Brandon Sun’s resume speaks highly of the young designer. He graduated from Parsons where he was named "Designer of the Year" title (joining the ranks of Marc Jacobs and Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler) and was awarded the Gold Thimble. Following graduation, Brandon rose through the ranks at J.Mendel, from design assistant to Designer, responsible for the ready-to-wear, tailoring, and fur collections. In 2009, Brandon completely revamped the fur division of Oscar de la Renta, acting as the Design Director. The Fashion Law spoke with Brandon Sun, who has been designing luxury fur accessories under his namesake line.
The Fashion Law – I always ask a designer to tell me a little bit about your brand, since business, now more than ever, is focused on branding.
Brandon Sun – It’s all about casual, day-to-day, transitional luxury – pieces that are convertible and wearable through the various hours of the day and season. I think people now lead full and rich lives; so, I want to make something people can sleep in, shop in, travel in, work in, or party in. All the details of my collections are about comfort and convenience, but of course they have elements of surprise and use the best materials. They’re all simple yet practical accents to life because most people already have their unique styles. I’m constantly searching for calmness in an often hectic world; so, the collection sort of has that feeling too. There’s a sense of cool refinement, but simultaneously very Zen.
TFL – "Cool refinement"... that really describes your collections so accurately. You have an impressive resume! You were quite successful at both J.Mendel and Oscar de la Renta. You were a Designer at J.Mendel and the Design Director of the fur division at Oscar de la Renta. What was it that made you decide to go out on your own and launch your namesake label?
BS – I was immeasurably fortunate to have been able to assist Gilles Mendel for so many years at J.Mendel. The studios were like laboratories for me to experiment and learn the technical skills necessary to create anything from couture evening wear to barguzine sable coats. Later, I was able to use all that I had learned to help Oscar de la Renta develop his fur collection. Working there was like a dream, he’s truly remarkable!
I always knew I wanted something of my own and so, with the encouragement of a few friends, I just did it. One day, I began sketching, saved my pennies and so it happened. I had plenty of support from SAGA Furs, and BCInternational, who helped me launch my namesake collection…
TFL – Your namesake collection is becoming increasingly well-known. You're in Bergdorf Goodman and in some of the most prestigious Saks stores in the country. Your pieces have also been available on Moda Operandi, a star in its own right! How did you get involved with M'O?
BS – Yes, Saks and Bergdorf have been immensely supportive of the collection and I’ve done multiple events all over the country with them to help promote the brand! My sales director, Greg Mills, connected me to Moda Operandi, which was also incredibly encouraging. We did a small trunk show on their site, which generated a lot of buzz. Everyone watches M'O….so when the email blast went out, I started getting calls and messages congratulating me on my line…M'O put us on the map.
TFL – Do you ever worry about others stealing/replicating your designs?
BS – Of course, but I think that on many other levels; it’s a compliment! Although my eyes are open for it, I try to focus on creating beautiful products in a recognizable style of my own so that my customers will be able to distinguish the difference...
TFL – I think you have done an amazing job of differentiating your products! I read that you have said that your pieces are "practical accents." It's a bit funny to look at one of your beautifully dyed purple fox stoles and say that's an accent, because its such a masterpiece on its own. But, your pieces actually are very easy to add to nearly anyone's wardrobe. How did you start designing accessories?
BS – The collection was spawned from the idea of making focused luxury fur accessories. When I went to the world’s foremost highend retailers, I realized that this product category was underdeveloped and generic. With the exception of a few of the top furriers (J.Mendel, Fendi, Oscar de la Renta), most of the fur accessories were poor quality and China-made. So, I set out to fill a specific demand for designer fur accessories.
TFL – You strike me as a smart businessman with a real understanding of the market and of your consumers. When did you develop such on-point business skills?
BS – Haha...I don’t think I’m a smart businessman at all! I just try connecting with my clients and recognize what they want and can’t find simply because I personally can’t find it either! I’ve given up trying to FIND Waldo and decided to just BECOME Waldo…hahaha
TFL – While your name is very synonymous with fur, its obvious that you are slowly branching out, working with other materials. Your Spring collection had tulle and chiffon in it! Do you think you will be designing ready-to-wear again soon?
BS – I’m thrilled that you’ve noticed! I honestly just love to create. There’s something very personal and real when you see someone’s expression when they put on one of your pieces. Eventually, you just wanna keep giving and creating more and more and more.
TFL – Lastly ... what are you working on now?
BS – I’m working on the next fall collection of luxury fur accessories… launching a group of shearlings…and of course…ready-to-wear.
TFL - You have also set a date and location to show your collection in NY Fashion Week in February!