Design Entrepreneurs NYC Spotlight: Vasumathi Soundararajan of Ken Wroy

Our design entrepreneur Vasumathi Soundararajan is ready to make her mark in the men’s underwear market. Read about her story, interesting fun fact and why she started Ken Wroy.

Can you tell us about your line?

Ken Wroy is a designer brand of men’s underwear. The underwear market is thriving like never before because more and more men have become fashion conscious and are into grooming. Women are bestowed with Victoria’s Secret, but men don’t have any Henry’s Secrets yet. Being inspired by NYC’s infectious energy, I set out to bring about a change in the perception of men’s underwear. After all, underwear is the first thing you wear and the last thing you take off, so give it the attention it deserves.

When did you start your line?

Early 2012.

Why did you start it?

I was simply bored with my husband’s underwear. Lol. As a designer, I like scrutinizing design elements that surrounds me. So it was hard and disappointing to see my husband in badly cut, loosely hanging underwear. He was practically wearing shorts inside his tailored pants. I didn’t want to change my life-partner, but I could definitely change his underwear wardrobe! This was a challenge I was keen to take up as a designer.

As I began to dwell into this subject, I heard many anecdotes of women sharing the same experience. Men can look charming wearing trendy clothes and classy suits. But when the clothes come off…Oh horror, it sometimes falls apart. I was always into prints and colors and underwear was a perfect product to unleash my creativity.

Can you give us three words to describe the brand?

Bold, Sleek and Sexy.

What’s your brand signature?

“Be fashioanable all the way.”

What your favorite piece in the collection?

My very first print called ‘Smoke’, inspired by Alexander Mc Queen.

Can you tell us about the new line? There are a lot of NYC-inspired pieces. Why did you shoot in Central Park?

Soaking in the fashion of NY, I am inspired by this dynamic city and the line was inspired by that feeling. As you guessed, the new line is called ‘New York Ness’ and just like the city, the line is electric and sexy. We shot in Central Park because no place is more iconic than that. Moreover, it was a great exposure, we had all the tourists taking photos with our underwear models.

Why did you apply to DENYC?

To connect with industry professionals and work with mentors. And to strengthen the discipline of my business with their help.

What do you hope to get out of the program?

The prize! That would be sweet. But apart from that, I have learnt a great deal about putting together a ‘solid plan’ for my business. It was a relief to pen all the numbers and ideas that were in my head and document it. The program has worked like a coach to streamline and navigate intelligibly towards my vision for Ken Wroy.

What’s the best part of being a NYC designer?

The city streets are a permanent runway.

Can you tell us a fun fact?

For our first launch party, we had 7 male models walk the ramp. At the after party, we had women jump to the stage to take photos and we got 900 photos taken in 3 hours of only women guests and the models.

Learn more about our design entrepreneur at Ken Wroy.  

Design Entrepreneurs NYC 2013 Opening Reception

Design Entrepreneurs NYC 2013

Morris Goldfarb, CEO, G-III Apparel Group; Jeanette Nostra, president, G-III Apparel Group; Joyce F. Brown, president, Fashion Institute of Technology.

Our second installment of Design Entrepreneurs NYC kicked off last week with a reception to welcome the class of 2013.

Jeanette Nostra, president of G-III Apparel Group opened up their showroom to host the event. FIT president Joyce F. Brown and Steven Frumkin, Dean of the Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology were there along with the NYCEDC, program mentors, instructors and the 2012 class to meet the new group and share their advice and inspirational words.

Check out some of the photos below from the evening and view all of them on our Facebook page.

Design Entrepreneurs NYC is Recruiting the Class of 2013

KahriAnne Kerr presenting her plan to a panel of industry experts

Looking to take your fashion business to the next level and need the tools and knowledge to help you run your day-to-day operations while you grow your brand? If so, we encourage you to apply to Design Entrepreneurs NYC. In its second year, our free “mini-MBA” program brought to you by FIT and the NYCEDC will consist of 35 designers for its 2013 class.

Designers selected into the program will participate in weekend intensive seminars from industry leaders on topics such as operations, marketing, financials and other brand building topics. Participants will be paired with a mentor and will use the summer months to work on their business plan. Those that complete the program will also have the opportunity to pitch to a panel of influential industry leaders.

Here’s our criteria for eligibility:

  • Must be a NYC-based (all 5 boroughs welcome) fashion designer
  • Have a NYC-based fashion design business including: womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, and/or accessories
  • Be committed to attending all mandatory events (e.g. kick-off, weekend intensives, presentation skills workshop, closing events)
We’d also like you to: 
  • Have been in business for at least one year
  • Have demonstrated traction in the industry (e.g. press coverage, sales, etc.)

