NEONFOX CEO and Founder Suzanna Karatassos worked her way up through the Fashion industry for 15 years in the US as an Apparel Designer and Technical Designer, moving her husband and pets to Atlanta, San Francisco, NYC and Florida until finally she made it to a coveted six-figure-salary Designer Role at a European Fashion House in Amsterdam.
She moved across the Ocean from Venus Fashions in Jacksonville, Florida and started a job in Amsterdam in January 2020 while Covid-19 was already raging in China.
In March 2020 Lockdown began for the rest of the World and by June she was laid off due to Covid cut backs, her 1-year contract terminated and she was kicked out of the Netherlands to return to her hometown of Athens, Georgia.
Being resourceful and knowing that no one in the Fashion industry would be hiring for some time, Suzanna and her husband reached out to her lifelong friend, an Artist and a Painter, Malia Polster, with an idea that had been percolating between them since they were in High School together in the 90’s–starting their own fashion line. Suzanna and her husband, Eli, would run the business and Malia would create the original Artwork. Together they secured investments and launched their Fashion House out of the Production Studio they built. It was NEONFOX. Their small team runs the show completely on their own and their company focuses on Fit and Quality over Quantity.
Suzanna buys fabric from an All-Natural California supplier, the fabric is all made in the USA. NEONFOX makes screens to screen print every piece of original artwork themselves and they sew the garments themselves as well. They make Placement and All-Over prints. The entire Fashion House is sold Online Retail and on Social Media Webshops. They are a sustainable and eco-friendly brand, using no plastics of any kind in shipping, stamped Tags on the garments instead of paper/plastic tags, and every garment is Made-to-Order, avoiding Inventory or using factories. They can produce up to 100 garments per week in this way out of the Studio they built.
All 3 founding members of NEONFOX were out of work after the Coronavirus, but decided to move forward on a gamble instead of embarking on a several month long job hunt that may or may not be successful. NEONFOX is growing everyday and so far starting their own business has paid off.
The thing that sets NEONFOX apart from the competition are their Prints and Fabrics. Following in the footsteps of brands like Kenzo or Dolce and Gabbana, most of their original artwork is inspired by Flora and Fauna. NEONFOX uses bold color combinations on white untreated natural fabrics. The garment designs are simple yet versatile, NEONFOX likes to think of them as everything that you can never find when shopping, you can find with them.
Suzanna’s many years of experience in the fashion business has shown her that Inventory is the downfall of the Industry. It creates a situation where the product must be sold or there is a financial loss for the company. This means that when buyers for big companies place orders to fill their shelves from China, Bangladesh, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Mexico or The Dominican Republic they are driven by fear of not selling the inventory they buy. The high-volume overseas factories have very high minimums for production, you cannot just place an order for 50 garments, usually it is in the thousands. The buyers are usually not interested in original garments, they are interested in the lowest common denominator, meaning the garment that will sell to the most people. Deciding on which garments to buy is a painful process of filtering out anything unique or interesting, the only styles that survive are the ones that have mass-appeal written all over them. Same goes for a company that has in-house Designers, the Designers work is taken and pulled apart and dumbed down by all of Upper Management until it looks exactly like what every other brand is selling. They fear that if they do not pick a product that will sell out then they will lose money for the company and put their jobs in jeopardy. The problem with this is that everything that is special about the garment is edited down by Leadership teams in each company in order to reach the most customers. Therefore when you walk by a row of corporate fashion stores you will notice that everything in all the window displays looks exactly the same. They want to make something that the masses will buy instead of something new and actually interesting. And the result is hundreds of shops selling the same dull lifeless designs and calling it ’on trend’ when in fact none of it is trendy at all. The only companies that avoid this cycle are the extremely High-End and completely unaffordable Lines. Lower income customers deserve options as well, not only the super-wealthy.
NEONFOX is able to avoid this with Made-To-Order garments. They make the Photoshoot sample and once it is Photographed and shown across their websites if it does not sell it is no big deal. The only garment that was made was a single photoshoot sample. If the style does not work or sell well then they drop that design and move on to something else. This way they are able to stay Fresh and Design whatever they want without any corporate VP forcing them to dumb it down. Also they avoid shelves full of not-purchased stock that the big companies then have to mark down on Sale.
Beside the Design and mark-down concerns, far worse from the big companies is the pollution. The Fashion industry is responsible for 1/3 of the worlds’ pollution. Also there is the large amount of ocean and water pollution generated by these ’trendy’ polyester garments that only last a few months and then start to disintegrate in the wash. Polyester and other man-made fabrics like rayon and nylon are terrible for the environment and the local water supply (when washed the microscopic made-made fibers break away and infiltrate the water supply). Polyester is also terrible for the skin although many people do not know this. NEONFOX is committed to using 100% natural fibers in every single garment–cotton, hemp or silk. They use only non-harmful Water-Based Inks. While their prices are not very expensive ($29-$120), the shopper certainly gets their money’s worth. These garments are durable and superior to all others in this price range and are Made to Last above all else. The Fabrics feel wonderful on your skin like polyester never could.
Another important initiative at NEONFOX is supporting responsible shopping from customers; including shipping. In the Online Fashion Retail Industry every garment that is ordered requires Cardboard to ship, resources from the shipping company, gas for the trucks, etc. If the customer orders 10 items and returns 9 of them then the resources needed to complete each order is then doubled. If every customer does this it doubles the pollution and resources used. Products can also be damaged by the customer or when being returned and must be thrown out when received back adding more waste onto this single customer’s order. NEONFOX encourages Customers to shop responsibly; using the Size chart to determine their size instead of ordering one of every size and returning all but one. This is why NEONFOX has a Made-to-Order/No Returns policy. They encourage customers to be sensible when shopping and if this were a global initiative the results would lower pollution and carbon output from the Fashion Industry immensely. Many of the European large catalog companies have a return rate of 50%, which is an enormously tragic waste. Making customers happy is important but not at all costs, we have to consider the planet we live on and what is best for the Environment. The answer is; selling and producing less, making garments that last longer and are meant to be permanent pieces in ones closet instead of a single season as well as responsible Shopping instead of buying with plans to return half of the items purchased.
The entire brand is 100% Made in the USA. NEONFOX uses American suppliers and supports other local brands and companies. For them profits are of course important but sticking to their principles is what matters most. “ We have confidence in our product and our designs and that’s all that we need to make a living.”
Read more – visit NEONFOX