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  • Exclusive Interview With Floriane Fosso

    The Life of a Fashion Designer

    Why did you become a designer?

    As a lover of conscious luxury, and with a strong fashion education provided by stints at Chanel and Michael Kors, the conception of a collection rooted in the finest fabrics seemed obvious to me at the end of my Master degree. I started to realize that I was frustrated as a consumer with the existing brands that I could afford at the time. I was disappointed with the fabrics, the quality and values of the brands, however the prices could be very high.

     

    As I was working on my thesis, I focused my studies on green luxury and the future of accessible luxury. It was obvious to me that one of the factor of the crisis of the fashion industry in the 2000's was that the products were not meeting the customers' expectations. I was craving for beautiful designs with additional human and environmental value.

    What are your design aesthetics?

    As for the DNA, my motto is "The Exotic Parisian wardrobe #fromparisto you", the collections are inspired by my different travels, each new season I show my Parisian interpretation of different destinations. I stand for a modern and cosmopolitan Parisian style, definitely multicultural and not typically Parisian, this is the New Paris! It is sophisticated, modern and exotic. I love mixing fabrics, trims, styles, inspirations and influences. I think that my shapes are pretty simple, parisian in a sense, I mean "casual chic" but very strong too thanks to my choices of fabric combinations. I also have a signature style that you can identify through the seasons, such as fringes, handmade buttons with pearls and ethnic tweed.

    Your point of view on designing?

    Since its launch, the brand distinguished itself as a favorite among women opting for a signature style. Top quality materials and a meticulous attention to details are the hallmarks of my brand. My lines are manufactured by the most renowned French workshops using luxury upcycled fabrics. I can also use natural and organic fabrics. For instance my "From Paris to-shirts"-line is made with organic cotton. As for leather, it is sourced from high luxury scraps from non protected species. For me, a design has to bring value to the world, fashion is not just about feeling pretty in a clothe, it is about making shopping beautiful and meaningful. I also do partnerships with NGOs by donating a part of my revenue.

    Do you have any muses?

    I have a lot of admiration and respect for designer Yves Saint Laurent. He is for me the epitome of the modern designer, he revolutionised the fashion industry in terms of aesthetics, values, he asserted women and highlighted all types of women. He truly loved women. He also changed the eyes on ethnic women.

    In general, I am very inspired by the models of the 90's such as Naomi Campbell, Monica Bellucci, Cindy Crawford, I literally adore them, I discovered fashion thanks to them, thanks to their strong looks, personalities, and beautiful bodies with curves. I am also obsessed with Kerry Washington's classiness.

    How do you feel about the influx of female designers?

    I think that it is very positive that women such as Maria Grazia Chiuri take over historical houses such as Dior, she was the first woman to get this position. I think that nobody better than a woman knows how and why a woman needs to feel comfortable and seducing at the same time.

    Tell us a lil about your life style and how you handle work-life balance?

    To be very honest, I am not going to lie, my life style today is pretty chaotic! I don't sleep enough, I drink too much coffee, I don't always eat healthy, and I don't practice sports enough. It is a lot of work and pressure to run your fashion house at 26. A lot of joy too, I am very happy with what I do but it's intense! I have to do the work of 10 different people.

     

    But I am not worried, I had a very healthy life style before launching my line, so of course I miss this part of my life but as I learned how to run a fashion brand, I will deal with that now, feeling balanced is an unstoppable learning process too and I am excited to work on that now. It is actually my biggest challenge for the months to come. However, my priority has always been to spend quality time with my boyfriend, family and friends, and that makes my life very sunny and joyful. I really pay attention to that. I feel loved and supported and that gives you wings to keep pushing your limits. My only advice to new entrepreneurs, is never isolate yourself, I don't believe in the myth of the lonely entrepreneur. You need to share and be with others. It is such a virtuous circle.

    What is the future looking like? Plans on growing the business?

