Ali Fatourechi is a well-known industry figure, most notably for denim. He has launched both Genetic Denim, and more recently, Adaptation. Before launching Genetic Denim, he became known as the "Denim Guy" by traveling around the US to college campuses. Learn more below!
Starting with Genetic Denim...
How did you learn what it takes to start a company? It was mostly instinctual and a lot of trial and error.
What was the process of finding factories and fabrics to work with? Taking as many meetings with factories trying to get them to understand my vision. Finding fabrics to work with was a lot easier. I flew to Paris and attended Premier Vision. I always knew I wanted to work with Japanese and Italian fabrics which narrowed my focus.
What was the year like that you spent traveling to college campuses? What did you learn? It was the greatest learning experience. I was able to understand a woman’s inner monologue when standing in front of a mirror trying on clothes.
How did you grow the brand? I believe in growing things organically and letting the product do all the talking.
Did you approach several retailers hoping to sell your product to them? Yes, I hired a President of Sales who helped me build a sales strategy.
Did you have certain retailers in mind that you thought would work best for your brand? Yes, absolutely, distribution is the most important proponent in building a brand.
What was your design process? A lot of research at vintage houses, and having friends of mine with great style visiting my studio and having them try on the clothes I was designing.
How did you determine the perfect fit/wash? I immersed myself in the wash process and worked with the wash technicians and learned the process so I was able to communicate what I was looking for in a wash. The year I traveled across the country, I learned what women were looking for in a perfect fit. I would try our jeans on our fit model, until I had the right balance and proportions for the perfect fit.
How did you grow the brand? We partnered with the right retailers, had the right celebrities wearing the brand and had the right product.
How did you fund the company, and looking back, what would you have done differently? I took a loan from a friend to get started and paid them back in 3 years. I don’t think I would’ve done anything differently. I believe the only reason I achieved the success that I did was because of all the decisions I made whether right or wrong.
Now on to your newest brand, Adaptation...
How did this brand come about? I sold my previous brand, took 1 year off and needed to get back to designing.
Where do you get your inspiration? Los Angeles and my friends.
Which classifications (dress; top; jacket, etc) were important to you to develop for this line? It was important for me to represent a full RTW (Ready to wear: clothing) line from LA with an elevated price point, bridging advanced contemporary and designer.
How did you choose the name Genetic Denim & Adaptation? Genetic came from my year traveling across the country. I saw all types of women and I came to realize that the only thing unique to you is your genetic composition, hence calling it Genetic.
We called it Adaptation, because we would like to bring an adaptive quality to our designs. For example, taking a classic moto jacket and adapting it into a trench coat, moto skirt or a varsity jacket.
How have you learned to create a buzz around a brand? I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with friends that have helped me create the buzz around the brand.
How long have you lived in L.A.? How did you find your group there? I’ve lived in L.A. most of my life, and I’ve met my group my friends throughout the time I’ve lived here.
Is it important to go to school for design? I'm not sure. I never went to design school, I just relied on my sensibility and eye.
What does a typical work week look like for you? Non-stop working on product, fittings and design. Then putting on my production hat and making sure that all our fabrics and trims are on order, and working with our factories preparing them for our production schedule. I work 14/15 hour days and sleep 4-5 hours. So it’s a lot of work and some fun!
What advice would you give someone interested in starting their own line or company? I encourage anyone that wants to start their own line, my only caveat is that the fashion business is like the movie Matrix, once you’re in it, you’re in and can’t get out!
See below for some of my favorite Adaptation pieces in the shoppable links below: