Designer Interview

By: FashWire
Aug 04, 2023 11:20 AM

When did you know you wanted to become a designer?  

I have always enjoyed fashion and even as a child, I used to love painting on fabrics and created floral patterns on my mother’s clothes and my relatives’ clothes. I enjoyed styling them. I always had that in me. However, it wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I realized that this is something I want to pursue not just as a hobby but as a career. So, in 2020, when many were going through changing their lifestyles, I took that as an opportunity to reinvent myself and started my brand.


What is your earliest design memory for your brand? 

My earliest memory is from 2019 when I felt a strong pull to express my creative side and feeling of wanting more flexibility with my life and schedule.


What did the beginnings of Metri Holliday look like? 

I went through many iterations. I did a lot of research and spoke to many people, some subject matter experts too, and some life coaches. So, in the beginning, I was buried in all my research and the next step became clearer, deciding on what story I wanted to tell and how. Ideas around taking my visions and executing them started to pop in my head. I went through several iterations before I landed in a place where I felt happy and confident with what I had created.


Where do you find inspiration? 

Inspiration is everywhere. You just have to be aware. I find inspiration when I see other designers creating beautiful pieces of clothing or patterns that are worthy of framing, I find inspiration in art, nature and when I see some style or pattern that excites people. I feel inspired to capture that feeling.


“Scarves are known to create a feeling of elegance when a woman wears it. Especially silk scarves have long been known as a symbol of elegance and luxury. That’s the feeling I wanted to evoke.”


How would you describe the style of your brand?

My brand is very emotive. My designs are characterized by vibrant colors, intricate pattern, symbolism that convey feelings of happiness and delight to those who wear or see them.


When was your first industry experience and how did it impact you?

I would say my first industry experience was at New York Fashion Week in 2022. I had never dreamed of walking the runway and there I was! I had always thought that it’s for more established brands who have been in business much longer that me. I didn’t know that there were platforms for new designers too to make their creations known.  I was thrilled and meeting with other designers and listening to their stories, hard work that goes into creating a brand name was a humbling moment. I felt really lucky to be one of them. It also boosted my confidence in me.


What inspired you to name your brand? 

My brand is named after me as it's synonymous with my style, vision, and creativity. It reflects my personal identity as it helps me express my artistic vision and individuality. Also, naming my label after me allows me to have flexibility in the creative direction and product offerings in the future.


What made you want to design luxury silk scarves? 

I did a lot of research on fashion psychology and came across the concept of embodied cognition which simply means that we think not just with our brains but also our bodies. And fashion sense is a reflection of one’s confidence and character. I wanted to capture this all-in-one perfect accessory. Scarves are known to create a feeling of elegance when a woman wears it. Especially silk scarves have long been known as a symbol of elegance and luxury. That’s the feeling I wanted to evoke. Also, scarves are a versatile accessory. They can be used as a top, headband, handbag etc. As women, we wear many hats, and our accessories should be able to accommodate our different roles. I found a scarf to be that accessory.


What was the toughest circumstance you overcame when just starting out your business? 

Developing your own product is harder than taking already created products (drop-shipping or white-labeling) and selling them in the market. It comes with its own challenges regardless. For me, the biggest surprise has been around brand identity.

The fashion industry is very competitive and consumer demand changes quite often. People are so used to expecting new products every day or every season. Given that I design for emotions and feelings, which are not seasonal, I don’t follow these seasonal trends which makes it a bit harder. So, I have to focus more on building a brand and educating consumers on what I am about. This has been harder than I had initially thought.

I continue to work on it. Competing with established brands, emerging designers, and fast fashion vying for consumer attention is challenging.


How has the fashion industry changed since you first started out?

I started my brand in 2021. The fashion industry is fast paced in general and post-pandemic, it has changed quite a bit. I feel consumers are becoming more conscious of sustainability which is making brands adopt more environment friendly practices.  There has been a shift toward adopting more technology like virtual fashion shows, virtual shopping experiences and now adopting AI. I see more designers re-thinking the traditional seasonal approach to fashion and instead creating more timeless pieces or styles. There is definitely more technology integration, rise of e-commerce and emphasis on comfort.


“All my designs are original, I have used the best quality silk, eco-friendly dyes, and the size of the scarf helps them be versatile.”


What is one piece of advice you would give to a new designer?

Starting out, building your own brand can put you in a vulnerable spot. There will be many challenges. No matter what, don’t give up. Change your social circle, find the right support, educate yourself, if one thing doesn’t work, try something else but never give up on your dream.


What sets your brand apart from the rest?

My brand is very emotive and that is what sets me apart.


What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?  

My biggest accomplishment in the traditional sense would be the New York Fashion Week, “Rising Star” finalist with the Fashion Group International. My biggest non-traditional accomplishment is when I get reviews from women saying how much they love the design and meaning behind it. One of such messages brought tears to my eyes. Someone bought my “I Am Enough” Scarf as a Christmas gift for their niece and they wrote a gift message saying that no matter what situation, they are enough, and they should always remember that. 


What do you envision for the future of your brand?

Diversify my product offerings. Currently, I have square scarves. I want to offer different sizes and slowly transfer my designs to clothing and other accessories.


What brand values are most important for Metri Holliday? 

Authenticity, quality, versatility. All my designs are original, I have used the best quality silk, eco-friendly dyes, and the size of the scarf helps them be versatile.


What is the most important thing you would like your brand to be recognized for?

For the story I tell with each design and quality.


What should customers expect to see next from Metri Holliday?

I am working on new designs and rectangle-shaped scarves. I plan to test them out at a pop up in DC in August.