    2017 has been a very exciting year for the brand. I opened my flagship store in Palais Royal in Paris and signed a partnership with a showroom in New York. We are developing the brand in the USA with openings of corners in multi brand stores such as P45 Chicago. I am so happy to work with this store which has a strong heritage in working with emerging and established designers. The future is to launch the US eshop of the brand and keep developing the brand outside of France. Design wise, I am working on a vegan capsule collection, I am very excited!

  • Exclusive Interview With Sophia Forero

    Her Beginnings and Plans for the Future

    Photography by Michael Lash

    Why did you become a jewelry designer ?

    Why did I become a jewelry designer...
     

    I never intended or thought I would be in the world of fashion. My studies were in political science and international relations- it was while I was a masters student at University of Chicago that I started to learn about the history of adornment. I was writing my thesis on then Apartheid South Africa and started to research amazing pictures of beautiful people, different tribes of Africa, wearing adornment as a symbol of who they were within their group- like a language that existed without them speaking.
     

    From their adornment they would communicate if they were married, had passed some sort of ritual, their spiritual beliefs, their wealth- and I realized that this phenomenon existed in all parts of the world throughout our history. I started to create jewelry to emulate that unspoken language: my first piece was made with Russian amber and North American turquoise: I called it Detente on a string.
     

    From there, I just caught the bug of LOVING creating jewelry. After
    graduate school I joined the US PEace Corps, I was stationed in Hungary for 2 years just as the Wall fell down. It was a fascinating time- I got to travel all over the Balkans and I just gathered beads and elements to create.
     

    That started the discovery of my passion, this journey designing.

    Photography by Michael Lash

    What are your design aesthetic?

    The signature piece we create is the mosaic: it's based on the icons of Byzantium. I am Greek, and the mosaic technique is a staple of many of our churches. I strove to create a signature that would make our line stand out, to make all of my Sophanistas feel beautiful.

    Your point of view on designing?

    If you don't love making others feel beautiful, don't design. In the case of adornment, a beautiful piece will literally change the countenance of the wearer- if we can make her feel like a queen, she'll walk that much taller. There is NOTHING like seeing a
    Sophanista's face light up when she's wearing a piece she loves. And for our men too- they feel bold, strong in our cuffs. That's powerful.

    Photography by Michael Lash

    Do you have any muses?

    Do you have any muses? I can't say that I have any one muse, but I do take bits and pieces from different designers and amalgamate them into our business culture.

     

    For example, I very much admire Yves Saint Laurent for how PURELY he strove to create beauty, he was almost painfully rigorous in his artistic process. I also admire Coco Chanel for her resourcefulness, but only to a point- I consummately reject her behavior during World War II. I admire Betsy Johnson for being a young mom following her dreams. I admire Miuccia Prada for her absolute attention to detail when walking into her retail locations- they are as innovative as modern art museums to me.

    Tell us a lil about your life style and how you handle work-life balance?

    AH this is the crux of my existence. I am a mother FIRST. I have 4 children, ranging in ages from 28 to 10 years old. I feel ABSOLUTELY blessed to be able to mix my work life, my dreams, and be so present in their lives. I know that my children have had to sacrifice for me- I'm not the kind of mom that can go to soccer practice on Saturdays, for example. But I am the kind of mama who will be here to answer any questions, and guide them through this journey we call life. My husband and children are THE most important facets of my life. My husband is my best friend, business partner, and soundboard in all things, including design. He is an installation artist and extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of this business, and he is my best cheerleader when he needs to be, and sometimes my loving reprimander when I go out of bounds. I could never have pursued this dream without him by my side.

    What is the future looking like, plans on growing the business?

    SO MANY plans!! I feel like we are JUST getting started. We are talking to major retailers about representation in their stores, as well as new international boutiques. We are also working on our Adorn One World YouTube channel- I have an idea to go and interview indigenous jewelry creators around the world and present their work by video. So far we've done this with Navajo and Zuni artists on reservations in New Mexico, and we've filmed jewelers in Portugal, Italy, and Spain. We want to educate other about jewelry cultures around the world, and continue using international elements in our own line.
     

    Feel beautiful!!!