By Raan and Shea Parton
Photos by Ken Tisuthiwongse
Our team at Apolis’ sees immense value in surrounding ourselves with like-mined organizations that sharpen our brand. In 2012 Apolis’ social & environmental impact was certified by BCorporation and since this partnership was initiated, our model of ‘advocacy through industry’ has been refined and improved. Now, we’re proud of our most recent partnership with a like-minded organization that we believe complements Apolis’ design process, the CFDA (The Council of Fashion Designers of America). On July 17th we were extremely grateful to hear the announcement that we were two of the new 30 designers to be added to the CFDA family, now totaling 478 members. For those not familiar with what exactly it is that the CFDA does, it is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping American designers flourish in the global fashion realm. The organization, based in New York City, also hosts an awards ceremony once a year to honor the best designers and rising talent.
On August 13th we sat down at our flagship store, Apolis: Common Gallery, and reflected on the past two years of applying to become CFDA members and now what’s next:
What’s happening with three new CFDA members on August 27th at Apolis' downtown Los Angeles flagship:
We are going to continue our free-admission community-speaking series where we ask a moderator & panelists, to participate in a live discussion about how their industry impacts community (previously we hosted an event with Marcus Samuelson). This will be our fourth event centered on how “Design" has the unique ability to impact community. The event will be 7–9pm on Aug. 27th, with us and LA-based designer, Clare Vivier. We all became CFDA members this July and we thought it was a fun opportunity to ask the senior west coast editor of Vanity Fair, Krista Smith, to moderate a live discussion on today’s emerging socially-motivated consumer culture. Free food and drinks but space is limited, you must RSVP by August 25th, Invitation.
Why living on the West Coast kept us optimistic about being inducted into the CFDA:
Los Angels is about film and music and New York is for fashion and theatre. So the common question is, why would you choose to build a clothing brand in Los Angeles? Early on, we asked ourselves that question daily, but growing up in Southern California we knew we would have a hard time adapting to the lack of east coast sunshine. Regardless of prioritizing the quality of life in L.A., we have been grateful the city's creative industries do not have the stereotypical political landscape. If you’re passionate and are doing something that people care about, you can be successful. We're not traditionally trained designers and we did not work up the ranks of a fashion house or have any garment-pedigree family connections. To be doing what we are doing and making a living at it, we think, can only really happen in Los Angeles. That is what is exciting for L.A. regarding creative industries--it is very fresh and open. You can have zero experience or tons of experience, and you are treated the same, Los Angeles kind of gives people a hall pass to do what they want to do. Whether you want to be a chef, or an architect or a clothing designer, nothing substitutes for an insane work ethic, persistence, and ultimately the discernment to surround yourself with people that care more about your sanity than your creative ideas.
What are long-term dreams for Apolis and the CFDA:
We think CFDA is a gateway for a handful of corporate companies to dialogue with the fashion industry. Our dream is to bring social entrepreneurship into these corporate social responsibility conservations. Most important, to be a voice that is not beating cause marketing over people’s heads but can actually lead with great design and as a result transform rural communities, which are the benefactors. We continue to dream that design makes life better all throughout the supply chain, from the growers & sew-ers to everyone that enjoys the product. We all win when the entire supply chain is thoughtful, beautifully executed, and long term-minded.
The people who made our induction possible:
First of all, our friends and family are paramount, we sold our first Apolis T-shirt at Santa Barbara High School in 1999, and to think our friends and family have supported us this entire time is insane. Second, the Apolis team & HL Grp, the most talented and selfless behind-the-scenes heroes that daily blow wind into our sails. Third, we were privileged to receive CFDA recommendation letters from Bruce Pask (Bergdorf Goodman), Blake Mycoskie (TOMS), Todd Snyder, John Whitledge (Trovata), Greg Chait (The Elder Statesman), Eunice Lee (UNIS), George Esquivel, and quite a few others were extremely instrumental in the behind-the-scenes process of becoming CFDA members.
Apolis' Creative Director, Raan Parton, takes care of all the design, fabric sourcing, development, fit, production, and overall branding. Apolis’ Brand Director, Shea Parton, runs the day-to-day operations and oversees advocacy projects, the journal and key brand relationships. We are extremely proud of our ongoing design goal to search all ends of the earth to responsibly source the finest materials and the best manufacturing processes to equip and empower global citizens. Our Autumn 20014 collection is estimated to arrive to our key retailers & a few new ones - within three delivery dates between September and November 2014. We are privileged that our friends at GQ, Style.com, NY Mag and WWD first previewed our CFDA announcement and we look forward to the upcoming CFDA new members dinner in New York, early October.