Adam Selman

Adam Selman

ADAM SELMAN

2016 is over! What were some of your highlights this past year?
2016 has left me speechless! Let’s not talk about it...
Not even about the 2016 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund?
Actually, let’s talk about the highlights of this! I went into the CVFF with totally different expectations than what I left with. I was pleasantly surprised that no one in the program put any expectations on me or my brand to “Vogueify” or censor anything I did for the competition. The process really allowed me to have a creative voice. It all started from my application video. I hate the idea of talking into a camera to myself, so I watched old clips of Barbara Walters interviews and compiled them together so it was like she was interviewing me to be a finalist. Ha! For the CVFF Instagram Challenge, we had to be inspired by a movie, so I picked Todd Haynes’ “Superstar” based on the story of Karen Carpenter that he made using Barbies. It’s one of my favorite films. I rented 3 Rootstein mannequins, borrowed a friend’s convertible and we went on a Karen Carpenter trip together in Downey, CA where she grew up. That was a highlight of my entire life. I had so much fun.
Another great moment was asking Anna if it was true that she dated Bob Marley. People couldn’t believe I asked that, but I thought it came from an innocent place. At least I got a direct response, even though evidence points to a different answer...
How important is the support of the CFDA and Vogue or an upcoming brand like yours?
It’s huge really! Just having a direct line to people in the industry with such influence is major. It really gives brands like mine a fighting chance in this brutal industry. I am so into having both Vogue’s and the CFDA’s support.
Other than consumer awareness and exposure, what are the peaks of taking part in such prestigious fashion contests?
You know, awareness and exposure was the last thing on my mind when I applied for the CVFF. I really needed help to figure out my next move in the industry. They offer such amazing mentorship and support, it just felt right. Aside from the obvious perks, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund also helped me define my brand’s DNA and ambitions.
Prior to the CVFF and your start as a costume designer, you were a kid from Belton, Texas. What triggered your interest or passion for clothing and fashion?
I just brought my boyfriend to Texas for the first time, and it was funny to look back at old pictures and talk to friends that I grew up with. I am from a small town, but I’ve always had big ambitions and dreams. I was super active, busy and social, then at 18, the day after I graduated from high school, I moved out on my own. I couldn’t wait for the next move in my journey. It almost feels like a totally different life now. I’ve always enjoyed making things. Growing up, my dad did carpentry and my mom refinished antiques for a living, so we were very hands on and crafty. I was always happiest when I was making things, and I think that hasn’t changed. Designing, creating and seeing it all come to life is when I am most fulfilled. I just embraced that and made it my path.
I was always happiest when I was making things, and I think that hasn’t changed. Designing, creating and seeing it all come to life is when I am most fulfilled. I just embraced that and made it my path. [Adam Selman]
Being a costume design, you have special requests for special projects and celebrity clients. Has your creative approach changed now that you design for the masses?
Totally and completely. You can make one of anything. Making multiples is when it gets really complicated.
Is moving to NYC or LA still the move to make it in the US fashion industry, even in this Internet and social media era ?
I think moving and getting out of your element is key for growth, no matter what field you’re in. For us fashion designers, it’s important to get your hands dirty and see factories, visit fabric mills, meet dyers, pattern makers and sewers, search for trims and hardware and make genuine connections with people, face to face. Social media is an amazing tool,
but it can really put people in a bubble. Being popular on Instagram is like being rich with Monopoly money. Personal connections are the ones that propel a brand forward... a person forward,really. You can make it in fashion from wherever you are, but don’t rely on the Internet or social media for your success.
You’ve been showing at NYFW for 3 years now. How do you fit and feel into the madness of it?
You know, I was so naive going into my first presentation, and that’s why I am still doing what I do. I had this big image of fashion and shows and how you constantly change and surprise people. Defy what people expect of you and make it exciting. That didn’t work for me on the level I thought it would.That doesn’t work for the New York fashion system. That was a hard lesson for me to learn. Once, someone told me once they didn’t take my collections seriously, because they had a sense of humour to them. I was surprised to hear that, but it also made sense.
I used to have models come in for castings, and I would make them vamp and pose to bring out different personalities as opposed to being beautiful robots. A friend told me that she thought I was making fun
of them by having them vamp and pose like that... that stung... but also made me rethink. Now, I’ve scaled back on the showiness and thought about doing runway shows that are stricter, more focused on the clothes and the details as opposed to the ideas and the setting. That’s worked for me for the past few seasons. If you’re cool, and get the humour on top of the humour, great. Let’s party! If not, no stress, see you soon.
Social media has changed the face of fashion. How important are Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat to the man Adam Selman?
I use Instagram the most. It’s a great tool! I find inspiration checking out new interesting artists, “it” girls, and friend’s lives. Right now though, it’s too much. All the stories, live features, and constant posting of content just seems like overload.It’s less genuine to me right now. Maybe I’ll switch back next month, I can be fickle like that. We have so much content being thrown at us that it makes me ask what’s the point? At the end of the day, it’s all about the actual product that you touch and feel and put on, that’s what gives real confidence and beauty that can transcend all of this. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE seeing people wearing Adam Selman clothes and sunglasses on Instagram, but what excites me most is when people tell me about their real life experiences wearing a look of mine as opposed to the experience they’ve had through the lens of their camera phone.

