Sergio Hudson spoke at Harlem’s Fashion Row 3rd Annual Digital Fashion Summit. He shared how he got his start into fashion along with how he knew he made it.
Hudson has been into fashion since he was four years old. Growing up in a house where his mother was a designer and sister was a model, he was destined to make it into fashion.
He started his career in Los Angeles because he knew if he worked for a company in New York, he would never be able to leave due to him being loyal to the company.
His biggest issue when being more recognized was financing. Hudson stated, “The first challenge was financing…when you decide you want to put out collections, then the money issues start.”
He continued to say, “Even though I am a monolithic designer. Meaning I can sketch, drape, pattern make, sew and do everything. So it helped me greatly with my first couple of collections…The financing part wasn’t a huge issue at that point.”
Regarding retail and buyers he added, “You can’t make three of the same gown as one person. I mean, I can sew really well, but it might not be perfect…So you can’t make your own pieces.”
He didn’t recognize the issues Black designers faced until he was making clothes for retail. Since Sergio Hudson referenced himself as a big black man, people don’t expect him to make gowns.
A buyer said to Hudson in the past, “Your clothes should be more urban. And that’s when I realized, oooh, they expect me to design urban clothes because I’m black.”
He mentioned that there was an awareness of gay rights and AIDS, but never race. He had thought everyone just loved each other, but despite this new awareness, he pushed through.
When talking about Michelle Obama, Sergio Hudson said, “I heard an audible gasp from everybody in the room.” While people were looking up, seeing who made her outfit, he knew, “At that moment, I knew. This is different.” He even forgot for a split second he made the outfit.
In his closing remarks, Hudson said he doesn’t want to be labeled as a black designer but just a designer. He also stated, “I want Sergio Hudson to be a legacy brand.” He noted the way to support is to connect to great retailers and to buy. Hudson said, “No one can become a legacy brand by themself.”