Freshly graduated from Parsons MFA Fashion Design and Society in 2016, Queenie is facing the early challenges of establishing her own brand. The designer is producing her first jewellery collection with her business partner Runxi Wang, whilst continuing to work on her womenswear line on the side. Feeling the constrains of the business side of the jewellery project, she balances it with total creative freedom on her clothes collection, keeping her fantasy world of dolls, colour, and textured craftwork alive.
You have launched your brand, Queenie Cao New York, quite recently. How has the experience been so far?
Well, it has been really difficult. Things take a very long time to process, like half a year. There are a lot of things to do and to negotiate, and I don’t really know how to set up everything on my own. Basically, I just registered my jewellery line, not my clothes line.
Is jewellery your main priority at the moment?
I’m still doing fashion, I’m working on the next collection, but for my jewellery collections I have a partner, whereas in fashion I am on my own. It’s the same name, but I have a business investment partner for jewellery. So, the fashion design is really about whatever I want to do!
Was it the way you expected, to start a brand of your own?
Before I started my masters of Fashion at Parsons I was already doing jewellery. I was also part of some pop-up stores in Scotland while I was living there. At the time, I used to do some random jewellery, so I started with just one piece for some galleries. Now it’s different because I have registered my brand, and it’s more about thinking of the collections and how to approach the market. It’s taking a long time because I take nearly half a year to produce everything here. It’s also really difficult at the beginning because I have to work with a factory here, which is totally different from the factory that I worked with before. You know, when you meet people for the first time, they cannot make your pieces perfect nor in the way you were expecting, so you have to redo it and fix it, which takes a very long time. It’s not like before, when I was making just one piece by myself, and wouldn’t really need to think about the production side of it. Now it’s different and I really need to think of the easiest way to produce and sell it.