Wednesday, July 5, 2017

#elitehotseat: HANS KOECHLING

1. What was the most challenging part about starting your own business over 20 years ago? 

I think that every new start has it’s challenges. 20 years ago, I had to take the jump – a leap of faith, but also to know I would land on my feet in this industry.

I am very thankful for all and everyone that believed in me, my fashion family, from models, agents, stylists, hair & make-up crews, to established clients and my family. But the biggest challenge was to stand tall and be understood that this is a serious business.

To this day – I can say Thank You for believing in me – and to know that you are only as good as your last show.

I was discovered as a model in the 80’s and worked in the industry for many years with simply with the best and most creative people that the industry had to offer – who in hindsight helped me find my inspiration.
This is the time when fashion shows were sometimes very theatrical fashion shows that cast models that could walk, I mean models that had attitude and expression, that could really bring the runway to life, walk like a cat and sell the designer’s brand down the runway. I worked with some of the world’s top runway stars including Jerry Hall, Pat Cleveland, Claudia Schiffer, Yasmin Ghauri, The IT 4 Super girls, the Versace gals, The Ferre clique, Karl’s top ten… Models made a show and still do!

I was hooked, and so as I worked my way up the ladder from assistant to stylist and artistic director to producer.
I had the great pleasure to work and learn from some of the best lighting designers and sound, stage and make-up – hair artists along the way.
My mother client - the IGEDO Company was the best teacher! I really learned and earned my reputation as a show producer working with the company in Germany, with producing international events in China, New York and Miami celebrating fashion from around the globe.

From very humble beginnings to being honored to work with some of the world’s top designers today, I will always remember where it all started and that you are only as good as your last show.

2. What's an average day for you like? 

My Average day, - Up early around 5:30 AM, coffee and a quick look at the calendar and overnight e-mails, then take our Westie, Sir Wellington Kelly out for morning walk and then a jump into the shower to get the day started…

After some fruit or cereal for breakfast – it’s off to the fashion desk, to review all work in progress shows and also to review next travel schedules with my assistant and check in with my team.
Either I am off to client meetings, site meetings, creative concept meetings, technical meetings, model castings, or budget meetings, or off to the airport to jump to Toronto or other fashionable destinations for work.

My incredible team always makes miracles happen but we all need to be on the same page to keep the constant schedule moving. I rely on them as they do on me,- to keep it all together.

It only comes together when I see the shows come alive.
It’s like the long and sometimes sleepless nights and hours and collaborations with the designer and in house teams, all the creative vision, stage design, lighting, sound, casting, styling meetings, fittings, and hair & make-up tests, tight rehearsals and lots of patience, much love, lots of rush and adrenaline have finally turned into the vision you had from the beginning to a live performance that takes your breath away.

3. What are three skills or traits you must have in order to be a great fashion show producer?

Have the skills and experience to dream big !

The designer or the client is the star – they hired you to make their dreams come to life.

Hard work and showmanship will make your dreams come true. Assist your mentors and bring it on and learn every day and listen, understand teamwork, and can I say be *on time, or don’t bother showing up.

4. What's one thing you have learned from mistakes on the fashion show producer job?

Patience, longevity and be flexible when it comes to your time and budgets.

Follow your gut and heart when making decisions about accepting or quoting on a job.
After all you’re worth all the time and effort, creative vision and years of experience you are bringing to the job.

Know that when working in this industry, you will need to be sensitive to the client’s needs and listen.
Fashion is here and gone tomorrow, as a show producer you have to be flexible and know your place how to lead the team and the client into the show.

5. What's one piece of advice you would give an emerging Canadian Designer?

I have supported and mentored many Canadian Designers directly or through design programs. Christopher Bates, UNTTLD, Dalla, Mikael D., Elama Furs, and many more.
The bottom line is you have to dream BIG and get out there.

Thank You Suzanne Rogers’ Fashion Institute and Studio at Ryerson for stepping up and supporting these fabulous select talented designers to brand themselves internationally.

6. With the changing landscape of Canadian fashion, designers have been tasked with finding new and innovative ways to gain exposure. What do you think the Canadian fashion industry needs in order to thrive? 

Fashion is what we all wear every day. It’s one’s expression of our personality and the time we live in. It defines who we are and where we are going in our daily lives.
It’s also a multi million $ industry in Canada that supports many lives and communities.

Canadian Fashion needs to export itself as a brand!  The world awaits your fashion!

Now more than ever can Canadian Designers be proud of their 150th heritage and make their way to other global platforms to launch their collections.

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