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Meet Aishleen Lester, the visionary founder of Le Ster, whose journey from sculptor to fine jeweller is as captivating as her exquisite creations. With a background steeped in fine artistry and a passion for storytelling, Aishleen seamlessly blends art and craftsmanship to craft miniature masterpieces that transcend the realm of jewellery.

Through Le Ster, she not only celebrates individuality and self-expression but also champions sustainability and ethical practices, embodying a vision of elegance and rebellion.

Join us as we delve into Aishleen’s inspiring journey, exploring the inspirations, values, and creative processes that shape the essence of Le Ster…

Le Ster

Your journey from sculptor to fine jeweller is fascinating. Could you share more about what sparked this transition and how your background in fine art influences your jewellery designs?

After completing my Masters at the Royal Academy, I was fortunate to work on a commission for a large-scale installation at Selfridges. Constructed from resin and sugar, it formed a dream-like environment through which people could walk. That experience ignited my desire to create pieces that not only engage the visual senses but also invite physical interaction and touch, aiming to leave a lasting memory or narrative.

I also sought to work on a smaller scale, using materials that were both easier to transport and durable. Hence, I enrolled in several evening courses, where one of my tutors introduced me to the world of jewellery. Intrigued by how jewellery interacts with the body, I was drawn to its accessibility—it doesn’t require a gallery to be appreciated; it seamlessly integrates into everyday life.

In my designs, I intertwine stories with imagery and narratives drawn from the realm of art. I consider my jewellery as miniature artworks that people can wear; for me, there’s no greater satisfaction than this fusion.

The name “Le Ster” carries unique significance. Could you elaborate on its meaning and how it reflects the ethos of your brand?

“Le Ster” is a play on my surname, Lester, with “ster” suggesting possession of quality—the idea being that the wearer embodies the quality of the jewel. This concept underscores our brand ethos of empowering individuals to embrace and embody the inherent value of our pieces.

Your jewellery is described as weaving together stories with imagery and narratives found within art. How do you approach this storytelling aspect in your design process?

Every piece, whether bespoke or from our collections, begins with a story. For instance, our first collection, “Light the Grey,” stemmed from the inquiry, “How can I instill confidence that outlasts lipstick?” Inspired by the transformative moment before a significant event—when one looks in the mirror, applies lipstick, and feels ready—I aimed to capture this energy in jewellery.

Drawing from Pop Art, particularly Roy Lichtenstein’s “Bang,” I juxtaposed graphic elements with the soft lines of fireworks in the sky. The resulting collection embodies a balance of contrasting elements, symbolising how both subtle and bold design can illuminate life’s gray areas.

Could you share insights into the traditional fine jewellery techniques and innovative technologies you combine to create your pieces?

While jewellery-making techniques have roots in ancient craftsmanship, modern advancements like Computer-Aided Design (CAD) offer expanded creative horizons. In my practice, I utilise both traditional handcrafting methods and CAD. I begin by crafting models by hand, which are then scanned and refined digitally. This iterative process—melding traditional and contemporary approaches—culminates in meticulously hand-finished pieces that marry timeless elegance with innovation.

The concept of the elegant rebel is captivating. How do you aim to amplify individuality and self-belief through your jewellery designs?

In a world often demanding conformity, I view my jewellery as a subtle celebration of uniqueness—a gentle nod to elegant rebellion. Through creative expression, I aspire to empower wearers to embrace their individuality, mindset, and ideas, fostering a sense of strength in creative thinking.

Sustainability is a core value of Le Ster. Can you discuss your commitment to ethical sourcing and how it shapes your production practices?

We prioritise sustainability by utilizing recycled gold and adopting small-batch production methods to minimise waste. Additionally, we conscientiously source stones from trusted suppliers who adhere to responsible practices.

What challenges have you encountered in sourcing sustainable materials, and how have you overcome them?

As a small business, sourcing sustainable materials presents challenges, particularly in acquiring stones directly from mines due to quantity constraints. To address this, we’ve established a network of reputable suppliers committed to ethical sourcing, ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain.

Handmade in London is a cornerstone of your brand identity. How does residing and working in the same city as your craftspeople contribute to the uniqueness of Le Ster’s creations?

Being based in London affords me direct involvement in every stage of the production process. 

Collaborating closely with craftspeople allows for real-time feedback and iteration, enriching my understanding of materials and enhancing the design process. This intimate engagement ensures that each piece not only looks captivating on paper but also exudes a special quality when brought to life.

Emphasising pieces that withstand the test of time aligns with slow fashion principles. How do you ensure your jewellery remains relevant and cherished for years to come?

Rather than chasing fleeting trends, we focus on crafting pieces that resonate with clients’ core design preferences—a timeless design DNA that transcends temporal fads. By creating enduring pieces that connect with individuals on a personal level, we cultivate lasting relationships built on shared values and appreciation for craftsmanship.

Can you share stories of customers passing down their Le Ster pieces through generations, and what these heirlooms mean to them?

Recently, I collaborated with a client who inherited an emerald ring from her godmother, passed down through generations. Despite its sentimental value, the ring remained unworn due to loose stones and outdated style. Seeking to honour its legacy while infusing modern flair, we transformed the stones into a new, personalised design.

Upon wearing the revamped piece, the client expressed not only her love for it but also her anticipation of passing it down to her goddaughter—a continuation of the cherished tradition. This narrative illustrates the profound emotional connection forged through jewellery, bridging generations and preserving cherished memories.

Collaboration appears integral to your process. How do you approach collaborations, and what qualities do you seek in potential partners?

Collaboration is at the heart of our creative journey, whether with clients, artisans, or cross-disciplinary creatives. We seek partners who share mutual admiration for each other’s work and possess a common thread that sparks synergy.

Successful collaborations thrive on open communication and a willingness to embrace diverse perspectives. By fostering an environment of trust and creative freedom, we cultivate unique partnerships that yield truly exceptional results.

What role do you envision jewellery playing in storytelling and self-expression, particularly in today’s fast-paced world?

In an era characterised by rapid change and disconnection, jewellery serves as a tangible link to personal narratives and self-expression. By wearing meaningful pieces, individuals can ground themselves in their identities and forge connections between inner thoughts and outward expressions.

Your jewellery is described as “miniature covetable sculptures that can be worn every day.” How do you balance artistic expression with wearable design?

Our pieces are designed to seamlessly integrate into daily life, evolving alongside wearers as they navigate their unique journeys. Balancing artistic expression with wearability requires a deep understanding of materials and meticulous craftsmanship. By prioritising durability and comfort, we ensure that each piece remains not only visually captivating but also practical for everyday wear.

Could you share insights into the inspiration behind your latest collection and recurring themes in your designs?

Our latest collection, “Meant to Be,” explores the intangible essence of love—a complex emotion defying rigid definitions. Through extensive prototyping and experimentation, we sought to capture the dynamic, ever-evolving nature of love, infusing each piece with a sense of fluidity and momentum.

One recurring theme in our designs is the concept of potential—an acknowledgment of the limitless possibilities inherent in every creation. Whether exploring love, identity, or personal growth, our designs invite wearers to embrace the inherent potential within themselves and their stories.

What advice would you offer aspiring designers seeking to create sustainable luxury brands?

