Los Angeles is known for our effortless style, our adventurous ways and our forever changing lifestyle. Through everything us Angelenos endure, we do it with style and FLAIR. Like designer Mire Yang. Breaking off into the fashion industry is a daring adventure however, doing it completely ethically is another journey within itself. Almost giving up on her journey, Yang remembered looking at a magazine that jumpstarted her career in the first place. Now she continues designing her line “Flair the Label” with consistency, durability and style.
During grade school, Yang attended private schools and was forced to wear uniforms years. Jumping into high school, for the first time ever her creativity with fashion flourished. Having the option to choose her own outfit on a daily basis allowed Yang to figure out her love and talent for fashion and art.
As her high school career was coming to an end, she considered her future and college career. She was settled on going to Stanford to become a lawyer, under her family’s direction; but, after joining an after school art program she decided to go for an artistic change.
“I remember being in an afterschool art program and picking up a magazine with a girl wearing a chiffon dress,” Yang said.
“After that it hit me really hard, I wanted to go into fashion.”
Originally her family was not on board with her career switch specifically because of their cultural beliefs when it comes to careers. According to Yang, within the Asian culture is thought that if you did art, you are not smart. The idea was to be involved in the medical, business or political career. With this chip on her shoulder, she had to prove her mom wrong by building a strong art portfolio before senior year. Her mom balanced being a single parent and working for a textile company. Having ties into the fashion industry and working effort to supply for her child, Yang’s mom is her ultimate style inspiration and role model. She admired her mom’s style and ability to be involved in her life and support her dream in fashion.
During that time, Yang learned how to balance school and art with a high GPA, pleasing her mom and earning her support for her fashion agenda.
With her newly founded skills, she was able to apply and be accepted in to Parsons: Fashion, Art and Design School and OTIS: College of Art and Design.
Yang decided to stay in Los Angeles and attend OTIS for design school. For the first year, the program at OTIS focuses on the foundation of art. In the second year, students had to choose their major, learn how to sew, make patterns, illustration and learn textile 101. In four years, Yang graduated OTIS with her bachelors in Fashion Design. Though happily with a new degree on her belt, Yang’s move to the real world of fashion was not so smoothly.
“OTIS gave me a great start and trained me well for the real world,” Yang said.
“I definetly learned that study is not everything. You have to go into the real world and be a part of different internships to be prepared fully for this industry.”
Industry Woes to Fashion Goals
From graduation to internships, Yang jumped into Jobber, which is the wholesale manufacturing industry. Yang became a designer at a manufacture company for a fast fashion brand. There she did not sketch for months but, worked on assisting the designer with swatches and paperwork. Knowing that her position was not going anywhere until the next five to seven years, she decided to move to another company that specialized in garment dying. The different fashion companies helped Yang gain new techniques within the fashion world.
For a new company, she was promoted as a head designer for a company ran by only four people. In this company she learned about production and sales. Sadly, the company had to close due to the low staff and struggles with the industry.
She was happy with what she gained, she questioned her position in the industry. She decided to take time off and start working with kids. She liked it but, she always remembered that magazine she fell in love with. She remembered that she wanted to make dresses and continue to design clothes that she loves, not fast fashion.
Yang got back into the industry by helping her mom in the textile industry and with manufacture companies. Here, she learned more about production with international factories. These factories and manufacture companies designed and produced what is known as fast-fashion.Unfortunately the manufacture companies did not treat the designers with respect and did not give the designers creative freedom.
Working back at the Jobber industry, Mire realized how clothing and design was treated without respect and was just mass produced without having quality in in mind.
With this resolution, she realized that she wanted to go into designing an independent brand that goes her way.
“My goal was to just design beautiful dresses at beautiful prices,” Yang said.
Yang’s first step to her collection was building a team. Already in her corner was her mom and her connections to fabric companies and manufacturers, but with a brand comes various task such as: marketing, distribution, management and production. Understanding the obstacles, it takes to be a designer, she also wanted her industry to be ran by a team she can handle and give everything back too. She wanted a team that was good, stable and loved going into work.
