Q & A with Fashion Brand Femmka

Femmka

Bulgaria based designer

Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

We at Femmka, take our designs as game between two main players—imagination and inspiration. We believe that your look is your voice to other people; your mentality, mood, character, etc.

I believe that every person in the world is born to do something. It makes him/her happy, is easy to do and he/she is better doing it than others. Fashion design is my thing.

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I have a long professional history as a graphic designer and as an IT professional. During this time, I wasn’t able to find on the market garments, which make me to feel “inside my skin.” I began to change my clothes the way I liked and people around always asked where I got my clothes from. That made me feel that fashion design is my purpose.

Can you describe your creative process?

Never press myself to create new designs, it just comes naturally. Sometimes when l watch a movie or talk with a friend, just trivial things like that will give me unexpected inspiration. Then I sketch it, make some measurements of the future pattern, and think about the fabric and details. The prototype is always made by me.

What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

My favourite part is to create new designs. The process make me calm and happy. Sometimes, when I have problems, the only thing, which can make me forget about everything else, is the creation of a new design.

How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

I believe that nowadays the global network allows all of us to be anywhere. My home and atelier are located out of the city, in the middle of the nature and this is important for me, as a person and also as a professional.

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

This will be my first runway and I am very excited. I am looking forward to new horizons, new people, and inspiration.

What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

My Moksha collection is dedicated to soul and nature, which I believe are one and the same thing, since nowadays nature is like a mirror of our souls, and they both need help.

I will present a linen collection as an appeal against everything which is false in our lives.

What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for the first time)?

Oh, I hope they will find themselves in my designs.

Thank you for speaking with us, Femmka. We look forward to seeing your brand on the VFW runway.

Photos contributed.

femmka.com

@femmka_handmade

Q & A with Fashion Brand Céline Haddad

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Celine Haddad

New York, USA based designer

Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

Céline Haddad is a high-end womenswear ready-to-wear label. I decided to offer urban women of any age daring, dynamic, and different garments and accessories that will make them feel edgy, confident and comfortable in their skin. They can wear them for various occasions rather than one special opportunity.

I am both French and Lebanese but I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. Starting the age of 18, I spent my summers in London and Paris exploring the various fields of the fashion industry. After graduating in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut in 2017, I decided to move to New York in order to pursue my dream. There, I completed a degree in Fashion Design at Parsons.

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I think that what interests me the most in fashion design, is how easy it looks on the outside but how challenging it actually is. Challenge is one of my biggest drives in life.

The industry is not all sparkles and champagne, it requires a lot of work and organization. I think Fashion is also one of today’s main communication and influential tools. By making use of it, designers can serve great causes and raise awareness on several topics. Finally, fashion design is the perfect mix of technical skills and creativity—I believe we are the architects of the human body. 

Can you describe your creative process?

I don’t have one creative process per se—it varies every time and depends on several factors. As a designer, I often draw my primary inspiration from the exploration of societal, generational and personal controversies that arise in today’s civilization. I particularly enjoy revisiting wardrobe classics and creating experimental versions of them by playing around with the elements that initially make an item timeless. Travelling and art also play a big part in my creative process, but I always try to add a deeper meaning to my creations.

What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

The more I practice this profession, the more I fall in love with it. I enjoy every step of the way—some less than others—but I think what makes the beauty of this occupation is how diversified a designer’s job is, especially as entrepreneurs. My favorite part of being a designer is seeing an intangible idea concretize and come to life, and seeing how a collection can carry a deeper meaning to it.

I use design as a means of self-expression and change, and I strongly believe that there’s more to garments and accessories than pure aesthetics. The message it conveys is what interests me the most. Another aspect of this discipline I particularly enjoy, is networking a lot and constantly meeting new people to build relationships. Human contact has always been something I deeply care about. Finally, I must add that there is a lot potential to do good around us as fashion designers and this is very motivating.

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How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

I moved to New York at the age of 21, with a dream and ambition of becoming a fashion designer. It is the city where I am based at the moment. The American fashion capital is where I grew as a designer and I can’t compare being a designer here to exercising this profession elsewhere. However, I can comfortably state what’s already known by many which is that New York provides you with everything you need as a designer (a huge network, industry professionals, factories, schools, fabrics, boutiques, inspiration etc.)

What I like the most about being in New York is the city’s dynamics. Living here makes you want to work as hard as you can from the bottom of your heart—the vibes of the city really push you to excel. You simply don’t want to be a nobody in New York and building a name for yourself naturally becomes a part of your everyday life.

The US culture has affected my design aesthetic in a way that functionality, comfortability and polyvalent garments and accessories has become very important for me. Living in New York, I’ve grown to understand the life of urban women better and I’m more aware of their needs and wants. I certainly still feel a very strong bond with my homes, whether it’s Beirut or Paris. That will never change.

I am grateful for being exposed since my very young age to the beauty, femininity and distinction of Lebanese women and the simplicity and elegance of the French.

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

Vancouver Fashion Week is actually my first exposure as an independent designer since my graduation and I will be launching my debut collection there, so saying I am looking forward to it would actually be an understatement.