Lead with authenticity—embrace your unique values, interests, and strengths. In a crowded market, authenticity serves as a beacon, attracting like-minded individuals drawn to your distinct perspective. By staying true to yourself and prioritising sustainability, you can carve out a niche that resonates with discerning consumers seeking meaningful luxury experiences.

How do you envision the future of the fine jewellery industry, particularly regarding sustainability and ethical practices?

I believe the future of fine jewellery lies in prioritising quality over quantity, fostering a culture of mindful consumption. By creating enduring pieces that stand the test of time, we can shift towards a more sustainable model that values craftsmanship and ethical sourcing. Encouraging a “buy less, make it last” mindset will be key to advancing sustainability and ethical practices within the industry.

Can you share memorable moments or milestones from your journey as the founder and designer of Le Ster?

Rather than singular moments, Le Ster’s journey has been punctuated by numerous small milestones— from securing our first press feature to winning emerging designer awards and crafting bespoke engagement rings for clients. Each milestone has contributed to our evolution, shaping Le Ster into what it is today—a testament to perseverance, creativity, and passion.

What does success look like for Le Ster, both presently and in the future?

Success for Le Ster entails expanding our clientele of elegant rebels, creating bespoke pieces that resonate on a personal level. Additionally, we aim to develop curated capsule collections showcased in select retailers, establishing a presence both domestically and internationally. Creatively, we aspire to engage in more collaborative projects across disciplines, fostering innovation and creative synergy.

How do you engage with customers and incorporate their feedback into your designs and business decisions?

Customer feedback is invaluable, guiding our design process and business decisions. Whether through bespoke commissions or general inquiries, we prioritise active listening, seeking to understand clients’ preferences, desires, and feedback. By fostering open dialogue and transparency, we cultivate lasting relationships built on trust and mutual respect.

Our readers are avid travellers. What destination tops your bucket list?

Mexico— renowned for its vibrant culture, rich history, and delectable cuisine. I’m particularly drawn to exploring the Aztec ruins and immersing myself in the country’s colourful tapestry of sights, sounds, and flavours.

When lacking motivation, what quote inspires you?

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu. This quote serves as a reminder that progress is achieved through small, consistent actions—a source of motivation during challenging times.

What’s a must-do activity you recommend in London?

Witness the sunset from the Blue Bridge in St. James Park. Standing amidst iconic landmarks like Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade, it offers a breathtaking panorama of London’s timeless beauty—a moment of tranquility amidst the city’s hustle and bustle.

Lastly, what message would you like to convey about the essence of Le Ster and the values it upholds?

Le Ster embodies a celebration of individuality, self-belief, and timeless elegance against the backdrop of modernity. Our jewellery serves as more than adornment—it’s a conduit for personal narratives, fostering connections between past, present, and future. Through craftsmanship, creativity, and ethical practices, we aim to empower wearers to embrace their unique stories and express their inner rebel with grace and confidence.

For more inspiring interviews and captivating stories, don’t forget to visit House of Coco. Get ready to be inspired and discover the extraordinary talents shaping our world today.

In the realm of fashion, evening wear holds a special place, serving as a canvas for elegance, sophistication, and individual expression. Among the myriad options available, three key elements stand out: velvet, sequins, and tulle. Each of these materials possesses its own unique allure, capable of transforming an ordinary evening into an extraordinary affair. From the luxurious plushness of velvet to the dazzling sparkle of sequins and the ethereal grace of tulle, these fabrics capture the essence of glamour and charm. In this exploration of evening attire, we delve into the captivating world of velvet, sequin, and tulle evening dresses, celebrating their ability to enchant and captivate with every stitch and shimmer.

As we continue our exploration, we are reminded of the transformative power of fashion, how it has the ability to elevate not only our outward appearance but also our inner confidence and sense of self. Velvet, with its sumptuous texture and regal presence, evokes a sense of timeless luxury, enveloping the wearer in an aura of sophistication. Sequins, on the other hand, ignite the spirit of celebration and festivity, casting a spell of shimmering radiance that dazzles onlookers and commands attention. And tulle, with its delicate layers and ethereal movement, embodies a whimsical charm that transports us to a realm of romance and enchantment.

In the grand tapestry of evening wear, each fabric plays a vital role, contributing its own unique magic to the overall allure of the ensemble. Whether one opts for the classic allure of velvet, the glamorous allure of sequins, or the enchanting allure of tulle, the result is always the same: a breathtaking creation that exudes confidence, elegance, and style. As we embark on this journey through the captivating world of velvet, sequin, and tulle evening dresses, let us open our hearts to the beauty and wonder that awaits, embracing the transformative power of fashion to uplift, inspire, and enchant.

Luxurious Allure of Velvet Evening Dresses

Velvet evening dresses epitomize timeless elegance with their plush texture and rich hues. Whether in deep burgundy, midnight black, or opulent emerald, velvet exudes sophistication and allure. The soft drape of velvet gracefully accentuates curves, offering a silhouette that is both refined and enchanting. From sleek sheath dresses to flowing A-line gowns, velvet adds a touch of luxury to any evening affair.

Velvet’s allure extends beyond its visual appeal; it also boasts a tactile indulgence that envelops the wearer in a cocoon of comfort and opulence. The gentle caress of velvet against the skin is an experience unto itself, evoking a sense of luxury that is unmatched by any other fabric. As one slips into a velvet evening dress, they are instantly transported to a world of refinement and glamour, where every movement is imbued with grace and sophistication.

Moreover, the versatility of velvet knows no bounds, making it the perfect choice for a myriad of silhouettes and styles. Whether one prefers the clean lines of a sleek sheath dress or the romantic allure of a flowing A-line gown, velvet effortlessly adapts to suit every taste and preference. Its ability to mold and shape to the body ensures a flattering fit for all figures, while its rich, lustrous hues lend an air of regal elegance to any ensemble.

Dazzling Glamour: The Radiance of Sequin Evening Dresses

Step into the spotlight with the mesmerizing glamour of sequin evening dresses. Adorned with countless shimmering embellishments, these dresses capture the essence of opulence and extravagance. Each sequin reflects light, creating a dazzling display that commands attention. Whether in classic gold and silver tones or vibrant hues of sapphire and ruby, sequin dresses ensure a memorable entrance at any event. With their intricate detailing and sparkling allure, they are the epitome of red-carpet glamour.

The allure of sequin evening dresses lies not only in their visual appeal but also in the confidence they inspire. There is a palpable sense of empowerment that comes with donning a garment that exudes such dazzling glamour. As the wearer steps into the spotlight, they become the embodiment of luxury and extravagance, commanding attention with every shimmering embellishment.

Moreover, sequin dresses offer endless opportunities for self-expression, with a vast array of colors and styles to choose from. Whether one opts for the classic elegance of gold and silver tones or the bold vibrancy of sapphire and ruby hues, there is a sequin dress to suit every personality and occasion. And with their intricate detailing and sparkling allure, sequin dresses are sure to leave a lasting impression, ensuring a memorable entrance at any event.

Ethereal Beauty: Embracing Grace with Tulle Evening Dresses

Embrace ethereal beauty in tulle evening dresses that exude romance and femininity. Delicate layers of tulle cascade gracefully, creating a dreamy silhouette that floats with every movement. Soft and whimsical, tulle evokes a sense of fairy-tale enchantment, making it a beloved choice for formal occasions. From enchanting ball gowns to enchanting tea-length dresses, tulle lends an air of grace and charm to evening attire. Whether adorned with intricate lace or subtle embellishments, tulle dresses promise an enchanting and unforgettable evening look.

