About this project
In 1980, 80% of the clothing sold in the United States was made domestically. Today that number is approximately 2.5% . As a result millions of Americans have lost their jobs and numerous factories have closed down. We want to bring back those values and give work to these factories. We want to be a pioneer of a movement to change a trend set by multi-million dollar American companies that go overseas for cheap labor.
We are LEOPARDËT. Bred in San Diego and raised in Los Angeles, we are an American fashion brand that focuses on providing minimalist everyday essentials while maintaining authentic values. LEOPARDËT provides easy to wear fashion-forward pieces to capture the essence of casual elegance through its 'Made in USA' clothing.
Our vision is to make a brand with authentic American values with an elegant taste. We want to make the fashion statement that it’s possible to make a brand with premium clothing, authentic values, and a cool culture. We want LEOPARDËT to be a pioneer of a movement to bring fashion back to America and make an impact on the way clothing is made.
My name is Ari Jogiel and I'm the designer and founder of LEOPARDËT. I immigrated to the United States when I was 12 years old and like many others have fought to attain the American dream. In my case, this meant creating a brand to dress up America. But over time and as you get older, you realize that things aren’t as easy as they sound—and letting go of these kind of dreams becomes very easy. It wasn’t till months ago that I decided to give this shot.I was working a 9-5 job and worked two other jobs on the side. Not the lifestyle that would last me for long, and that’s when I started the foundation of my brand. I started designing leopard-print hats with the “LEOPARDËT” name embroidered on the front. The leopard was a unique animal just like my background, and LEOPARDËT was my better, more fashionable and sophisticated version of a leopard.
Starting a fashion brand with limited resources and learning the ways of a fashion designer has been challenging and fascinating at the same. I have been rejected by stores, agencies, factories (etc.) and have been told many times "to stay away from the competitive industry".."you are never going to make it" but it will take more than that to stop this train. I have loved every bit of it and am making big strides with the brand. I'm ready to take things to the next level.
Let's make a difference. Let's make the fashion statement that it is possible to create premium fashionable clothing with authentic values. Take #theleap with LEOPARDËT and help us bring fashion back to America!
Special thanks to everyone that supported and participated in the video and to Justin Rypma and his crew for helping bring this project to life!!! :)
Risks and challenges
There are many challenges in starting a fashion brand. But the biggest one has to be quantities. They make or break the fashion business, especially for small brand. Factories will turn their back on you the moment they hear that you can't meet their minimums. Which are usually the high hundreds or thousands if you want to get decent profit margins. After deciding to move the production to Los Angeles, in just two months I was able to find family owned companies here in Los Angeles that can manufacture smaller quantities (starting at 100 pieces). Despite U.S. labor and cost to make a piece of clothing being more expensive over here, it's worth it because I have stronger relationships with the factories and am able to monitor projects. But the most important thing is making the effort to bring fashion back to America like it was in the past.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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