“In the fashion industry, designers have to be workaholics in order to survive in this industry,” Yang said.
The first member of her team was adding Eric Jess to the team as her freelance social media manager.
“After watching Mire start her line Flair the Label, I’ve seen what it takes to launch a label and all the gritty parts that you’d never imagine,” Jess said.
“The highs and lows are a real thing but I’ve also seen how rewarding the journey has been.”
She focused on social media completely last year; however, she learned about advertising as a black hole and only a stepping stone to the industry. By producing great content and quality work, Flair the Label was able to gain a large following.
Quality Over Quantity
“Flair the Label” is manufactured ethically and with high quality fabric thanks to Yang and her mom’s connections to Korea and China. The quality of clothing is also comfortable and durable. Yang defines the brand’s style as feminine, effortless and made with love. Usually mistaken as a bohemian themed, Yang does not mind the comparison with laid back clothing for the everyday girl. She also loves to recreate classic pieces usually using florals and vintage pieces.
Starting a brand is always a difficulty, but Yang has proved to both her friends and family that she is capable of handling everything coming her way.
“I have seen her developing flair from the beginning and the progression of the brand has grown a lot,” friend and Otis classmate, Michelle Chan said.
“She offers everything from the perfect dress for day to night including pieces you can feel confident in as well. She caters to a girl who is versatile in style and personality.”
Currently, Yang is grateful for how far the “Flair the Label” has come and the month they have had. This month included various photoshoots, look books and more. She is continuing to create clothing without forgetting quality over quantity. She is also working on new pieces that are going to be vintage and a little bit of a Wanderlust pieces with their same aesthetic. With the brand’s growth, adding a full staff seems to be Yang’s latest concern.
"My ultimate goal is just to create a stable company, in other words a home for creative people in fashion. I want to work with great creative people, in a new beautiful office and take care of the people I work with," Yang said.
With only a short amount of time of designing, Mire Yang has for sure made her mark within the Los Angeles independent fashion industry. Though Yang is not neccasirly sure what is her next success or move within the industry, rest assured: She’ll do it with FLAIR.
Being in front of the camera with editorials and other photoshoots, Porscha Woodard gained an interest in being both the muse and the designer. With her passion for fashion and heavy resume within the industry, this self-taught business woman shifted from a model to a lingerie designer. Her self-titled collection Porscha Starr, has been featured in music videos, photoshoots and television. Now it is a heavy contender for lingerie empires like Fredrick’s of Hollywood and Victoria’s Secret.
Around five-years-old, Woodard had the eye for fashion. She enjoyed playing dress up with her mom’s clothes and chose outfits for her dolls. Though she took an interest in her mom’s outfits, she gives credit to her grandma for inspiring her fashion sense. Covered in fur coats and extravagant accessories, Woodard’s grandma inspired her love for fashion and eye for luxurious pieces.
Her fashion career continued in 2011, when she became a model. Her work included modeling for print, music videos and walking in runway shows. Though she loved the experience she saw it as a hobby that she gets paid to do.
“All of the sudden, I realized I did not want to be in front of the camera anymore,” Woodard said.
“I wanted to be behind the camera and work with the business side of fashion.”
With this realization she decided to start her own fashion line. Her first step was to decide what line of fashion she wanted to go into and how to do it.
Self- Made Businesswoman
The fashion industry is built by a collaboration of artists including models, designers, creative directors and more. It is no surprise that models are taking their talents to the creative teams behind the outfits. From the fabulous model Kimora Lee Simmon’s shift to designer and creative director to the iconic Iman’s move as a curator for an accessory and jewelry line; Models are immersing in all forms of the industry.
