We all know that when we dress to impress, we feel at our best and have the benefit of confidence. With minimalist fashion comes a lack of physical clutter, which can also help to clear the mental clutter. When you feel and look light, you may find yourself feeling happier and fulfilled. In the fashion industry, concepts like ‘capsule wardrobe’ propose a reduced but high-quality, timeless wardrobe. It challenges the complex and fast-paced fashion industry with its numerous collections, overproduction and overconsumption. The application of minimalism on the business level in the fashion industry has not been researched yet. Therefore, we aimed to explore how minimalism is perceived and applied on the organisational level in the fashion industry and its contribution to ecological sustainability. That’s why we had a conversation with Kelsey Drago.
DRAGO was founded in 2021 by Kelsey Drago with the goal to create an essential go-to summer wardrobe. Simple, elegant, and easy to wear.
From one small business to another. The idea behind DRAGO is to remain conscious in what we wear, how it’s made, and who is making it. Fabric’s are sourced from other small businesses within the US. Each of your pieces are made to order by Kelsey and DRAGO’s small team of 2. Shop DRAGO here: https://www.kelseydrago.com .
”Join our mission to waste less and mean more. Let’s change the way we wear.”– Kelsey Drago
SUSTAINABLE: INTERVIEW WITH KELSEY DRAGO
How did your passion for design start and how your creative process work?
I’ve always been interested in creating, fashion and art. There is something very rewarding in completing a project and knowing it is hand crafted and original. I think my creative process is always changing and evolving. Your process straight out of college is much different than your process 10 years from then because we are always learning, adapting, and experiencing new things. That is essentially where creativity comes from.
How do you think the fashion industry is helping independent designers?
I’m not quite sure that it is. I think that there are certainly new outlets that have arose that support and propel independent designers, such as online magazines and social platforms which highlight brands and businesses, but I do think that the industry itself has some tight doors to break through. There is also a disconnection between learning how to be a designer and learning how to start and succeed as a business.
Can you tell us a little bit about your references and inspirations for your garments?
My newest collection came out of need during the second summer of the pandemic. I wanted to consume less and find pieces that would fill multiple needs of my wardrobe. I had been searching for years for something similar to a dress that I had once owned, it was a simple summer piece that I could wear day to night. I realized that I wanted to create the perfect summer dress that could fit multiple occasion and still be something I would desire to wear years from now.
Can you describe your client’s personality in a few words?
Energetic, youthful mindset, humble, and social.
What do you think is your best-selling piece?
I only started my label last year in 2021. Many times before, I created entire intricate collections on my own, the problem being that seasonal launches and production time deadlines were unrealistic to meet as an emerging designer. It was impossible to keep up with. Starting again this past summer, my brand model was to remove the idea of seasonal collections and focus on brand staples that would work year-after-year with additions to the label each year. So for now, my best selling piece is my Summer Dress. It is purchased for so many occasions; wedding events, date-nights, vacations, events and parties, the list goes on. This is what I want my brand to be. Sustainable and limitless.
What do you think about the opportunity of selling your products on online platforms, you think it might be a good showcase for your work and your future?
It’s absolutely the best way to showcase my work. I want everyone to resonate with something from my brand. It allows you the opportunity to connect with clients globally while still maintaining a direct-to-consumer sales model. I look at wholesale shops as a way of marketing your collection, and I think brick-and-mortar is wonderful but only necessary for certain brands and at certain stages of their company’s career. Online is the best kick-off point for a new independent brand.
What does the fashion industry need more of to grow up and what can be done better for this?
The fashion industry is tough. Any form of an art driven career is extremely hard to break into. There is no guideline or map to follow on how to get to where you want to be. I don’t know the exact answer to that question; however, I can only speak on the reflection of my own path’s challenges and successes.
When it comes to any tangible product provided career you need experience and a portfolio to advance. The only way for emerging designers to attain this is through work opportunities.
What is the long term goal for you as a designer and what is the main mission?
A long term goal for me it to continue to operate in the same way that I am now but with a larger internal team. A design studio within a manufacturer, to have eyes on quality control and to be present for the entire process.
One of my goals is to also support fashion students by giving them opportunities to start a path into the industry without needing to live in an expensive city to gain that knowledge. I want to empower the next generation of artist to feel like this is a worth-while industry for creatives to grow in.
What are the most interesting social platforms that can help your label?
Honestly, it’s platforms such as yourself who are supporting to highlight brands and drawing attention to what we are trying to accomplish. Instagram is also obviously on the top line of best social platforms. It’s not so much new and interesting as it is effective. Right now, it is hot and as a brand we would be dummies not to participate. This is something that I did not have when I first started out. – https://www.instagram.com/kelseydrago/
Can you tell us what is the next project?
My next project is to introduce more go-to wardrobe staples, with some evolutions to the Summer Dress. I think part of my business model is to keep it tight and simple, so my focus is still on what’s working but now I want to see it on some inspiring people from all walks of life and see how it works into their lifestyles.
For now, my goal is to focus on quality, sustainability, business building and measurable results.