In conversation with the designers of Monse

On Friday, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia presented their Monse resort 2020 collection to editors, influencers and customers in an outdoor plaza in NYC’s Financial District. Before the show, the designers -- who are also creative directors of Oscar de la Renta -- spoke with me about why resort is important and what advice they’d give young designers.

How important is this collection to your overall business?

Garcia: Resort and pre-fall are our biggest markets. They’re usually a good 40 percent bigger than the “main” runway collections of spring and fall. The fanfare [of NYFW] is wonderful, but for us, it’s all about the product. When they’re clicking to buy, that’s the cash flow that sustains your company.

Are any of the pieces you’re showing today see-now-buy-now?

Kim: I actually don't believe in that. It's a very dangerous decision for a company to make, whether you’re big or small. You’re investing a huge amount of money on just guessing what's going to work.

Garcia: Fashion is very emotional; you follow your gut, and you can't plan ahead. You don't know what people are going to react to [during the resort season] in six months.

How much data is playing into the styles you debut every season?

Kim: We grew up [working] at Oscar [de la Renta], and it's a very “merchandise” company -- so we do look at the sellings a lot to see what women like and need. We also look at what other brands are selling.

Does the industry today embrace young talent?

Garcia: I don't know what it takes to thrive outside of New York, but here, people are very supportive after they see you in the industry for a while -- so I would just advise young designers to pay attention to that assistance.

Kim: There’s more support in New York. I have friends who got their start in Paris, and I was surprised by how little support they got. Everyone here gets excited about new things -- that’s an American thing. -- Jill Manoff