Meet an 18-year-old student in York who has created his own fashion label

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As if A Level weren’t hard enough – meet 18 year old Aidan Carey from York who started his own fashion label while studying for his exams.

Like most people, Aidan suddenly had some free time during the 2021 lockdown. He had ambitions to take creative courses at university but he knew he would need a strong portfolio alongside his application.

So she taught herself advanced photoshop and adobe illustrator skills and created a completely hypothetical clothing brand – in the first place – as a project for her portfolio.

“Once I found myself researching names to see if they were already a real business, I realized that this might actually be something I wanted to try and do,” Aidan said.

And the rest is history.

Although Aidan has been in streetwear since he was 16 years old and aspires to create a product that is on par or superior to brands like Of-White, Represent and Supreme – it wasn’t always a dream to start his own clothing retailer.

“The funny thing about my story is that I really hated fashion and textiles in high school before I could drop them on the GCSE.”

Aidan is now planning to study in Liverpool to do fashion branding.

Accord Apparel releases a limited edition style unisex collection and does not use gender based measurements. It’s generally aimed at people aged 16-30 but “we love to see all ages and genders wear our clothes,” says Aidan.

Accord Apparel’s vision is “fashionable, high-quality clothing at competitive prices that everyone can enjoy.”

The brand has had three ‘droplets’ so far, with a fourth coming soon.

YorkMix spoke to Aidan to find out more about the Accord Apparel, the process behind the brand and what its goals are for the future.

Find out more about and stay up to date with Accord Apparel via the website or Instagram.

Q&A with Aidan Carey

Why is it called ‘Accord Apparel’?

I spent a long time thinking about a name, and I wanted a name that was really unique and easy to remember.

After hours of brainstorming names, I finally found the word Accord. It means to give or give someone power, status or recognition. A nice word, and clothes have just been added to it.

What is the purpose behind the Accord Apparel?

My goal right now is to be able to go out in public and see people wearing those clothes. That alone is enough to make me happy.

Another core goal is for the Accord to be global, I would love to be able to go on vacation abroad knowing that I have customers with my products there.

I have many numerical goals that I want to achieve, and I will achieve them. But they are not that interesting. My ultimate goal is for brands to someday be noticed by one of my many inspirations – for example, George Heaton (founder of Represent Clothing).

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What is the process from design to manufacturing to being available for purchase?

Design starts with me sitting at my desk sketching and playing around with the different colors and variants of each piece of graphic art.

Then I used Instagram stories to run a poll to see what people liked and didn’t like. Once I have an idea of ​​what people want to buy, I group them into collections, decide on a branding aesthetic/color palette and talk to my manufacturers in Spain and Latvia about making the product.

I get a sample made, then once satisfied with the product, I market it by doing photo shoots and posting on social media. I chose a date to release it and put it on our website for consumers to buy.

In terms of time, it can take 1-3 months to produce a complete collection. Because even though designing products is great, I had to organize their production, design branding, and social media graphics and basically build an aesthetic for the release.

What is the customer reaction like?

Our customers love our clothing, with our products focused on quality. So almost every feedback has to do with how comfortable our clothes are and how well they fit.

Those who have bought our products come back again because they know how good our products are.

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How do you balance managing your own clothing business with your A Level studies?

I set aside time of the week for lectures and time of the week for the Accord. While this tends to fluctuate every week. I’m always doing something for the Accord, even though level A is the priority right now with the exams to come.

Since I’m a full-time student, I don’t have time to fulfill my orders or manufacture my own products. So I have a more time efficient and environmentally friendly business model. I have an agreement with my manufacturer to produce our garments to order. So when you order with us, your details are sent directly to them. They manufacture your clothes, package them (to my specifications) and have them delivered to your door just for you.

This means that no stock is wasted and it means that stock is only moved once. And while this means order fulfillment takes longer than I’d like, it gives me more time.

What if your exam is over?

All of this will change completely after my exam is over. I wish I had stock held in the UK, shorter delivery times and also higher quality clothing in general, with an overall better customer experience.

But to conclude, I have done everything to do with business except order fulfillment. From merging companies, building websites, to designing products. I even directed a photo shoot, which my friends modeled.

I am so proud that I got this brand off the floor and up. Now I just need to get it running.

What is your dream for the Accord Apparel?

Her dream is to see the Accord worn by my idols and also collaborate with brands that inspire me.

But this is a marathon not a sprint. Those things will happen as long as I keep working hard. I would be delusional to think this brand would be an overnight success. That’s not how it works.

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