Tulle evening dresses possess a unique ability to transport the wearer to a realm of enchantment and grace. As one slips into the delicate layers of tulle, they are enveloped in a soft embrace that evokes feelings of romance and femininity. With each gentle movement, the fabric dances and sways, creating a dreamy silhouette that seems to defy gravity.

What sets tulle apart is its ethereal quality, reminiscent of fairy-tale princesses and whimsical fantasies. This enchanting fabric has long been a beloved choice for formal occasions, thanks to its ability to imbue any ensemble with an air of grace and charm. Whether it’s a sweeping ball gown that billows with every step or a tea-length dress that exudes understated elegance, tulle has the power to elevate evening attire to new heights of sophistication.

Moreover, tulle dresses offer endless opportunities for customization and personalization. From intricate lace appliqués to subtle embellishments like pearls and crystals, each dress can be tailored to reflect the wearer’s unique sense of style and personality. Regardless of the details, however, one thing remains constant: the promise of an enchanting and unforgettable evening look that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

In the tapestry of fashion, evening dresses woven from velvet, sequins, and tulle emerge as timeless classics, perpetually enchanting and eternally captivating. As we conclude our journey through the world of evening attire, it becomes clear that these three key elements are more than mere fabrics; they are conduits of style, grace, and allure. Whether adorned in the plush opulence of velvet, the scintillating radiance of sequins, or the ethereal beauty of tulle, each dress tells a story of elegance and sophistication. From glamorous red-carpet events to intimate soirées, these dresses serve as symbols of confidence and poise, empowering individuals to embrace their unique sense of style and revel in the magic of the evening. As we bid farewell to this exploration, let us carry with us the knowledge that in the realm of fashion, true beauty lies not only in the garments we wear but in the confidence and grace with which we adorn them.

Step into a world of avant-garde glamour with our latest fashion editorial. Evoking the ethereal allure of winter’s icy embrace and the fierce passion of high fashion, each ensemble exudes confidence and sophistication. Join us in redefining elegance in this captivating homage to the fashion forward

Photographer – Narita Savoor

Model – Gianna @ Jadore

Style – Taheed K

Beauty – Drew Suleman

Taheed uses pieces from Azzedine Alaïa archive Halston Ann Demeulemeester Gucci Sanza Ami Maison Margiela and Marni

In the realm of fine jewellery, where craftsmanship meets artistry, one name shines brightly – Gloria Bass. With an illustrious 45-year journey as a jewellery designer, Gloria Bass stands as the Presidente of Elegance, crafting timeless pieces that seamlessly blend sensuality, sophistication, and unparalleled craftsmanship.

As the driving force behind Gloria Bass Design, she has not only redefined the essence of wearable art but also established herself as a luminary in the industry. From defining moments that shaped her approach to design to creating multi-dimensional “Swiss Army” necklaces, Gloria’s portfolio is a testament to her unwavering commitment to precision, attention to detail, and a keen eye for the finest materials.

In this exclusive interview, we delve into the creative mind of Gloria Bass, exploring her inspirations, design philosophy, and the delicate dance between traditional craftsmanship and contemporary techniques.

Join us as we uncover the stories behind her creations, the significance they hold for her clients, and the exciting future she envisions for Gloria Bass Design in the ever-evolving world of fashion and art.

Get ready for an inspiring journey into the world of jewellery design, guided by the Presidente of Elegance herself, Gloria Bass…

Can you share a defining moment in your 45-year journey as a jewellery designer that has significantly shaped your approach to design and craftsmanship?

A defining moment, like “an overnight success,” can sometimes take a while to evolve. My encounters with those few people who became my mentors certainly shaped my approach to design and validated the importance of good craftsmanship. Their belief in me propelled me forward.

Your creations are known for evoking sensuality and elegance. How do you balance these elements to create pieces that are not only visually stunning but also comfortable to wear?

No matter how stunning a piece may be, if it isn’t comfortable, the thrill of wearing it is diminished, and it will remain in the drawer. When designing a piece of jewellery, comfort is one of the main factors I take into consideration.

With an international clientele, how do you navigate cultural influences in your designs to ensure they resonate with a diverse range of customers?

I often find something that visually inspires me when I travel. That inspiration, to varying degrees, becomes incorporated into my design sense and shows itself in my work. There is a universal appeal to something that is familiar, yet at the same time different.

The combination of voluptuous pearls, breathtaking gems, and distinctive goldsmithing techniques sets your designs apart. Could you elaborate on your creative process when working with such exquisite materials?

The wonderful materials I have been fortunate to find are exciting on their own, and by the time I have them in my hands, I’m already beginning to formulate what I would like to produce. At times, the materials themselves dictate what needs to be done.

As the soul of Gloria Bass Design, how do you infuse your personal sensibility into each piece of jewellery, and how has this evolved over the years?

I think it just comes naturally at this point, and I won’t make anything that I do not like. The focus is on the beauty of the gems, and the structure of the piece is infused with my own sensibilities. Occasionally, a client comes in with a piece that I made for them 30 years ago. It gives me great pleasure to see it again and know that the design is still as relevant today.

Precision and attention to detail are evident in your work. Can you share a specific instance where your commitment to these qualities resulted in the creation of an extraordinary piece?

I was once commissioned to make a necklace for a client using her pearls and diamonds. She wanted to have a “multi-purpose” piece that could be worn in several different ways. The end result was a “Swiss Army” necklace which could be separated and worn as 4 different necklaces. The textured gold and diamond clasp sat in the centre of 4 short strands of pearls. It could be split apart to be worn as a long double strand with two clasps, or as two separate necklaces with smaller clasps. It was an immensely satisfying and challenging engineering project.

Custom-made pieces play a significant role in your portfolio. How do you collaborate with clients to ensure their individual needs and preferences are seamlessly integrated into the design?

Custom-made pieces are difficult in that the commission often includes the client’s stones, which have been removed from old jewellery. I appraise the individual client’s personality, profession, and lifestyle in producing designs that will work for them while still maintaining my design aesthetic. I like to push the client’s comfort zone a bit, and, thankfully, they trust me enough to go with it.

Montreal serves as the backdrop for your workshop. How does the city’s culture and ambiance influence your creative process and the overall aesthetic of Gloria Bass Design?

Montreal is a very cosmopolitan city, and we benefit from diverse cultures here—predominated by French and English. There is a European sense of sophistication and elegance that infuses itself into everything. As a result of this, my work needs to have a brand appeal, and I am aware of this factor.

In an industry where trends can change rapidly, how do you maintain a timeless quality in your designs while staying innovative and relevant?

I am always aware of trends but don’t necessarily agree with or follow them. I think my work transcends trends and is timeless in itself.

Over the years, you’ve built a team of highly skilled assistants and craftsmen. How do you foster a collaborative environment that allows for the seamless execution of your creative vision?

I have been blessed to build a solid relationship, over many years, with craftsmen and suppliers who understand my sensibility and can deliver the level of quality I require in my work. In the end, every piece that comes out of my workshop has my name on it and reflects that creative vision.

Your creations often become wearable works of art. Can you share an anecdote where a piece of jewellery took on special significance for a client, turning an ordinary day into an extraordinary one?

