FASHION EVENTS INSIGHTS: FASHION PLUGIN
Sisters Tina and Piarvé Wetshi combined their opposite-but-complementary backgrounds to create a space where aspiring fashion professionals would educate themselves on how to break in the industry, while also discussing topics they felt are often overlooked – topics they are passionate about: entrepreneurship, sustainability and technology. Fashion Plugin creates a space where anyone with a promising idea or business aiming for change in the fashion industry can connect with like-minded people. Starting from an experienced panel and a motivational speech, each event provides insights and essential information about different sectors with opportunities to network with the experts and learn their secrets to starting and operating a successful fashion business. We caught up with the duo to discuss their latest event and what’s coming next for their project.
What is your background and what led you to establish Fashion Plugin?
Tina: I’m currently studying history and politics, but I have a background in textiles. I’ve had a love for fashion since I was 13, so from the age of 16 I’ve organized fashion shows, workshops and took part in courses. Fashion Plugin was established to give creative access to the fashion industry. Having an academic background proved how difficult it is to enter fashion and how much information is needed.
Piarvé: Events and marketing is my background. I’ve been involved in events for five years and have worked on huge global corporate conferences, interactive art events and chilled out socials. I taught myself how to sew, aged 16, and like most teens fell in love with fashion. Me and Tina quickly realized the gaps in fashion and the lack of transparency in the industry, and Fashion Plugin was born out of frustration, wanting to show people other ways into fashion.
Tell us about your latest event, “Branding Fashion.” What kind of feedback you received? How did you feel the vibe compared to the previous ones?
Tina: “Branding Fashion” was our first panel, so we definitely had a new vibe as the three speakers had different angles on branding. There was around 20 people in the room, so it was intimate and engaging. We had amazing feedback, one of the best was from Yemzi’s photographer who said he would usually fall asleep at talks but was completely engaged during this one.
From inception to implementation and staging the talk, can you explain us in a nutshell how the talks line-up works?
Piarvé: We think about the missing gaps in knowledge that people want to know and we find speakers who can be truthful and honest to speak on these topics.
About which topics should we expect to hear on Fashion Plugin?
Piarvé: We hate seeing the huge gap in business skills which will help creatives go that extra mile, so we will be looking deeper into marketing, finance, leadership, social media and covering business fundamentals. We want to help creatives make the most out of what they have and still remain sane – the world of business can be tough!
Who is your audience? Are you looking to attract budding professionals only or you are open to people who are generally interested in fashion as well?
Tina: Our audience is anyone who has a business in fashion or wants to start a business in fashion. We want to attract budding professionals, especially those who aren’t particularly within the fashion industry, don’t have a background in fashion or are finding their way. Although we want to open our community to everyone, we are specific in attracting those who want to execute their business idea not people who only have a general interest.
I feel that you are working towards establishing a community in the industry. Using what means other than talks and networking events are you planning to keep people engaged?
Tina: Online content and printed content. We are working on our website and new ways users can access it. Our online content will consist of articles, videos and graphics. We also want to collaborate with other organizations with the same values. The focus of our community is being able to engage with other creatives so we want to have social events where people can just be themselves.
Would you invite industry veterans or you entirely rely on fresh talent? Whose experiences do you believe would benefit most industry newcomers today?
Tina: Fresh talent! Fashion Plugin is about the journey to success and having a community that are working towards their ambitions. What is most beneficial about fresh talent is that they are still experiencing the emotions of startups and, unlike veterans, they touch on all aspects of the journey. When you’re a startup, it’s hard enough to contain your dream and focus on the small steps, so we don’t want industry veterans that will give a motivational talk; we want people who are currently working every sector of their business to share the process and the difficulties.
I understand that London is the perfect place to introduce a fashion entrepreneurial project, but are you interested in opening up globally?
Piarve: We won’t say no to going global. We’ve worked with a similar platform in Mexico, and would love to expand our community worldwide. At first, we could stream our events to these locations and then who knows; we might even go there.
What are some goals you would like to have achieved by the end of 2017?
Piarve: We want people to know how wide the fashion industry can be, and we want to make it easier to connect people. So, we want to grow our contacts, get more partners on board, grow our following and members, and create more events that leave people thinking about strategy.
Images © Fashion Plugin