The fashion industry has been making strides to shed its past
There’s a long list of (often negative!) descriptors that have been applied to the industry, from its American Industrial period to today’s offshore production. The list of adjectives includes things like exclusive, wasteful, unsustainable, archaic, exploitive, and many others.
We can all agree that fast fashion does not have a positive impact on our planet. But, on the other hand, there will always be a need for apparel. Whether it’s basics or fashion, there are still over 7 billion people on this planet who need something to wear. That’s still a lot of manufacturing that has to happen. How can the fashion industry create a new origin story for itself?
Meet Jordana Guimaraes, co-founder of Fashinnovation, a platform for positive impact in the fashion industry. Her company’s goal is connecting companies and high-profile fashion leaders on a global level to amplify important topics such as diversity, inclusion, sustainability, social impact, entrepreneurship, and new technologies.
Fashinnovation looks to cross the boundaries of country and culture. Guimaraes believes we can work to alleviate many of the global problems plaguing the fashion industry by finding solutions via events and networking. These global conversations can ignite revolutionary actions and bring change across the fashion industry.
Today we check in with Guimaraes about her fashion business, Fashinnovation.
If you had to describe Fashinnovation in three words, what would they be?
Innovative, Inclusive, and Sustainable.
Where did the idea for Fashinnovation come from?
My husband (who’s also my business partner!) and I come from very unique backgrounds–he’s an entrepreneur who scales international companies via ways of innovation, and I come from Public Relations and Social Impact in the world of fashion. After we met and had 2 babies back-to-back, he approached me and asked, “Would it make sense to mix our worlds and create an event focused around the future of fashion?”
I said, “YES!” and from that, Fashinnovation was born!
What makes Fashinnovation unique?
We are very much all about people. We bring the “human perspective and connection” to the fashion industry, in terms of technology. For an industry that for so long has been in its own bubble, and despite exclusivity as an attractive component, our platform in just 3 years has democratized a big part of the industry. We’ve done this with our desire to improve the fashion industry via technology, to make the world a better place. Though business and profit are very important, to remain a sustainable business and give opportunities to many, it is impact that drives us forward.
How did your roots influence your career path?
I grew up in Brazil, and my parents were born and raised in Egypt. I grew up in a very mixed household with not only many languages and cultures intertwined, but also travel and business. Both of my parents were entrepreneurs who constantly took us on adventures around the world. This influenced me to know how much I loved people and wanted to do something to create an impact on the world.
What would you say was the most important obstacle/challenge you had to overcome in getting to where you are today?
A few of the biggest obstacles had to do with me being a Latin woman. Since the fashion industry is run by a lot of men, being taken seriously and setting boundaries was a very tough thing for me. Also, as a start-up, even though we have proven ourselves and have had over 600 CEOs and Founders on our platform in only 3 years, the enterprise companies still have a hard time sponsoring us due to the short amount of time we have been around for.
What about aprendizajes? What is the most important thing you’ve learned along the way?
I have learned to let go of impostor syndrome. After all, we are all the same and if we are around someone who we may feel is bigger or better than us, then it means we are special, as they want to give us their time.
If you had to give our readers financial advice for their businesses and/or start-ups, what would it be?
I would say that it’s okay to start small, and grow as funds come in. Try and stay without an investor, if possible, as having control, especially in the first years of business maintaining your vision, can go a very long way in your success.
Would you have done anything differently?
I feel like I’ve always had a “Just do it” attitude and I never wait for everything to be perfect before starting. I just started. Therefore, I feel that with the business, I wouldn’t do anything differently. Even though I made mistakes, that makes it a part of my entrepreneurial journey, which at the end, is my story!
Most of successful people are surrounded by people who inspire or help them reach their greatest potential. Who was that person (those people) for you?
I always say that throughout life we encounter many individuals. They all inspire in different and unique ways. Therefore, everyone who I’ve had in my life, for a day or for years, has been my mentor. My mother of course is a woman who taught me that all women are superheroes and was always there for me.
How do you balance professional and personal life?
I used to think there was a balance, but I’ve come to realize there isn’t such a thing. Professional should be aligned with personal, as what makes a great team member, or entrepreneur, or employee, is the belief in the company in which they work for. For me, it’s all interconnected—everything should match the same ethos. However, what I make sure to do is have a bit of time when it’s just me and my kids, or me and my husband, with the phone shut off, to give each of those spaces in my life the attention they deserve.
What does being Latino/a business owner in the U.S mean to you? What would you say to other Latinos/as who might want to start a business?
It means power, perseverance and persistence. There are hurdles to overcome—especially for a Latina (woman)—however, we Latinas have an energy that can’t be beat, and if we can express that to those around us, we are unstoppable.
How has the Latino/a Community helped you? How have you helped the Latino/a Community?
The Latin community is a very welcoming one – They all stand up for one another.
Where do you see Fashinnovation in 10 years? And yourself?
I see both Fashinnovation and myself really allowing the fashion industry to prosper through inclusive conversations which involve everyone, and impacting in the way knowledge on technologies is shared, so that it’s adopted into supply chains toward sustainability in fashion!
You can learn more about Jordana’s work at www.fashinnovation.nyc.