I often work with a client’s inherited jewellery and turn it into a relevant and wearable piece. The joy expressed by the client upon seeing the work is always extraordinary. I once remodelled a diamond ring given to my client from her late husband. She could not wear it as a ring but was reluctant to get rid of it. I turned it into a very wearable and casual necklace that took on a very different meaning. She was blown away.

Jewellery is often associated with special occasions. How do you envision your pieces becoming a part of everyday life, beyond the traditional realms of celebrations and events?

Tastes in jewellery have changed over the past few years, and COVID has accelerated that process. For many years even before COVID, my clients have been asking for a piece “that I can wear every day.” That means office, evening, dressed up, or jeans. I get immense pleasure from bumping into clients (in the course of a day or at an event) and seeing them wearing a piece they proudly proclaim they rarely take off. And I still enjoy designing a spectacular piece of jewellery for that special celebration!

As a goldsmith and designer, technology must have played a role in the evolution of your craft. How do you balance traditional craftsmanship with contemporary tools and techniques?

I must admit that I am not a fan of computer-assisted jewellery pieces. I find that they have no soul. We still rely on traditional jewellery craftsmanship, which, sadly, is a dying art. I am all for any process that can shorten the time it takes to hand fabricate a piece of fine jewellery, but I always come back to traditional handwork.

The use of the finest materials is a hallmark of Gloria Bass Design. How do you source and select materials to ensure the superior quality that your brand is known for?

I have a network of gem dealers I trust and have worked with for many years. After all these years, I have developed a very good eye and can instantly spot something extraordinary and exciting to work with. I am also aware of the problems the gem industry is facing, especially since COVID shut down mines and reduced the labor market significantly. I must ensure that the pieces I buy are from trusted sources that can supply the quality I use.

Looking ahead, what excites you the most about the future of jewellery design, and how do you see Gloria Bass Design continuing to make its mark in the ever-evolving world of fashion and art?

There are many young jewellery designers who are bringing a new focus into the industry. It is always exciting to see a different way of looking at things. GBD will continue to evolve alongside the fashion and art world.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

Japan is at the top of my bucket list. Japanese fashion and design are extraordinary. We were in the beginning stages of planning a trip when COVID hit the world.

What’s your go-to quote when you are lacking motivation?

“It will come”…. I need to put it aside and return at a later date.

Where can people follow you and find out more?

My website – gloirabassdesign.com – is updated with new pieces/new collections twice a year. My contact information is located on my site as well. I can also be followed on Instagram @gloriabassdesign.

Cardigans are among some of the most unassuming garments of all. No wonder women of all ages love them. They have a rich history tracing back to the Crimean War in the 1800s. However, it was the legendary fashion designer Coco Channel who made cardigans famous. Back in the day, she was obsessed with designing men-inspired outfits for women. She took an avid interest in a wide range of fisherman jumpers to sailor suits. Chanel would recreate designs with a woman’s touch, like flowers and ribbons.

In the years that followed, cardigans became imperative to mainstream fashion. From Princess Dianna to Katie Holmes, celebs made cardigans rise the popularity ladder. However, for the past few years, cardigans have taken a backseat. Sweatshirts and cropped jackets have been running the show. But the last leg of 2023 witnessed a comeback. Adrift Clothing, a leading fashion label for women, predicts the resurgence of cardigans will continue in 2024. That’s why you need to know how to style your cardigan for the new year. Read on!

Chic and Versatile 

Cardigans have come a long way from being recognised as granny’s favourite garment. Once, they were classic knitted sweaters with an open front and buttons. Today, it’s the opposite. Modern cardigans sport a different design. One that has no buttons and hangs open. Yet, it remains uniquely comfortable and versatile. 

They Can Be Worn In Any Season

Cardigans effortlessly complement any dress you wear. Also, it’s light and easy to carry, so you’ll never feel too hot or cold. Above all, a cardigan can be worn anytime in fall, summer, or early winter. 

They Are Perfect For Any Silhouette

You will never have to worry about your body type when wearing a cardigan. There’s one for every woman. For standard or hourglass silhouettes, opt for a fitted style. For teardrop body types, you must keep them open. O-type figures should go for a flowing one, essentially the long cardigans with no buttons. Lastly, for a V-shaped body, choose high necklines and keep the first two buttons closed and the rest open.

They Are A Great Option For Office Wear

Choosing a dress for the office can be tricky. Cardigans allow you to mix and match things on the inside and keep things layered up on the outside. So, you will never have to worry about looking overdressed in a corporate setting. Now that you know why cardigans are an all-rounder choice, let’s explore the best ways to style them.

  • Pair A Cardigan With Your Cami – Do you like to keep things simple and classy? Pair your cardigan with a cami. You choose from a simple white one to a patterned or ruffled one.
  • Wear It Right Over A Sleeveless Dress – Do you wear dresses around the year? Whether you prefer wearing a printed or a solid design, you can always throw a cardigan over it. In some places, even winter days can get a little warmer. So, cardigans are a better choice than a heavy coat or jacket. If it gets really hot, you might have to take off a coat and carry it along. With cardigans, you can still keep it on, hanging loose.
  • Give flannels a chance Plaid flannels and classic cardigans are made for each other. Tuck in your flannel shirt. Then, roll the cuff all the way over the sweater, and you’re good to go!
  • Keep it trendy with a T-shirt and jeans – Cardigans can also be a part of your weekend look. Pair it with a T-shirt, a pair of jeans, and some classic pumps. If you can manage a fedora hat as well, there’s nothing like it!
  • Accessorise right Wear a flashy belt and let your cardigan hang loose. Wear a white shirt, jeans, and solid boots to complete the look.

Cardigans Are Forever 

Come rain or shine, some things always remain classic. Cardigans are no expectation either. They are comfortable, versatile, and effortlessly stylish. You can wear almost any outfit you want with a cardigan. All you have to do is pair it up with the right dress and accessories.

Step into the enchanting world of Miracles Manifester as we delve into an inspiring conversation with the visionary founders themselves, twins Irina and Inna Barsukova.

A beacon of creativity and empowerment, the duo have woven a tapestry of transformation, blending spirituality and fashion seamlessly.

In this exclusive interview, they share their heartwarming stories behind Miracles Manifester’s impact on individuals, the challenges that shaped its evolution, and a glimpse into the boundless creativity propelling its future.

Join us as we embark on a journey of self-discovery, manifestation, and the unwavering belief that miracles are not only possible but tangible, one stitch at a time…

Miracles Manifester’s Spiritual Awakening in 2002

Inna and Irina, your journey with Miracles Manifester began with a profound spiritual awakening in 2002. Can you share the pivotal moments or experiences that led to this awakening and how it shaped your path?

Back in the day, we were immersed in the glamorous world of modeling, hopping from one fashion event to another in cities like Paris, New York, and LA. It was a blast, but it also drained us physically and emotionally, thanks to those wild parties and endless champagne. Then, after a Vegas weekend that left us energetically empty, we thought, “There’s gotta be more to life than this.”

You see, we’ve always had a strong spiritual side, having been raised in the Christian Orthodox faith. So, when we got back from that Vegas trip, it happened to be the start of a strict Christian Orthodox lent. We decided to give it a go. During this time, we crossed paths with our first Kundalini yoga teacher, Gurmukh Khalsa. That’s when our spiritual awakening kicked off.

