The fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar global enterprise devoted to the business of making and selling clothes. Funny thing is, very few people really understand it. The industry is mysterious, clouded by smoke and mirrors. Some live glamorously without saving a penny and some have more money than the GDP of a small African country without showing it. So where is the dividing line between being a prince or a pauper?
As a relatively new designer in the industry, Christopher Bates is many things – an artist, a brand, a designer, an entrepreneur – but most of all, he is a realist. Long ago, he realized that he had the unique talent to create and produce attractive, desirable men’s clothing. His clothing is contemporary, understated, and stylish.
Christopher Bates is always learning new things and never in a comfort zone. He moved away from his home in Vancouver to come to Toronto to take advantage of its size and market. Coming from outside of Toronto, he has heard people criticize Toronto, but praises its diversity and multiculturalism, noting that “if you can’t find a scene in a city of this size with so many diverse scenes, then it’s not the city, it’s you.”
As a designer, Christopher Bates understood that men want to be more stylish and he simply offers his perspective on clothing. Christopher Bates has received incredible reviews on his product lines and has achieved fantastic critical success. Turns out, people like his perspective.
However, the trick with the fashion industry, and most creative industries, is the conversion of critical success into commercial success. How can emerging designers capitalize on their popularity to actually earn a living in fashion? To answer that question, Christopher Bates the entrepreneur splits from Christopher Bates the designer.
To achieve sustained commercial success is exceedingly difficult in the hyper-competitive fashion industry. Most department and clothing stores in Canada carry the same 20 or 30 brands without much deviation. Their desire for safe, known brands makes it exceedingly difficult for new brands to break into any major store. As an alternative, some designers choose to open their own store, which can fail because in addition to designing new product lines, a designer must run a store, which requires resources, staff, time, and energy.
As an entrepreneur, Christopher Bates has made Christopher Bates the brand highly accessible. He makes positive use of public relations, referrals, social media, and events that help expose his brand and create buzz. As the businessman says, “clothing + marketing = fashion. Add branding to get desire. Altogether, you have profit. “
Armed with a creative vision, high-quality clothing, and an incredible work ethic, Christopher Bates is ready to take the next step and break through. More and more stores want to meet with him to get Christopher Bates on their shelves. His custom division is growing rapidly. Investors want to invest in his business. He is creating new product lines. And he is building an inventory.
When it happens, Christopher Bates´ breakthrough will be a vindication for his talent as both a designer and an entrepreneur. It is also a testament to all the hard work he has put into his passion. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work,” he says quoting Thomas Edison. Christopher Bates uses quotes to inspire and reinforce what he is doing, but his passion for clothing and desire for success is what drives him. And his hard work is starting to pay off.