday, I was likened to a Renaissance Man – or more aptly, a Renaissance Woman.
I was recently told that I “shouldn’t” proceed with my big idea plans for my business, because that’s not “how it’s done.” That I “should” just follow in the footsteps of my fashion fore-fathers and play by the rules of the fashion industry. FYI – I have never been good at playing by the rules. In fact, if you tell me what the rules are I can guarantee you that I am mentally formulating a way that I can bend said rules. It’s my nature to perpetually be outside the box.
For example, when I was in high school the bandana was banned due to “gang affiliations.” I was known for wearing kerchief’s in high school (think Little House on the Prairie), and I decided to continue to wear them despite the bandana-ban. The vice principle pulled me out of Physics class one day to kindly ask me to remove my kerchief (which happened to be a pink gingham). I flatly refused, citing the difference between a bandana and a kerchief, and dared him to suspend me. He never did and I continued to wear my kerchiefs – and look for loopholes bend the rules in any/all situations.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to be disrespectful. I believe that there are good aspects of some rules, and that history can teach us a lot – the fashion industry wouldn’t be where it is today without the hard work and dedication of many that have come before us. I have just found it works best if I evaluate my options, take what works for me, and leave what doesn’t.
A few weeks ago, I met with a literary agent to discuss my book, brand, and life goals. He blessed me with a compliment bigger than I could have ever imagined – I reminded him of Coco Chanel. The first woman designer to break into the male dominated fashion industry. The designer who emancipated women from the constrictions of the corset. A woman who would attend races in tailored suits, a juxtaposition to the overdressed society women of the day. A defiant, determined, ambitious woman – qualities I desperately strive to mirror. So, am I doing things different than the “prescribed” way of emerging designers? I am proud to say, yes, yes I am. I am a Fashion Designer, but I feel like my life calling is to impact the fashion industry in a grander way.
Also, I want to say thank you to everyone that has supported me with my announcement about Phoenix Fashion Week. Unfortunately, not all of the feedback I have received has been encouraging. I have been likened to a traitor and accused of betraying the Pacific Northwest fashion industry by taking my skills and talents out of the area. Here’s the deal – the Pacific Northwest has not offered emerging designers the caliber of fashion events that I have been looking for. Phoenix Fashion Week presented me with very specific and focused goals that would up-level my brand for minimal cost in a short amount of time. I am not the type of person to sit around and wait for an opportunity to present itself – I could be waiting the rest of my life! I am proud to be taking Bri Seeley to a national level with the help of the Phoenix Fashion Week team. They have already given me so much industry knowledge and strengthened my brand – these basic building blocks are necessary for when I take my brand to a global scale! I have a HUGE vision for Bri Seeley….. and this is just the beginning!