Welcome to an exclusive interview with Bibi Sakalieva, an emerging fashion designer who has captured the attention of the industry with her unique vision and dedication to timeless elegance. With a focus on empowering individuals to express their uniqueness, Bibi Sakalieva's designs reflect a harmonious blend of sophistication, craftsmanship, and storytelling.
In this interview, we delve into the creative journey of Bibi Sakalieva, exploring her inspiration, design process, and the mission behind her brand. Discover how she infuses narratives into her collections, maintains high-quality standards, and utilizes social media to connect with her audience. Join us as we explore the challenges she has faced, her dreams for the future, and the impact she aims to make in the ever-evolving world of fashion.
Get ready to embark on a captivating conversation with Bibi Sakalieva, where she shares her insights, experiences, and the essence of her brand...
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the creation of Bibi Sakalieva and what sets it apart from other fashion brands in the industry?
The inspiration behind Bibi Sakalieva comes from women. As a woman myself, along with my close friends, we often feel unhappy with our appearances and constantly strive to change something about ourselves, whether it's losing weight or altering our bodies to fit the standards portrayed by fashion magazines. However, we come to the realisation that we are not all perfect. This realisation sparked the idea of creating clothes that look good on every female figure. Whenever I find inspiration for a new design, I try it on myself. If it looks good on me, despite not having perfect measurements, I believe it will look good on any woman. This drive to make every woman feel beautiful, regardless of their figure, sets Bibi Sakalieva apart from other brands in the industry.
How do you incorporate sustainability and ethical practices into the production process of your products?
All of our clothes are produced in-house in my atelier, where we function as a small team that feels like a family. I personally participate in the production process very often. It is important to me that the materials I use come from verified suppliers who guarantee their origin and sustainability. I can assure you that all clothes from Bibi Sakalieva are made to last and accompany you for a long time.
Bibi Sakalieva is known for its unique and artistic designs. How do you ensure that creativity and innovation remain at the core of your brand?
I don't create overly intricate and extravagant designs that require instructions on how to wear them. My unique signature lies in simple designs that possess a captivating element and emphasize certain details. This approach allows my clothes to become refined and distinctive, ensuring that creativity and innovation are always at the core of the Bibi Sakalieva brand.
How do you approach inclusivity and diversity within your brand? How does this reflect in your designs and marketing strategies?
As mentioned before, my focus is on creating clothes that look good on any type of figure. This inclusivity is the foundation of my brand. I don't target a specific group; instead, I cater to every single woman, regardless of age, background, or body shape. The ordinary woman, the career-driven woman, the woman with a family, or the woman with limited time for herself—these are my clients. Every woman can find herself in Bibi Sakalieva's designs. I ensure that my clothes look equally flattering on curvy and thin women, short and tall women, younger and mature women. This approach demonstrates that we can all look beautiful, regardless of our age or appearance.
Bibi Sakalieva has gained international recognition. Can you share some insights into how you've successfully expanded your brand globally?
I am still coming to terms with the success and recognition Bibi Sakalieva has achieved internationally. It all began with my participation in LONDON FASHION WEEK, which led to an offer from a PR agency with offices in LA and London. Through my collaboration with this agency, I had the opportunity to work with successful stylists. Following the fashion show, three media outlets published features on my work, which eventually led to an invitation from British Vogue to join their campaign. It felt like a dream come true. I worked even harder to turn my dreams into reality. I aspired to sell my clothes in international boutiques, and that's when pop-up stores like LDC offered me the chance to participate.
Fashion is constantly evolving. How do you stay ahead of trends and ensure your brand stays relevant in a fast-moving industry?
Fashion indeed undergoes constant evolution. To stay ahead of trends and ensure the relevance of my brand, I believe in a combination of the old and the new. I don't let myself be heavily influenced by what fast fashion giants impose. Instead, I focus on classic elegance, which always remains in style. There have been instances where I created wide-legged trousers years ago, and initially, they were not well-received. However, now they have become one of my best-selling items. I can't pinpoint the secret behind this, but it is likely a result of my talent and intuition.
Bibi Sakalieva's collections often tell stories. Can you share the process of creating a collection and how you infuse storytelling into your designs?
When I create a collection, I draw inspiration from various sources. For example, a few years ago, a friend gifted me a biographical book about Coco Chanel, which led me to design a collection inspired by her. I named it "Little Black Dress," and the pieces reflected a distinct Chanel style. Similarly, last year, with weddings being a common occurrence in my life, I created a collection that I showcased at London Fashion Week. This collection was suitable not only for weddings but also for holiday wardrobes and everyday office or casual wear. I infuse storytelling into my designs by letting the inspiration behind each collection shine through, allowing the garments to convey a narrative or evoke certain emotions.