Is there any difference between Adam Selman the brand and Adam Selman the man?
I try to be a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy. So I’d say that it’s all intertwined. I am trying to get better at separating it from my personal life. But I have poured so much into the brand that it’s overlapped. My friends and family and studio members have put a lot into the brand too. When there’s an exciting development it’s natural
to want to celebrate together, and when disappointment strikes, we all commiserate together. I want my brand to feel like that, for now at least. It’s important to “feel it” rather than put out more product into the universe...you know?
For now, Adam Selman doesn’t have any financial backup from a major group. If offered the opportunity, would you join a conglomerate like PVH Corp, OTB or France’s Kering and LVMH?
Obviously that’s an involved question that is hard to answer. On a surface level, I would say yes. Until now, I’ve been able to do this in a scrappy way, so to have bigger support behind me would be
a dream.
2016 was witness to several major moves from designers leaving houses for others. If offered, would you accept in a near future a creative director position at another brand, all while running Adam Selman?
1000% yes! But only if it’s right...
Interview from Issue 6, Winter 2016 By Iggy NKO Photo by Erik Tanner and Jay Lewis

Adam Selman

ADAM SELMAN

2016 is over! What were some of your highlights this past year?
2016 has left me speechless! Let’s not talk about it...
Not even about the 2016 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund?
Actually, let’s talk about the highlights of this! I went into the CVFF with totally different expectations than what I left with. I was pleasantly surprised that no one in the program put any expectations on me or my brand to “Vogueify” or censor anything I did for the competition. The process really allowed me to have a creative voice. It all started from my application video. I hate the idea of talking into a camera to myself, so I watched old clips of Barbara Walters interviews and compiled them together so it was like she was interviewing me to be a finalist. Ha! For the CVFF Instagram Challenge, we had to be inspired by a movie, so I picked Todd Haynes’ “Superstar” based on the story of Karen Carpenter that he made using Barbies. It’s one of my favorite films. I rented 3 Rootstein mannequins, borrowed a friend’s convertible and we went on a Karen Carpenter trip together in Downey, CA where she grew up. That was a highlight of my entire life. I had so much fun.
Another great moment was asking Anna if it was true that she dated Bob Marley. People couldn’t believe I asked that, but I thought it came from an innocent place. At least I got a direct response, even though evidence points to a different answer...
How important is the support of the CFDA and Vogue or an upcoming brand like yours?
It’s huge really! Just having a direct line to people in the industry with such influence is major. It really gives brands like mine a fighting chance in this brutal industry. I am so into having both Vogue’s and the CFDA’s support.
Other than consumer awareness and exposure, what are the peaks of taking part in such prestigious fashion contests?
You know, awareness and exposure was the last thing on my mind when I applied for the CVFF. I really needed help to figure out my next move in the industry. They offer such amazing mentorship and support, it just felt right. Aside from the obvious perks, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund also helped me define my brand’s DNA and ambitions.
Prior to the CVFF and your start as a costume designer, you were a kid from Belton, Texas. What triggered your interest or passion for clothing and fashion?
I just brought my boyfriend to Texas for the first time, and it was funny to look back at old pictures and talk to friends that I grew up with. I am from a small town, but I’ve always had big ambitions and dreams. I was super active, busy and social, then at 18, the day after I graduated from high school, I moved out on my own. I couldn’t wait for the next move in my journey. It almost feels like a totally different life now. I’ve always enjoyed making things. Growing up, my dad did carpentry and my mom refinished antiques for a living, so we were very hands on and crafty. I was always happiest when I was making things, and I think that hasn’t changed. Designing, creating and seeing it all come to life is when I am most fulfilled. I just embraced that and made it my path.
I was always happiest when I was making things, and I think that hasn’t changed. Designing, creating and seeing it all come to life is when I am most fulfilled. I just embraced that and made it my path. [Adam Selman]
