Combining the worlds of tech and fashion with Eleanor Turner of women's workwear clothing brand, Argent
Eleanor Turner is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Argent. Eleanor is from Lynchburg, VA & dreamed of moving to NYC or Paris and working in the fashion industry. She attended SCAD, Savannah College of Art & Design, where she majored in fashion design. Starting with an internship at Vivienne Tam, she then worked as a designer at Isaac Mizrahi, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch & J.Crew before founding Argent. Argent was founded in 2016 by Eleanor Turner and Sali Christeson. Argent is a functional workwear company, offering stylish options for women that evoke confidence and allow them to conquer the world! Argent clothing has hidden, functional elements like microfiber pockets to clean glasses or an iPhone screen, places for lipstick or pens, iPhone pocket and more. Their use of color and patterns makes the thought of wearing a suit fun again and they are most often reversible, so you get two-for-one!!
Eleanor comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Her great-grandfather owned textile mills and outfitted railroad workers in the 1940s & 50s. She always had the entrepreneurial spirit and fashion industry in her blood, which she realized later as she learned about her family history. Around the time Eleanor was thinking of breaking out on her own and starting a company, a mutual friend introduced her to Sali. Sali wanted to start a women's work apparel company & began discussing this with Eleanor. They went shopping together and realized there was a huge space in the market for this. They knew they could turn suiting on its head and set out to do so! Once you have an idea, it is all in the execution. In order to get started, they had to find manufacturing partners, sample & pattern makers, production partners, make sure the quality was right & find the fabric.
The design process - Argent is trying to work on tighter lead times (6-8 months) so they can affect change closer to when the pieces will go to market. They start a season with inspiration which comes from the customer and her everyday life - the atmosphere of the world around us. From there, they begin development, find fabrics and start sampling the clothes.
Eleanor's favorite part of her job is talking to the customer, finding out what she needs and how to solve that problem. Her second favorite part is incorporating color since the workwear space has typically been void of color. She gets color stories inspiration from art, tv, etc.
Argent has two main collections a year - Spring & Fall with one smaller drop within that to build upon the season.
The cross-over blazer is the core piece. There are pants to go back to all the blazers. There are blouses, jumpsuits, dresses and more!
Fabric mills are developing more functionality into the fabrics. CoolMax is one that feels like traditional suiting, but behaves like a performance fabric - temperature regulates (based on your body temperature, will adjust itself to balance out your body temperature), wicks sweat & breaths.
Eleanor took the knowledge she gained her experiences from working at fashion companies and applied them to Argent; not only design, but PR, marketing, how to run a company, etc.
Price points are all based on margins. Argent is direct-to-consumer, so they do not wholesale. They look at cost of fabric, trims, etc. when determining the cost.
Fabrics: New York has showrooms that feature different fabrics from all over the world. Premier Vision is a resource to find fabrics as well. Argent's manufacturing partner came from a recommendation from someone in their network.
The most important thing when starting a business is to network. You never know who you know until you start asking.
Eleanor's day-to-day can include everything from showroom appointments - working with customers, making pulls based on their wardrobe needs taking what they do into consideration, quality control at the factory, PR phone calls, design meetings or strategizing for certain needs of the business.
As Chief Creative Officer, Eleanor is responsible for the visual portion of the brand. She works on developing the collections, setting direction for the collection, color scheme, campaign shoots, etc.
Argent is working to be the go-to resource for women who work. Their customers expect more out of their clothing, want to derive confidence from their clothes, negotiate raises, want their seat at the table & want to crash the glass ceiling.
Name: Argent means silver or money in French, which parallels with the working woman. Argent is a strong word. It is easy to pronounce, short and at the top of the alphabet.
Logo: Eleanor & Sali want the brand to start a conversation. Punctuation is always the beginning or end of a sentence. The logo is designed using a period and back slash so you can create it on your computer - .\
This interview can also be found on The Style That Binds Us YouTube channel as a visual version.
Articles Argent has been featured in can be found in the links below -
- Vogue, Argent Makes You Feel And Look Good In The Office
- Vogue, Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin’s Favorite New Suit Label, Argent, Just Opened in D.C
- NYT, These Women Want to Dress You for the Office
- NY Post, Designing Colorful Pantsuits For The Working Woman
- WSJ, At Last, a Cure for iPhone Bulge: Smarter Tailoring
- Glamour, Meet the Two Millennials Behind Hillary Clinton’s Favorite New Pantsuit
- Forbes, The Millennials Behind Argent Want To Reinvent Women's Office Attire
- SF Chron, Women redefine the suit on their own terms
- The Cut, Meet the Official Workwear Brand of Powerful Women
- Bloomberg, Argent Is Filling the Gap in Affordable Women’s Workwear