Saturday, February 14, 2015

Meet Andre' Stewart of Ardané, a Clothing Line

Ardané is a privately held company that all started with a simple idea: design fresh, high-quality, unique items. The company's CEO, Andre' Stewart, has been working in fashion and entertainment for 14 years, from runway modeling to acting, which all goes hand and hand with fashion (which is how Ardané came about!). Keep up with Ardané on Instagram and Twitter.

1. Do you design the items in your collection yourself, or do you collaborate with designers?

Well, let me start by saying I'm definitely no Photoshop or Illustrator guru, but I do have an eye for design. Some I have designed myself, and some I have been fortunate enough to be able to collaborate with some great designers, but on every design I have had my input on what I think needs to be changed, added, or taken away to get us the finished product. I will say sometimes it is challenging having a great idea in your mind and having someone else try to create it and have it done the way you envision it.

2. Why does Ardané specialize in t-shirts, tops, hats, etc?

The reason I chose T-shirts, tops, hats, and etc is because with a lot of the new designs I saw coming out, none seemed to be unique, and the quality wasn't great in my opinion. The way we come up with our designs and choosing our fabric is strictly by what our customers suggest, and that's how we differentiate ourselves from a lot of other brands. I also wanted to create something people could do everything in, like wear the same shirt out to dinner, at an upscale lounge, or to the park to play basketball in and never once get looked at like what are they wearing?? That's why we choose the type of designs and the style of shirts we do.

Along with that, I know everything starts with branding. I'm building a brand, not only through clothing, but with our service, shipping, social media presence, local events etc. We also knew starting with those options is the easiest way to break into the clothing industry and generate the buzz and income needed to branch out into other product lines without expending too much of your own capital in the building and growth process. It will also establish a brand-loyal customer base, and that's what any business needs to be successful, especially in this industry. As with any brand you need those consistently loyal repeat customers who will buy from you just because of the name. A brand-insistent customer is what we are trying to develop.

3. I noticed that Ardané will debut a denim collection soon. What else can we expect to see on over the next year or so?

Yes, we are looking to release the denim collection soon; it is in the developmental stages but it's going to be amazing stuff, great quality and price which is hard to find with denim. As for what's to come, we hope that people stay connected with us through social media, because what we try to do as often as possible is let our customers dictate what we release or do next. At the end of the day, we want them to be happy and become that brand-insistent customer I mentioned earlier. Let me ask, would you want to be a part of creating your next piece of clothing you were going to buy? That's what Ardané is about. So to answer that, you have to stay connected to see what's coming next.

4. Would you tell us a little bit about how Ardané helps by contributing to Autism-related charities?

Autism is a very close to home reality for me; my niece was diagnosed with Autism when she was three years old, and I have two friends who have kids with Autism as well. I really don't think people understand what it is or know how expensive it is to care for a child with Autism and also the magnitude of Autism. ASA estimates it is $3.5 million to $5 million lifetime cost just to care for a child. With that being said, we have an Autism collection that continues every season, and all the proceeds from the collection go to different Autism charities in different states. We also donate a portion of all of our proceeds to Autism charities as well. We have done multiple fundraisers and events to raise funds and awareness for Autism and will continue to do so until people are really aware.

5. What has been your experience so far in starting a clothing line, and how has it been similar and different to your career in modeling?

Starting Ardané has been an amazing journey. It's not easy by faaaar, but I wouldn't want to do anything different than continue building the brand. It's hard to explain the feeling you get when you see someone wearing something you created or someone you don't know giving you a compliment about what you are aspiring to do. It's the same with the modeling career. To turn a page and see yourself in a magazine or on the side of a bus, billboard, or commercial, it's like, wow I'm on the side of a bus! How many people can say that, but with both it's all about consistency and determination. Don't follow your dreams; chase them--that's my motto.

Thanks, Andre'!

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