Meet Elizabeth Solomeina CoFounder of Flying Solo Collective
Meet Elizabeth Solomeina. She is a fashion designer and entrepreneur, and one of the co-founders of the Flying Solo Collective boutique in the lower east side of Manhattan. I met Elizabeth a few months ago when Pick Glass co-hosted a networking event in their store. It was there that I learned what a truly unique concept store these creatives have formed. Each designer shares in the responsibilities of running and managing the store and they work together to earn notoriety and build the brand. I think you will enjoy hearing about how Elizabeth and the other designers built this store concept as I believe it will likely be the wave of the future for more up and coming designers to gain their foothold in the industry.
Design is in the family…
I’ve been in design field my whole life. My mom is a jewelry designer so I learned my craft from her. I started my career working for big corporations such as Art Lebedev Design studio (the biggest design studio in Russia) for 13 years as a designer and art director. Then launched my brand, Solomeina, in 2013 feeling I needed to take a different direction.
I felt the happiest working on my brand. And I realized that people really liked what I was doing, and it was time to take it to the next level. So, I quit my day job to spend time creating my first full collection.
One thing I missed was the social aspects and camaraderie of working in a team. When you start your own business it’s you in your studio mostly.
Staying true to the store concept…
The concept for Flying Solo Collective started out of seeing the frustration a lot of talented designers were going through. We all love aspects of the fashion industry but felt there had to be a better way. There was no store like this. We started with 30 designers who believed in the idea. Our idea of what Flying Solo should be hasn’t changed much, but we’ve changed and grown a lot. We feel we’re more than just the perfect place to grow your brand, we’ve also become this amazing community of awesome people who are inclusive and help each other.
What makes us unique…
Flying Solo sells runway pieces (clothing), one of a kind (jewelry/accessories) or limited production pieces. We usually have some stock and sizes for each item, but it’s very few, so you likely will never run into someone wearing the same piece as you. Most of the designers do custom pieces as well.
But overall we feel customers just simply get a better experience and service than anywhere else. Not only can they come to our store and have designers help you shop but they will give you expert styling tips on how to wear it best. It’s also a great feeling to have a personal connection with the pieces that you love.
Runway ready pieces…
Since the launch of Flying Solo last year (2016) the company has launched its first runway show for fashion week. It was a lot of hard work but since some of us have done it before, we were able to pool our collective experiences together to make it happen. It was truly a team effort and was unforgettable for all of us.
The theme was an airport from the very beginning since we are “Flying Solo”. So we created departure/arrival board with all of our designers, also imitated airport runway markings on the floor and asked our DJ to announce each designer exit as “next flight”. But in a light of the events that were happening (the whole travel ban was happening around that time), we decided to show where we stand as well. That’s why models had those posters in their hand saying stuff like: “fashion over fascism”, “united we stand in hills” and many others.
Early in 2017, we started to sell online. We sell on a Squarespace. As always we did everything together. We have a small photo studio so we were able to shoot it very quickly. People were helping each other to do post-production for photos. As always it was truly a collective effort.
We hope to announce the expansion of Flying Solo as early as next month. There are many great things planned for this year: from an international runway show and pop-ups during Fashion weeks to our next show NYFW in September. We also have some exciting partnerships we hope to be able to share soon. Flying Solo Collective team has lofty goals. We believe this is part of the future for retail and an alternative for the fashion consumer.
As for my personal brand, my new collection will be out soon! My latest collection is inspired by natural forms, especially baroque pearls. Each piece is unique and I basically created my designs around the pearl. Very much fits with the one-of-a-kind pieces feel of Flying Solo.
Looking for inspiration…
My biggest hero right now is still Hilary. My admiration for her is not even political! I find her fascinating! She’s a great example of a person who never stops whether things are going her way or not. I attended her rallies and felt really empowered by her toughness and think a lot of women can relate to her challenges. Hopefully, I will meet her one day!
I don’t have a mentor, but I read a lot. One of the most recent things I felt helped me a lot was from “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh: “Happiness is really just about four things: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness (number and depth of your relationships), and vision/meaning (being part of something bigger than yourself).”
Advice for the next generation of creatives…
Don’t overthink and over plan. You’ll never be ready enough. Just start and don’t go to bed discouraged about your dreams. If you feel discouraged, work it out, so you can keep motivating yourself to take the next step.
The Flying Solo Designers…
ANASTASIIA IVANOVA – RTW
COVRY – ACCESSORIES
COCO AND BREEZY – ACCESSORIES
ELENA RUDENKO – RTW
GBGH JEWELRY – JEWELRY
HATHAIRAT – RTW
IZA BY SILVIA D’AVILA – JEWELRY
JASMINE CHONG – RTW
KALAMARIE HANDBAGS – ACCESSORIES
KARIE LAKS – RTW
KASANÉ – JEWELRY
KATHRIN HENON – RTW
KATIE LARES – RTW
LÉKA – RTW
MARISEL NY – RTW
MARITA MORENO – ACCESSORIES
MIA VESPER – RTW
MONZLAPUR – RTW
NOT – RTW
SCHEDRAUI – ACCESSORIES
SOLOMEINA – JEWELRY
SOUK – RTW
TOTTI COLLECTION – RTW
THE MODERN TALES – JEWELRY
UNDERTOP – RTW
WEANNABE – RTW
VANESSA WU – ACCESSORIES
VITAE ASCENDERE – JEWELRY
Y.LD BY DORA MOJZES – RTW
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