Kevwe Mowarin did not start her career designing clothes. While working as an investment banking analyst, the British-born of Nigerian descent realised that it was difficult for most women to find suits creatively made for them.
This prompted her to start her clothing brand, Koviem, which has since been designing and creating custom made suits for women in New York.
Raised by her single mother together with her sister, the 24-year-old went to The University of Texas at Austin and then studied abroad at Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi for seven months to understudy luxury fashion brands from a purely financial and business perspective.
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“I did a lot of field research involving big fashion houses — the Guccis and Pradas of the world.” This gave her a lot of insight when she launched her suite line, Teen Vogue reports.
While an investment banker at Credit Suisse, an investment firm in Manhattan working 80 to 100 hours per week, she spent most of her time in the office where one was required to wear suits.
To wear a piece of clothing for long hours, the least a girl can ask for is to be in one they feel comfortable in.
Investment firms are mostly dominated by men. These men, however, get custom fit suits that make them look sharp and smart. Unfortunately for Kevwe and her female colleagues, the suits on the market were not always the best fit; they were devoid of creativity and finesse for a millennial woman to purchase.
“It was amazing to me that my peers, the men, had custom fitting options galore. But for the women, it was very hard for us to find suits that fit properly, and suits that weren’t so old-fashioned and conformed to our modern standards,” Kevwe said.
Clothes have a way of helping the wearer exude confidence and feel good. For Kevwe, suits make her feel powerful. In an interview with toughtotame.org, she said, “The pantsuit is a universally recognizable symbol of power. Regardless of where you are in the world, people tend to pay more attention when you’re wearing a suit. When that suit fits properly, you feel even more powerful as you can take your mind off what you are wearing and focus on more important things like the task at hand.”
Another way this budding designer gives power to her buyers is the custom measurement feature on her website.
Talk of innovation and technology, women who do not have the luxury of time cannot walk into a fitting shot to have their measurements taken for their suits.
To ease the process, buyers on the site can use their smartphone or laptop cameras to snap photos and upload them unto the Koviem website. By doing so, the SAIA 3D technology, an Artificial Intelligence software, can measure the women via the two pictures uploaded unto the site with an accuracy of 97% using special referencing.
Customers can tweak their information and add on their personal preferences such as more slim or baggier fit on pants.
Some people may still want the traditional means of measuring, thus, Kevwe has services that send a measuring tape to a woman’s home or office to help them to measure themselves and send in the measurements to her site.
When asked if some orders have still gone wrong despite her innovation, she said Koviem offers online shopping and the convenience of easily measuring yourself without losing the benefits of the custom fitting process.
There is also a system in place that gives up to $75 credits for local tailors if need be that after the order, the suit still needs an alteration. The customer is entreated to note all the changes done by the tailors and upload them on the website for a more accurate measurement next time. “Its really just bringing the industry into the 21st century,” she said in an interview on bedordandbowery.com.
Mowarin self-funds the business from her savings when she was an investment banker without external investment from family or any institution.
She also runs the business with her tailor from Thailand whom she met on a trip to Thailand in 2017. The tailor specializes in women clothing so every creation is done with a woman’s needs at its core.
He is integral to the color and fabric selection process. Koviem’s suits are made from imported wool, linen, cashmere and Egyptian cotton. Every woman is given the opportunity to either choose from the range of suits on the website or create a completely customized suit from scratch.
The colour scheme for her suits is more varied as opposed to the usual black, blue and grey. Kevwe experiments with colours having brighter hues such as royal blue, magenta, and forest green.
Koviem comes in nine silhouettes; The Millenial Suit, The Milano Suit, The Manhattan Suit, The Havanna Suit, The Silk Suit, The Monrovia Suit, The Window Pane Suit, The Righo Coat and The Cape Cod Suit.
The young fashion entrepreneur is very hands-on with her business; she uses the techniques of modern businesses to engage her customers. She replies all her mails and is in constant communication with her tailor to ensure all orders are made to fit.
On the front of challenges and criticisms, she stated that, “I’m a black woman from a single-parent home who’s an immigrant.” She said societal barriers would not stop her from pursuing her dreams.
Kevwe Mowarian says she wants to contribute her quota in empowering women. Her way of joining the conversation on femininity and equality is by creating suits that empower women.