Ricky Hendry: Founder/Creative Director of ISAORA

My NativeAdVice:

How did you get into the fashion industry?

IT WASN'T REALLY PRE-PLANNED. I KNEW I'D DO SOMETHING CREATIVE. I WENT TO ART SCHOOL, TOYED WITH THE IDEA OF PHOTOGRAPHY, AND/OR ARCHITECTURE FOR A WHILE THEN STUMBLED INTO FASHION. IT SEEMED THE RIGHT MIX OF PRACTICAL/BUSINESS AND ARTISTIC/CREATIVE. I STUDIED DESIGN IN THE UK AND THEN IN ITALY AND STARTED MY CAREER IN MILAN. AFTER THAT I MOVED TO NEW YORK AND HELD SENIOR DESIGN POSITIONS WITH A NUMBER OF BIG BRANDS. I HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE TO HAVE A VERY VARIED AND WIDE RANGE OF EXPERIENCE BEFORE LAUNCHING ISAORA.


Tell us about ISAORA. What inspired the line and what is your vision for it?

WHEN WE STARTED OUT WE HAD A PRETTY CLEAR IDEA THAT WE WANTED TO TAKE ELEMENTS OF TECHNICAL PERFORMANCE APPAREL AND COMBINE IT WITH A MORE PROGRESSIVE URBAN AESTHETIC IN A WAY THAT WAS RELEVANT TO OUR LIFESTYLE. AT THE TIME NOBODY ELSE WAS REALLY DOING IT. NOW THE IDEA OF 'URBAN TECHWEAR' HAS ALMOST BECOME A CATEGORY IN ITSELF. I'M NOT SURE WE FULLY IDENTIFY WITH THAT. OUR VISION IS FOR A BRAND THAT SEAMLESSLY COMBINES PROGRESSIVE STYLE WITH TECHNICALLY ADVANCED MATERIALS AND CONSTRUCTION IN PRODUCTS DESIGNED FOR MODERN LIFE.

(ISAORA Staydrybetter Line)

What strategic partnerships have you formed that have attributed to your company's success?

WHAT IS OFTEN NOT APPARENT TO PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE INDUSTRY IS JUST HOW IMPORTANT MANUFACTURING PARTNERS ARE FOR BRANDS. FOR A BRAND LIKE ISAORA WHERE THE PRODUCT IS HERO AND QUALITY IS PARAMOUNT THESE ARE SOME OF THE MOST CRITICAL PARTNERSHIPS. YOU'RE REALLY ONLY AS GOOD AS THE PEOPLE, SUPPLIERS, AND FACTORIES THAT YOU WORK WITH

What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?

FROM AN INDUSTRY/BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE THERE IS A MAJOR SHIFT IS TAKING PLACE IN THE RETAIL SECTOR, AND AS WITH MOST THINGS TECHNOLOGY IS THE DISRUPTIVE FACTOR. IN MANY WAYS THE RETAIL SECTOR IS PRETTY ARCHAIC AND THE WHOLESALE MODEL IS A STAGGERINGLY BAD DEAL FOR BRANDS AND CONSUMERS. THIS TIME LAST YEAR THE ISAORA COLLECTION WAS BEING SOLD IN MANY OF THE BEST STORES AROUND THE WORLD. WE MADE A DECISION TO WALK AWAY FROM THAT AND GO DIRECT TO CONSUMER THROUGH THE ONLINE CHANNEL. IT WASN'T A MOVE WITHOUT RISK, BUT WE WERE AT A SCALE WHERE WE COULD DO IT AND ITS PROVING TO BE A SMART MOVE. NOW WE FULLY CONTROL OUR IMAGE, INVENTORY, MERCHANDISING, AND COMMUNICATIONS. AND WITHOUT THE TRADITIONAL WHOLESALE/RETAIL MARK-UPS WE ARE ABLE TO OFFER AN EXTREMELY HIGH QUALITY PRODUCT AT INCREDIBLY GOOD VALUE. ITS A WIN-WIN.

Define creativity.

UNIVERSAL INTUITION AND EXPRESSION.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

THE BRAND IS THE INSPIRATION. WE DON'T REALLY LOOK FOR SEASONAL THEMES OR CONCEPTS. WE THINK ABOUT WHAT PRODUCTS WOULD BE USEFUL AND DESIRABLE AND ALIGN WITH THE ISAORA PHILOSOPHY.

Life Motto?

LOKAH SAMASTA SUKHINO BAVANTU

ISAORA's Motto?

MAKE THINGS BETTER.

Your advice to an aspiring fashion entrepreneur?

THINK VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU START DOWN THIS PATH. IT'S A TOUGH INDUSTRY. TALENT AND SELF BELIEF MAY TAKE YOU SO FAR BUT MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOMETHING DISTINCT AND UNIQUE TO OFFER. THERE ARE SO MANY BRANDS OUT THERE AND THE COMPETITION IS INTENSE. HAVE A VISION, BE TRUE TO IT, BE CONSISTENT.

What have been your greatest successes as founder of ISAORA? Most difficult moment - how did you overcome?

EVERYDAY CONSISTS OF SMALL SUCCESSES AND OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME. WHEN WE ACHIEVE OUR GOAL OF BUILDING A GLOBAL BRAND AND DEFINING A NEW CATEGORY OF PRODUCT THEN I WILL CONSIDER IT TRULY A SUCCESS!  

What products are your best sellers and which are your favorite?

INSULATED SHIRT, 3-LAYER SHELL, SWEATPANT - THERES ALWAYS A VERSION OF THOSE PRODUCTS EACH SEASON AND THEY ARE CONSISTENTLY BEST SELLERS. THEY'VE BECOME SIGNATURE PIECES AND I THINK THEY EXPRESS THE ESSENCE OF THE BRAND. THE FACT THAT WE MAKE THEM EVERY SEASON MEANS I MUST STILL LIKE THEM!

(ISAORA Movebetter Line)

What literature is on your bed stand?

THESE DAYS MY 1 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER'S STORY BOOKS. ANYTHING WITH ELMO IS A CURRENT FAVORITE!

Favorite travel destination?

TULUM / TOKYO. TOO CLOSE TO CALL.

One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?

ITALIAN FOOD. ITALIAN WINE. NO QUESTION.

Role model - business and personal?

I DON'T THINK I'VE EVER HAD ONE. THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE I RESPECT AND ADMIRE FOR THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CONTRIBUTIONS, BUT EACH OF US HAS OUR OWN UNIQUE PATH TO FOLLOW.

What's next for ISAORA and Ricky Hendry?

WE'RE GONNA KEEP LEARNING, KEEP LISTENING, AND KEEP GETTING BETTER!

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About ISAORA
Launched in 2009 by Marc Daniels and Ricky Hendry, ISAORA was founded on the belief that premium performance and progressive style are not mutually exclusive. ISAORA combines the functionality and benefits of high-performance technical apparel with a progressive modern aesthetic. Daniels and Hendry have made it their mission to create innovative, ambitious products that perform exceptionally without a compromise in design. Utilizing the best fabrications, latest innovations, and state-of-the-art construction, ISAORA makes clothes that refuse to make sacrifices. Like the brand they set out to create Daniels and Hendry have chosen to apply the same forward thinking attitude to the way these products are distributed. All ISAORA products are available exclusively at ISAORA.com. The shift from a wholesale to direct to consumer model has enabled them to offer exceptional quality at unmatched value. 

About Ricky

Ricky Hendry, originally from London, spent time in senior design positions at Neil Barrett, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Theory. Both Daniels and Hendry reside in New York City.