Based in Italy, Sofia Tsereteli is an independent and sought-after artisanal fashion designer creating timeless limited-edition collections.
With a passion for Italian couture and a romantic Georgian heritage, her designs capture a love for feminine elegance and commitment to fine couture details. We fell in love with this brand because it oozes sophistication and glamour and wearing these designs will make you feel like a million dollars. We went to find out more from Sofia herself…
Tell us about the journey that lead you to launching Sofia Tsereteli…
I fell in love with fashion design as a child, where my mother designed and created beautifully elegant pieces for clients. My father travelled a lot and on his return, his gifts to my mother were always special fabrics. I remember her excitement, the colours and feel of the fabrics he had found for her.
All of our clothes were made with love for four daughters. This sense of clothing that is made with care for an individual person has stuck with me.
I trained at SITAM, a high fashion design institute here in Italy, and afterwards wanted to create my own designs in-house as an independent designer. I remember being encouraged at the time to have my pieces made for a mass market in China but I wanted to follow a different path. Limited editions, made to order, cherished and respected for their beauty, using the finest couture craftsmanship, something sent to our clients with love and owned with joy. I felt it was important that I could touch and work on every single piece that was sent out to our clients.
What has been the biggest learning curve since launching the business?
I am trained in both fashion design and business management but I quickly learned that I needed most to inspire the people around me. It has been so important to share my passion and dreams for the brand and to choose the right people to work with who also share my dedication to quality, skilled artistry and beauty.
Who’s involved in the brand and what roles do they play?
We are a small team of passionate and skilled individuals who work together to create and then to share our designs. All of the designs come from my heart and it is very much my aesthetic and values that shape all aspects of how the brand operates. But we could never achieve the final look and feel of our pieces and the client experience that we want without the small team of in-house skilled tailors, our photographer/videographer, and creative copywriter based in the UK. Each person in our team are highly skilled and love what they do. Importantly they are as inspired and committed as I am to creating something beautiful together.
I have also learned how suppliers can really provide positive support and a valuable contribution. It is inspiring for me to have equipment suppliers who can see what you are trying to create and go out of their way to help and provide support. The fabric companies that we work with here in Veneto also bring that positive energy. They understand and believe in our vison so they can look out for the most beautiful quality fabrics that they know will fit our brand.
What sets you apart from other fashion brands?
All artisanal fashion designers create from the heart rather than for the market, and so it is very much a question of do you fall in love with who we are. I only offer clients the pieces that I personally love. Our signature look is about a timeless feminine beauty and elegance. I think we can rediscover the joy and strength of our femininity and more truly honour that side of our nature.
Your pieces are a work of art and collectible, why was this important for you?
Our pieces are limited edition, made-to-order with handmade detailing. We design and produce each piece from start to finish in our own studio. When things are made this way, each piece is unique and made to be loved and cherished for years to come, not just for this season.
This is a very different process from fast fashion as our creations are designed to last. My pieces offer part of my soul to others and I think that comes through in the quality and the focus on every single detail.
What’s the process behind designing a new piece?
I am inspired by classic design from the 40s, 50s and 60s. I like to bring back this timeless elegance with a modern touch. For me there is a real interaction between the looks that I truly love and the beautiful quality fabrics that will show the design in it’s absolute best light. When I see a fabric for the first time I already know what I would like to create with it. Since the fabric quality and print are so important to achieving a beautiful look, we create many of our own fabric designs unique to our brand. Once the design has been drawn, the process has only just begun, as I work closely with my team to discuss every detail and so continue the design process as the prototype is being made. This is why it was so important to me to have my own little studio. Once the prototypes are completed, only the ones I truly love go on to be part of our collection.
What advice would you offer to anyone wanting to become a fashion designer?
Believe in your dreams and design what you love. There is a huge amount of hard work involved and if you are to spend many, many hours and days on each piece then you need to love what you make and what you do. For me it is also important to understand and have respect for couture skills, so that you understand the details of what’s possible and how things are made.
Talk us through an average day in your life…
My days are very varied. I try to spend as much time as possible in our studio where I can work with my team in our lab to adapt our designs as they are being made and perfect every single detail. There I will also meet clients for coffee in our showroom, or more commonly now virtually, to talk about our designs, fashion and life. Then when I am not in the studio I am usually out meeting our local fabric suppliers, working on collaborations with other artisanal designers, or out doing photoshoots for our new collections.
How much has social media played a role in the success of your brand?
Social media is hugely important to any type of business in the 21st century. It means that your clients can be from anywhere in the world. We get to share our designs and start new relationships internationally. Also, many of our clients love to share their new pieces online and we are so happy to see the joy that are creations bring.
What is your go-to quote when lacking motivation?
There is an Italian expression that roughly translates to “Trying is halfway to success”. There may be times when you are unsure of how to do something or the motivation is not quite there, but just by starting you have taken a great step towards the eventual success.
What’s next for the business?
Our goal is not growth in the sense of mass selling. We plan to continue with limited edition collections and creating our pieces of art. We hope that in the next few years we will have more of an opportunity to bring our creations around the world so that more people can see for themselves the pieces we make.
For us the brand is personal, it is about relationships between people who have the same desires. So our focus will always be on developing these relationships and really sharing the passion we have.
What does self care mean to you?
Self-care is important for all entrepreneurs. Negative people can drain your energy. For me self-care is about surrounding myself with positive energy. It is important to take time to be with family and friends, to have fun and be creative in new ways.
Where can people find out more?
As I said we believe that the relationship between us and our clients is fundamental, and so we are always happy to hear from people and ready to answer any questions they may have. The best way to keep in touch with our brand and see our designs is to follow us on Instagram.
And check out our website sofiatsereteli.com to begin your journey with us and find something special.
We very much hope that you will soon be able to visit our studio in Padua and for us to be able to travel to meet you too.