Interview with RO-FTL designers at COTERIE
All images from FTL Moda.
Romania is already renowned for its manufacturing skill. But thanks the Romanian Hub at FTL Moda, awareness of the creative talent of Romania continues to grow. Once again, we’ve caught up with a few incredible Romanian designers at COTERIE to learn who they are, and what drives them.
Q: In a market as competitive as the U.S., what made you decide to step in? What are the main features of your brand that set it apart?
My brand has its own customers here, well appreciated, and I wanted to make the next step and bring it closer. Lucia Olaru’s main feature in its care for details, unique prints and embroidery, versatility, and timelessness; we make sure that the customer can wear it today, tomorrow, and years to come, with confidence and uniqueness.
the customer can wear it years to come
Q: In a world struggling with climate change, you decided to focus on sustainable fashion, producing eco-friendly garments. What is the main reason you decided to walk this path? What will be the next step?
We believe the way to sustainable living is through the wisdom of tradition.
We believe that if we get to understand tradition as a solid relationship between humans and nature, we can get the answers for tomorrow.
The more tech we develop, the more we need nature, and the more we need to start transitioning from the current ego-system to the eco-system.
The more tech we develop, the more we need nature
We see hemp as pure tradition, but also as a source for innovation and creativity for the future.
We love to think we will become a timeless coat brand in a responsible and happy world.
Q: Your creations are unique, bold, and edgy. Do you think the American market is ready for them? What inspires you to create such original pieces?
There is no doubt that the American market is ready for my brand.
The idea of bringing to America a selection of European fashion labels is key. New York is one of the most fashionable cities in the world, and, of course, my couture line fits perfectly.
I find my inspiration in women that are bold and beautiful. The 21st century is all about embracing the success of women.
The 21st century is about the success of women
Q: You propose unusual designs made to impress. Flared fittings, asymmetric cuts, wide frills … just to name a few touches. What is the message behind your creations? Where do you get inspiration for your collections?
I propose an inner world of creation: if they impress, that’s great; otherwise why bother.
Everything is hand-picked from natural fabrics, color, texture, to form and function. All my clothes are comfortable and follow their purpose, extraordinary but still as normal and functional as nature is.
my clothes are extraordinary but functional as nature is
Q: In your opinion, what’s the main difference between ready to wear and fast fashion? Do you think ready to wear will survive, or should fashion be changed to fit this new model?
To be honest, there are several differences between RTW and fast fashion.
For our brand, we consider the main difference to be the know-how we put into our pieces, and consciousness of the way our products are being made.
We do not think that fast fashion is sustainable — from the point of view of quantity, as well as quality. We even go so far as to recommend our clients shop less, and instead buy clothes that they really can appreciate, even after years of wearing them.
We do not think that fast fashion is sustainable
We don’t think fast fashion is the future — instead we think people are beginning to realize that the purpose of fashion isn’t following a trend, but rather finding a style that suits you, and appreciating the quality of one’s wardrobe instead of the quantity, and that gives us hope for a real better future in this industry.
Q: Online vs offline. What do you feel is the best channel to distribute your creations? Do you have a social media strategy to help you stand out from the crowd?
Online and offline communication is paramount if one brand wants to stand out from the crowd.
Online and offline communication is paramount
This is why, for us at least, there is no online vs offline. It is both.
But yes, social media is very important and Facebook and Instagram are probably the main communication instruments.
In terms of sales, especially in our field, the need for an offline experience is very present, as our customers need to try on our creations. Yet, online sales is a growing segment of our business.
Q: How important do you think social media is in fashion today?
Social media is the gas in the fashion industry’s car.
And, we’re becoming more influenced by what we see online than ever before, especially when it comes to fashion.
Social media is key for successful internet marketing; it brings in promising new customers, increased information about fashion, and provides several new channels for advertising. It may not seem like a new trend, but it is constantly evolving.
we’re becoming more influenced by what we see online
Q: What’s the biggest challenge for a designer who wants to work in the US?
Challenge, nowadays, is in the immense variety of competition, and in the fact that even countries that were once considered low-quality “sourcing” countries, now work with a more ethical approach.
countries once considered low-quality “sourcing” countries now work with an ethical approach
For this reason, we believe that the challenge lies in creating the right marketing strategy, once we have secured that all quality control processes are optimized.
Q: What kind of woman do you have in mind when you create your designs?
DeCorina Hats are for the coolest women all over the world.
Hats master communication; they can whisper, flirt, commend, but also scream in line with one’s personality in the most creative way possible.
Your eyes will be sparkling under the brim of a hat made by DeCorina.
Your eyes will be sparkling
The hat will offer you the much-needed support when you want to show your inner beauty and strength to the wide world. Just try a hat and stay aware of how that hat makes you feel, aware of the power you instantly gain.
DeCorina Hats are for self-conscious women, the ones who feel good in their own skin and are willing to discover even more about themselves. Constantly in seductive mood, always the center of attention.
You will never forget a woman glancing from beneath a fabulous DeCorina’s hat.
Q: How would you describe your work and your influences?
The brand Venera Arapu is a representation of postmodernity and a reflection of our Zeitgeist. It is a statement to wear for the strong, self assured and outspoken woman of our times.
It’s for the strong, self assured, and outspoken woman
The concept driving the collections to come is one of visual impact.
Q: What do you like about the American fashion industry from a creative point of view?
The thing that has attracted me the most is the diversity of people.
I think that’s amazing; the way you walk on the street and see loads of people, all different. The fashion industry is the same here, very diverse and open to update like no other place in the world.
The fashion industry in America is edgy; they accept each other as they are and they won‘t judge you no matter what you choose to wear.
This diversity helps us recognize and respect ways of being that are not necessarily our own. The design of Hardcore Fashion is an expression of creativity and rebellion; a concept of the future who found his audience all over the world; but the American fashion industry is the most compatible with my vision.
Hardcore Fashion is an expression of creativity and rebellion
Q: Silviu, you coordinated a high-profile project for the North American market, with Future in Textiles and FTL MODA for Coterie 2019. As a corporate event producer, how important do you consider synergistic approaches between key players at the international level? And conversely, how does the internet enable building a cosmopolitan project at the worldwide level, while working out of a specific country?”
We have always considered that enabling complementary expertise into complex international projects is the key to create synergies and adopt a more strength-focused approach.
We have this embedded in our own company strategy, for all large-scale projects. This has created over the long run the ability to push boundaries, go to market internationally, while keeping the local mood and vibe.
If you consider that digital is now part of every industry, continuously disrupting the status quo, you can better understand and predict trends and B2B buying habits. The more disruptive things get, the more engagement and values businesses have.
The more disruptive things get, the more values businesses have
The key in this complex environment is always to keep an open mind and a growth mindset.