Interview with Jimmy Chrabieh the CEO of the worldwide menswear sensation, Differio. He gives us an inside scoop on how he’s making menswear artistic, creative and unique for millennials. He also shares with us his ideas on fashion and secrets to his success in eCommerce.
1. Hundreds of fashion brands debut new collections every month. How does Differio successfully stand out while still being original?
When you think of the word “art,” it’s a big word with all kinds of ways to express it. Therefore, not all art is the same, and every artist has his or her own style. At Differio, we encourage individuality. One of our goals is to help you find your own form of self-expression.
Just like the way an artist comes out with new art, independent designers will always come out with something different and creative. At Differio, we do this is by thinking outside the box. We choose designs that are so unique and innovative that it exceeds our customers’ expectations from one season to the next.
2. From getting an education in business to degrees in fashion and design, what is one specific skill you hold dear the most?
If I could pick just one, it would be talent rather than skill. I believe talent comes from within. Whether that’s in business or in fashion, you should learn how to wield this talent to your advantage. Ultimately, you would make this talent your engine to fuel your own sense of creativity.
I also believe everyone has their own kind of talents. The tricky part is finding out what they are. Once you do find those special talents, they will aid you in becoming successful wherever your path takes you.
3. In your experience, can someone possess a natural talent for fashion design, or is every skill learned?
Well, much like the previous question, everyone has talent. So don’t get me wrong, learning and getting a formal education is very important, but you should tap into your own natural talents as well. This could even be a psychological talent such composing music or perhaps a tangible talent such as creating ornaments.
For instance, if you have a wild imagination, then having the talent to draw helps your visions come to life. If you’re a creative individual, then having the talent to articulate your words could come in handy. Maybe you’re good with your hands, so why not use them for sculpture? Once you figure out these talents that you may naturally possess or ones that you’ve learned throughout life, make sure to use them!
4. Differio is grabbing the world’s attention with their daring sense of style. What role has social media played in this success?
Social media is the same as owning a restaurant in the middle of Times Square. People will always know where to find you because of its iconic location. After first-time customers shop on Differio, they usually come back to the store organically without relying on social media to remind them. This is why we currently have a 30% monthly growth rate. Once people get a taste of our artistic vision, they always want to come back to see what’s new.
So, not having social media is like an artist that hides his beautiful artworks in an old, dusty basement. Why not showcase them to the rest of the world? The future is social media; this is how people can discover our art anywhere in the world.
5. Today’s independent designers seem eager to pitch their work to Differio. What is one clothing piece that will always catch Differio’s attention?
It’s all about the originality of that design. This artistic element is more important than the type of clothing they’re selling. For instance, even if we’re not proactively looking to add more jeans to our denim collection, if we see creative potential in a product, we’re not going to pass up on that opportunity. So, it doesn’t matter what it is.
Ultimately, what Differio is looking for is creativity. If the style is truly unique from the norm, then you have our attention! I believe the design should also tell a story. Whether it’s the cut, fabric or color, the piece should speak to us in a special way.
6. Differio represents this new generation of fashion-savvy millennials. Why do you think menswear in particular is becoming so popular?
In the past, men dressed more conservatively. Since they had to look a certain way, this made them behave a certain way. Men were essentially bound by these social rules. Women, on the other hand, were more accepting of risky and bold pieces.
As of today’s generation, this concept is disappearing. Millennials are becoming more experimental with their sense of fashion. More importantly, they’re challenging society’s norms and using menswear as a ground for challenging those norms. Fashion will always be a form of self-expression, and menswear is finally adopting this mindset.
It was just a few years ago that skinny-fit jeans were marketed only for women. Now, skinny jeans for men are trendy. You could say the same for wearing pink clothing. Society always told us that blue is for boys and pink is for girls. That is no longer relevant. Men wearing pink shirts are just as normal as women wearing pink shirts. This is because millennials are now blurring that once thick line. As result, fashion is now becoming more gender neutral.
7. What are some fashion trends you’re hoping to bring back this year? Any you want to burn in hell forever?
I was always a fan of the 80s and what that era represented. I would love to see that come back in full force. I’ve always enjoyed their use of colorful, shiny materials in their fabrics. I’d particularly love to see bell-bottoms make a comeback.
In terms of trends never returning, I would love to see branding on clothing disappear – forever. From that crocodile on polos to signature logos on leather-labeled jeans, we should do away with it. Fashion is a form of art, and it shouldn’t be limited to a commercialized product.
In fact, I see many millennials supporting this vision. They’re gravitating towards design rather than brand. We’re starting to see big-name companies changing their branding strategies. These big fashion retailers are now hiding their logos to appeal to millennials.
8. As Differio only grows larger, what will be next for you to conquer? Perhaps a women’s line?
What Differio offers is an experience, not just clothing. We’re building a connection with the rest of the world. In terms of business, this is why we don’t follow what the competition is doing. Instead, we look specifically into what millennials are asking for.
So, what’s next for Differio? It all depends. One thing is for sure: we will continue to release works of art for the new generation.
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