Hong Kong-native Samantha Giraud. Samantha is an emerging haute couture, ready-to-wear and sportswear designer, trained at the renowned “Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne” in Paris. She successfully presented her first two collections: Spring-Summer 2019 Collection and Spring Summer 2020 Collection during Paris Fashion Week 2018 and 2019 respectively. Samantha’s haute couture collections are modern masterpieces with significant color, bold texture, and embellished details featuring flowing skirts and dresses, structured tops and trousers with ornate crystal accents. These elaborate pieces are handmade with painstaking attention to detail, the mastery that transcends generations, and has roots ingrained in Hong Kong and French history and culture. The majority of her ready-to-wear designs are wearable year-round for most occasions. Some pieces are even unisex. Using silk, organza, cotton, and other high-end fabrics, Samantha creates a series of different designs in varying shapes and silhouettes that can be worn separately or as a cohesive collection season after season. As a former athlete, her sportswear is imbibed with the practical knowledge of a sportswoman and fashion-forward designs.

Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I was a figure skating coach from 1999–2007, and then I taught myself design and became a sportswear designer. I later started the sportswear and costume brand XAMASGlobal.com in 2003. Then in 2016, I attended the renowned “Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne” in Paris to expand my fashion industry knowledge and refine my design skills.

Samantha Giraud
Samantha Giraud – Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

When I first started in business in 2003, my friends and peers didn’t think I would succeed; however, they are all now very proud of me because they see all that I have achieved. I never let their thoughts impact my mindset or business.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Ha, I have plenty, but if I had to choose one, it would be the time that I designed this elaborately ornate skating dress and put loads of manhours into the design and construction only to have no one wear it. It was kind of ridiculous.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Authenticity for sure — that’s what makes our brand stand out.

During a trip to visit a client in Virginia, the buyer had asked if I could design a line that copied Lululemon, and I responded “No, I didn’t come all this way to sell you something like Lululemon. I am here to show you my brand and why it’s different.” After that, he placed a large order, so the moral of the story is that authenticity in business always wins.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes, I am currently working on a young modeling contest called XAMAS Ice Model. The program takes place every two years with the goal of inspiring the younger generation of athletes to take steps to live happier and healthier lives while providing them with a platform that showcases their talent to the world.

We also made self-love the theme of our Spring/Summer 2020 collection. I was inspired to make this the theme of my spring/summer 2020 collection because when you truly love and respect yourself, you’re more likely not to tolerate negative energy and thoughts from your surroundings. Self-love and self-respect are the foundations of a happy and healthy life.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Embrace your fear and anger — love, release, and allow it to manifest.

We often take on too much responsibility and forget to let it go — which weighs us down. It’s best to strive to clear your mind so you live with more love and fulfillment. Once you shift your mindset, your universe will shift too.

My uncle Adrian Thomas would say, “Be the best in your field”.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have several — my mom, dad, and children because they are so supportive and provide constant love; my favorite uncle Adrian Thomas because he inspires me to be strong; my husband who has always believed in me; my team because they are an organized support structure and work so diligently to ensure all work is complete; and all of my enemies helped me to focus on my goals. Without them, I would not be here.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I try to empower the younger generations as well as women to love and respect themselves through my designs and brands.

What are your “5 Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Fashion Industry” and why?

  1. Don’t let negative comments and energy affect your work. Focus on positive thinking and emotional evenness.
  2. Don’t feel compelled to listen to every expert or professional out there. You have to trust your gut.
  3. Be prepared for anything.
  4. One person can work fast, but a team can work much faster.
  5. Appreciate everything you have and everything you do. I don’t believe in coincidences — I believe every moment is predetermined.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

Woody Allen — I really love his movies and the way he develops his characters. They are so full of life. I just find his work so incredibly inspiring.