Updated: Sep 4
In May 2021 (as a crazy year of lockdown, protests and unrest began in the UK) two twin sisters on the cusp of graduating from uni decided they had, had enough of the exploitation, fakery and to be honest total trash they were seeing in the fashion industry, and decided to start their own brand.
Does that sound like a crazy thing to do?
Well I was one of those twins (surprise surprise) and co-founded Monozygotics with my sister last year. At the time I was finishing up my MA in fashion media and she was finishing up her BA in womenswear, we had both been studying fashion for four years and also working/volunteering/interning throughout and for a few years before.
Even that considerably short amount of time to be exposed to the industry taught us so much. I mean from the fact we were so angry that we decided to start a brand out of nowhere you can probably tell we had seen lots of things we really didn’t like. (You can check out our other blogs for some rants & exposures about those things in more detail!)
After all those years actually starting a brand was still a shock to my system, and we have learnt some amazing things that you will never really get taught by anyone else. So we’re going to share them with you!
- first off – in this cut throat industry people won’t help you out of the goodness of their hearts. Maybe a few nice people or friends will, but generally speaking you can’t expect any favours. People will smile in your face, tell you they will do this or that to help you, even offer you their contact number.. and then when it comes to it will never pull through. It’s nothing to be bitter about, and it probably isn’t personal – it’s just a fact to be aware of. So be ready to face the likeliness that people won’t help you out unless there is something in it for them to gain.
- hustle culture can be toxic. Nowadays young people are so pressured to work and work and work, By rising prices, by social media success comparisons, and also by the ‘girl boss’ hustle culture mindset that we are constantly told to idealise. And I love a hustle, don’t get me wrong. But the concept of monetizing every single thing we do – be it work or hobbies is really unhealthy. Don’t let the pressure get to you that you should be as famous as Kylie Jenner by the time you’re 23, don’t feel guilty for taking a night off. Just put yourself first!
- Do set yourself deadlines – treat your work like it’s for a client with a due date and schedule. But you are your own boss, and like we mentioned in the previous point overworking yourself helps no one. So set yourself REASONABLE deadlines, try to stick to them but don’t punish yourself if you have to extend them now and then.
- If you are planning a shoot or something else that requires a set period of time & a budget – double the time and budget you are expecting because things always go wrong. Always. It's also important to know who will own the rights to any images (normally they belong to the photographer by default), to know who expects credit, who expects pay, etc. so that there's no falling-out afterwards.
- If you are working with someone else try to make sure that you are really on the same page and that you both have the same vision, the same goals, the same values and most importantly both share the same commitment to a common goal! Theres nothing worse than having to sacrifice your dream shoot when you suddenly realise a photographer doesn't share your vision.
- If you can base your business around something that you are passionate about please do. There is nothing more tedious than spending every day focused on something that you just don’t care about. Whereas if you spend every day fighting for a cause you truly believe in it will never become boring for you. It’s an insanely over-saturated industry full of people who want to design for fame, money, notoriety, to be cool, to meet famous people, to have their name on a brand… what the industry (and the planet) REALLY need right now are passionate designers with a vision, who are fighting to make things better or do something new.
- Aa final tip is to really invest in knowledge & skill exchanges. When we set up our brand I covered all media & PR, my sister covered all designing & sewing, we have now exchanged skills and can both design and sew together and then also both create content together. Whenever you get the opportunity to impart wisdom to someone else, or to learn from someone else TAKE IT! Even if it seems like a skill you may not ‘need’ it will most likely come in handy, especially when you’re on a small team as you start your own business. So get stuck in!
Those are our top tips, you’ll definitely learn loads more once you take the leap. But if you have a vision you believe in – we say go for it! Just make sure you have a solid support group and seek all the help you can get - don’t think you can handle everything because as talented as you are you probably aren’t a PR expert, artist, accountant, business manager, sales assistant and social media manager in one.
Ok that's it from us - good luck!