After modeling for a few years, Woodard was interested in starting her own clothing line. Most people would come into the industry with hesitation to start off their journey in the industry. Woodard on the other hand jumped right into it. Her first step was choosing a line of clothing to get into. After modeling for various shoots with the theme of lingerie, she developed the eye for spotting great sexy items.
“I always been a believer that sexy sales,” Woodard said.
“We live in a world that people looks as things sexy as hot. So I thought it was a good idea to go into selling lingerie, because they are always advertising sex on television, film and music videos.”
Besides the target audience, Woodard herself loves lingerie and been interest in it since she was young. She was obsessed with watching the lingerie fashion shows from Victoria’s Secret and looking into the products of Fredrick’s Hollywood and Trashy Lingerie.
In order to start her business, she got into contact with wardrobe stylist for industry advice, after she went into wholesale. Wholesale is selling large quantities of products retailed and made by others. This is usually the first step for curators to make profit in the fashion industry, especially if they do not have experience with designing and sewing. She opened her own showroom in Downtown Los Angeles, and started studying business at Liberty University. She took the course online but, learned even more being in the real world. While working in her showroom she had hands on experience with the industry that students do not really get the chance to see within a classroom.
With her showroom, Woodard was prepared for the industry even before her fashion journey started. She went from wholesaling and retailing to creating her own lingerie collection.
She hired a team of designers from FIDM in Downtown Los Angeles. The fashion school allows people from the fashion industry to post jobs and internships on their career board. Woodard did so and ended up hiring FIDM alumni costume designers, photographers, and professional models from Model mayhem. She also found stylists from the industry that she previously met as a model. She went through several different pattern makers and designers however; it was a struggle to find a solid team. Her new designer squad became a unit and the team moved as one.
“The hardest part was to build a solid team to believe in my vision and bring it to real life,” Woodard said.
Being involved in the industry, Woodard networked with carious people within the industry. Even she agrees that modeling made it easier to shift her career into business mode. With networking handled and a solid team built, Porscha Starr shined throughout the industry and is growing day by day, along with Woodard’s growing industry.
Mixing Business & Motherhood
Porscha Starr is growing with an effective team and beautiful lingerie for various occasions. Not only does Woodard want to focus on the branding she also cares deeply for the products she is selling.
“One of the main things I focus on with designing lingerie is comfort,” Woodard said.
“I want the girl who wears my clothing to not only feel sexy; but, to also get her money’s worth in the outfit she loves.”
Woodard herself is a huge fan of lingerie and appreciated how it makes her feel. To her it is the closest thing to comfortability because it is the one thing a woman can wear and be almost naked without being naked. Like swimwear, she feels that wearing less makes women feel like a million bucks and it gives women a certain amount of confidence.
Her brand designs lingerie that is perfect for under garments and sex appeal. The brand features a complete line of lingerie, costumes, club wear, hosiery and leather. The brand is growing and being featured in music videos, showrooms, editorial shoots and more.
“Her style is daring and creative,” photographer Arthur St. John said.
“ She is not afraid to experiment and thinks outside the box. I loved working with her.”
When she is not working on the brand, she is also tangling her time to her family’s business. She recently moved back to California, to manage her little brother’s music career and video shoots. She also is focusing on her one-year old daughter’s growing brand. Little Isis Chanel Chambers, Woodard’s daughter and new business partner is following her mother’s footsteps. This one year is juggling a career as a model, gymnast, dancer and fashionista. Every day is something going on for this business and family woman. Though frightening for most, Woodard loves the thrill of juggling three businesses.
“I think its I always had a crazy drive and I always want to do stuff,” Woodard said.
“I love being involved in all of the things I am working on and my daughter is the person that keeps me motivated and continuing to do better.”
Currently, Woodard is trying to work on the brand an increase the publicity of the lingerie line. They plan on working with style house for more styling shoots and music videos movies commercials.
“I would like to be in the competition with Victoria’s Secret,” Woodard said.
“I also want more people and more awareness of the brand. Overall I just want everything on a bigger scale from shoots to sales, more everything.”