Vannie aka Geovannie is a fashion designer but most importantly an inspiring, hard working guy.
We are honoured that Vannie took the time out to talk to us about how he got into fashion, the beginning/growth of VANNIÉ the brand and what tips he has for those who are interested in starting their own fashion companies.
K: HOW DID YOU GET INTO FASHION?
Vannie: It all started at high school in graphic design. We had a supply teacher who had her own business and really liked what I created, she invited me to a couple of her after school sessions and offered to mentor me. One of my plans was always to start a business, I always knew I wanted it to be based around fashion.
After a trip to America whilst at Sixth Form I went through a phase where everything was retro so I had the idea of starting my own line (Retro Boy Clothing) which didn’t work out as planned.
I left it a few years and really wanted to get back into designing but I wanted to start from scratch with a name that meant something. After a last minute shopping trip to Merry Hill I was walking past a shop called Luke, and that’s when it came to me; I knew the name had to be VANNIÉ. A couple months went by and I just kept working and playing with ideas until I decided to go with the name VANNIÉ KOO TOÓR 1956as it had true meaning and purpose. Being named partially after my Grandmother (Vonnie) it turned out to be an Italian name. VANNIÉ meaning, God is Gracious (Dio É Grazioso)and 1956 being the year she was born.
K: WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNERS?
V: The likes of Karl Largerfeld, Giorgio Armani and Christian Louboutin just to name a few. I also have a few labels and designers that are unknown to the scene that I really like to take inspiration from as I feel that’s where your best work comes into play.
K: I THINK IT’S COMMENDABLE TO SEE PEOPLE START THEIR OWN BUSINESSES AND FOLLOW THEIR DREAMS. WAS YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS SUPPORTIVE OF THIS AND HOW DID YOUR JOURNEY START?
V: My family have always been supportive. They support me in everything I do but I do have to give props to my Mom, she’s my rock. She motivates me a lot, this might sound cliché but seeing her as a single Mother bringing me and my siblings up showed me what hard work really looks like. She’s the real MVP my brave heart!
As for my friends, I have a very small circle of like-minded people who push me everyday.
K: WHAT IS A NORMAL DAY LIKE IN THE LIFE OF GEOVANNIE?
V: I study so most of my time is really working on assignments and then work, I try to get a lot of designing and researching done when I have time. Other than that I like to chill and listen to music. That’s when my creative juices really start flowing.
K: WALK US THROUGH YOUR DESIGN PROCESS, FROM CONCEPTION TO THE FINAL PRODUCT.
V: Whenever I have an idea I try to put it down straight away, then work out different ways I can make it better. Many of my ideas come from the way I’m feeling, type of music I’m listening to and movies I’m watching. I have a few connections with people who are already into fashion and design and will sometimes use them to give feedback on the ideas I have put together. I then finalise my designs and send them off to my manufacturers for production.
K: WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
V: There’s not one thing I can point out at the moment as we are still in our baby period, but the feedback that I have been receiving is the best. Things like being invited to fashion festivals and academy players wanting to wear my clothing is a great feeling, it builds a buzz and shows what I’m doing is being noticed but there’s still more to come.
K: WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR COMPANY IN A FEW MONTHS OR YEARS FROM NOW?
V: I have big dreams for VANNIÉ being a luxury brand and would like to reach the standards of big names like GUCCI, FENDI, GIVENCHY to name a few. The idea is to produce tailor made suits and dresses in the near future too. Ultimately I want to keep everything in house and open up stores in fashion capitals.
K: WHAT TIPS CAN YOU GIVE TO AN ASPIRING FASHION DESIGNER?
V: Well I started from nothing and now my brand’s slowly coming together. I think I’m lucky to have positive entrepreneurial minded people around.
I guess I would say just be you, stay true to what you believe in, your visions are yours for a reason; don’t let anyone sway that. Ultimately if you want to go far you have to be wiling to sacrifice, work hard, and be willing to go through the hard times and rough patched because it’s not going to be easy.
Surround yourself with people who are like-minded, people you feel or know are smarter and are willing to help you better yourself. Be patient and stick at it, whatever you do, don’t let money be an obstacle and most of all make sure you are doing it for a deeper reason than financial gain because money comes and goes, but when you are passionate about what you are doing, it can last forever.
Thank you so much Geovannie for these inspiring words!