Passion, patience, dedication – are the words that Yannick Machado, Shanghai-based fashion designer, repeats when asked about the key ingredients to be successful. Well, considering that in just three years since the brand was launched, his gowns had already graced Shanghai’s Elle Style Awards and Taipei’s Cartier Royal Event, his recipe seems to be well-grounded. His struggles during the ten years of the brand’s creation process are testaments to how dedicated this young designer can be.
Yannick started designing garments for his friends. Their chic glamour, feminine elegance and personalized designs had secured a circle of private clients. Today, stars and celebrities approach him for unique, custom-made dresses for exclusive events without any risks of running into others in the same gown.
It is late afternoon, and Yannick can be found sitting barefooted in his homey, wood flooring studio, sporting a clean, white T-shirt. He appears to be at ease surrounded by silk, embroidered lace and Swarovski crystals. Reminiscing how it all started, he says, “I’ve known that I wanted to do fashion since I was 12 years old.”
Born and raised in Lyon, France, Yannick is of Italian and Portuguese descent. Ever since he saw his mother create garments, he had been attracted to the fashion industry. Oddly enough, his first degree is of science. “My parents insisted that I study for a chemistry program. They were quite afraid of me not getting a job because, you know, at that time there was not much opportunity in fashion industry.” However, he couldn’t be easily deterred. Relentlessly, he pursued fashion and later on, graduated from SupdeMod, Lyon top of his class. “If I was not a fashion designer, I have no idea what I would be doing,” he shrugs, then continues vigorously, “I don’t see myself working in an office. I need excitement and something new everyday. That’s what I love about my job, it’s never the same thing.”
After gaining some experience in a designer’s atelier back home, Yannick decided to fly the nest 5,000 miles away to Shanghai to begin his own journey. The reason he came all the way to China? “If I stay in France, I will just be one amongst the many. I can’t bring something really special like I can in China,” he proclaims, and for this notorious globetrotter, it won’t be strange if he has a hidden agenda to also cross another city from his traveling list. Targeting more of the Asian market – although not closing any doors to other potential clienteles, he began introducing his French chic style that interests his niche market. He spent his first few years developing his brand while teaching simultaneously as a pattern-making and draping teacher in IFA Shanghai.
You might wonder, aside from creating a strong brand concept, what else do you need to do when starting a business? Yannick has the answer to that. “You need to go out, to make sure your name is out there. It’s not just luck or budget. Force the opportunity, make sure the right people know you,” he says confidently. “Furthermore, ensure that the clients get the perfect service.” To him, client satisfaction is his biggest aspiration as well as motivation.
And it appears to be working well for him! He now has a constant stream of job-offers. Just recently, he flew to Africa to dress Sherlyn Furneau, Miss Seychelles 2012 who was a host for the Miss Seychelles beauty pageant in 2015. In addition, he also dresses stars such as Fann Wong, Singaporean actress, and top models like Masson Ge and Han Bing. Next week, he will showcase his garments – his women’s line and the new bespoke men’s line – in an exhibition in Shanghai.
Business seems to grow quite fast for this designer, which he admits to be surprising and unexpected. Of course this can be credited to the strength of his passion and devotion. When questioned about his weaknesses though, he becomes visibly taken aback. “What can be my weaknesses?” he thinks aloud. “Honestly, I’ve never considered my weaknesses before. I only think about how strong my brand is. When you think you’re weak, it will bring you down.” Then he adds while laughing, “Maybe my weakness is my confidence.”
Yannick does not hesitate though when asked about what he wants to do over, if given the chance. He wouldn’t wait so long to start his business, he says, and while he is doing well right now, of course there are some concerns – is the brand going to sell? Can it earn enough money to go on? “But my clients give me hope. Every time I see one of my dresses on my client, and the fit is perfect and they are glowing because they are happy of how they feel in it. It makes me proud. It gives me motivation to do more,” he assures.
Quite the perfectionist, Yannick is yet to be satisfied with his current success. He is looking forward to the future where he expands his brand internationally, potentially in the States, or even back in France, the home of couture and himself. We will still see more of him, I’m sure, because for this confident man, his dedication is as strong as his love to travel. “The proudest moment of my life is yet to come. Yeah, I think so…” he says while faintly smiling. Why is he so confident, one might ask? Well, because he has a secret formula: “Never follow what people want you to do. Denying yourself because you want to please people. This is always wrong for sure,” he stresses. “Stick to who you are as a designer.”
Written by Christina Margaretha