Amidst the ebb and flow of the currents of a fast-paced, trend-centered culture, personal branding is essential to going against the tide and standing out among the crowd. With hyper-connectivity and a world of opportunities at the click of a button, more creators have begun launching their own clothing lines, redefining the stylistic story they are telling and fostering the idea that anyone can be a designer. However, with the emphasis on a saturated market of self-made designers, successful personal branding stands as the difference between gain and loss. Magic City Fashion Week accumulates advice from creative professionals in the fashion industry to serve as a guide on how to create an authentic, personal brand to help your voice ring loud among the noise.
The first step to establishing a consistent, recognizable brand is understanding your ‘why’ and ‘how.’ Each article of clothing that travels from a sketchbook to a wardrobe tells a story; is it sustainable? Is there messaging that leads to a deeper movement? Is it trending or timeless? Does the color scheme reflect personality? Defining one’s place in the revolving door of the fashion industry is key to cultivating an authentic brand. As a designer, one must first reflect on what impact they want to make; how they want their audience to leave feeling and what message they want to resonate with them thereafter.
“Know what you’re trying to put out into the world. Are you trying to be informative, entertaining? Are you trying to be aspirational, relatable? First and foremost, you have to understand what you’re trying to accomplish, and then you have to figure out what are the tent-pole ideas or the core pillars of your brand. Then build around those,” advises Raina Penchansky, chief executive of influencer management company, Digital Brand Architects.
The ‘why’ of your brand does not exist separate from you as an individual; instead, it becomes an extension of the values, styles, and ideas that you represent. Before committing to building a brand, one must understand their own personal style and walk in it with confidence. The story that you tell through your specific clothing choices will translate to the authenticity of your brand, even if the two are not exactly the same. Spending dedicated time exploring your personal style first is essential, and will serve as the foundation of the brand that develops from that place of individuality. This does not exist in isolation; seeking inspiration from others and consuming content will in turn build your own.
Dru, designer and Founder of Dei PhalanX (DVISUN) discusses his personal branding journey and highlights key elements that define its success. “Personal branding is all about expressing yourself without words. Find all the ingredients of what makes up your brand – what it means, what the aesthetic is, why the name, which audience are you targeting, what you and it stands for – that simple,” Dru said.
Relating to his brand, DPX, Dru said, “I love the utility look so much, I’ve been rocking cargos since I first started to dress myself as a kid, but I didn’t want to pay dramatic prices for clothing brands. I always wanted to put my own spin on the clothes I saw, so I created my own brand. I maintain it by looking into what I am inspired by. One word: environment. That’s one direction.”
The second aspect of the two-fold foundation to building a brand is the ‘how.’ Vision and creation must coexist, a successful brand cannot stand on mere ideas that are void of execution. Once you have defined the motivation, drive, and reasoning behind your brand, one must develop a set of tools, skills, and resources necessary to bring it to fruition. Creating a branding kit: a collection of colors, fonts, logos, and more, establishes brand identity and sets the course for a positive trajectory thereafter. When color schemes and visuals tell a similar story, your brand is more likely to resonate with others and create a recognizable impact.
Once the ‘why’ and ‘how’ are established, packaging them in an artistic, understandable way, then showcasing the creation to your audience serves as the launching pad to brand success. Cultivating an online presence that coincides with one’s offline story reflects authenticity, and aids in both brand recall and identity. Social media serves as a tool to not only display designs, but ideas and overall aesthetics of what your brand stands for. Cameron Thomas, Creative Director and Videographer out of Tampa, Florida, comments on the importance of educational and entertaining content as a creator on social media.
“The importance of creating content that’s both educational and entertaining is because the name of the game is “attention.” Without having attention it’s difficult to influence others, and that goes for every thing in the world of business, marketing, branding etcetera. Something being labeled as entertaining can differ from person to person, but that’s what influences someone’s attention to be triggered. After someone’s attention has been triggered, you want to sustain it by providing something educational. Anything that’s educational has some sort of value that can be taken or applied,” Cameron said.
While social media strategy plays an integral role in personal branding, it does not serve as a solo approach. TikTok, Instagram, and other platforms can be the central location where your audience is built, but personal branding is defined by how others view you, and this extends beyond the digital landscape. Every interaction that you have, from events you attend, networking connections you create, movements that you align yourself with, and more, says something about who you are as a person, therefore translating to your brand as a whole. Seeking opportunities that breed connection is key to establishing a brand, such as joining clubs and groups that fit into your niche, reaching out to established creators for mentorship, and supporting other small businesses and designers.
To aspiring designers, Dru said, “Look no further, all you need is right within you. All you have to do is to truly look within, know thyself. If you are authentic and passionate about it, all of those ideas will form organically. Forget what they like, what do you like? Show them what you see, they’ll be drawn to it if it’s genuine. Take your time and have a blueprint. Stay in your own lane, don’t fall for doubt or fast fashion and if you aren’t as gifted or creative, find a good friend(s) and family to work together with and give each the respect and credit too. And lastly, it has to actually mean something to you, be real with yourself. As Vincent Van Gogh said, ‘What is done in love is done well.’”
In summation, amidst today's fast-paced, trend-focused culture, personal branding is essential for creators to stand out and make an impact. Understanding the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind their brand sets the foundation for authenticity. Crafting a cohesive branding kit reinforces the brand's identity, while a strategic online presence showcases designs and ideas. However, personal branding goes beyond digital platforms, encompassing every interaction and connection made. By seeking meaningful opportunities and supporting others, creators can establish a powerful brand identity that resonates with their audience and sets them apart in a saturated market.
Magic City Fashion Week serves as an outlet for creators to join in community and establish their brand identity surrounded by like minded individuals. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on upcoming events that are centered around empowering designers, models, and creators in the Magic City! Also follow the movement on our socials, Facebook & Instagram, under Magic City Fashion Week. Continue to share your magic and know that YOU ARE THE FUTURE! Be great!