Yasmin Sewell is a fashion consultant based out of London specializing in brand management, consulting and trend forecasting. She has extensive experience in retail having had her own store, Yasmin Cho in London. Yasmin has a unique eye for discovering up-and-coming designers and has created a mentoring program through her own agency to support young brands.
What sort of clients does your agency tend to work with?
We work with multi brand retailers, single brand retailers, lifestyle brands, designers from high-end right through to high street. They vary depending on the project, for example, we may create a completely new retail concept for someone from start to finish or work on invigorating an existing brand. No day is the same, which I love.
You are credited at discovering game-changing designers such as Rick Owens and Pierre Hardy, who are their contemporaries currently on the rise?
Oh there are loads but off the top of my head JW Anderson and Simone Rocha are incredibly exciting; I see big potential.
In the 90’s Yasmin Cho was one of five most influential stores in the world. Do you miss having your own shop?
For a long time I did miss it, I loved having the environment to play with, but I actually much prefer what I do now. There is more freedom and the possibilities are endless. There’s always a new market to tap into and project to sink our teeth into. I’m often asked if I’d ever open a store again, as I’ve been involved with so many I feel I’m there anyway.
From a retail and branding perspective how are New York-based designers different from European designers?
In general New York brands are more about business, they can build fast and they’re not trying so hard to push boundaries, some do for sure. I was there and launched Rodarte many years ago but in general there is a New York aesthetic that is a little more sophisticated and feminine than the young Europeans.
In addition to running a successful consulting agency, you are an international style icon, are you your own best advertisement?
I don’t know, I guess it helps to be out there but you know sometimes it may not work in my favour, who knows? I know that because we don’t really do what other companies do, it helps for people to know of me and then be able to contact me and say…what the hell do you do anyway?
You have a mentoring program in which you provide six months of consulting free of charge, who qualifies for this program? And what does it include?
There is no time limit on the mentoring; we’ll finish whenever we feel is right for the designer. We focus on collection direction, pricing structure, sales strategy, market positioning and general business advice.
What sort of advice would you give a designer coming out of school into the current fashion industry job market?
I would say spend time working for a designer that is growing so you can see how the industry works and fully understand whether having your own brand is right. There are a lot of very talented designers out there looking for great young people to train.