Reinventing the Fashion Game | Fame and Partners Founder, Nyree Corby
At the center of where fashion and philanthropy collide is Fame and Partners, a customizable clothing line that empowers women while reducing environmental impact. Fame and Partners founder, Nyree Corby, is both socially and economically aware in a way that has allowed her to strategically disrupt the market with what she sees to be the future of fashion. Although fast fashion makes the idea of an ethical, customizable, efficient, on-trend, and profitable clothing line seemingly inconceivable, Nyree proves that research and innovation can take you a long way. Check out our interview with her below to read about how she was able to create Fame and Partners, and learn about the method behind her madness.
Fame and Partners is a customizable, made-to-order clothing line. Why did you decide to use this business model?
I was working in venture capital and my job was to assess new investments for those I represented; this put me in a unique position where I was paid to stay abreast of internet, commerce, retail, and mobile trends. It was from this space that I discovered a huge imbalance in supply and demand in women’s wear; signaled by market dynamics like 50% of clothing being cleared at markdown and 20% being destroyed or used as landfill. I realized this meant that only 30% of clothing produced was actually sold as intended. I wondered how this translated to the modern woman.
This was the moment I devised the pillars of Fame and Partners: a demand forecasting platform that helps us to understand what women need in their wardrobes and what they want to buy; and an on-demand manufacturing system that allows us to manufacture single pieces, economically, on demand in 2-5 days. With this groundbreaking technology, our vision is to disrupt womenswear; through the delivery of a personalized product and shopping experience. It’s a lofty vision but we’re on our way.
Do you have a background in fashion and have you always had an interest in it? How did you prep to launch a completely new brand?
I love clothes but vocationally fashion is not my background. I prepared in the same way that I would advise any founder; I researched my market thoroughly – going into fashion this meant many trips to China to understand the supply chain and purchasing a lot of reference samples to understand practically the price-quality relationship and where the biggest opportunities were. Instagram was in its infancy at that time but we developed a presence there early on.
You’re focused on using fashion as a means to promote change, including reducing environmental impact and empowering women. Is it hard to combine fashion and philanthropy?
Clothing is a vehicle for self-expression and has historically been a platform for revolution and women’s empowerment – whether it was the suffragettes in the 1920’s, the bra burners of the 70’s or the women breaking glass ceilings with power shoulders in the 80’s. In today’s age, clothing continues to be used as this tool; just look at the commentary around political figures in the U.S. to understand this. I think it’s also relevant to point out that women control household spending in many countries, especially in this category. So on that basis, their spending also has the ability to change the political and environmental landscape.
"Ethical production calls for radical thinking, revolution, and reinvention. Fame and Partners’ model was built in this way from the beginning..."
Fame and Partners stands for women's empowerment across the globe – whether that means empowering someone to feel beautiful or empowering young girls in Ghana to receive an education. $5 USD of every single Fame and Partners sale goes to women's programs from UN Women, Plan International, and Akilah. Beyond that, every purchase helps reduce fashion’s impact on the environment via our ethically produced, made-to-order model. In that regard, I think it’s a very natural fit for the brand to be philanthropic.
Why do you think more brands don’t take this approach if it’s all for a better cause?
Fashion is a tough business and margins are lean which makes innovation and philanthropy hard. Ethical production calls for radical thinking, revolution, and reinvention. Fame and Partners’ model was built in this way from the beginning so again, it’s a natural thing for us to do.
Most recently you’ve launched the #AntiFastFashion Pledge, can you explain what this pledge is about?
We want to revolutionize the fashion industry and help women realize that there is political power in how they spend their money. The #AntiFastFashion Pledge is our effort to curb the consumerism that fast fashion breeds. Participants can pledge to stop shopping fast fashion for 1 month, 2 months, or more; whatever resonates with them. They can take the pledge on Instagram and encourage their followers to too. We’re aiming to disrupt the system and reduce fashion’s impact on the environment.
We know about the ethos that Fame and Partners represents, but what about the physical style? How would you describe its aesthetic?
We focus on two key vibes: pretty, sexy, and a little bit French cool-girl dresses alongside more utilitarian easy-to-wear shapes for daywear. You might find us branching into two brands at some point in the future to better cater to this.
Where do you find the most inspiration for new designs?
The zeitgeist – music, art, travel, film, culture. Vintage clothing. Different eras. And above all, our customers.
What’s the next major issue that you’d like to tackle with Fame and Partners?
Scaling our on-demand supply chain.
What are three hidden gems in LA?
1) Mignon: a cute French wine bar hidden in downtown LA.
2) The Way We Wore: a vintage goldmine in Hollywood.
3) The Arts District for all of its quirks and urban splendor.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
Empowered, unapologetic, complex women who aren’t afraid of imperfection.
Who’s your MISSBISH? Tell us who she is and why she’s an inspiration to you.
Michelle Obama, for her grace and intellect and drive to help empower young women. Dr. Catrionia Wallace, a personal mentor of mine. As well as Sheryl Sandberg, for her drive to help women succeed in male-dominated industries.
Photos by: Christina Choi