Interview with Gisma Muon | NAATH Clothing
-What & Who is your brand?
A: NAATH is a fashion label launched in 2016.
-What is your typical day when running a brand like yours?
A: Well, my typical day is so jam packed. It starts the night before, I pack the orders and print out barcodes to stick on to the mail satchels and get them ready to be picked up the following morning for delivery. As the day proceeds, I update social media contents and get ready to work an 8 hour shift. On a weekend, same goes with the day to day routine of preparing orders, but also, planning a shoot. Social media content is very important so I usually allocate every Sunday , the whole day, to getting creative and collaborative and creating some content for social media.
-In a brief description, how do you approach the business side of fashion when you first started?
A: Well, when I started it was and still is, all managed and run by me. From the bookkeeping to the logistics, I sleep, wake to, eat and breath the business. Being a small business it's manageable, as it grows, so will the number of people needed to manage it.
-We ask this questions to every brand owner. What is the biggest factor when you come up with a new idea for your brand?
A: Well, for me, the biggest factor would be to see if it has been done before. Often I'd be up late at night and bam! An idea comes to mind, a set fabric and all, then I do a quick research and find it has already been done. Other factors are if it's practical and if it falls in line with what our target market would wear or even try on.
-How do you measure your customer satisfaction?
A: At this stage, I measure customer satisfaction through their interaction with our Instagram page, often customers stay following the page, they would comment or direct message me or tag us in pictures. Another way I measure customer satisfactionis through repeat purchases.
-As the owner, do you see yourself more on the design side or more on the business side? Or is it pretty much balanced?
A: I definitely see myself on the design side more so than the business. I'm a creative, I get my high from creating; whether it be shooting social media content or designing pieces. However, I'm slowly learning to merge with the business side and try to create a healthy balance of the two.
-Were there any setbacks to getting your label off the ground? How did you overcome that?
A: The one major setback when getting the label off the ground is the finance, I over came that by working full time and deferring my studies.
-Who are your target consumers & how do you get them to look at your products?
The target consumer is what I call "NAATH girls", they are fashion conscious women who are bold, confident and an out going social butterflies. The ideal Naath girl is a modern day flamboyant fun girl. She has a colourful personality but a neutral wardrobe. Dresses in a lot of black. Not a big fan of prints and is into minimalism, fine line, creative cuts and a clean finish.
A: I attract them through collaborating with bloggers who I would call the ideal NAATH girl, typically she'd have a following that have similar taste.
-Obviously you created a unique brand, we would like to know if you collaborated with anyone to help you produce such a phenomenal set of collections?
A: I haven't collaborated with anyone, all is done on my own.
-How would you describe yourself as a person & artist?
A: I like to see myself an open minded, easy going, chilled and a positive person. I'm quiet because I like to observe and spend a lot of time in my head. I'm very hard
on myself which works out perfectly because that intern pushes me to work harder and do my best.
-What made you so interested in becoming a fashion designer & brand owner?
A: Growing up I've always been interested in fashion, I use to hand sew clothes for my barbie dolls back in Africa, and as I grew up, I patched up and took in my own clothes, once I got high school and learnt how to use a sewing machine I was unstoppable! I didn't know a thing about making patterns but I knew I wanted to clothes. I was freelance styling on the side and that inspired me and gave me the confidence to start. Styling was like a gateway, I met some really cool young creative people and a great mentor and designer, Demian Renucci.
-What is the significants of your brand name? Why did you choose to go with the name you chose?
A: Coming up with a brand name, I mustsay, was the hardest part.
I wanted something that had a lot of depth and meaning to me but didn't box me in with a name that was too feminine , in case I wanted to later pursue men's wear. My father was the majorsupporter, we're really close, so when it came to naming it I did it for him, the name simply is the name of a Nilotic tribe in South Sudan, to pay homage to where I'm from.
-Do you have a favourite designer who inspires you? Why is that?
A: Apart from the major fashion houses, my favourite designer right now is LaQuan Smith. He portrays sexy through the eyes of the millennial; I love the high slits and his choice of fabric and daring cuts.
-What story are you trying to covey through your design skills ?
A: The story that I try to portray the story of the woman, the many facets of the woman depending on how they feel and mental state. I do this by creating a piece for the modest, the "over the top" confident and daring, the young and the mature. I create pieces that can interchange and build outfits in a way that flatters different body types and moods.
-Did you ever see yourself to be so successful in establishing a known brand?
A: I still don't identify or see myself as successful, I made a move, and still in the process. I do see myself being successful in the future, but as for the present, I appreciate the process and will continue to learn and create.
-Tell me about your latest collection. What was your vision when you created it?
A: The first collection Madam Noir is an all black, simple evening wear that's sexy, elegant and edgy. It's inspired by my hard working modern day girl who still likes to socialise and party. The looks can interchange from day to night looks depending on how it's styled. The vision I had was pretty much of looks that can be worn straight out of the office to Friday night drinks with the girls by simply changing one piece.
-To be a designer, you had to undergo a lot of struggles. What was the most difficult obstacle for you when putting together your collection?
A: Well, the main struggle was definitely financing the dream, I was a full time uni student and worked part time as an assistant nurse, luckily I already had savings strictly for starting the business. Another difficulty I had was time and energy, I had so much packed into my day, so I deferred uni for a year and a semester to give me that extra time to focus.
-If you could showcase your designs anywhere in the world, where would you start and why?
A: I would love to showcase in New York, its full of pop stars, sports stars and influencers, impeccable street fashion influenced by the black culture and overall a vibe that I'd love to be a part of.
-Who excites you the most (Celebrity) & why?
A: I absolutely LOVE Janelle Monae, she has a signature style that's all her own. She wears a lot of monochrome but leans more towards black, fitted suits and strong designs, she wears a lot of creative cuts and bold colours and She's definitely a risk taker. Every music red carpet event, she's the first person who's outfit I want to see. She does modest and sexy all in one and does it perfectly. My life will be complete the day she dresses in a NAATH outfit.
-How is your brand different from any other designer brands?
A: Well, for starters, the whole collection and the one to follow will be black. It boasts a simple designs alongside creative cut elements that make it edgy and different. It'd modest but revealing all at once. I don't like to follow the trends, I aim to be trendsetter in the future.
-What are your world-dominating goals?
A: My ultimate goal as a designer is to become a worldwide recognised household name, to be recognised as one of Australia's greatest. My world dominating goal is to be the Go to label when you're thinking of wearing all black.