For their first NYFW show, Kollar partnered with VNF Productions to showcase a collection that captures the full essence of the brand. We spoke with Founder & Design Director, David Kollar on what inspired him to start his brand and his plans for growth in the future.
Fashion is not just about being a good designer, it has a lot of different things in it. If you don’t understand sales or business, find a partner who does because the majority of the time, you will be focusing on cash-flow, making sure you have enough money for the next collection.– David Kollar, Founder & Designer Director
How long has Kollar Clothing been in business, and how would you describe its aesthetic?
I have been designing since the age of 16, and Kollar has been in business since 2013. Our aesthetic is luxury essentials at an attainable price point. We create products with amazing cut & sew detailing and fits mixed with luxurious fabrics. I would say it’s a mix of grungy and timeless streetwear for men.
What and who inspired you to start a fashion business? What skills do you find come into play in an unexpected way that allows you to thrive and remain successful?
Growing up, I worked a lot of retail and was a stylist. I was very much into fashion at a young age. Although I had no experience or schooling when I started my brand, I learned a lot by asking the right people questions and doing tons of research and development on YouTube and Google.
The skills that came in handy were the sales and negotiation skills I learned from working in retail, which was great down the road when I had to negotiate with retailers.
What experiences at the start of your business have become lifelong lessons for you?
I think one main lesson I learned through experience is don’t overthink things too much; plan very well and have backup plans for errors to happen, and when those things happen, you can prepare for it.
I’m big on just getting things going. There will always be issues as an entrepreneur in the business. The main thing is being a good problem solver and being calm during stressful and complicated times.
As Kollar Clothing continues to grow at a fast rate, what new ventures are you looking to expand?
We are looking to create a core line of essential basics for our brand.
In 2013, you took a huge risk going to the Liberty Fairs in Las Vegas, Nevada. What did this feel like for you, and what were you up against? What were your expectations before going, and how have those expectations changed to this point in time?
Yes, it was a huge risk to go to Liberty Fairs, in Las Vegas. I felt like I was up against the best brands in the world, and I was – which was exciting and scary all at the same time. I expected to try to get ten new stores, and by doing that show, we got 15 exciting new stores.
There are times in our lives that we are so focused that we rarely take a moment to look back and see how far we’ve come. Over the past decade, have you had moments of reflection or clarity that you now see as turning points?
Yes, when I started seeing celebrities like Young Thug, Shawn Mendes, Gunna, and Steph Curry wearing my products, it hit me that the brand is getting more popular, and it was quite exciting.
Beyond your business, what words do you live by? How do you see this applied to your life daily?
Be super grateful and humble because things can be taken away from you very quickly, and always stay hungry because there’s always another kid or brand that wants to beat you in your field.
The key is to stay hungry and stay at the top as long as possible. Also, knowing that God gave you this talent and not to waste it on negative things and do things for the better.
What else are you passionate about? Do you find that you are able to fit your other passions in some way into your fashion business?
I am very passionate about acting and movies. I spend a lot of time when I can, watching interesting movies that give me inspiration for new collections, commercial ideas, or motivating me in my real-life day-to-day things.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a fashion business based on your own experiences?
Fashion is not just about being a good designer, it has a lot of different things in it. If you don’t understand sales or business, find a partner who does because the majority of the time, you will be focusing on cash-flow, making sure you have enough money for the next collection.
All it takes is one bad collection to set you behind because you couldn’t sell through it, and you can’t afford to make a new one. Then you have to close down, and that’s why a lot of brands don’t last too long.
It’s a very cash-flow intensive business – always paying deposits ahead of time for the next drop while trying to market and build your current collection you are selling.
Be prepared by getting a loan, saving up money, and getting a good business manager or understanding business.
What do you see coming next for Kollar Clothing over the next 5-10 years?
I see us opening some brick and mortar stores. Having our own stores would be nice. We can brand it the way we want to, as we’re huge on presentation and branding. We want to open stores around the world where people can experience Kollar and feel confident in the clothing.
Working with VNF PRODUCTIONS INC. for your first New York show, how exciting was that? Can we expect to see you present with them in September?
It’s been great! They are super friendly, organized, smart, and professional. I feel fortunate to have met them to help with our show, so I’m very excited to work with them and would definitely consider working with them again in September!