Tatiana Chumak has been creating laconic and comfortable clothes under the TAGO brand since 2006. Now the brand shows 2 seasonal collections per year at Ukrainian Fashion Week, each month complementing the range with limited capsules. TAGO was one of the first in Ukraine who began to work in the now see, buy now and release collaborations with Ukrainian designers Lilia Pustovit, Ivan Frolov, Olga Navrotskaya and Viktor Anisimov.
The peculiarity of the brand is its own tailoring factory. Today, more than 100 people and 150 units of modern equipment are involved in the creation of collections, fully ensuring the supply of the brand. On the day of the textile industry, we asked Tatyana to talk about the advantages of personal production, the process of sewing collections and future plans.
You founded TAGO in 2006, when there were almost no designer brands in Ukraine, and domestic-made clothing was not in demand. How did you decide to create your brand?
I always knew that my life would be connected with fashion. But for a start, I received an economic education at the University. T. G. Shevchenko, because for me it is primarily a business. I felt that this was a matter of my life, so we started with the construction of my own factory. We went through different stages and were proud that we are a Ukrainian brand, even before it became mainstream. Fashion magazines and shopping centers, which were not interested in the Ukrainian product, closed the doors before us. But we did not give up, believed and loved with all our hearts what we created. And the brand had more and more fans. When we saw the burning eyes of the girls leaving the fitting rooms, we understood that we were on the right track!
What are the main differences in the work of the brand in case of private production and outsourcing?
Do you want to do well – do it yourself. In your production, you know people, everyone is working on the development and growth of the brand, everyone has one goal. Otshiv outsourcing has a number of pros and cons. Of the benefits of this price and the ability to unload its production. Of the minuses – different quality standards.
How much time does it take to produce one thing – from a sketch to a finished model?
Differently. It happens that some idea has been dreamed of and designers have been working on it since the morning, fitting in a day, and a day later in a showroom. There are models on which we work for weeks due to the complexity of tailoring and design. For example, in our summer collection there is a series of boiled denim. These models have a very complicated production process. First they are sewn, then we send it to a special factory for cooking, after that the models are transferred to the technical control department at our factory and only after that they go on sale.
How many people work in a factory? Are you a micromanager – follow all the processes yourself – or do you trust the work of the department heads?
The development of the brand employs approximately 100 people. Yes, of course, I have directors and administrators, everyone is responsible for their own work. But for me every detail is important, so I am always included in all processes.
Do you control the quality of work yourself (walking through the workshops)?
I am very proud that I can trust my people. I periodically walk through the shops to find out how things are. And the director of production and technologists are responsible for the quality. These are the best specialists in Ukraine, and I completely trust them.
Do you also send orders to other brands?
Yes, we cooperate with many Ukrainian designers and brands. Our textile shop is always tightly loaded with the TAGO and TAGO Kids collections, and the knitting shop has a greater potential, approximately 4-5 thousand units per month.
Personal production is a luxury for most Ukrainian brands. What advice can you give to young brands, sewing off collections at large enterprises?
First, to control everything personally and do not allow anything to take its course. Secondly, with all sign contracts and discuss every little thing. We had cases when outsourcing cut the wrong size, sewed curved seams, even made one leg longer than the other – and all this was our big monetary losses. Now, if we turn to outsourcing, we register clearly all the details in the contract.
What is the most favorite stage in your work?
Most of all I am inspired by the queues in the fitting room and large pre-orders for new collections.
The factory is first of all the volume of production. Is a brand being sold somewhere abroad, besides Ukraine?
Online store tago.ua delivers worldwide. We also participate in international exhibitions. In February, we were in New York at Coterie, we signed contracts with 5 buyers and continue to work in this direction.
How do you think the situation with light industry in Ukraine as a whole? Any progress? Are new high-quality productions emerging or is this area still poorly developed?
Recently, the situation has changed globally. Many good Ukrainian brands have appeared, many opportunities have opened up for designers. Now start and create a quality product has become much easier than 13 years ago.
On the other hand, there is a lot of competition. When we started, we practically did not have it. Shopping centers were just starting to open, large network brands had not yet entered Ukraine, and no one ordered things via the Internet. Now it is quite difficult to surprise. But this is the motivation to grow, develop, be an interesting and progressive brand.
Among young people, everyone wants to be bloggers, models, photographers, etc. How and where to find specialists in tailoring? How is the search in your case?
It's hard to believe, but there is another world. The working professions became prestigious and highly paid. A good seamstress earns more than a model, and a good technologist and designer has as many prospects as a fashion blogger. The problem is that in our universities and colleges they have not yet updated the equipment, so young people receive basic knowledge and experience in the workplace. We cooperate with vocational schools, take an internship and offer the best specialists places in our team.
What would you like to change and improve in the coming year?
We have long ceased to make plans, and all decisions are taken situationally. The main thing for us is to get high on what we do. Therefore, the plans – to love, inspire and create.
See also: Wheel of Wonders: TAGO Spring-Summer Collection