Asya Ter-Hovakimyan

Asya is a third year BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear student and co-founder of OMNISS (lat. omni - all, everything ), a contemporary fashion brand aiming to create easy to wear, unique pieces that are inspired by relevant themes in contemporary culture and the timeless traditions of high level couture craftsmanship.

What made you want to study at LCF?

I am from Armenia and had the dream of studying fashion in London ever since middle school. I would research great designers, and found out that most of them were graduates of UAL. After completing my foundation at CSM, I was offered a place at LCF and that’s when I started asking around about LCF. One of the words students would describe LCF with was ‘commercial’. This became the main deciding factor for me, as it was evident that LCF will prepare me for global fashion industry. In the end, LCF also became a great place for meeting like-minded people.

Why did you choose this course?

I am on BA (Hons) FDT: Womenswear. Over the pre-degree experimental year I did projects for both womenswear and menswear, however soon I realised that my true passion lies in womenswear as it allows more room for experimental creativity with silhouette, proportions and textiles. The course is a unique combination of visual and functional aspects of fashion, with a strong emphasis on technical knowledge of making. The philosophy of the course is when you understand how things were made well, before you, you can make them better, re-design them, improve them and that is what I was looking for. I chose this course to build a good foundation of professional knowledge and skills.

What made you want to start your own business?

Working for someone else, you become a contributor to their world and you help them to execute their vision. However, for me, creating things and building world(s) is the most exciting part of fashion. I like to think about all the aspects of the work from research, to design, to making, to supply chain, logistics, packaging, distribution etc. and my own business allows me to do this. Freedom of creativity, choice and ambition to achieve great things while ‘building’ things I love is what made me want to start my own business. There is a great quote to sum it up: ‘If you don’t build your dreams, somebody will hire you to build theirs’.

How has The Student Enterprise Team supported your business development?

I have been attending Creative Enterprise Week events ever since the first year at UAL. These were some of the most useful and informative talks/lectures and workshops. They inspired and drove me forward. I partnered up with my course mate and after the business was initiated, we started working closely with Student Enterprise Team.

It was amazing to discover such a wonderful resource within the University.

One of the challenges that I have encountered when running a startup (that is, of course, largely non-profitable business at the early stages) is lack of support, belief and encouragement and SET became this great place where you can get all of that and not only. All of the members of the team come from fashion and business backgrounds therefore their approach is very realistic; knowledge that coming from experience that they are really keen to share with students. Seeing the needs of my business. SET has connected me to brilliant people, many of whom are former LCF students, who are really helpful at the early stages of the business.

What is the critical success factor, you would say, that you need to know if starting a new business?

When starting it is very important to have a clear understanding how hard it is going to be. This is, of course, not supposed to stop you from starting. I think this is just very important knowledge so that you are not taken by surprise, disappointment and thoughts of giving up.

Another thing everyone needs to know is that most probably things are not going to work the very first time. In a way, it is very close to design process, nothing you ever draw ends up being made the way it was drawn initially; as you go into 3D, you start making changes, amendments to fit, balance and adding functionalities like closers, vents, pockets etc. And every time you change or add something you need to re-pattern and re-make the garment. It is important to remind yourself that it is exactly the same with business. Your great idea is your starting point and the critical factor for success is the belief that it is going to work if you want to make it work. There is always a way, you just have to look for ‘the way’ and be open to what you might find. Constant research of market, questioning of ideas in terms of business viability, networking, courage, persistence and a good amount of sleep.