Why I became a VIDA Voice Fashion Designer and Collaborator
Sleeveless Shirt Design with "The Flirt" Original Art by Author
The "Wearable Art" Dream
As an Artist, I have always had big dreams. One of those dreams was to have my art become "wearable art." I had always admired artists like Bob Mackie and Antthony Mark Hankins who had their own clothing designs with original art. Why not me?
So when I received an email about collaborating with a company called VIDA, I was certainly intrigued.
Erica, Artist Relations Manager from VIDA, stated in her email, "I am writing today regarding your artwork, with the hope that you will consider collaborating with us. I am writing from VIDA, a Google Ventures backed company that brings artists and makers together from around the world to create original, inspiring apparel in a socially conscious way. We are looking for artists with amazing technical skill and truly original work. We came across your artwork, and we’d love to work with you to translate your art into fashion.....converting 2D art into beautiful, quality apparel and accessories."
I took a couple of days to think about it....and to research the company. Of course I wanted to make sure that this company was legit. It turns out that VIDA was "a socially conscious, fashion platform that connects with makers around the world and digitally prints their artwork onto scarves, shirts and t-shirts."
More about that later on.
Example of Author's Wearable Art
What is VIDA?
The name VIDA caught my attention because I had studied Spanish for many years and knew that VIDA meant "Life.";
In Persian, it means “a rare find.”
In Hebrew, it means “beloved.”
In Sanskrit, it means “wisdom.”
“All walks of life and languages could relate to and own that name,” Mendhro, Founder of VIDA, says, being the reason that vision is also reflected in the company’s name.
- was founded in 2014
- brings mindful global citizenship and an impeccable sense of taste to style-seekers around the world.
- is an e-commerce platform
- that takes advantage of direct-to-fabric technology resulting in the large scale production of unique apparel from designers around the world.
- with this process, can take any submitted design and go from sketch to completion in a week
- is a company of ten manufacturers, spread over different countries.
- carefully selects its partnerships
- is bridging the gap between artists and consumers
- is promoting socially responsible fashion.
- is backed by Google Ventures, Universal Music Group and others
- had a $1.3 million seed round investment, which additionally includes The Valley Fund, Nanon, Don Mattrick’s Beehive Holdings, Dave Morin’s Slow Ventures, and Jesse Draper
- designers include painters, photographers, graphic designers, sculptors, 3D artists, architects, and textile and print designers from around the world
Example of Scarf by Author
The Vision and Founder
"I couldn’t get myself to pursue art as a profession because I feared I wouldn’t be able to make a living with it,” Mendhro says.
I could understand how she felt as I took several detours before coming back to where I felt I truly belonged and could make a difference.
Mendhro came to the United States to study computer science and technology, earning a master’s degree in business from Harvard and eventually landing at Microsoft.
This background was very instrumental in helping with her vision. VIDA is literally a dream come true for Mendhro.
- was formerly of West and Microsoft where she helped build and launch technology products
- was from a very small town in Pakistan
- wanted to be an artist when she grew up
- was home-schooled much of my life because we didn’t have proper schools around
- taught herself how to cut, sketch, sew, stitch, block print, screen print, oil paint, and more
With her love for fashion and design, she also became acutely aware of the hundreds of millions of people employed in textile and garment production, who could never get out of a cycle of poverty.”
Mendhro has some experience with social enterprises having previously launched one that operates in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Rwanda, focused on bringing communities together through education and empowerment.
Example of Author's T-Shirt Design on Vida
VIDA and Me
VIDA gives its designers the chance to convert their original design visions into products like scarves, tops and dresses.
For every VIDA product made, the company offers literacy programs for the makers in Karachi, Pakistan. These makers have the opportunity to learn reading, writing and maths, which they may not have had the opportunity to do before. “We ensure livable wages for our producers and on top of that, offer a literacy program to our factory workers, enabling them to learn to read, write, and do basic math, so they can build a better life for themselves and their families,” says Mendhro.
This is important to me, as I have always had a heart for helping those who were less fortunate. Not only do I get my work on fashion, but I know a portion of the proceeds go to ensuring that literacy is developed in many countries.
This platform is also an interesting model for manufacturing in a digital age, all made better by being socially conscious.
After several correspondences with different members of the VIDA team, I set about creating my shop. When I got the email that my shop was "live," I was ecstatic.
The set-up for the shop was incredibly easy. I simply uploaded the design onto the particular piece of fashion that I wanted it to be, clicked SUBMIT, and waited for approval, which usually only took a few hours at the most.
The support that I received and continue to receive is great. If you have a question, I simply send a quick message, and it is receives a quick response, usually within 24 hours.
VIDA has over 75 products in two styles of 100% natural silk tops and three styles of scarves, with varying prices, making the products affordable for its target demographic – urban, design-conscious women shoppers who are also mindful of their impact on the world.
With this range of choice of items, I, the Artist, can also choose what items I want my work to be featured on.
I, also, participate in the platform at no cost, but receive a revenue share on products sold.
Additionally, I like the fact that VIDA works with its textile mills, printers, and cut and sew factories, removing the middleman costs from the equation.
Cover-up designed for Lupus Awareness by Author
I love the fact that VIDA is already set up, so as an artist I can do retail sales, and not have to start from scratch, and still collect the percentage of revenue. One just needs to be creative and determined to succeed, a characteristic that I feel I definitely possess.
However, while I have certain designs that I focus on for my VIDA collection, I focus on selling my artwork through me, galleries, art exhibits, and my Fine Art America site as well as sales. Being a VIDA Designer really helps in complimenting my artwork sales.
© 2016 Gina Welds Hulse