We dived headfirst into Kundalini yoga and meditation in 2002. It was a game-changer, a powerful practice that transformed our perception of reality and helped us understand the true meaning of life. It also brought us to the knowledge of the universal laws, including the Law of Attraction and the Law of Assumption. These practices filled us with life force and energy, which we channeled into discovering transformative methods like numerology and Feng Shui. Anything that improved people’s well-being became our mission.

Miracles Manifester: The Fusion of Spirituality and Style

The fusion of spirituality and style is a unique aspect of Miracles Manifester. How do you approach translating spiritual concepts and experiences into tangible and visually striking designs?

The universe has a way of talking to all of us through signs and symbols. We wanted our clothing to be more than just fashionable—we wanted it to carry powerful symbols and affirmations. Our collections focus on what truly matters in life: well-being, prosperity, success, and love.

We bring in symbols from Feng Shui, numerology, and tarot, along with affirmations and power words. It’s all about simplifying things for our customers. When they wear our creations, they’re not just making a fashion statement—they’re sending a clear message to the universe about what they want in life. Whether it’s abundance, love, or success, our designs become a visual language that bridges the gap between the physical and the spiritual.

The Turning Point: Prayer Circle Event in 2009

The prayer circle event in 2009 was a turning point. Can you elaborate on the inspiration behind this event and the impact it had on the individuals who participated?

In 2009, things took a divine turn. Irina, ordained to facilitate blessings, healings, and deliverance, received an email from her spiritual teacher. It urged her to kick-start prayer circle events in LA. So, we spread the word in yoga centers and on Facebook, and people flocked to join us. These prayer circles became a monthly ritual.

The impact was profound. Over the years, from 2009 to 2019, we witnessed miraculous healings, blessings, and divine interventions. Ailments vanished, people found love, important documents miraculously appeared, and long-held dreams materialized. Some even relocated successfully. The effects of these prayer circles still ripple through people’s lives today. Holding space for healing and love laid the foundation for Miracles Manifester.

Miracles Manifester: More Than Just Clothing

Miracles Manifester is not just a clothing brand; it’s a channel for cosmic forces. How do you ensure that each design carries the essence of the affirmations and spiritual knowledge you hold dear?

Sacred texts from all walks of life echo a timeless truth: words hold incredible power. It’s like an unwavering law of the universe. Think of it like traffic rules; these exist whether we’re aware of them or not. Picture someone unfamiliar with the rules running a red light—it’s a recipe for chaos down the road.

Now, think about kindness, a sunny outlook, positive affirmations, and symbols that lift our spirits; they’re all flavours of love, gifts to us for a life filled with harmony. In our designs, we bring this power of words to life. Every piece of clothing we create is a love letter to humanity, created in the spirit of love and for love of humanity. We want whoever wears them to feel uplifted, to thrive.

Most fashion designers aim for beauty, comfort, edginess—whatever their heart desires. And that intention shapes their creations, imbuing them with a certain essence. We’re doing the same thing, but our focus is different. We’re all about the big LAW, Love Always Wins.

Our goal is to infuse as much divine, positive energy as possible into our designs. We want them to be more than just clothes. We want them to be a source of well-being, abundance, and loving relationships for anyone who wears them.

Mystical Arts and Miracles Manifester

The incorporation of various mystical arts like tarot, astrology, and numerology into your journey is fascinating. How do these elements influence the creative process and the overall energy of the brand?

When you’ve walked the spiritual path for over two decades, everything in life becomes a continuous flow of creativity, shaped by the wisdom gained along the way. So, when we talk about Miracles Manifester, our brand, it’s a direct reflection of our daily encounters with mystical arts like tarot, astrology, and numerology. They’re not just concepts to us, they’re part of our daily life. And that’s why they naturally find their way into our designs.

In today’s world, there’s a longing for deeper meaning, a collective awakening that’s impossible to ignore. Mystical arts like kundalini yoga, Feng Shui, tarot, numerology were hidden gems for so long. But we’re in this amazing Age where these treasures are out there for us to explore and use. And we’re all about that—using these incredible tools not just for our good but for the good of everyone. It’s all about connecting the dots, bridging our reality with these metaphysical elements. It’s like creating a tapestry of experiences that leads to more fulfilling, more magical outcomes. That’s the essence of what we do and who we are.

Affirmations and Positive Impact

Your clothing pieces are described as more than ordinary—they’re infused with powerful affirmations. How do you believe these affirmations can positively impact individuals who wear your designs?

We’re wholeheartedly convinced about the magic of affirmations and the wonders of positive thinking. It reminds us of a beautiful verse from the Bible, Matthew 18:19, which says “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”

This belief is at the heart of our designs. When someone reads our affirmations or wears our clothing, they’re aligning with these powerful, positive forces. It’s like saying a big ‘yes’ to all the blessings and miracles life has to offer.

Now, here’s the thing—this law isn’t tied to any specific belief system. It’s a universal truth. Even if someone doesn’t believe in God, they believe in something—whether it’s science, art, or something else entirely. That’s the beauty of it. The LAW, which stands for Love Always Wins, never cancels itself out. So, no matter what you believe in, wearing our affirmations is like giving yourself a high-five, lifting your spirits, and really transforming your everyday experiences into something extraordinary.

The Creative Process at Miracles Manifester

Irina and Inna, as the artistic force behind Miracles Manifester, can you walk us through your creative process? How do you transform visions into visual masterpieces that resonate with spirituality and empowerment?

Miracles Manifester bloomed from a spark of inspiration during the pandemic. Everyone was cozying up in hoodies and pants, and that’s where our lightbulb moment happened.

We saw this wide-open space on hoodies as the perfect spot to sprinkle in meaningful symbols and empowering affirmations. We’ve been dancing with the language of symbols through Feng Shui and tarot for years. Plus, our hearts beat to the rhythm of positive thinking, a practice we’ve cherished for over two decades.

As far as our actual creative process, we’ve found that simple activities like taking a walk or going for a swim help us crystallize the vision behind our ideas. It’s during these moments of quiet reflection that inspiration often strikes, and we’re able to refine our concepts.

What’s truly wonderful is that our team of designers shares our spiritual perspective and easily connects with the essence of our ideas. It’s a blessing to collaborate with individuals who resonate with the same vibrational frequencies and possess a deep understanding of our mission. As they say, “Teamwork makes the dream work,” and we’re incredibly grateful for the harmonious collaboration that is the heart and soul of Miracles Manifester.

Cosmic Forces and Clothing

The Law of Attraction and the Law of Assumption play a significant role in your brand. How do you see these cosmic forces interacting with the physical act of wearing and embodying the clothing?

The Law of Attraction and the Law of Assumption are at the heart of what we do. It’s all about the power of intention and the energy we infuse into our clothing. You see, everything in life sends us signs, and our designs are no exception. We pour our hearts into selecting powerful symbols and affirmations, along with the right colors, to create a direct connection with the person wearing our clothes.

We firmly believe that we’re all interconnected, and that connection extends to the Divine Force that guides us. When we create our designs, we do so with a strong intention for those cosmic forces to positively impact the life of the person who wears our clothing. It’s about aligning with the universe and letting that energy flow through you.

Fostering a Spiritually Attuned Atmosphere

Miracles Manifester has a team of talented designers who infuse their own spiritual connection into each design. How do you foster a collaborative and spiritually attuned atmosphere within your creative team?

