Today I’m interviewing a fellow FIDM graduate, Jessica Liao. Jessica is the owner and designer of her own swimwear line called Slate Swim. I think it’s so awesome to be as young as she is and being the boss of your own business. Her contemporary and minimal swimwear line is SO cute and I know it’ll be everywhere so soon. Jessica is the perfect example of a young #girlboss on the come up, who’s got a really bright future ahead of her.. you go girl! I asked her some questions about attending FIDM and how she created her own swimwear line:
Where you’re from/ Where you live now:
From Dallas, live in LA now
What you do:
Owner/Designer of Slate Swim
One quote you live by:
Believe you can and you will.
What made you choose FIDM and what did you major in?
I chose FIDM because I wanted to go into the fashion industry and always wanted to live in California. It definitely seemed like the best of both worlds! I majored in Merchandise Product Development
How did attending FIDM impact you personally?
FIDM was so essential to where I am today- FIDM taught me to be independent, work hard, and to be a self motivator.
What made you choose LA over NYC for fashion school?
LA embodies the city and beach lifestyle. I’m like the girl who loves the beach by day and city at night so it really made sense for me to be here. I also love the flow of LA, you have that hustle but also the chill vibe too.
When did you first get the idea for “Slate Swim”?
Honestly, I never really had that perfect bikini I wanted to wear to the beach. Everything was too thick, printed, strappy, etc. I wanted to create the perfect swim collection that I could wear and other girls could relate to as well.
Why did you decide to create a swimwear line?
I decided to go into swimwear because I love the beach lifestyle and wanted to bring modern touches to it. I think people tie beach with boho but there are so many other ways to create fun pieces for the water.
What makes “Slate Swim” different?
Slate Swim is different because it is classic and simple with a contemporary vibe. It stands out in an industry that is so saturated with over-design. I also like to bring creative, unique silhouettes to Slate Swim to embody an edge.
How did you overcome creative blocks/ discouragement while trying to make your vision come to life?
For creative blocks, sometimes I like to just shut out everything as far as trends, what I see out in the market, etc. I like to just ask myself, “what’s something I would personally love to wear?” With that, you go back to your roots in design, you focus on what makes your style unique. It can be easy to be discouraged when you are starting something so new. The main thing to remember is why you started- you have to just always believe in what you are doing and never question it.
What’s one thing that surprised you about having your own business that you didn’t realize before?
I don’t think I realized that I would be connecting with SO many innovative creatives in the process. When I started Slate, I thought more on the terms of customers, retailers, etc. that I would be working with. Now, I not only get to work with these great people, but I get to meet amazing entrepreneurs and artists as well! The industry is like a big circle of creative people that you get to bounce off of, and collab on beautiful ideas with.
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to be an entrepreneur?
My best advice would be to have your clear vision, and never stop following that. You can do anything you want to.
Who is your biggest inspiration in the business/fashion world?
My biggest inspiration is my first industry boss and friend, Linda Wong. She has taught me so much and always pushed me to reach for my goals. I remember sitting in her office as an intern asking her like a billion questions every day! I’m sure it was totally annoying but she was always ready to answer and guide me every step of the way. I’m super lucky to know someone like her.
What did you want to be growing up?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a teacher. After I found fashion design when I was 15, that was it for me!
If you could move to any city in the world right now, where would you go?
I love LA and I’m so happy where I am at right now. As far as traveling though, I would love to visit Melbourne! The fashion scene there and the people are so amazing. I’ve gotten the opportunity to connect with a lot of people there and would love to experience it for a bit!
What’s one thing you want to accomplish with your company before the end of 2016?
I want to reach more customers. I really want girls to know and love the brand- for Slate to be every girl’s go-to.
THANK YOU JESSICA! <3
Jessica’s Swimwear Line: