Forbes: Designer Spotlight: V.Mora Incubator Supports Emerging Designers
Author: Kristina Moore, CONTRIBUTOR
Designer Spotlight is a regular column focusing on style and the professional woman.
V.Mora, a fashion development and production company founded by former fashion designer, Anna Livermore, aims to be a one-stop shop for emerging designers, helping them move successfully from concept to launch.
Livermore understands firsthand the challenges new designers face, motivating her, in 2008, to open V.Mora to foster a designer community and bring fashion dreams to life. V.Mora cuts through the usual red tape for designers by offering them a variety of services, including pattern & sample-making, fabric sourcing, model fittings, factory tours and access to Optitex technology, a virtual prototyping & production tool, plus business strategies, connections, and comrades.
The V.Mora client base spans as far as Australia and counts Kiya Tomlin as one of its clients. Livermore leads an all-woman team at company headquarters in Chicago with additional offices in San Francisco and New York. She graduated from Columbia College Fine Arts with concentration in Fashion Design and she frequently speaks at textile and manufacturing shows across the country.
Kristina Moore: It’s my understanding building a designer community is a priority at V.Mora. Why is this important?
Anna Livermore: There is a lack of community in the fashion community actually. In building community among our designers, we’ve seen greater success than when they go at it alone.
Over the last 7 years, we’ve built a community in Chicago and New York through Factory Tours, Designer Workshops or seminars. We connect designers to each other and to the process of production. We’ve also created designer support groups and sales groups to foster a sense of connection and to enrich community among our clients. When I started in fashion, it was very much every man for himself; there was a huge need for community.
We’re seeing success with our designers who collaborate and share resources. We have designers working together on sales and sharing fabric orders and PR information. When I started as a designer, it was an uphill battle to find the resources I needed to be successful. In founding V.Mora, I created what I didn’t have – a one-stop shop for emerging designers. This year, I had the pleasure of being a founding member of Wear Chicago – a group of established designers in Chicago looking to collaborate and share resources. Whether you’re just starting out or you are an established designer, collaboration is key in this industry.
Moore: What inspired you to transition from fashion designer to founder of V.Mora?
Livermore: I walked this road myself. As an independent designer, all I could see was these massive roadblocks that stood in my way. I found myself feeling like there had to be a more powerful way to share the experience with other designers. I always have and always will love working one on one with designers. I feel like I still design today, just with 60 other partners. I didn’t give up, I just grew.
Moore: What future plans for V.Mora excite and energize you?
Livermore: When we started, we became masters of how to move from sketch to garment. Now we’re looking at the second side of that – how to get that design into the hands of consumers. It’s no secret that e-commerce is the future of sales for apparel. Last year, retail e-commerce revenues from apparel and accessories sales amounted to $52.2 billion. We’re working with clients to establish and expand their online presence, and connecting the dots all the way to the consumer. In the next year, we’re establishing an online marketplace for all our customers.
Moore: How do you replenish your creativity and energy?
Livermore: I think you can find incredible sparks of creativity anywhere. Sometimes it comes up when I’m running, sometimes it’s seeing something I’ve never seen in a new country. Creativity and energy is everywhere, you just have to keep your mind open to it. I love to travel, connecting with other entrepreneurs. I replenish my energy through meditation and taking care of myself, making sure I’m in tiptop shape so I can take care of my business.
Do you have a fashion designer, brand or company you would like featured on Forbes Style File: Designer Spotlight? Let us know in the comments section.
Kristina Moore is a style expert focusing on visual presentation as a dynamic professional tool. She is the founder and editor of Corporate Fashionista. Kristina welcomes your comments and questions.