A pioneer in avant-garde and experimental fashion, Joseph Quartana, founder of the worldwide famous New York store Seven, takes us through what it means to work in fashion nowadays, and how to be respected for it.
FM: Who are you and what’s your background?
JQ: My name is Joseph Quartana, and I co-founded the multi-label select shop Seven New York back in ‘99. I grew up in new Jersey, but I moved to New York as soon as possible. I got a scholarship for NYU and went there to study Economics and Social Psychology. I spent most of my time with fashion students from Parsons, who inspired me to get into the fashion business. My aim was to become a buyer, but no department stores would hire me, so i became a banker, i made a small fortune, and opened my own shop.
FM: What’s your shop about and how did it all begin?
JQ: I started Seven because at the time there were no shops in New York focusing on conceptual fashion. We are all about scouting the globe over for the most influential, conceptual and cutting edge fashion designers, to then consolidate them into one space. Our current shop is designed to be a minimalist machine that simultaneously informs our clientele and sells merchandise.
FM: Who is it for?
JQ: Our clientele is an even blend of males and females who have independent dispositions, medium to high income levels, and are predominantly creative professionals from all sorts of fields, like music, fashion, art, film, graphics, etc. We have a wide alternative celebrity patronage like Bjork, Courtney Love, Black Eyed Peas, Tilda Swinton, Marisa Tomei, Lucy Liu, Ciara, Estelle, Jay z, Kanye, etc…
FM: What do you think about fashion today?
JQ: I think right now there is a major divide, just like in American society: those who have and those who don’t have. The haves are very wealthy and patronize Hermès, Balmain, Balenciaga etc.; the don’t haves feature few job opportunities with low incomes, and shop at H&M, Top Shop, Zara, etc. There is no middle ground any more.
FM: Are you always scouting for new talents and unique brands?
JQ: Absolutely. I am always on the lookout for new talent, be it by attending multiple fashion weeks around the world (always Paris, London, New york; lately Seoul, Singapore) or talking to other buyers, editors and stylists that I respect. I usually only take on a new line when other like-minded individuals endorse it, or if I am the first, then I push for others to endorse it. It takes a few to make a brand.
FM: What about your future?
JQ: We are expanding our website and I’d like to open a shop in LA. I am also putting my energy into making Six Scents perfumes the next big thing, and so far it’s working. We are changing the nature of perfume….
Seven New York is located on 110 Mercer Street, New York.
Find something you just couldn’t leave hanging on the rack? Give it a first spin in public in our favorite New York neighborhood, Tribeca. You’ll feel so good after a stay at White Line Hotels Edit The Greenwich Hotel, you’ll be strutting without even trying.
Contributing Writer: Fier Management
Photos: Seven New York