From trying to find a velvet bow tie to building a luxury fashion brand in a fiercely competitive industry: Meet Zak of Velsvoir
Zak Velsvoir, of Velsvoir, is a menswear designer in london
Could you tell us a little bit about your background?
I was born and raised in London and studied at Loughborough University and the National University of Singapore. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak having been involved with a few start ups from an early age and then culminating in the launch of Velsvoir with my brothers a few years ago. My journey has been pretty varied from corporate governance and financial planning to model booking and marketing!
How did you get started as a menswear designer?
Well, my dear mother was a tailor so I was always surrounded by fabric and patterns growing up. But it was actually for my older brothers wedding circa 5 years ago where we struggled to find (as simple as it sounds) a black velvet bow tie. So we decided to make our own and wear it for the wedding. From there we made a signature velvet Velsvoir bow tie and to our surprise sold out our first collection in six weeks. From the humble bow tie we entered the luxury menswear market and have always maintained that every piece is handmade in London.
What was a defining moment in your life?
Personally I would say moving to Singapore to study, professionally it would have to be starting Velsvoir in a fiercely competitive industry with limited funds and no experience.
What fears or resistance did you face in that process?
Moving halfway across the world on your own where you don’t know anybody was rather daunting. However, I also found it to be thrilling and a welcome challenge! I prefer to make the most of any situation and that held me in good stead. With regards to Velsvoir, the industry is known for it’s brutal critique and assessment of designs. This can leave individuals feeling exposed. However, for me, it was an important learning experience. To develop inner strength and to constantly seek to improve. This was a platform for pushing beyond the boundary and exceeding the expectations I put on myself. Always look to the future; never be stuck in the present or past.
Is there a favorite quote or mantra that gave (or gives) you inspiration?
“The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth-century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen.”
– Carl Ally
How do you define bravery?
Bravery is the ability to take risks and push yourself beyond the comfort zone. In it’s purest form, bravery is about your personal journey, uninhibited from external opinions.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone facing a challenge?
A challenge is a vehicle for development. It is where you are required to find a solution. A misconception is that a challenge means figuring it out yourself. I believe it is the opposite. It is the opportunity to involve others, be it family, friends or partners. To involve them with your quest to overcome an obstacle. Mastering challenges creates a confidence anchor and platform, enabling personal development.