[quote]I would have hired people more consciously so that I would have been able to trust their work and skills more. Then of course, I am the sort of person who is never entirely happy with his work, so I would change everything in each collection I have ever produced. ;)[/quote]
Michael Hekmat is the co-founder of BLESSUS, a Polish fashion brand that bases its entire philosophy on the humble zipper. An innovative modular concept gives any BLESSUS design chameleonesque qualities. In just a moment, a BLESSUS outfit can become a glamorous red carpet dress, an impressive workday outfit or a confident and comfortable weekend piece.
Michael is a graduate of the prestigious Istituto Marangoni University in Milan, where he completed a degree in fashion design. He trained under the eye of the world’s top designers, including Vivienne Westwood in London, Proenza Schouler in New York and Giambattista Valli in Paris. He was included in the Italian edition of Vogue Talents twice. His fashions have been featured in Vogue Italia and Elle magazine, among others.
What are you working on right now?
I am coordinating the production process for our spring/summer collection, which is supposed to hit the stores at the end of February. Other than that, I am spending a lot of time at the gym lately. I clear my mind and develop physically.
Where did the idea for BLESSUS come from?
It came from the fast pace of our everyday lives and the necessity for compatible clothing. Many women have no time to change during the day, are hyper-busy and dynamic. Hence the humble zipper.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up around 7:00 AM. I am brilliant at breakfast, so that’s when I sort out my personal stuff: email, Facebook, phone calls, online shopping, etc. I get to the studio by 10:00 AM and I brief my assistant, or actually, she briefs me. She’s a workaholic and is up at 5:00 AM. I love that about her. Fittings take up the majority of my day, especially during high season. We outsource our pattern makers and tailors, so I go from one studio to another. Production items, catwalk pieces and made-to-measure garments are all done in different places. I get to have lunch with my business partner almost every day; we discuss sales and PR. Afternoons are all about administration and organization; I handle textile delivery, choose trimming and prepare production charts and paper patterns. My assistant Magda schedules all client meetings for the afternoon. I try to leave the studio around 7:00 PM, hit the gym for an hour, have dinner with my boyfriend and then do something creative afterwards. It’s either fashion research or sketches. I doze off around midnight.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am just very stubborn. I draw and draw until I like what I see. Then I spend hours with pattern makers and tailors discussing each hem line, each sleeve shape and almost each stitch of the piece I have in mind. I choose fabrics and colors together with the rest of the design team. It takes about 5 days for a piece to be developed from my sketch to a sample size prototype.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I am lured by shades of gold and silver, which I am now bringing into the autumn winter 2012/13 collection. I am also absolutely in love with exceptional fur texture, so I used a lot of llama fur in our winter outerwear.
Other than that, Chanel’s Hindu inspired collection is a trend I would soak in this summer.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I don’t consider any job good or bad. It’s all about my attitude, really. The job I consider the most fruitful was probably my 3-month internship at Hugo Boss’ production office. I was 18 years old and had no clue how to handle a sewing machine. I spent the entire summer before my fashion course at Istituto Marangoni in Milan learning how to sew, constructing and producing an actual high-end garment. It was my first fashion experience. It was exhausting; I was impatient, lacking any experience and because of my age, was stupidly stubborn. I learned how much it takes to work in fashion and how one has to devote himself entirely in order to be successful. Also, I figured out it’s not a 9 to 5 job. That first internship made me more thick skinned, which helped me get jobs at various fashion houses in London, New York and Paris.
The habitat of a fashion house isn’t exactly pleasant, but getting things done the way you dreamed is hyper-satisfying.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have hired people more consciously so that I would have been able to trust their work and skills more. Then of course, I am the sort of person who is never entirely happy with his work, so I would change everything in each collection I have ever produced. 😉
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I constantly strive for perfection and balance, both in business and in my personal life.
Actually, my research never stops. Never stop researching; in my opinion, that’s a good piece of advice.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A cell phone battery that lasts a lifetime would be a great thing.
Tell us a secret.
I am very domestic. I absolutely adore cooking, cleaning and organizing. Those are my fav0rite free time activities.
What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?
- Facebook for communication and gossip.
- Style.com’s fashion show details slide show for research.
- Booking.com because I love to travel. I could sooooo live in a hotel.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris by Alicia Drake.
What’s on your playlist?
Glass Candy, Hercules and Love Affair, all the fashion soundtracks really. Other than that, everything composed by Michael Nymann and Max Richter.
If you weren’t working on BLESSUS, what would you be doing?
As for now, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. If I ever quit BLESSUS, I’d probably go organic, start living in the countryside by myself and be surrounded by nature.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- Anna dello Russo: because she’s out of this world.
- Daphne Guiness: because she takes fashion to a higher level.
- Grace Coddington: of Vogue US; mind her age, she is always up-to-date.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
My boyfriend makes me laugh a lot; especially when he imitates fashionistas, which happens almost every other day.
Who is your hero?
My mother on some level. But that’s too personal to explain. My assistant because she deals with me on a daily basis and still manages to keep up with her own life. Well, sort of.
What is the inspiration behind the collection?
That’s the question I hate the most. I can’t define the inspiration. We create mood boards at the studio with the whole design team, so I think that the inspiration is a constant process, always in motion and always developing. Once the garments are ready, there’s so much behind them, I can’t decide what I referred to the most.
Do you spend a lot of time in front of the mirror?
Yes, actually I do. Looks are important. I am not vain, but that’s the reality of the fashion world. No one cares about inner beauty and everyone denies it. So why not be frank?
Michael Hekmat Email: [email protected]
BLESSUS Website: http://www.blessus.pl/
BLESSUS on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blessusPL
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.