Not even a pandemic could derail Tanissa Carmon’s vision of launching her own premium denim brand, Untourage The Label.
Established in 2019, following a three-day course in Los Angeles on how to start a clothing brand (and lots of learn-as-you-go lessons along the way), Carmon launched the brand online in September 2020 with the mission to offer high-quality, elevated denim staples.
Her 100 percent cotton ruched jogger, now called the Houston, struck a chord with homebound consumers anxiously awaiting opportunities to dress up again, albeit comfortably, and quickly crashed the site.
“I won’t say that I had a massive volume of sales, but I had a very popular design that I had created that actually was so powerful, it sold out,” Carmon said.
Despite the everyday hardships of the pandemic, Carmon says she had “some good moments” during the unprecedented period in terms of business and motivation. Now offered in black ombre and indigo ombre, the $285 Houston continues to be the hero product in a collection that has since expanded to include one-pieces, dresses, jackets, jeans and shorts. And in a savvy business move, Carmon has gone on to replicate Houston’s distinct ruched silhouette across other jeans and jumpsuit styles.
Finding a niche—in Carmon’s case, denim—and perfecting it, is all part of the entrepreneur’s plan. “I didn’t realize I was in a lane that no one had done yet,” she said, but consumers’ early vote of confidence in the Houston was like a sign to “stay with what you’re doing” and “keep being that niche.”
As the owner of Untourage Salon, a Sugar Land, Texas-based “retreat” where she leases private studio space to beauty professionals, fashion has always been a part of her purview and felt like a “natural transition” from beauty, she added.
Though Carmon toyed with the idea of using other fabrics, she sees endless opportunities in denim and aims to sit alongside the high-end brands she’s admired for their quality and design. In fact, that how’s she started to source fabrics—by researching the mills that brands like Amiri works with and their fabric weights.
The collection boasts mostly 100 percent cotton garments made with fabrics from Italy, Turkey and China. A few stretch fabrications, Carmon said, are sprinkled in to enhance women’s curves.
Standout styles include Nytsua dress, a zip-front midi dress with a high side split; the Austyn wide-leg trouser with a bold white and indigo dye effect; the Nova jumpsuit with ruched legs and sleeves; and the Bailey bomber, a cropped jean jacket with cargo pocket. Staples like a cropped Trucker jacket, cutoff shirts and skinny jeans with unfinished hems round out the collection, which retails for $145-$445.
A men’s collection, which Carmon teased last month at New York Fashion Week, will launch soon.
The fashion week experience, however, is one that she would like to someday replicate for other independent designers in her hometown of Houston.
“I’m a Texas girl,” she said. “I want to be able to offer the opportunities that I experienced to emerging designers that can’t get to New York Fashion Week. I would like to take some of my education and knowledge and offer it to someone else because someone helped me, so I want to be in a position to extend that as well.”