The brand's mission is to empower people to express their uniqueness. How do you achieve this through your products and brand messages?
Empowering people to express their uniqueness is at the heart of my brand's mission. I achieve this by featuring non-professional models in my photoshoots. I often use close friends who do not have model figures but embody real women. Additionally, I frequently share pictures of various clients wearing my clothes, including myself. This approach allows the audience to envision how the garments would look on different body types and encourages them to embrace their femininity. I firmly believe that every woman possesses beautiful femininity within; we just need to let it shine and show it to the world.
Bibi Sakalieva is praised for her attention to detail and craftsmanship. How do you maintain high-quality standards throughout the production process?
Maintaining high-quality standards throughout the production process is challenging but crucial to uphold the brand's reputation. All production takes place in my atelier, under my strict supervision. I do not outsource the production to factories. Currently, with limited edition or made-to-order production, I can ensure that all garments are meticulously crafted and fairly produced.
In today's digital age, social media plays a vital role in brand promotion. How do you use social media platforms to connect with your audience and build brand awareness?
Undoubtedly, social media plays a significant role in our daily lives. It serves as a means for clients to discover me and my brand. For instance, British Vogue reached out to me through Instagram, which led to being featured in their Designer Profile campaign. The same goes for being interviewed by your magazine—it happened because of social media. Currently, I utilize Instagram and Facebook for brand promotion. However, managing social media profiles can be challenging and time-consuming, so I am actively seeking a team to handle these tasks. The younger generation excels in this area, while I find it a bit more difficult and time-consuming.
What challenges did you face as a brand, and how did you overcome them? What lessons did you learn along the way?
There are always challenges in any endeavor. In recent years, the biggest challenge was undoubtedly the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many others, I was not prepared for such a situation. In college, we learned that a company must always have a prepared strategy to navigate unpredictable situations and adapt to changes; unfortunately, I was not prepared at the time. I had just started my brand and was in the process of looking for a shop and studio when the world shut down. Suddenly, no one cared about clothes and fashion.
However, I did not give up. I accepted the situation and decided to wait until things improved. This allowed me more time to finish my education and start again. In the meantime, I returned to my homeland, Bulgaria, and opened my studio there. I worked tirelessly to establish my presence in the international market. It was a long and challenging journey, but I never gave up. I always believe in fighting until the end. This is a lesson I want to instil in my children as well—to never give up in the face of challenges because they make us stronger and more experienced.
Our readers love to travel. Which destination is at the top of your bucket list?
I have two destinations that rank highly on my bucket list. Firstly, Bulgaria holds a special place in my heart. It boasts stunning natural landscapes, including mountains and seas. I highly recommend visiting Plovdiv, the seventh oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Bulgaria also has exceptional wineries, and our wines could be strong competitors on the global market with better marketing efforts. If your readers are interested in visiting Bulgaria, they can reach out to me for more advice. We have numerous historical places worth exploring.
Secondly, Italy is another destination I yearn to visit. Gelato, Aperol, pizza, and wine are just a few of the highlights that beckon me. In truth, I would love to visit nearly every place on the planet, as each offers unique cultures, cuisines, and adventures.
Where do you call home?
Home, to me, is wherever my family is. It doesn't matter if we are in Bulgaria or the UK—as long as I am with my husband and children, I feel at home.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Looking back, I don't believe I would change anything. Making different choices in the past could alter my present circumstances. However, I might have pushed myself harder to finish certain projects and been more self-confident about my work. Now I know that I am good enough to accomplish my goals.
And finally, what do you see for the future of Bibi Sakalieva? How do you plan to grow and continue making a positive impact in the fashion industry?
For the future of Bibi Sakalieva, I envision continued involvement in pop-up stores and events. However, my big dream is to have my own boutique on one of London's bustling streets. I would also love to secure space in renowned stores like Harrods, Selfridges, and John Lewis. While I understand these aspirations may seem like dreams, I believe dreams can come true.
Currently, a boutique in New York has approached me with a proposal to collaborate, and I may join them in September. These opportunities excite me and fuel my motivation to grow and expand my brand further.
Where can people learn more about Bibi Sakalieva?
At the moment, you can learn more about Bibi Sakalieva through my Instagram profile @bibisakalieva and my website: https://bibisakalieva.com/.