Today we’d like to introduce you to Isabel Simpson-Kirsch.
Isabel, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I have wanted to be a clothing designer ever since I can remember! I grew up knowing this is what I wanted to do. I attended college at Parsons School of Design. Upon graduating, my senior thesis collection went viral and launched my brand and career. My brand has taken many forms and made some changes over the years. I worked out of my hometown, Nashville, for a few years running my brand from there. After that, I moved to LA and paused my brand for a bit to design for other companies and brands. I learned a ton working in the industry here and did everything from licensed design to production management. When the pandemic hit, I lost my design job working at a small T-shirt brand. I used this as an opportunity to launch my brand again. I began making small runs of clothing out of deadstock fabric and reworking vintage items. I gained. a lot of traction and have been growing since! My brand, Isabel SK, uses 100% deadstock materials. From the fabric, trim, thread, polybags, etc. Working in the industry here in LA I met so many folks in the industry and have since been able to use these connections to fuel my business with only reusing already made “deadstock” materials. I do this in an effort to reduce waste within the industry in LA and in general! I like to educate people on deadstock fabric, as there is so much material that already exists, waiting to be used. Sustainability is something that I think all companies who make products should consider and work into their business model and I feel so proud to be able to reuse “unwanted” goods.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road of having a small business is always winding and always up and down! Overall, it’s been smooth sailing as I feel doing this comes naturally to me but there have definitely been some challenges. For me, I would say the biggest challenges have been navigating social media and holding myself accountable! As the only person working for my brand on a daily basis, tasks can become super overwhelming! Sometimes I get behind on things, and they pile up and it’s hard to hold myself to deadlines. As far as social media, it is just not my thing! When I expand, the first hire I make will be Social Media/Marketing 😉 It overwhelms me a lot, and I don’t love having to conform to the ever-changing algorithm. However, as we all know, Instagram is a huge part of my business! So I do my best to keep up and stay authentic to my brand.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My main inspiration for my brand is to reduce waste within the garment industry in Los Angeles. I love that all of our pieces are limited run, if it sells out, it’s usually gone forever! I feel that making everything with deadstock or vintage goods adds a level of authenticity to our brand which many other brands chase by copying vintage fabrics. Vintage is always in style and using deadstock and vintage goods really inspires my designs. I am also driven by accessibility, I want my clothing to be affordable and effortless, comfortable and easy. My customers are a big inspiration as everyone has such incredible diverse lifestyles. I always keep my customer in mind and work to keep my products very affordable and below market average. I am not doing this brand to make a ton of money, I want my brand and others like it to be a go-to for folks over fast fashion model brands such as Urban Outfitters, etc.
What matters most to you?
Maintaining the ethical standards I’ve set for my brand is very important to me! Sustainable products, small drops, working with independent, family-run contractors, supporting local vendors. I want those standards to set standards for others and hopefully, we can all work to better the clothing industry.
- Website: https://www.isabelsk.com/home
- Instagram: @isabel.sk
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/isabelskdesign
All images shot by Isabel SK