What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

While my Spring/Summer 2020 collection may appear to be about femininity, it features twelve bold, daring, and controversial looks that aim to be provocative and go against expectations. “Rébellion” is an audacious, eclectic collection in which I will present spirited and elegant rebels asking for the liberation of women and garments from rules and norms.

What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for their first time)?

I hope to see a mix of curiosity, excitement, and surprise in the audience’s eyes when they will see my designs on the runway. My collection is meant to challenge traditions and norms and be experimental, controversial and provocative. I hope they will like it.

Thank you for speaking with us Céline, we look forward to seeing you on the VFW runway in October.

Photos contributed.

celinehaddadstudio.com

@celinehaddadstudio

Interview with Spanish Couture House Yolancris

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Yolancris

Spanish Haute Couture Brand

Fashion brand Yolancris originated in Barcelona in 2005 and has since grown significantly. In 2008, this fashion house debuted in the Gaudí runway shows in Barcelona and eleven years later they brought their Spring-Summer 2019 ‘Opera Prima’ collection to Paris. Since then, Yolancris has created a big name for itself, and has been showcased by many influential celebrities and artists such as Beyoncé and Lady Gaga.

The Yolancris show during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week took place in a beautiful and ornate 18th century building; the Hôtel Le Marois- France Ameriques. We interviewed Yolanda Perez, designer and creative director for Yolancris, to find out more about the inspiration for this jaw-dropping collection and successful brand!

How was your Haute Couture Fashion Week experience?

Overall it was a very positive experience but certainly a test because of the pressure of competing on a platform with huge names like Jean Paul Gaultier, Viktor & Rolf or Zuhair Murad. But the experience has been very good and we are very happy.

This was Yolancris’ first show in Paris. What did this mean to you?

As a designer, doing a fashion show in Paris is always a dream come true. I admire classic creators and artists such as Balenciaga, Christian Dior, and Valentino. To be closer to them in any way is always an honour and an opportunity to learn.

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What was it like growing up with a mother in the fashion and bridal business? How has it influenced the creation of your brand?

Our mother was head of production for bridal companies for many years and eventually opened her first store in 1985. From the young age of 7, my sister Cristina and I, would spend our time after school collecting needles at my mother’s store. We owe everything to her. She now works for the company and at 68 years of age, never missed a day!

What is it like working in the fashion business together as sisters?

We get along very well. I am the creative director and designer and my sister is in charge of the economic and commercial part of the business so our jobs do not interfere. We have a lot of faith and trust in each other’s work.

As two successful business women in the modern age, what is your advice for aspiring women designers?

I would advise them to learn a job, a craft. Paying for expensive bachelor and graduate degrees is one way to gain experience but it is not essential to dedicate yourself to fashion. You have to learn by doing.

"Walker, there is no path, the path is made by walking”

“Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar”

- Antonio Machado.

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What does the word ‘craftsmanship’ mean to you in regard to your collection?

It is present in everything we do. We do not design digitally or sketch. We assemble each and every one of the pieces on a mannequin. We are guided by intuition and trial and error. Craftsmanship and proximity are some of the most important values of the brand which we believe translate into our designs. Many of them could not be mass produced. All of our production is made in-house in our workshop in Barcelona since all of the materials and fabrics are bought locally.

What separates this collection from your previous work?

This SS19 Couture collection differs from the others in that I've let explore freely and create without constraints more so than in my other collections.

Barcelona was an inspiration for this collection. In what ways does the influence of a location play an important role when designing a collection?

Everything that surrounds you inspires you. The place where you live certainly does and Barcelona is such a special city that it naturally happened that way. Art is very present in my collections: Art Nouveau, pre-Raphaelites, Surrealism, the light of Sorolla and so on.

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The show took place in the Hôtel Le Marois- France Ameriques. How did you choose the location?

I saw it in a fashion show of a German brand and it was love at first sight.

The last Spanish designer to attend Haute Couture Fashion Week was in 2009. What is it like to be important Spanish designers at this time?

It's a big step. With everything being so ephemeral nowadays, you need to relativize. There’s work to do the next day.

How do you want your customer to feel when wearing your dresses?

I want her to feel powerful, elegant, and sophisticated. Most importantly, I want her to feel empowered. Femininity is a very subjective concept, but femininity as I understand it, is one of the pillars of my designs.

What are your future hopes and goals for Yolancris?

I started working when I was 16, so I would like to slow down a bit at some point in order to be able to combine work and family. For the time being, we want to keep doing as many new things as possible.

Your dresses have been worn by many influential people. How important is it while growing a brand to have celebrity clients?

Dressing celebrities gives you a lot of notoriety and it is always an honour that the best and most famous singers on the planet wear your clothes. However, we do not prioritise celebrities over any other client. It is as important to us to dress Beyoncé or Lady Gaga as it is to dress any anonymous client. The same effort and love is put into their designs.

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At what point as designers did you feel you had become a successful brand?

I don’t think you're ever aware of exactly when you're at the top. You feel it, but in a way that makes it hard to grasp. We intend to continue growing and working on Yolancris.

Thank you for telling us about your journey and continuing to inspire young designers!

Check out the website here: Yolancris.

Written by: Abby Droeger & Jessica Haltrecht