We believe in celebrating every bit of hard work our team pours into our creations. It’s more than just a job—it’s a shared journey of spiritual and creative growth. We understand that the energy we exchange isn’t just in the form of money. It’s about appreciation, recognition, and genuinely valuing each person’s unique contributions. We’re like a family here, constantly reminding each other that our collective magic is way stronger than what we can do alone.

And it’s not just about what we create, but how we grow together. We’re always on the lookout for ways to spark that inner light in each of us. Be it a motivational podcast, an educational course, or even a simple, powerful quote that shifts our perspective—we’re all about nurturing that spark. We gift these little gems of wisdom to each other, not just as tools to polish our skills, but as reminders of our personal and collective journeys towards creating something truly magical.

Meaningful Designs and Stories

Your designs go beyond aesthetics—they’re symbolic and filled with meaning. Can you share a specific design that holds a particularly special significance to you, and the story behind it?

Let me tell you about our “Always Put God First” design. This one’s really close to our hearts. It’s like a page from our own life, and it resonates with so many people we’ve met in prayer circle seminars. It’s in the moments where you’re in a tough spot, where things are just falling apart, and you’re clinging to that last shred of hope, that faith becomes your beacon—your guiding star. We’ve been there, where the only thing you can hold onto is your trust in God’s grand plan.

So many folks we’ve known have been at this crossroads, where life pushes them to let go and lean into the Omnipotent and Omnipresent Creator—God. It’s about surrendering to this incredible, Infinite Creative Power and just watching the blessings and miracles unfold. We’ve seen it happen, not just in our lives but in the lives of countless others.

This is why we pour our hearts and souls into Miracles Manifester. Our brand is more than just clothes; it’s a statement of faith, a reminder to always, always put God first. It’s like wearing a promise that when you do, miracles and blessings aren’t just possible, they’re inevitable!

Miracles Manifester’s Contribution to Personal Empowerment

The brand encourages individuals to harness the power of their thoughts and visualize their dreams. How do you envision Miracles Manifester contributing to the personal empowerment of your customers?

Oh, it’s such a joy to think about how Miracles Manifester lights up people’s lives! Our mission is all about igniting that inner happiness within you. Every item we create is like a little ray of sunshine, touching your heart and reminding you to hold onto your dreams. We want to convey a simple message—happiness isn’t reserved for a select few; it’s available to everyone, and it’s limitless!

That’s why our designs, filled with meaningful symbols and affirmations, aim to shift our customers’ mindset in a positive direction. When you wear these symbols and affirmations, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. It’s a win-win for all.

There’s this beautiful thought from Buddha that always stuck with us, “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Isn’t that just the truth? By sharing a bit of joy, a hint of positivity, we’re not just making someone’s day brighter, we’re lighting up the whole world, bit by bit.

Transformative Stories of Miracles Manifester

Can you share a memorable transformation or success story from someone who has experienced the power of Miracles Manifester firsthand, either through the clothing or the spiritual practices associated with the brand?

Absolutely, we have some heartwarming stories! Let’s start with a story close to our hearts. A dear member of our prayer circle had a dream to move her family to a new state, but it seemed like every turn brought another hurdle, especially financially. She chose to get our “Together in a hoodie nation…” hoodies for herself and her husband. Just a few months later, she received the funds to buy their dream home, and the path to their new city became clear as day.

Then, there’s this incredible lady who experienced a career breakthrough. After slipping into our designs, she rocketed to a massive work promotion. In just a few months, she achieved what seemed unattainable for years.

And how can I forget about our gambling enthusiast! He swears by our Natural 9 collection. He feels that our clothes sprinkle a bit of luck on him, leading to more wins than losses. It’s these stories, these personal victories, that fuel our passion and belief in the power of Miracles Manifester. It’s not just about the clothing— it’s about the transformation and empowerment it brings to people’s lives.

The Evolution of Miracles Manifester: Challenges and Triumphs

The journey from a prayer circle event in Los Angeles to a global brand is remarkable. What challenges did you face along the way, and how did they shape the evolution of Miracles Manifester?

There’s this quote by Charles R. Swindoll that hits home: “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” That’s exactly what it was like for us.

Picture this: It’s 2020, the world’s in a whirl, and here we are, dreaming up Miracles Manifester. Finding a manufacturer capable of producing our distinctive embroidered designs, all-over rhinestone patterns, and reflective prints was no easy task. But we made it happen because when you’ve got fire in your heart, the word ‘impossible’ just fades away.

Another challenge we encountered was the cost of our products. We take great pride in using the highest-quality 100% natural cotton French Terry fabric and incorporating intricate patterns, which can be expensive to manufacture. Sure, making our mission to offer our products at affordable prices has occasionally posed a challenge, but we’re on a mission to spread positivity far and wide without burning holes in pockets.

Additionally, building an effective marketing structure has proven to be a unique and evolving process. What works for one brand may not necessarily work for another. So, we’ve turned into detectives, constantly learning about our clients and their preferences in terms of designs, materials, and more. We adapt and create based on their feedback and desires, ensuring every stitch remains in tune with our customers’ needs.

The Future of Miracles Manifester: Creativity and Impact

As a brand that combines fashion and spirituality, how do you see Miracles Manifester evolving in the future, both creatively and in its impact on individuals seeking empowerment?

At Miracles Manifester, we’re always buzzing with new ideas, like a hive full of creative energy! Right now, we’re super excited about our upcoming Feng Shui symbols collection and a planetary collection. Think of it as combining the wisdom of spiritual masters with our own positive experiences.

The more we dive into this creative pool, the more these amazing ideas just keep flowing in. It’s like opening a door to an endless universe of inspiration. But that’s not all. We’re also thinking about branching out into something really close to our hearts—a home collection that’s not just beautiful but meaningful too. It’s all part of this incredible journey we’re on, where each step leads us to new horizons.

Our mission is to infuse our fashion with such soulful creativity that it helps you envision and attract the life of your dreams. Because in our world, if you can imagine it, it’s as real as the stars in the sky. It’s all about empowering you to be the architect of your own destiny, one piece of clothing at a time.

Empowering Transformative Journeys

Miracles Manifester is an invitation to manifest wildest dreams. What advice do you have for individuals looking to embark on their own transformative journey of self-discovery and manifestation?

Embarking on a journey of self-discovery and manifestation is like diving into an ocean of possibilities. Think about it; we’re all wonderfully unique—a masterpiece of creation. That’s why there are countless paths to transformation. Some might find their way through the quiet reflections of religion, while others might connect through the dynamic world of physical fitness. Then there are those who seek truth in the beauty of art, be it painting, singing, or dancing. It’s all about embracing what feels right for you.

For example, if you enjoy painting, let that be your gateway. If you’re a fan of the gym and physical activities, explore your inner self through the lens of your physical abilities. And if you’re tech-savvy, you might discover that grasping universal laws is as straightforward as decoding a complex software.

The key is, there’s no universal formula that works for everyone. Start with what resonates with you the most, what’s right at your fingertips, and then let your journey unfold from there. It’s about growing and expanding in your own one-of-a-kind way. Trust me, it’s an adventure worth taking.

Wanderlust Dreams and Inspirations

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

We share your love for travel! While it’s tough to pick just one destination, Japan holds a special place in our hearts. Its rich culture, spirituality, and stunning landscapes have always fascinated us. We haven’t had the chance to visit yet, but Peru, Argentina, Nepal, South Africa, and Australia are high on our bucket list. Traveling allows us to gather inspiration and broaden our perspectives, which ultimately fuels our creative process at Miracles Manifester.

