"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do." Pelé
Jonathan Pope is a Designer and the Owner of Unique Creations Apparel™. Started in 2012, Unique Creations Apparel™ takes the familiar method of developing clothing and gives new life to our vision of portraying fashion, as it was designed to be simply a form of Art. Jonathan holds a Associates of Business Administration & Management from Penn State University, and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Washington.
Creativity and the Fashion Industry
What was the inspiration for creating Unique Creations Apparel?
My inspiration for starting Unique Creations Apparel (uqcapparel) was to address a common issue that I was beginning to notice in our society of everyone begin so socially conscious about themselves. People being concerned or worried about being who they are rather than what society tells them how they should be. I have always considered myself to be a very unique individual and views the world through different lenses and I understood that I was not the only person that felt this way. Unique Creations Apparel (uqcapparel) was inspired to bring a face and awareness to a word that everyone has their own opinion of what that word means to them but to be free and confident to live truthfully in that word and embrace what truly makes you unique.
What is your creative process when creating a new collection?
Like most creators everything for me starts from an emotional connection I was able to obtain from the last collection and what new or improved feelings I want to have with this new one. My experiences and feelings should change with every given collection I come up with since everything is supposed to be different; therefore my feelings and emotions should be different as well. Once that is understood, the way I believe this new collection will make me feel which can be determined by lots of things such as the season, popular colors, trends etc... I then begin to create a story with my designs with the hope to be able to take the viewer of this new collection on a journey, told through fashion.
How has your business changed over time and how has that affected the creative process?
I believe that social media has a lot to do with how my business has changed over time. Social media has given me a platform to be able to not only expand my brand and help it grow but to help spread the message of what Unique Creations Apparel stands for and being able to connect with people that appreciate the message. Social media has helped my business enable me to connect directly to my fan base and ability to understand them better but it has also affected my business in other ways as well. There is so much information that viewer is receiving to their smart device daily whether its music, fashion, trends, gossip reports etc... that sometimes you feel like you always constantly need to provide material so that your viewer will not get bored and move on to someone else which can ultimately affect the creative process. So for me I had to learn to be very selective of what I put out to the public to view rather than just providing content that may not be our best work.
With fashion being a fast moving industry with lots of trends, do you allow the current atmosphere to influence your collections?
I think for anyone who considers themselves to be a fashion designer, clothing designer or what have; I think it’s foolish to believe that they don't pay attention to trends, what’s current, what patterns, textures, or what color schemes are making a comeback. Those things change so fast I think it’s very important for brands to have a foundation that they can always fall back on that will always demonstrate and convey the brand’s message. There are certain things that you will always be able to count on when shopping at Unique Creations Apparel: you will find apparel items with bright/intense colors, eye-catching designs, comfortability and affordable pricing. Now, we will experiment and throw in different trends that we feel meet our creative process, but rest a sure if those items don’t work we will always go back to what defines who we are as a label.
How do you approach competing against other brands in similar apparel categories as yours?
Don't get me wrong I am a very competitive person by nature and I am always looking at my competition to see what they are doing in regards to their label, but honestly the fashion industry is so large and diverse that everyone can be successful in this space without the concern of worrying about someone else putting you out of business. One of the things that make the fashion industry so great is that you can have more than one favorite designer or brand the same way people like more than one type of music or food. My approach is to never be worried so much about what my competitors are doing but how I can continue to spread our message and attract more people who can relate to a label that promotes individuality and self-confidence.
What are three tips that you would give those looking to start a clothing line?
- Have a clear understanding of what type of clothing line you want to produce. People have this misunderstanding that when you say you have a clothing line or that you make clothes that it relates to everyone and it might not. It is a completely different business when you say I design menswear versus someone who says they design womenswear.
- Understand your target audience. When developing your clothing line have a clear understanding of who you envision wearing and buying your product. Try and learn everything you can about your target audience and figure out the best ways to convey that message towards them.
- Create your clothing line around something that you are passionate about. Everyone today believes that they can be a designer or creator of some kind and make something that looks cool on the internet but when you create a product around something that your passionate about you will be amazed of how you can connect with people who are passionate about the very same thing.