Miranda Watson ’15 wanted to have her own fashion brand from the time she was 15 years old, and attending the fashion design program in the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ (VPA) School of Design was a major step in reaching that goal. Since graduation, she has been working hard to build her brand and her business as founder and CEO of MIRANDA WATSON LLC, a Brooklyn-based womenswear clothing brand that launched in 2017.
“I am proud to say we are committed to using recyclable materials and sustainable practices whenever possible,” Watson says. “We are dedicated to promoting diversity, functionality and sustainability.”
The fashion world has taken notice of the fledgling company, as it garnered international attention and positive reviews at the Fall/Winter 2018 Vancouver Fashion Week. That showcase resulted in Vogue featuring MIRANDA WATSON as an up-and-coming sustainable brand, making its mark toward positive change for the fashion industry.
Watson credits the fashion design program and what she learned in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management’s entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises classes with giving her the skills necessary to be successful in business.
“I value my hands-on experience and technical skills acquired at VPA,” she says. “I’ve developed the confidence to build my collection and am proud of the press and attention the brand has received.”
Attending Syracuse University was an easy choice for Watson—her mother, Sharon Gold, taught painting and critical theory at VPA for 35 years, until retiring in 2018.
“I always knew VPA was a great college from hearing of my mother’s experience,” Watson says. “But it was made even better getting into the fashion design program and gaining my own perspective.”
Watson’s favorite memory of VPA was the Senior Collection Fashion Show, despite the many sleepless nights spent in preparation.
“My collection was selected, along with those of nine other extremely talented designers, to show at the University’s Lubin House in New York City,” she says. “That early success gave me the confidence to pursue my own business and to know that I am a good designer.”
Watson continues to maintain close ties with the many friends she made in the program, often checking in with them to talk about design and how the fashion industry has changed in just the few years since her graduation.
“Their support has inspired me to never give up—to keep pushing through the tribulations of owning and operating a fashion brand,” she says, admitting that owning a business is hard. “The best advice I can give in terms of operating a business is to know everything,” she says.
Watson oversees all aspects of her brand, from checking to be sure each zipper is in perfect working condition and constructing all pattern pieces, to maintaining the company’s social media. She recommends that people planning careers in creative industries should strive to do something different than what others are doing.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she says. “Find out what you bring to the table. Find your niche. Then go after it!”