Head to Miracles Manifester to keep up to date with the magic and miracles that they’re creating.

Ebru Gulsel, the visionary force behind Smilla Brav, has transformed her passion for design into a thriving brand of handmade treasures. With a background in Fashion Marketing and Graphic Design, Ebru embarked on her professional journey as a journalist at Dogan Burda. Venturing into the corporate realm, she contributed her talents to esteemed companies such as ThyssenKrupp, Sharp Corporations, and IQVIA, honing her skills and gaining diverse experiences.

In 2008, Ebru turned her creative hobby into a full-time pursuit by founding Smilla Brav. Today, the brand has evolved to meet the contemporary woman’s daily chic with handmade and sustainable bijoux pieces. In 2018, Smilla Brav expanded its focus to include sustainable, timeless fine jewelry, showcasing a commitment to conscious craftsmanship.

While bijoux pieces continue to be crafted in the Heidelberg workspace, the Smilla Brav Fine Jewellery Line is a testament to the fusion of time-honored techniques and contemporary design. Master goldsmiths at the Grand Bazaar Istanbul bring these pieces to life, utilizing recycled sterling silver as a testament to the brand’s dedication to sustainability.

Driven by love, nature, tradition, and culture, the Smilla Brav team finds joy in the creative process, constantly seeking new adventures in the world of design and materials. Each collection tells a unique story, with every piece serving as a protagonist in this narrative of craftsmanship and artistry.

Ebru Gulsel’s philosophy is embodied in the brand’s commitment to fair craftsmanship, with each piece lovingly created by hand in the atelier in Heidelberg, Germany. The result is not just jewelry; it’s a manifestation of passion, dedication, and a celebration of beauty. Let’s dive in…

Smilla Brav

What motivated this transition?

During my Fashion Marketing studies, I interned in various roles, from sales at Armani to warehouse work at Ralph Lauren and laboring at a fabric factory. A pivotal moment came with an internship at a fashion magazine, leading to freelance film critiques. The allure of the industry, from the scent of printed pages to seeing my name in editorials, fueled my passion. Though offered a full-time reporting position post-graduation, I transitioned to corporate life for financial stability. While fulfilling, the need for creativity persisted, driving me to attend diverse creative courses, including goldsmithing at Alef Gallery in Istanbul. This marked the turning point, where I realized my true calling.

How do these disciplines influence your creative process when designing jewellery?

My diverse education provided a valuable skill set, incorporating trend analysis, consumer understanding, brand identity development, visual communication, technical proficiency, and marketing expertise. Additionally, studies in Online Publishing equipped me with website creation skills. I’m deeply involved in every step of the process, from material selection to design aesthetics. In the absence of our graphic designer, I can handle visual work, ensuring a holistic approach to the creative process.

What pivotal moment or realization encouraged you to take this step and turn your passion into a business?

As a single mom with a three-month-old, I moved to Heidelberg, Germany, for a fresh start, receiving support from my father for childcare. To sustain myself, I began translating and crafting jewellery. Setting up a website, designing the logo, and handling legal aspects were natural steps for me. Inspired by the novel ‘Smilla’s Sense of Snow,’ I named the brand Smilla Brav. The success exceeded expectations, affirming my decision to pursue my passion full-time.

Could you elaborate on how this commitment to sustainability shapes your design philosophy and business practices?

In terms of design, I start by personally overseeing material sourcing in Istanbul biannually, ensuring the origin and reliability of each stone and bead. Our stainless steel and silver are locally produced from recycled materials, with regular visits to verify environmental standards. Attention to detail extends to materials like freshwater pearls, valuing both imperfect and perfect pearls equally to reduce waste. We maintain a firm stance on sustainable production, emphasizing the importance of responsible material costs.

How did this expansion align with your brand’s vision and customer base?

The journey had its highs and lows. Initially, crafting within the Grand Bazaar led to an oriental style that didn’t resonate with our existing clientele. Sales declined, prompting a shift to focus on wholesale endeavours. Infusing more personal touches and finding a balance between classic elegance and playful style revitalised our approach. After four years of crafting fine jewellery, we now strike a harmonious balance that resonates with our customer base.

How do you balance these elements in your creative process, especially when working on your Fine Jewellery Line?

Our skilled goldsmiths undergo extensive training, balancing technical expertise and artistic vision. The saying ‘Übung macht den Meister’ (practice makes perfect) rings true, as with time, both aspects become second nature. Balancing the intricacies of fine jewellery involves maintaining a delicate equilibrium between artistic expression and technical precision.

Could you share an anecdote about a piece that exemplifies this fusion?

I once sketched a phoenix pendant and, during a visit to the Grand Bazaar, witnessed the masterful creation of a dazzling phoenix adorned with vibrant stones. Recognizing a misalignment with our clientele’s preferences for simplicity, I requested a version without stones, embracing the clean, chic aesthetic. This anecdote encapsulates the fusion of traditional craftsmanship with a modern, customer-centric approach.

Recycled sterling silver is a key material in your Fine Jewellery Line.

Our commitment extends to incorporating recycled stainless steel, known for durability. We repurpose stones and utilize handmade ceramics, emphasizing upcycling. While challenges arise in sustainably sourcing limited-edition pieces, we empathize with companies facing similar dilemmas. The issue of greenwashing underscores the need for comprehensive oversight throughout the production process, ensuring true sustainability.

How do these diverse influences come together to create the unique stories behind each collection?

Our culturally diverse team, including my Turkish, Greek, Jewish, and Russian roots, fosters an open-minded approach. Exploring traditional craftsmanship and cultural influences in new countries, from intricate patterns on ceramics to artistry in carpets, fuels our inspiration. For example, our Studio Glam collection drew inspiration from my time in New York, reflecting the fusion of diverse influences into cohesive, thematic collections.

How do you ensure that this personal touch and commitment to quality are maintained as your brand continues to grow?

All our jewellery, even delicate pieces, is crafted in our Heidelberg studio. We meticulously check quality before dispatching, and I personally oversee production to maintain the highest standards. Despite ongoing growth, I remain dedicated to retaining production in-house, ensuring quality control and a personal touch.

With a career path that has taken you through various industries, what lessons or skills from your earlier roles have you found most valuable in building and managing your own successful brand?

My experience in international companies provided insights into essential business processes, equipping me with organizational skills, corporate communication understanding, and administrative proficiency. Balancing the business-oriented aspect with creativity is crucial, especially in the early stages. This dual focus, coupled with self-discipline, has been pivotal in establishing and managing my own business, including financial responsibilities.

Looking to the future, what aspirations do you have for Smilla Brav?

I envision Smilla Brav becoming a leader in sustainable jewellery and design. Investments in advanced technology like 3D printers using recycled materials and an engraving machine showcase our commitment to eco-friendly practices. Our new showroom opening in October will offer customers insight into the production process and a chance to bring their ideas to life. I’m excited about introducing a capsule collection for women’s clothing next year, aligning with our brand’s timeless style and eco-friendly values, expanding our impact and connecting with a broader audience.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

India and Japan.

Where do you call home?

Istanbul and Heidelberg.

What does self-care mean to you?

Self-care, to me, means steering clear of drama and negative influences, enjoying nature, having fun, reading, and cherishing quality time with my child. It involves prioritizing well-being and finding joy in simple pleasures.

