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Phillip Lim: Brands don't form over night

Phillip Lim: Brands don't form over night

Phillip Lim believes designers need a certain amount of experience before they can call themselves a brand.

The fashion star is creative director at 3.1 Phillip Lim, a company he founded in 2005 with business partner Wen Zhou, who he met while working at clothing label Development.

While he believes the two of them have created something big, he wants people to be wary of labelling themselves a "brand", as it's something to be earned.

“You can’t just come out of the gates and you’re a brand,” he explained to WWD. “There’s no experience. There’s no knowledge. There’s only an intuition. That’s not a brand. To me, a brand is like a person. You need to evolve.”

While Phillip takes care of the creative side, Wen keeps on top of the business. Having looked at the other way people sell, she's keen to break with tradition.

“We’re so used to doing business the normal way that makes sense for businesspeople,” she sighed. “That’s why I’m either a really good businessperson or a really bad businessperson...

"Do you know how many times I went into a retail store in the past - and I go into stores all the time - and the first thing the salesperson greets me with is: ‘There’s the sale rack.’ Let me enjoy your product. Let me take in your environment. Don’t direct me immediately to the price point. You have killed my desire and that’s not the business I want to do.”

Phillip and Wen work closely as a team and always discuss how to overcome obstacles together. By working in harmony, they've uncovered the key to success.

“It’s a creative pursuit that is put in a business box,” the designer mused.

“Structure, experience, key hires and real estate. Business affords creative, but creative creates businesses... It’s a really delicate thing to keep or lose.”

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