Cutting his teeth in editorial and then segueing to fashion e-commerce, David Yassky caught the proverbial entrepreneur bug and branched out on his own. His penchant for romanticism and bridal led to the creation of The Aisle New York, and just this past July, he founded a new kind of creative content studio, Driver Creative. Yassky fills us in!
What’s your background?
I am originally from the Philadelphia Main Line, but I’ve been in New York for 17 years. I went to Parsons School of Design, and then started in editorial. My first job was at Women’s Wear Daily and W as a bookings editor. I transitioned into a fashion editor role, covering the market, and eventually became a stylist. I left in 2007 and started freelance styling and art directing, working with brands like Tory Burch, Reem Acra, Amsale, and Anthropologie. I always had this passion for bridal. It was a market I covered really closely at Women’s Wear Daily. So, in 2010 I co-founded The Aisle New York with a couple of extraordinary partners—it was like a Gilt Group and a Net-a-Porter for bridal. But, we were a bit ahead of our time, and ultimately the business didn’t work out. I then joined IDEELI as fashion director, learned about the e-commerce space and sharpened my business acumen, doing the creative direction for the entire site—women’s, men’s, accessories, and home. This past July, I decided to launch Driver Creative.
What are some highlights from your editorial days?
At WWD, I was working with the most extraordinary people. Bobbi Queen, the senior editor there for about 30 years, has been my biggest champion. Bridget Foley, who was my boss and is the most extraordinary writer and journalist, was also a big mentor. Being surrounded by them was really impactful. And of course, going to fashion week, being young and excited and sitting front row at shows. What I loved the most was the energy being on set. At WWD, market editors would direct and style their own shoots. Coming up with the concept and directing the photographers, hair, and makeup teams, really taught me a lot about the process of creating images.
And highlights of founding The Aisle?
We had some extraordinary successes including being featured in Vogue and The New York Times and TV spots like the Martha Stewart Show and E! Entertainment. We were championed by the designers and the press, and we carried all the top brands. We were trying to take the business to the next level but just weren’t able to raise the V.C. funds we needed. When it didn’t work out, of course I was devastated, but the lessons and life learnings were invaluable. There are so many things about working for myself and having my own business that I enjoy. I am an entrepreneur at heart. After that, IDEELI came about. I would have stayed longer but Groupon purchased the platform and we were folded in and the business moved to Chicago. Life takes you on journeys!
How did you come up with the idea for Driver Creative?
Brands have an insatiable need for content and visual assets today – consumers are demanding newness and they want engagement around the clock. We wanted to be a trusted hub for brands that need a centralized place to go, from look books and brand books, to ad campaigns, social media packages, branded content and e-commerce assets. Creating content and imagery around a brand’s voice is something we do well.
What sets it apart?
There are ton of large creative agencies out there that do amazing work. But most of them only touch the large international ad campaigns. But, there is so much business outside of that. There are small- and medium-size companies and brands that don’t have the need or the budgets that the large creative agencies command. I wanted to create a place that offers a variety of content services to brands of different sizes.
Which projects are you working on right now?
We focus on look-books and brand books, ad campaigns, social media packages, branded content and e-commerce assets. Right now, we’re working with Romona Keveza with both her eveningwear and bridal lines, an amazing newer women’s designer collection called Mi Jong Lee, and Chiara Boni, a Milan-based designer with a big U.S. retail presence. We’ve been doing some really fun and innovative projects with Prabal Gurung for the last two seasons. We came up with PG Studio, a live studio space backstage at his fashion shows where we could capture all this amazing content. We just completed our second PG Studio, for the Spring 2018 collection.
What’s your mantra?
Kindness is free! I believe that if you are talented, work hard, rise to the occasion, and are kind, then you will ultimately be noticed. Eva Chen, whom I admire greatly, got it right this week on Instagram when she quoted Henry James, “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
Why did you name the agency Driver Creative?
I was looking for a name that was easy and exciting, but also sensible. I also wanted it to have special meaning. I started thinking, What are the things and people that I really love? In 2013 I went to Nepal and spent some time with a charity, the Early Childhood Development Center. It’s a home for children whose parents are incarcerated. Instead of going to prison with their parents, which is quite common in Nepal, they live in this beautiful home with this extended modern family. I developed a special bond with one child in particular named Prashna, but he is obsessed with cars and exclusively goes by the name “Driver.” At the company, we drive creative strategy, we drive business forward. I couldn’t think of a better name to say everyday than his.