Street | Features

WICK launches into production

Summer is on its way, and with it comes all the glistening glory of sweat. In February, Street featured WICK, a fashion start-up created by Liz Lian ’15 and Sanibel Chai, a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania. According to its website, the fashion line aims to offer women a “no stress black dress” and clothing that is “100% party-proof.” The creators hope to achieve this using performance, washable fabric and pieces that include zippered pockets, built-in bras and spandex shorts. 2014 Princeton Reunions marks the one-year anniversary of Wick’s founding, and Street caught up with the founders to see how far the company has come as it launches its Kickstarter campaign, dubbed “Wickstarter.”

Since February, Lian and Chai have been devoting their energy to creating a promotional video, coordinating the arrival of their fabric and spreading the word about their budding business through fashion shows on both Princeton’s and Penn’s campuses. Though the line was a success in both shows, the founders are still nervous leading up to the ultimate unveiling of their inaugural collection.

“Some days, I wake up wracked with fear that no one will back WICK, but I can usually talk myself out of it by pitching WICK to myself. God knows I’ve had enough practice,” said Chai in an email interview.

The Kickstarter campaign looms large in the life of WICK. The fabric has arrived in Manhattan and is ready for production. However, the funds for production are dependent on the campaign. The initial goal is to raise $20,000, an amount determined based on the first fabric order, but the stretch goal is $35,000. If they reach this goal, the founders will release another dress design. The “Wickstarter” is also the first opportunity to purchase WICK pieces.

The Kickstarter page also debuts a WICK promotional video filmed by Jane Pritchard ’15, which features a variety of Princeton students as well as the founders. The video incorporates shots from fashion shows, the manufacturer in New York City and a demonstration of WICK’s “party-proof” durability in the party mecca that is Tiger Inn.

The WICK collection will debut with three pieces — a dress, a top and a skirt. The dress, named “The 38th,” packs a fashionable punch with mesh paneling, a cutout and pockets. “The Dawes,” a cropped tank top, also features a cutout as well as a built-in bra. Finally, “The TJ” sports a geometric cut as well as a waistband pocket and built-in spandex shorts.

“Hopefully, if all goes well with the Kickstarter, [this summer] I will be converting part of my garage at home into what I like to call an ‘indoor/outdoor order fulfillment workspace’ …  so a garage, “ Lian said.

Chai will be collaborating remotely with Lian throughout the summer, as she will be in Minneapolis interning for Target’s marketing department. Liz will be coordinating WICK orders and overseeing the line’s production in New York City.

“I am proud of what we have done so far,” said Chai, “but mostly I look forward to the next milestone or obstacle, or achievement. There is still so much we hope to accomplish.”

“It’s never easy putting yourself out there and hoping people will like you and your idea,” Lian said. “We’re about to do that in a big way.”

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