FashioNXT Spotlight: Varsha
Varsha Agrawal was one of the many designers to participate in UP/NXT 2015 and the FashioNXT 2015 show. She recently had a small pop-up shop featuring her designs from the show at Mabel and Zora a boutique located in the Pearl District.
We talked with Varasha and Tiffany Bean, owner of Mabel and Zora and UP/NXT Judge, and discussed her thoughts on Varsha Agrawal’s collection.
What inspired you to start designing?
I saw a need in the market for high quality polished women’s work wear. I worked in corporate America for several years, and noticed there was a need beyond the traditional dresses and trousers found at stores like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic.
Who is your ideal customer?
I envision strong confident business women to wearing my clothes, like Michelle Obama, and Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) from House of Cards.
We know you are quite matured as a business person; with a developed web presence including e commerce, even though you are a new graduate from Fashion Institute Technology in New York. What is your biggest challenge grown your design business?
Getting to know and understand the industry, since it doesn’t work like my prior industry. People are not as professional having to reset expectations. It has been challenging and rewarding at the same time.
Where do you manufacture and source from?
I manufacture in Los Angeles, but live in Seattle.
What challenges do you see in being a small distribution?
Being able to get price points that are in line with her volume. I have a low minimum so price points high in terms of production, getting volume in line with price point.
What peaked your interest to audition for UP/NXT?
I did Bellevue Fashion week and wanted to do the same in Portland setting, and being that FashioNXT is the premier fashion show in Portland this seemed like an appealing opportunity.
What is something you learned from UP/NXT?
Gave me the opportunity to visualize and plan a show for myself. Getting to style and pick music for the show.
What was your inspiration for your FashioNXT collection?
I got inspiration from the fabrics I selected. I wanted to push myself to build a complete wardrobe for my muse woman using fabrics I have not worked with.
How has FashioNXT UP/NXT challenge impacted your business? Any changes in capital?
Being recognized by Portland stores for various trunk shows.
What have you been doing since FashioNXT?
I’ve been polishing my collection. Getting production squared away with fabric companies and factories. I have also been getting ready to attend the Capsule Trade Show in New York as a designer.
Can you help other emerging designers understand how you go about determining styles of this collection and price points?
Minimal,tailored,clean,high quality. Simple tailored high quality but not using real leather or furs. Price point reasonable so people can afford to buy.($250-$600)
Work backwards and establish price they want work towards fabric cost and production; then you will see what you can take on.
What lead you to doing the Pop Up with Mabel & Zora?
Talking with Tiffany, and upon going to Mabel & Zora I saw that it’s a beautiful boutique that fits my target market.
Tiffany Bean Owner of Mabel & Zora
What lead to your decision to have a pop up shop for Varsha?
I loved the line at FashionXT. I thought it was just beautiful and reached out to Varsha to let her know how much I loved it and we started up a conversation about having a pop up shop. Everything evolved from there.
As a judge what did you think of the UPNXT collection by Varsha, and her as a business woman?
I loved the collection, I thought it was beautiful and well thought out. I also feel it’s really sellable in today’s market. The details are on trend and the shapes and colors are very flattering. I can’t say I know much of her as a business woman, I’m just getting to know her so I have no idea how much experience she has or her background, but she makes beautiful designs and they are of wonderful quality.
What’s your thoughts on this collection, and why people should buy?
I think if it appeals to someone, this is a wonderfully made collection by a lovely Northwest artist. I love supporting designers in our area and Varsha has put together a beautiful collection that is of great quality made of great materials.
What are the ways people can buy after today?
I believe you can buy directly from her website, and we would be more than happy to get in contact with Varsha for anyone to help with any purchases!
To view Varsha’s work check out her website at http://www.varshaagarwal.com/
To view merchandise at Mabel and Zora go to http://www.mabelandzora.com/ or visit their shop located at
748 NW 11TH AVE
PORTLAND, OR 97209