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WRAY: Changing Savannah's fashion industry

  • Photo via https://www.facebook.com/evadesignhouse

“Hi, my name is Bea Wray, I am with The Creative Coast” is often met with the hesitant response, “Sorry, I am not a tech person” or “Sorry, we’re not a tech company.”

Knowing that many people think The Creative Coast is only for techies and Internet startups, I’d like to share some details about one specific company that illustrates how we’re helping startups in every industry succeed, not just the tech sector.

ELVAINE, LLC is one of the BizLab companies being incubated at the Creators’ Foundry. ELVAINE’s founder, Elva Jiang, saw the difficulty faced by many female designers who create amazing work in their in-home studios but lack the resources and time to run a sustainable business featuring their own designs.

In most cases, these same designers are also saddled with full-time responsibilities managing households and raising small children. Therefore, Elva founded Eva Design House to empower designers with branding and marketing support, offering a whole spectrum of materials that complement their designs and help their businesses thrive.

ELVAINE recently launched the website Eva Design House (www.evadesignhouse.com), which features beautiful creations by local and international designers. Current artists include jewelry designer Kristen Baird, accessories designer Ellia Wang and jewelry bouquet designer Yuhisu Wang.

Kristen and Ellia are both graduates of Savannah College of Art and Design who now call Savannah their home, while Yuhisu resides in Taipei, Taiwan.

Eva Design House provides a cross-globe marketing opportunity for designers to not only receive recognition for their work but also to gain a broader clientele.

While Eva Design House promotes the local design industry of Savannah, it also allows design and marketing students to build a strong portfolio of work with the opportunity to receive global exposure.

ELVAINE is evidence that The Creative Coast does not simply focus on tech companies. But that’s not the end of ELVAINE’s story.

This young startup sees social change as one of its ultimate business goals. And that’s something The Creative Coast supports as well.

Women’s empowerment has been a rising discussion topic across the nation, but turning the awareness into a strategic move is what’s needed in order to truly fill the gap of gender equality.

Although many women are striking a balance between professional and personal life, it is undeniable that many others are still struggling to pursue a fulfilling career because of cultural or financial challenges.

It is common in both western and eastern cultures for a woman to have the “privilege” to stay at home while her husband goes to work to provide financial support for the family. However, this has started to change as women earn the same, if not higher, levels of education as men.

As a result, many women now have the ambition to succeed in their own career just like their other half. But once they start a family, the responsibilities of motherhood often force women to drop, temporarily or permanently, their career goals to become full-time mothers and housewives.

Such social constraint not only oppresses women but hinders some men from pursuing dreams that are considered effeminate.

Eva Design House’s newest designer, Kamon Sataya, comes from a culture where men are not allowed to sew as that occupation is considered a woman’s job.

Kamon is from Thailand, where the culture is very gender specific regarding one’s role in life. But even with such constraint, Kamon broke the mold of a normal Thai man. While growing up, Kamon sneaked around his home under the blanket of night to use his sister’s sewing machine, forging new garments from old scraps to improve his crafts and skills. Upon moving to the United States, Kamon has finally been able to freely express his inner desires to design, craft and create fashion designs without anyone holding him back.

Embracing freedom and empowering creative men and women to pursue their dreams is what inspired the formation of Eva Design House. While we fight to end the oppression of women and girls, we must simultaneously allow men to find their true passion.

When making a purchase from Eva Design House, customers are not simply handing over a numerical value for beautiful fashion, they are supporting artisans who live and breathe their passion for design.

This creates a glorious cycle that promotes the growth of craftsmen, gives the customers who wear Eva Design House products a sense of empowerment, and encourages upcoming talent, male or female, to reach beyond the stars, to never stop until everything they hoped and dreamed for becomes a reality.

Now you get the picture: The Creative Coast is more than just tech.

 

Bea Wray is executive director of The Creative Coast, a not-for-profit organization that promotes the creative and entrepreneurial community within the region. Bea can be reached at 912-447-8457 or bea@thecreativecoast.org

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