Another month here and for this month I have make an interview with Dajana, a bridal fashion designer based in London. Last year I have a chance to be invited for her debut collection fashion show of bridal dresses inspired by peonies. Since then I have followed her on social medias and keep in touch with her with her new designs. Was very lovely from her to answer my questions for a career inspiration interview section on my blog. Very straigh forward, full and inspirational answers. Read the full interview bellow (by clicking read more) and don't forget to as well check her website and facebook :)
1. Introduce us a bit about yourself and your background.
Coming from Croatia/Bosnia but having grown up in Germany and also feeling at home now in Cyprus and England, I like to see myself as a multinational girl who loves to travel and discover fashion all over the world.
Design and Fashion Illustration is a skill I believe I developed from a very young age, spending hours and hours drawing numerous dress illustrations - princess dresses, evening / ball and bridal gowns but also more casual day dresses inspired by the elegant feminine glamour of Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly in the 50s/60s - but always with a modern twist. ;) Over the years I’ve managed to hone my creativity and develop the necessary business expertise to launch my own label.
Being generally inspired by different colours, shapes, feminine styles and romantic fabrics I grew up refining my understanding of fashion and skill for fashion styling. Having graduated my Masters degree in Fashion Management where I developed a professional expertise on fashion trends displayed by Vogue Magazine as well as through my work as a personal stylist in London, I do not see myself as a typical designer - my passion has always been to combine different materials and perfect each aesthetic angle of a garment to achieve an outstanding look.
There is always a story behind each individual gown and behind each collection which I like to reflect in my signature designs. :)
2. How did you get into designing and why bridal?
I first had the inspiration for the brand in 2012 whilst working as a personal stylist for both men and women’s wear in London . Whilst sourcing items on behalf of two brides-to-be who were looking for unique, memorable bridal gowns, I identified a gap in the market for a fashionable bridal wear line featuring contemporary colour accents.
Like most women, I adore the glamour of beautiful white gowns yet I noticed there was an appetite amongst young fashion forward brides for something more distinctive - a modern twist on the classical white wedding dress. This lead me to establish Dajana Basic London´s signature designs of delicate colour accents in Spring 2013, launching our Debut Collection in September 2013.
I generally love everything about weddings - the mood, the flowers, the attention to detail, the love between a couple, the gathering of close family and friends, the happy smile of a bride combined with romantic fabrics like feminine lace, soft tulle and extravagant organza.
I love the feeling to be able to design the most important dress in a woman’s life by combining personal wishes with modern designs, quality and endless comfort, creating the perfectly fitted bespoke bridal gown - it feels like a dream come true each time for both of us, the bride and the designer.
3. How did you start your brand? What were the challenges and difficulties at the beginning and how did you overcome them?
I experienced 3 big challenges while starting up my label:
1. Becoming comfortable with the risk and taking the necessary steps (step by step and head through wall literally) ;)
2. Putting your initial ideas into a business plan, break it down into a market analysis, finance plan and cashflow forecast
3. Securing your fundings and most importantly having the support of your family!
Once I head my business, finance plan and cashflow forecast ready I went to an incubator day with UK Start-ups and managed to secure the funds to launch my first collection. Since then, it all developed step-by-step - A lot of work, commitment, marketing, press relations, and financial investments into trading shows were necessary to start trading and generate the first sales.
It is important to have the full support of your family and a great team of professionals around you, to support each other and grow in the industry.
4. How is your workingday like?
No day is like the other - that´s the beauty of being an entrepreneur and being responsible for so many different aspects of a business. :) I generally try to work fix working hours from 9am until 6pm, but reality is I also continue to work past 11pm to catch up on emails, plan new events/shoots etc. :)
Typically I set myself tasks for each month, I like to complete in order to move on to the next challenges and keep going in the industry - this can be from designing new bespoke gowns for brides to new upcoming shows, business trips but also to plan the new collection and the brand´s marketing strategy.
I also travel often from the seaside in Portsmouth to London for meetings with my team, fittings with brides & Co. :)
5. Is there any favorite piece/collection or collaboration you have done? And why?
I really enjoyed the making-off of our debut campaign images with all the gowns of our first collection in Notting Hill - it was a super exhausting day, but we had such a lovely girls team and managed to create this beautiful images which represent our brand identity perfectly and which also secured us lots of media coverage - that was brilliant. :)
6. What do you enjoy the most as a designer?
Definitely meeting with our bespoke brides is something I always enjoy very much - it is such a lovely journey to create their dream bridal gown together. :)
7. Where do you seek for inspiration? / What inspires you?
I am mainly inspired by chic feminine life styles, shapes, soft colours, fun little things like delicious macaroons, beautiful flowers like round fashionable Peonies and Hydrangeas, but also style icons like Grace Kelly, the romantic streets of Florence and Paris and buzzing fashion forward capitals like our stylish London. :)
8. What are you planning next; can you give us a hint on what we might expect from you? Any events, new collections, collaborations etc.?
We are excited to launch our new Peony Collection in Spring, possibly also a Midnight Collection of evening gowns and red carpet wear, delicate head bands and also publish the first images of our bespoke brides.
Another big event will be my own wedding and the launch of my own bespoke gown. o:)
9. Any inspiration quote or message you would like to share with readers and those who are as well passionate about going for a designing career?
Quotes which inspire me personally are
`In order to be outstanding, one must always be different! by Coco Chanel
as well as
`Dolce far niente!´ (famous Italian saying - `The sweetness of enjoying life to the fullest!´) :)
I strongly believe, sometimes we just have to take the first steps and go `head-through-wall´ to accomplish something! And there is no way we can do this alone - we need the support of a brilliant team, family and friends. :)
Thanks a lot to Dajana for your time and gving us a little insight of your journey.
For next month career inspiration interview I am still open for any enthusiastic keen people who would love to share their journey and shout out to the readers more about what they do. Any industry and background welcome. Email me if interested: firstname.lastname@example.org
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