Open Source Fashion is a helpful community of fashion and retail professionals. What had started as a NYC based networking group, is now much more! Our focus is on education and collaboration. Learn how OS Fashion’s business services can help your company reach the next level.
THE OS FASHION STORY
A personal letter from founder, Pavan Bahl:
I started this group, not knowing a single person in the fashion industry. I’ll never forget how I felt after hosting the first Open Source Fashion Discussion series on March 3rd, 2011. I was anxious, excited, a bit overwhelmed, and very pleased with how the evening went. To my surprise, I had gathered a roomful of ambitious, intelligent, and helpful professionals who all seemed quite appreciative of the experience. I remember thinking, “how the fuck?!”
At the event, I had a conversation with Melissa Gonzalez of Lion’esque Style. This is a snippet:
MG: “How did you go about getting all these people here?
PB: “I spammed the shit out of the industry and crossed my fingers.”
MG: “…but, why go through all this effort?”
Why I Started OS Fashion:
As cliché as it is, I’ve always had a passion for fashion. Though I hate that it rhymes, there isn’t a much better way to phrase it. At a young very young age, I was that kid that laid out a selection of shirts and pants on the floor of my bedroom, to take a step back and wonder what combinations would go best. Moving forward, I gained a true appreciation for the art of fashion, and the craft that goes into producing a well-made garment.
I’ve dreamt of starting a fashion line for most of my adult life. For the past couple years, I’ve been playing around with the idea of launching a luxury sandal line for women. My friend Nehal owns Lit Boutique in Boston, and had helped me market test two initial styles. They sold, I figured out my target audience, and set price points. Fantastic…now what? I’m not a salesman, I have no brand awareness, I’m not familiar with this industry, and not every boutique owner just so happens to be a good friend of mine.
I was spending a lot of time working at coffee shops around NYC, working on marketing strategy for my sandal line. It was at Think Coffee on 4th Avenue where I had a fortunate encounter with Jeannine Morris of Beauty Sweet Spot. We got to chatting after I had lent her my MacBook charger. She suggested that I get involved with Fashion 2.0, a networking group organized by Yuli Ziv of Style Coalition. I did just that. There was such a great energy to this group! I met some wonderful folks, learned a bit about upcoming technologies, and enjoyed some nice cocktails at venues I didn’t know existed. My main takeaway from getting involved with Fashion 2.0 was that there is a serious influx of talent that is looking to break into the fashion industry.
During this time, I was reading every business whore-ish material I could get my hands on in hopes of finding direction, education, and clarity. A book barista at Barnes & Nobles had recommended I read Never Eat Alone, written by Keith Ferrazzi. It’s a self-marketing book, with a concentration on strategic networking. I’ve always been a connector of sorts, and I love meeting people…so I decided to give it a shot. Similar to any other marketing books I’ve read, Never Eat Alone comes off as gimmicky, but contains lessons that provoke creativity and inspiration. The entire book had a “give and thou shall receive” message.
Between Fashion 2.0 and Never Eat Alone, it all came together. I need to learn…others need to learn. I need to meet people in the fashion industry…others need to meet more people in the fashion industry. I like helping others…others like to help. Organizing Open Source Fashion was an extension of that thought process. What had started as a way to peddle women’s shoes, has taken on it’s own shape. Open Source Fashion has become what I had envisioned, a helpful community of fashion innovators.
As per the sandal line, I’ve taken a bit of a step back for the time being. My focus is to develop OS Fashion into a powerful resource for innovators working in the fashion industry worldwide.
Pavan Bahl, Founder