Millennials take on fashion
BY CHEYANNE KRAMER
OU News Bureau
It isn’t easy getting into the world of fashion, but that hasn’t stopped Stefan Savoy and Brit Beckman from surging into the limelight.
Savoy, an art student, and Beckman, an associate at Loft Outlet, have created their own fashion lines. Savoy crafts designer shirts while Beckman makes outfits to challenge current beauty standards.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the fashion industry job market is only predicted to grow 3 percent during the next 10 years. This is much slower than the predicted growth of other industries.
But what if you want to make your own business? A White House report found that about 50 percent of millennials were interested in starting their own business. For Stefan Savoy and Brit Beckman, that interest became a reality through fashion.
Subtlety in fashion
Savoy is a sophomore art student at the University of Michigan. He got his beginnings in the art industry through high school art classes and his love for animation.
“With animation, I wanted to see how I could create images that connected with people in more intimate ways,” he said. “I found T-shirts were a way to put out a strong image and relate to people intimately. Once people connect to an image, they want to take ownership of it in some way. Exploring that connection, it’s really fun.”
Savoy said art is a way of communication that other means can’t do as well.
“I think in a lot of ways art can create the empathy that’s needed for community growth,” he said.
All of his work has designs that carry a universal message. Savoy said one of his most popular works is an image of a cat being smothered with affection in which he describes the prevalence of cat-calling culture in society.
Derci: Handmade clothing with a spin
Brit Beckmann has a day job at Loft Outlet, but that isn’t her only exposure to the fashion world. Her mother worked as a wedding dress seamstress for 25 years, which partly inspired Beckman to launch her own handmade clothing line this year.
“I sew and make all of this myself,” she said. “My mom got me materials when I was little, and did it again this year for Christmas, so I’ve been working with new stuff that expanded my possibilities a lot.”
“When I think of fashion, I associate it with the big cities of fashion: Paris, Seoul,” she said. “I thought maybe there’s a European name I could put behind this brand, so I thought of Paris, then Merci, then the phrase arrivederci. Then, I came up with Derci.”
Right now, all of Beckman’s clothes are made-to-order, but she hopes to soon build up stock to have shipments ready at a moment’s notice.
What’s different about her line is her emphasis on minimalism. She explained that for every shirt design, though there is a pant or bottom designed to go with it, that top could go with anything else with the Derci name.
This is also the reason that she sticks to more neutral colors, such as whites, crèmes and blacks, since they go well together.
“You don’t have to be super blinged out … to be fashionable,” she said.
Millennials in the industry
Forbes.com wrote that millennials do everything with the touch of a button on their mobile devices.
Savoy uses this idea into his shirt line. One design entitled Phones comments on this fast-paced environment.
“Technology can be an amazing thing, and I don’t think the negatives as bad as people bring them up to be,” the product description reads.
Beckman, who expressed a desire to stay away from a third party when selling her wares, has set up a Go Fund Me to gather the needed capital to make her line a success.
Savoy, however, stands by third-party retailers for his line because he found it took very little effort or money on his part. He said he has reached out to business professors at U-M to assist him in making his line more marketable.
“People are interested in e-commerce since they don’t know how accessible these things are now a days,” he said. “The different ways the internet is in our lives allows for different platforms of creative commerce and lets artists survive.”
Beckman doesn’t have an online storefront and, instead, sells individually through her brand’s Facebook page. She hopes by spring to have an operational storefront.
Savoy’s designs are available on his website, where old designs are periodically rotated out for newer ones.
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