ON SOFIA: Dress – Narciss. Bracelet – S/H Koh. ON XIARA: Yellow blouse – Minan Wong. Sleeveless top – Not. Shorts -Daniel Silverstain. Ring – Solomeina.
Flying Solo, the innovative collective retail space in New York City’s Nolita neighborhood, serves exactly the purpose its name implies. It has allowed the 22 designers who both own and operate the space, a way to serve their products in a high-end environment without the upfront costs of wholesaling or starting their own individual store. “It began because we were all frustrated with the industry,” founder Elizabeth
Solomeina tells me over the phone. She’s busy, rushing between appointments but is eager to discuss the exciting brand she’s helped build. At the time of the call, fashion week is only three weeks away and the designers were getting ready to put on a group show together for the first time. “As a small designer,” she continues, “there’s no way you’ll have a studio or a store in Soho. If you’re trying to reach stylist you have to meet them at a cafe or ask them to come out to Brooklyn. They just don’t want to.”
A few years ago, Elizabeth realized she wasn’t the only designer feeling discontent for how the industry is set up, so she decided to take action. Soon after, with a group of her peers in apparel, accessories, and footwear, Flying Solo was born on Mulberry Street in Manhattan. When you walk into the tucked away storefront, it isn’t immediately clear that it’s not a typically curated boutique. That is until you see the subtle touches on fixtures throughout the space that say things like “Smile! You Just Met A Designer.” It’s a phrase that is more than just a cute decoration, all of the designers actually take turns working in the store, manning the registers and selling each other’s collections. “We do have a waitlist for clothing designers at this point because we’ve been very selective.” Elizabeth muses, “They have to be an amazing designer but also a great team player. This industry is so competitive but we want to help each other grow, and that’s it.”
Since the opening, the store has become more than Elizabeth ever imagined. It’s put her work in the hands of buyers and stylists whom she feels may never have had the opportunity to see her work. “I never dreamed of being in the magazines that I’m in. I would never have imagined I’d be presenting to Saks,” she explained, “plus I have gained so much knowledge from the people around me.”
After their successful runway debut on February 10th, it was clear the impact of collaboration in this industry, but it doesn’t just stop at the clothes for them. “We want to work with photographers and stylists to give them a
way to collaborate. Maybe we’ll expand. The possibilities are endless.” While Flying Solo may be helping these individual artists stand on their own two feet, it certainly shows the industry that working together has its benefits too.
(More at www.flyingsolocollective.com)
ON XIARA: Shirtdress – Rue MercerTop (over dress) –EchtegoLong vest – NarcissBracelet – PerolaShoes – Nike ID by Emily Bess (not part of Flying Solo Collective).ON SOFIA: Jumpsuit – Echtego. Blazer -Alexandra Nam. Rings – GBGH Jewelry. Sunglasses – Faces – Yohi Yamamoto. Bag – Katie Lares. Tie – Rue Mercer. Shoes – Alice & Olivia.
ON XIARA: Bralette top – Elena Rudenko. Skirt – Minan Wong. Choker – Elahn Jewels. Shoes – Nike ID by Emily Bess.ON SOPHIA: Dress – Andreeva. Shoes – Opening Ceremony. Earrings – Hi June Parker. Bracelet – S/H Koh.
ON SOFIA: Top – Narciss. Shorts – Monzlapur. Choker – Katie Lares ON XIARA: Top – Not Shorts – Narciss. Ring – Solomeina.Earrings – Oblik Atelier.
ON SOFIA: Blouse – This Woman’s Work. WorkVest – Daniel Siverstain. Shorts – Monzlapur. Cuff – Katie Lares. Rings – Hi June Parker. ON XIARA: Dress – Andreeva. Top – Echtego. Stone bracelet (worn as necklace) – Iza by Silvia D’Avila. Rings – Iza by Silvia D’Avila
Photos / Matt Licari
Styling / Emily Bess
Stylist Assistant / Gary Russell Freeman
Makeup / David Razzano
Makeup Assistant / Danilsa Rojas
Hair / Takayoshi Tsukisawa
Hair Assistant / Kazuhide Katahira
Nails / Tori H.
Models / Sofia and Xiara @ Fusion Model Management
Producers / Katie Lares and Elizabeth Solomeina
Story / Alyssa Hardy