I was recently contacted by Audrey Bressa-Valcourt of Generation Love Clothing about their new brand of high end tees, which are made from organic supima cotton. I am always curious to hear how fashion designers are born, how they start their business and where they want to go.
Roni Hirshberg, the founder of Generation Love Clothing, kindly agreed to answer a few questions for Mama Was A Rolling Stone, in our first ever interview with a fabulous designer!
1. Please tell us a little about yourselves and your past careers/jobs before you launched Generation Love.
My name is Roni Hirshberg. I was born and raised in NYC. I started working in high-end retail to save up money for college, and then left for Syracuse University. I eventually transferred to NYU because I missed the city too much but I had to stop mid-year because of financial issues. And I started to re-evaluate my life. I knew I didn’t want to sit in an office. So, I went back to retail, working at Miu Miu. That’s when I realized I had to do something more in fashion – I always felt very entrepreneurial since I was little, and this feeling kept growing in me. At the same time, I met Audrey Bressa-Valcourt, a French girl in NYC. She had been travelling since she graduated college in France, living in the Caribbean and London. When she came to NYC, she started working as a Maitre D’. She was always thinking of her next stop, which ended up being our partnership and Generation Love.
2. When and how did you come up with the concept of Generation Love?
The concept came about when we were in a pretty good place – listening to music, hanging out, and having fun. Something in this one song got us talking, and we were like, “That would be cool on t-shirt.” And it pretty much went from there — our design aesthetic has changed since then but that was the initial start. We knew we wanted to use organic cotton because we felt like we had a responsibility to make a contribution if we had the means to do so. But we also wanted to keep our look edgy and chic while being eco-friendly.
3. Once the concept was born, what was the process for creating Generation Love from there?
Once we had the concept, we started figuring out several different key elements – sourcing the right fabric, finding a manufacturer, and getting in touch with stores. All three take A LOT of time and trial and error. Once we had our samples down, though, we really focused on showing the line. There were endless e-mails and phone calls until someone responded willing to take a chance on a new designer. It’s been worth the perseverance.
4. What has been the most exciting part of launching Generation Love?
The most exciting part for me is knowing that people like the clothes we make and want to wear them. To see our line on the shelves next to other awesome designers is also a pretty cool feeling. Really, the whole process of working on our designs and getting them to the shelves in stores is filled with tons of excitement and frenzy because we feel so passionate about what we’re doing. I hope that translates into the clothes.
5. What would your advice be to anyone wanting to launch their own line?
My advice to anyone wanting to start their own line is to definitely never take “no” for an answer. There are going to be a lot of people who say you can’t do something or that you won’t make it. But if you believe in yourself, others will, too! You have to be perseverant and tenacious. And in the end, you see results. Also, it’s important to have a focus – it’s better to start with a few really strong pieces than to be scattered all over the place. We started off with two styles and three colors.
6. What are you plans for the future?
We see ourselves being sold all over the world, especially Europe. Audrey needs to represent in France! More than anything, we want to stay true to who we are. We ARE t-shirts. So, we want to make sure that remains our focus. In the future, we’ll be expanding on our t-shirts and separates but we’ll also always mix it up in some way.
7. When did you first realize Generation Love was a success?
Getting the order for Barneys was pretty big!