Innovating Through Artistry

We are Vane Clothing

In Interesting Articles on January 8, 2008 at 7:42 am

Check out this interesting article that ran in Debonair Magazine about these young artistic entrepreneurs that teamed up together to form Vane Clothing. If you would like to know more about Vane click here.

On a balmy spring night in New York, three young dark-skinned men make their way up a cramped downtown apartment with two giant boxes in tow. Sweating from the humidity, the three reach their destination and hurriedly tear open the boxes, knowing that an arduous night of work lay in front of them. All three men are from different backgrounds—Indian, Pakistani and Chinese—but they quickly begin working together, cutting tags, steaming shirts, refolding and packaging the merchandise.

Far from another sweatshop, this was the humble beginning of Vane Lifestyle, a new Manhattan-based streetwear label. Founders Ravi Thanawala, Atif Ateeq and Eric Poon teamed up during their senior year of undergraduate study at New York University, sharing a vision to create something independent and unique that would also reflect the diversity of their backgrounds. “Eric and I had that itch to do something positive for ourselves, for our friends, and for our community,” Ateeq says.

The company’s namesake, a play on the definition of “vain,” reflects the apathetic image of the youth generation. Poon and Ateeq says they conjured the idea to replicate the “growing cultural, political and artistic chaos,” that they saw was a direct result of globalization and the Internet. The trio takes a swing at the corporate culture that they believe is cannibalizing the youthful energy and talents of many of their peers. “I think there are a lot of young people who have incredible talent, but they’re just so afraid of making a mistake that they end up making a bigger one,” Poon says. “They end up working twelve hour days, sitting in a cubicle and a monkey suit praying for the weekend.”

Over the course of two years, Ateeq, a photographer and photo editor by trade, and Poon, a graphic designer and writer with marketing experience at Triple 5 Soul, began to flesh out their idea, sketching a name and a crude logo.

Eventually, the two developed a manifesto, the current pair of logos and a myriad of designs inspired by cultural and street imagery, with a healthy dose of irony behind all their artwork.

Although the creative element was in place, the two still lacked the business logic necessary to run a company. The pair teamed up with Thanawala, whose finance and fashion background at Gucci and Balenciaga was a perfect fit for the more creative Ateeq and Poon. Former classmates Anna Frenkel and Meg Minuskin also joined the duo to lead the team’s marketing and promotion efforts. “We came together like Voltron,” Poon says. “When we combined our talents and networks, things just started jumping off.”

Once the five began working together, Vane became more than just ideas and designs, and Vane Lifestyle was born. “It’s been the meticulous process of coming up with an idea, and then designing, sourcing, and promoting it that sets us apart from a lot of other start up brands,” Thanawala says. “We quickly realized that we couldn’t gloss over the smallest details. We took all the necessary steps to be legit—like getting trademarks and getting incorporated so that we could have wholesale accounts—so that we could be serious with Vane, and I think a lot of people respect that.”

The response to Vane from their friends and peers was overwhelmingly positive, and even respected industry veterans like Gregg Wolf began to take notice of the eye-catching Vane prints that had begun to permeate Lower Manhattan. Sensing that there was both substance and longevity behind the Vane movement, the team was able to launch Vane into a legitimate business. “People were quick to realize that Vane was not just another ‘college garage band’ endeavor,” Frenkel says.


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