The deadline to apply is March 31 at midnight. Learn more about the program at Design Entrepreneurs NYC. 

Celebrate the Arrival of Suzanne Rae Fall/Winter 2012 at Steven Alan on August 22

You’re invited to celebrate the launch of Suzanne Rae’s fall/winter 2012 collection at the Steven Alan retail store in Chelsea. A D.J. set by Whitney Fierce Hercules and Love Affair will kick off the night and shoppers will receive a 10% discount on the collection.

Suzanne, a Brooklyn-based womenswear designer and DENYC participant,  keen on empowering women through her well-fitting blouses, pants and dresses, gave us the scoop on what’s ahead.

Can you tell us about your fall/winter 2012 collection?

The collection is inspired by the internal revolution channeling the spirits of Jim Morrison, Aldous Huxley and William Blake. Poetic and rock-n-roll, the
collection is fueled by a quest for knowledge and heightened consciousness.

You’ll see hand-screened prints designed to connect with the natural world through wood and fur inspired prints created by artist Sam Dakota. Dresses and gowns, jacket and capes, as well as separates come in bold silhouettes in rich velvets and wools to add depth the the collection.

Learn more about the label at Suzanne Rae and rsvp to

Suzanne Rae Fall/Winter 2012 Preview
August 22 from 7-9pm
Steven Alan
140 10th Avenue, NYC
(between 18th & 19th)

Spring/Summer 2013 Preview: Recollection by Sandra Murphy

We had a chance to catch up with Sandra Murphy, one of our Design Entrepreneurs NYC participants to learn more about her brand and what’s new for her spring/summer 2013 collection. Here’s there scoop on what’s ahead:

Can you tells us about your spring 2013 collection?
For spring 2013, I’m taking another look back at mid-twentieth century fashion and modernizing it for today’s consumer who appreciates ladylike dressing.

What’s new for the season?
New this season is my first eveningwear look which was inspired by a 1940s nightgown and it’s really special.

What colors, fabrics and silhouettes did you use?
I love color and it’s always key in each of my collections. This time I took inspiration from great spring and summer foods like avocado greens, yellows and cantaloupe orange. I design all my own prints and introduced two new printed fabrics this season, a fun picnic inspired conversational piece and a sunset inspired abstract.

What are some of your signatures?
My signature piece in each collection is a shirtdress. It’s a style sure to be found in every woman’s closet during the 1940s & ’50s. I think a great shirtdress should also be in every woman’s closet today!

This looks like a fun shoot! Where did it take place?
My lookbook was photographed at a beautiful house in Westchester. It was fantastic! Everything was in bloom and the colors and surroundings were the perfect backdrop for my collection. Additional behind the scenes photos can be seen on Instagram and I’ll soon debut a behind the scenes video on Facebook.

Which trade shows will you be at?
I’ve been selected to show at MAGIC this month as part of their Launch Pad program for emerging designers which I’m very excited about. I’m also hoping to show with some of my fellow Design Entrepreneurs NYC classmates at a New York tradeshow next month.

You can learn more about the line at Recollection by Sandra Murphy and connect with her on Twitter.

Here’s A Big Thank You to Our Instructors and Guest Speakers

Mario Federici and Brian Moorstein

Design Entrepreneurs NYC would like to send out a special thank you to all of our instructors and guest speakers for taking the time out of their schedule to talk to the group (especially on the weekends). These sessions were invaluable and have helped guide our designers as they refine their business and marketing plans.

Our thanks go to: Jeanette Nostra, Andy Ward, Don McMicheal, Yolanda Wardowski, Eileen Shulock, Gaetane Joseph, Margo Moore, Robert Levy, Bill D’Arienzo, Gary Wassner, Mary Beth Budd, David Colby, Sandra Holtzman, Susan Power, Robert Mahan, Teri Agins, Brian Moorstein and Helen Lane.

Meet the Design Entrepreneurs NYC Class of 2012


Jeanette Nostra, President Joyce F. Brown, Seth Pinsky and Dean Steven Frumkin

We’re proud to introduce the inaugural class of Design Entrepreneurs NYC. We’ve selected 35 New York based designers who have been in business for at least a year and are committed to growing their brand. We have a diverse group of designers in various product categories, price points and market segments. Some produce in New York and some internationally. We’ve got husband-and-wife partners, Project Runway finalists and even a milliner. Check out all of the Design Entrepreneurs NYC participants in our look book.