Being a costume design, you have special requests for special projects and celebrity clients. Has your creative approach changed now that you design for the masses?
Totally and completely. You can make one of anything. Making multiples is when it gets really complicated.
Is moving to NYC or LA still the move to make it in the US fashion industry, even in this Internet and social media era ?
I think moving and getting out of your element is key for growth, no matter what field you’re in. For us fashion designers, it’s important to get your hands dirty and see factories, visit fabric mills, meet dyers, pattern makers and sewers, search for trims and hardware and make genuine connections with people, face to face. Social media is an amazing tool,
but it can really put people in a bubble. Being popular on Instagram is like being rich with Monopoly money. Personal connections are the ones that propel a brand forward... a person forward,really. You can make it in fashion from wherever you are, but don’t rely on the Internet or social media for your success.
You’ve been showing at NYFW for 3 years now. How do you fit and feel into the madness of it?
You know, I was so naive going into my first presentation, and that’s why I am still doing what I do. I had this big image of fashion and shows and how you constantly change and surprise people. Defy what people expect of you and make it exciting. That didn’t work for me on the level I thought it would.That doesn’t work for the New York fashion system. That was a hard lesson for me to learn. Once, someone told me once they didn’t take my collections seriously, because they had a sense of humour to them. I was surprised to hear that, but it also made sense.
I used to have models come in for castings, and I would make them vamp and pose to bring out different personalities as opposed to being beautiful robots. A friend told me that she thought I was making fun
of them by having them vamp and pose like that... that stung... but also made me rethink. Now, I’ve scaled back on the showiness and thought about doing runway shows that are stricter, more focused on the clothes and the details as opposed to the ideas and the setting. That’s worked for me for the past few seasons. If you’re cool, and get the humour on top of the humour, great. Let’s party! If not, no stress, see you soon.
Social media has changed the face of fashion. How important are Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat to the man Adam Selman?
I use Instagram the most. It’s a great tool! I find inspiration checking out new interesting artists, “it” girls, and friend’s lives. Right now though, it’s too much. All the stories, live features, and constant posting of content just seems like overload.It’s less genuine to me right now. Maybe I’ll switch back next month, I can be fickle like that. We have so much content being thrown at us that it makes me ask what’s the point? At the end of the day, it’s all about the actual product that you touch and feel and put on, that’s what gives real confidence and beauty that can transcend all of this. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE seeing people wearing Adam Selman clothes and sunglasses on Instagram, but what excites me most is when people tell me about their real life experiences wearing a look of mine as opposed to the experience they’ve had through the lens of their camera phone.

Is there any difference between Adam Selman the brand and Adam Selman the man?
I try to be a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy. So I’d say that it’s all intertwined. I am trying to get better at separating it from my personal life. But I have poured so much into the brand that it’s overlapped. My friends and family and studio members have put a lot into the brand too. When there’s an exciting development it’s natural
to want to celebrate together, and when disappointment strikes, we all commiserate together. I want my brand to feel like that, for now at least. It’s important to “feel it” rather than put out more product into the universe...you know?
For now, Adam Selman doesn’t have any financial backup from a major group. If offered the opportunity, would you join a conglomerate like PVH Corp, OTB or France’s Kering and LVMH?
Obviously that’s an involved question that is hard to answer. On a surface level, I would say yes. Until now, I’ve been able to do this in a scrappy way, so to have bigger support behind me would be
a dream.
2016 was witness to several major moves from designers leaving houses for others. If offered, would you accept in a near future a creative director position at another brand, all while running Adam Selman?
1000% yes! But only if it’s right...
Interview from Issue 6, Winter 2016 By Iggy NKO Photo by Erik Tanner and Jay Lewis