Aimee Cho, former fashion writer for Vogue magazine, launched Gryphon in 2007. Initially launched to reinterpret the trench coat, the collection offers a full line of outer wear and separates that create a statement with a modern fit and fashion forward details.
You launched Gryphon with the intention of designing your dream trench coat. Have you found it? What does it look like?
I started Gryphon with the idea that every woman needs a great trench coat in her wardrobe and I liked the idea of being able to play with a classic/iconic item and make it feel new. I don’t really have a dream trench coat in mind – it’s more about finding the fun in infinite possibilities within a specific framework.
What other style coats do you like to wear, if any?
I wear all styles of coats. We no longer just make trench coats, but all types of outerwear (other than performance outerwear). I think a great coat is like a great handbag – it’s really an accessory. You wear a coat almost every day, the way you wear a handbag almost every day. The same way a woman might have her must have handbag purchase of the season that she wears to death b/c she loves it so much and it elevates and updates whatever she’s wearing, a coat should elevate and update whatever you’re wearing.
The idea for Gryphon was born while you were working at Vogue. What type of feedback did you get from editors there?
Everyone has been incredibly supportive in the editorial community and we’re very lucky to receive coverage in great magazines throughout the year. I still see my former colleagues from Vogue wearing classic Gryphon trenches, which is an amazing compliment.
Who was the most instrumental person in getting your collection off the ground?
Andrew Rosen, my business partner, has been an incredible mentor and source of wisdom throughout the life of Gryphon.
Is it challenging having your hands in so many aspects of the business?
It is, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s very gratifying to be able to see the full cycle of what we do and how interconnected all of the components of the business really are.
Would you advise emerging designers to take a similar approach or hire other people to share some of the responsibilities?
I have a team of six, so I do have people who share the responsibilities. It’s important to trust and delegate where you can even while overseeing.
Which magazines and blogs do you think have the right audience for your collection?
The beauty of a trench coat is that I think it can appeal to women from a very wide demographic. Our ready-to–wear can sometimes be more specific, but I see our outerwear as being timeless and universal and would like to think that any number of magazines could speak to the women we dress.
As a former editor, what is your opinion on the new place of bloggers in fashion?
I think it’s great to see and read a multitude of opinions. I think the same way the public is discerning with print, they are discerning with blogs and the ones that survive have to speak to something unique and/or very high quality in terms of content and design.
Are there plans for Gryphon to have a presentation during New York Fashion week at any point?
Yes, September 2012!