Introducing Travis Wayne, the founder of slow-fashion brand agency We Shall Run
Velvit sits down with global agency We Shall Run founder Travis Wayne to learn more about how his move to Stockholm inspired his business, the messages WSR stands by, and his personal perspective of the slow-fashion industry.
While attending FW15 NYC fashion week this past February, I had the chance to finally meet up with We Shall Run founder Travis Wayne while he was in NYC producing the Landeros New York fashion presentation. We have been in contact since early November, 2014 so our official meeting had been a long time coming! As Travis was the first to introduce me to Landeros, it was only fitting that it would be the event of our first introduction.
The presentation was perfect! impeccably tailored all black textures paired with "bandit" caps that could serve as partial face masks over the eyes... I was immediately in awe! With closer inspection of each model and their wears, I fell in love with something new; geometric clutches, jumpsuits disguised as separates, and pops of unexpected plums. But what really caught my eye was that each and every piece shown that evening was unisex; an initiative at Velvit we are continuing to push. After speaking with Travis at the event, I learned that the models hired were very specific and intentionally cast. At first look, everyone appeared to be male. But with further explanation of the brand manifest, I discovered that the group was a mix of male, female, and LGBT models. This casting choice further enforced the brands mission: gender neutral fashion.
Our introduction was followed up the next day with lunch at the Standard, and later that evening, a visit to his pop-up We Shall Run showroom he brought with him from Stockholm. Here, in a more casual environment, we got to talk more about Velvit and WSR on a candid level, while of course trying on endless samples of Murky jewelry and drinking beer. Trending topic: the turf between slow-fashion and fast-fashion.
Velvit: Tell me a little about yourself Travis!
Travis Wayne: I’m a 30 year old entrepreneur with roots in New York and the Southern USA. I founded the global fashion agency We Shall Run based in Stockholm, Sweden and soon opening doors in Los Angeles.
V: What was your experience in fashion previous to We Shall Run?
TW: I’ve previously worked as a buyer, stylist, wholesale and retail director, video producer, and publicist. My diverse experience in the industry was essential for the creation of a concept like WSR.
V: How has your relocation to Sweden influenced your current view and take on the fashion industry. Has it changed or stayed the same?
TW: The fashion industry in Sweden is very much based on the success of global fashion giant, H&M. The industry is heavily influenced by the concept of “not standing out” that Sweden, as a post-social welfare state, teaches its people at a very young age. I’ve fought for emerging and progressive labels since the beginning of my career, and the struggle is even more difficult in the land of IKEA.
V: You started We Shall Run in 2013. How long after your move to Sweden did you decide you wanted to start your own agency for labels that oppose the fast-fashion model?
TW: I moved to Stockholm in 2011 and worked for Scandinavia’s largest fashion PR agency for two years. There I saw a gap in the market where a very relevant sector was being overlooked.
V: What sets you a part from other showrooms and PR agencies?
TW: We Shall Run seeks to change the fashion system by supporting progressive emerging designers and labels that combat fast-fashion with innovation.
V: How do you think the fashion scene has changed as customers become more aware of the faults in fast fashion brands?
TW: Consumers seem to finally be waking up. After the 2013 factory collapse in Bangladesh, and the more-recent angora bunny video, people seem to be more conscious of their buying practices than ever before. We are still a very long way away. Zara (Inditex) wouldn’t be the largest global fashion brand if they produced garments ethically.
V: How do you predict the slow-fashion model will effect how business is conducted in the future between buyers and designers?
TW: It’s hard to say. I hope that the slow-fashion model becomes more commonplace, but we as consumers must completely change our buying practices before this can become possible.
V: Can you share a success story with us about one or two of the brands/companies you represent?
TW: HAAL has been featured in Dazed and Confused, Oyster, Vogue Italia, while our brand SISSI GOETZE is being picked-up by Opening Ceremony.
V: When it comes to your own personal taste in fashion and design, who or what would you say are your key influences or favorite artists?
TW: My personal style is very dark, very minimal, and currently very sport-influenced. Steve McQueen, James Dean, 1990’s Johnny Depp, Kurt Cobain, Hedi Slimane, Eugene Tong, Alexander Wang (personal style), and Patti Smith, are all style inspirations for me.
V: Why do you think, from a PR perspective, has black always thrived in each fashion season that passes?
TW: From a brand placement perspective, black isn’t the most popular color to work with. Many stylists and photographers refuse to pull all black looks as the color lacks depth without proper photo lighting. We do, however, see black on the runway every season. It lacks the trend quality that other more vibrant colors have.
V: To you, Black is…
TW: Simple, sophisticated, and forever en vogue.
V: What are some of the services you offer at WSR?
TW: We offer branding, wholesale sales, public relations, communication, and event planning services.
V: Where and how can you be contacted if someone were to inquire about WSR services?
TW: You can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on We Shall Run, the labels they represent, and the services offered, please visit www.weshallrun.com.