Designer & Musician Suzanne Vinnik Finds Inspiration During The Pandemic With New Apparel Line – by VINNIK
After leaving an abusive marriage and working in a career that often allows artists limited power, Suzanne’s love of fashion and her desire to create her dream job on her own terms inspired the launch of by VINNIK. All pieces are made to order and one of a kind, and each design is inspired by an operatic diva! Some of the biggest names in classical music and TV across five continents love by VINNIK, including Jennifer Rowley, J’Nai Bridges, Renee Lawless, and Lin Manuel Miranda.
by Vinnik strives to be ethical in terms of both sustainability and treatment of our workers. Their garment workers are paid a living wage and work in a clean and safe facility in Los Angeles, which is unfortunately a rarity in the fashion world. Alongside paying fair wages to those involved in the process of making the garments, sustainability is our number one priority. by Vinnik saves every remnant to make pockets, headwraps, masks, pocket squares and other trims and finishings. Everything is made to order and they even work in deadstock textiles as well to reduce waste. Every aspect of sustainability is considered.
Suzanne is an outspoken advocate who is generous with her knowledge and insight, and is committed to educating others and spreading awareness of this important issue.
See the full interview below!
What prompted the move into fashion?
I’ve loved fashion and I’ve been creating my own unique style since I was a little girl performing on the Las Vegas Strip. When I committed to launching my clothing line, byVINNIK, I wanted to create what I felt was missing in the world of fashion. I wanted to incorporate my love of haute couture, avant-garde fashion, and styles from all eras, but make it wearable, comfortable, ethical, and sustainable. I wanted to create something that could go from the red carpet to the aisles of the grocery store! While I will always love opera, I no longer felt that I belonged in the toxic industry. In fashion, I can bring joy to others through my art and truly make people feel good!
What has been the biggest lesson learned from starting this business?
If you want to be successful, sometimes you have to gamble on yourself! There won’t ever be a “RIGHT” time to start a business. I launched byVINNIK at my parents’ kitchen table in May 2019, after ending an abusive marriage, moving across the country, and caring for my father before he passed away. Even with all that going on, I needed to take back my power as an artist and do something different with my life. The day I got home from what was likely one of my last singing engagements, I spent my rent check on my first production run, textiles, product samples and patterns. Something I learned from singing was to give the audience what they want. Everyday, I show up for my clients and give them the best experience I possibly can utilizing social media to really connect with them on a human level. My initial investment in myself, my vision, and finally doing something that I wanted to do on my own terms gave me a totally new outlook on life and so many clients who have become friends!
Is there a target demographic you design for?
byVINNIK clients are very diverse. Womxn of all ages, shapes, and sizes wear byVINNIK, and that’s the idea. With byVINNIK I want to make sure that everyone who wants to look fabulous and feel comfortable has a clothing line that embraces them. While many different womxn wear byVINNIK, they have a lot in common. Our clients are creative, vibrant, and daring. They strive to express themselves and their individuality through what they wear. byVINNIK allows everyone to stand out and be part of a community of fashionable divas!
Do you have a collection or release you would like to highlight?
Spring 2020 was so depressing! We were diverting elastic and other supplies to making masks that we donated as a one for one to those on the frontlines while just trying to stay open and not fold. One day, I decided that I wanted to do a photoshoot and mini collection wearing garments that were “UNWEARABLE IN 2020” as we had nowhere to go. I wanted to transform a hallway into a runway and really let my creativity take off. Over the next few months, I’ve created what is in my head with no “RULES” or desire to create a singular collection. I’ve collaborated with incredible creatives I’ve met online and have known since moving to LA a few years ago. It’s been really great to push myself in this direction! While none of the pieces are “THIS IS XX SEASON” each flurry of creativity is thematic, captured either by me behind the camera or in front of it in byVINNIK fashions!