Despite the awful rain in San Francisco the day I met Jena Wang and Lindsay McConnon for this interview, they were still looking as fabulous as ever. In fact, they were the most fashionable people in the building.
As retirees of the retail corporate world, Wang and McConnon channeled their love for fashion and an entrepreneurial spirit into Velvet Brigade, a website where budding designers can submit their fashion sketches for a chance to get their design produced. (They submit, we vote — think American Idol meets Project Runway.)
The main purpose of Velvet Brigade is to create the opportunity for anyone who loves clothes to have a voice in the fashion industry. “We feel that trends are totally different in certain parts of the country,” says McConnon. “What may be in style in California may be completely different from the style in Texas.”
And it’s not just American style. For Wang, she’s inspired by the fashion in her native Taiwan, where she travels every year. “I love the fashion out there,” she says. “I like to take home with me a few fashion pieces, and see when it plays in the U.S.” McConnon looks to different decades, especially after she inherited a trunk full of vintage clothing. “My dad kept a whole trunk of his clothing from the ’60s and ’70s, and I loved all the pieces I would see,” she says.
Wang and McConnon met while working as buyers for Macy’s. Where they were once predicting trends for consumers, the duo is now giving consumers a chance to have a say in what trends they want to see. Go to www.velvetbrigade.com to submit your own design!