Where can people find out more and follow you?

Stay updated with our latest designs and collections on our website at www.smillabrav.com. For a personal touch, follow our Instagram account @smillabrav, where I curate images, providing a glimpse into our creative process. Thank you for following our journey!

Growing up in Morocco, Anissa Perkins has had plenty of inspiration for her stylish Kaftan business – Kaftan Dreams. Born out ofa love for fashion, and a passion for beautiful colourful Kaftans made in unique prints – Kaftan Dreams takes the traditional ‘Caftan’ and gives it a luxurious flair.

We sat down with Anissa and discussed how her Moroccan culture has influenced her designs, the sustainable and ethical sourcing of her Kaftans- and finally, how her family has become both support network and inspiration throughout her journey.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, what inspired you to start Kaftan Dreams?

Growing up in Morocco, I have always had a love for beautiful, colourful and unique clothing and accessories. This love eventually evolved into a business idea in the form of Kaftan Dreams. My own dream is to create a haven of beautiful creations, vibrant colours, luxurious fabrics — all with my own unique prints.

Before starting Kaftan Dreams, I had a career in fashion that spanned two decades. I had been lucky enough to work for Giorgio Armani in France. I stepped away from fashion for12 years to raise my four children, but my passion was calling me back. This is why I started Kaftan Dreams. Now I can be with my family and manage my own creative business that is all about dressing colourful, strong women!

Why did you decide to focus on kaftans in particular?

Kaftans are part of my culture because I was born in Morocco and was used to seeing beautiful women wearing colourful and feminine kaftans when I was growing up in Casablanca. Kaftan or ‘Caftan’ is a loose long gown type dress that is traditionally worn by women in Middle Eastern countries including Pakistan and Persia as their daily wear.

Today, women love to wear both traditional and western outfits equally regardless where they live. When they want to feel the sun or walk on the seashore , they need something different and cool. A kaftan is the perfect choice for every woman who wants to roam around the beaches freely. Our Modern Kaftans are not only used as beach wear dress or swimwear but can be worn as excellent beach-resort wear too. These are just a few of the reasons why women enjoy wearing kaftans.

Our Kaftan dresses are mostly free-flowing, loose gowns that reach your ankles. There are a lot design features added into the kaftan dresses which include fabulous prints, kimono sleeves, and V-necklines with hand finished embroideries.

Tell us about your bespoke collection?

Our luxurious bespoke collection of silk Kaftans feature exclusive prints inspired by the colours of the Orient. They combine traditional fabrics and craftsmanship with modern cuts and a fresh perspectve, offering a feminine silhouette, that’s both sensual and regal.

Rather than dictating the cuts and fabric combinations, we offer you the chance to select the house-designed silk prints you love most in a wide variety of cuts, creating a naturally elegant outfit that will carry you through each day. We work with many groups of artisans to offer traditional techniques of weaving, embroidery, and prints that are exclusive to Kaftan dreams. All creations are ethically constructed. The respect we have for our collaborative artisans a key priority.

How important is ethical sourcing and sustainability to your brand?

At Kaftan Dreams we want our customers to know where the products come from; as well as how they’re made. As a mum of 4 children, I’m concerned about their future and the planet that they will live in. I choose sustainably sourced fabrics and services because of the impact on the environment, and we also want to make sure that our workers are treated well.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as an entrepreneur so far?

The biggest challenge I have to face is to wear all the hats myself; from sales, to marketing, to accounting, IT, and innovation. These are all the number of roles that I have to assume as owner of a new business. I also find myself isolated in my own little space trying to get my brand in a fashion world that is own by giants and managing my time while my priority is my family.

What advice do you have for women who would like to become a GirlBoss like yourself?

Stay authentic and creating something you’re really passionate about.

WWW.KAFTANDREAMS.COM

Here at House of Coco, we know the value of a great pair of sunglasses. And with spring finally bringing in some welcome sunshine, a fabulous pair of sunglasses should be on everybody’s shopping lists for the season.

Whether you are lounging on the beach in the Maldives, or enjoying a warm après ski in the Swiss Alps – a good pair of sunnies is an absolute must for any stylish jet-setter. Not only are sunnies the perfect finishing touch for any ensemble, they also serve as the perfect travel companion no matter where your destination. From Oliver People’s feminine yet angular styles, to Céline’s modern take yellow frames, House of Coco rounds up the best Superstar Sunnies of the season, to help you pick our your new favourite pair just in time for your next holiday.

  1. Swarovski Clear Sunglasses £120
  2. Sener Besim S3 in Nero/Graphite £1076
  3. Oliver Peoples Rassine in soft rose gold & Magenta £255
  4. Grey Ant Iemall $370
  5. Céline Yellow Sunglasses £320
  6. Ace & Tate Frances in Poppy £98
  7. Moncler Gold sunglasses £300
  8. Ace & Tate Vivian in Rose Gold £148 www.aceandtate.co.uk

Here at House of Coco we are always on the lookout for stylish brands making an impact in the fashion industry. If you haven’t come across Asquith London yet I guarantee once this conscious fashion brand is on your radar, you’ll be spotting it regularly in your yoga class, on the school run and in your local coffee shop.

Founded by Alice Asquith in 2002, this yoga and activewear range combines high quality with style and best of all this ethical, eco-friendly brand is not just for the yoga mat, it can be styled for a more relaxed day look. Alice who was taught to ‘make and mend’ by her grandmother has always made her own clothing, when we meet at the Asquith Eco Summit, she is sporting a stylish floral jacket she made in her 20’s and it still looks chic and timeless on her. She greets me like an old friend and wants to know what I think of the brand. I’ve got to be honest, hands up, I hadn’t come across Asquith until recently. My yoga kit is mainly dominated by Nike staples and the odd piece of Lulu Lemon however I’ve a feeling this is about to change.

The new collection is a range of wearable staples, beautifully designed with soft, durable fabrics. It’s inspired by Alice’s love of Miami and its Art Deco buildings. Pops of blue and white are scattered throughout the pieces. Asquith’s style is classic yet flattering and multi-functional, you can easily take it outside the studio. I have to be honest, I live in my Asquith Harem pants and have my eye on their jumpsuit, ideal for travelling in.

The range features two core fabrics, Bamboo and Bambor (a natural performance fabric Alice developed and trademarked). Both are ethically made in a Global Organic Textile Standard approved factory in Turkey. Bamboo is an environmentally low-impact and sustainable fabric, it’s ideal for activewear as it’s breathable, naturally anti-bacterial and wicks moisture from the body to the exterior of the fabric so it can evaporate more easily. Asquith is always innovating and looking for ways to increase their sustainability taking cues from leading fashion brands; “Stella McCartney is leading the way when it comes to sustainable fashion, says Alice. She lives and breathes sustainability with her brand. And I love her use of modern, innovative fabrics and technology and focus on a more circular economy”.

It’s evident that Alice is on mission to produce stylish pieces that are made with love and you can feel that her new collection is a labour of love. Asquith is not just about the environment, its about the people. Alice regularly visits the factory in Turkey that makes her collection, run by a strong female matriarch character. “It’s like one big family, we lunch together, swap recipes and there’s a real sense of togetherness” she says.

Asquith is a brand that produces gorgeous clothes with a conscience. For more information on the collection visit www.asquithlondon.com