By admin | March 3, 2016
Not unlike many others, I very much approve of the annual event that is couture fashion week. Every year, the most beguiling bespoke creations are paraded in front of the ever appreciative audience, and we all hold our breathe for a few moments. Then, nothing. Not one single self proclaimed fashion obsessive could find such an event, other than those fleeting black tie invitations, to warrant such an over indulgent purchase. The fashion consumer market wants to see ready-to-wear, and lots of it. We want accessible inspiration, and as many outlets as humanly possible for our obsession with looking, and feeling fabulous.
As there is always a thriving market for pret-a-porter collections, there will always be desire for classic, timeless, investment pieces. You cannot purchase anything as chic and timeless as great quality tweed garments. Likewise, you will never beat the impeccable quality of design from Beste Bragg Haute Couture.
On Saturday, we will be witness to the latest collection from this exemplary brand, and Beste Bragg (founder and designer) will demonstrate her gift for creating the extraordinary, from inspiration that may be deemed classical, and a little old fashioned.
Beste, after having moved to the UK from Izmir, Turkey, obtained the highly regarded degree in Fashion Design from Dokuz Eyul University. Igniting a passion in her for aspirational technique elements, Bragg then went on to pursue her educational journey further. This included studying Creative Textile Design in Central St Martin’s and Customised Pattern Cutting at London College of Fashion with none other than Dennic Chunman Lo, one of the best in his field in the fashion industry.
From her self run and sincerely accomplished atelier in the idyllic Northamptonshire village of Farthinghoe, Bragg creates bespoke evening and bridalwear, alongside a successful collection in beautiful and exquisite tweed, silk and lace.
After having achieved such success in so many admirable endeavours already, Beste Bragg Haute Couture collection will be shown as part of the events at the exclusive Paris Fashion Week. In collaboration with Oxford Fashion Studio, I was lucky enough to interview Beste, and understand her brand a little more.
Describe your collection in three words.
Vibrant – lively – characterful.
Tell me about how your brand came into existence.
I started designing and making garments under my own name around 10 years ago and my first tweed collection came into existence in 2014. My RTW collections always mainly consist of tweeds, sumptuous silks and delicate laces. I also continue to design and make one-off garments, mainly bridal and evening gowns from my atelier in Northants.
If you could choose any celebrity muse to represent your brand, who would it be, and why?
Gwyneth Paltrow – she’s smart, beautiful, talented and has a great dress sense.
What has been your most memorable challenge in your career?
You face new challenges on a daily basis. Working for other people and follow their instructions was a big challenge when I first started working as a designer.
How did you overcome that challenge?
I quit, moved to a different country, studied further, worked harder and set up my own brand.
On the day of a fashion event, such as the OFS show, what does your daily routine look like? What time do you get up? What time restrictions do you have?
An early rise, lots of coffee, chin up, don’t panic, get on with it, enjoy, celebrate, go and have a good nights’ sleep. I simply try to enjoy every minute.
What is your earliest fashion memory?
It has got to be me having a go at dressmaking by cutting up my mum’s satin tablecloth to make myself a skirt as well as little wedding gowns for my dolls, at the age of 6. I also thought it would be a good idea to chop into my mum’s late 60s early 70s style engagement and wedding gowns in order to make ice-skating costumes for myself. She didn’t look too surprised when she discovered what I had done. My parents always knew I would become an artist; I was always drawing and painting, sewing and knitting even at a very early age.
How crucial to your business is social media?
Social media is undoubtedly the quickest, easiest and most efficient way to reach your potential buyers. We mainly use twitter, instagram and facebook to let our followers know what we are up to. The instant reactions to images, news and updates on our pages, their feedbacks and questions are very valuable to us.
How do you handle the business side of your brand? Do you hire a business manager? Are you in charge of a team?
We have very smart ladies helping us with the business side of things but I make the last decision, based on their advice. I am not the most business minded so massively rely on my business advisers’ guidance when it comes to business planning. My husband helps a great deal too, he is my rock.
What advice would you give to a young, unestablished designer?
Be different and always aim perfection – half-hearted, rushed work will never get you anywhere. You need to work hard, learn to survive on very little sleep so don’t think good things will come to you if you wait. Nothing good comes to you unless you work your socks off for it.
What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Be easy on your parents. You understand them better when you are a parent yourself. I would also say a ‘well-done’ to my younger self for always working hard, never giving up, and for knowing when to leave and move on.
What qualities do you look for in an associate/employee?
They need to love their job and should never interfere with the design side of things unless I ask their opinion.
What was the inspiration for the pieces/collection being shown at the OFS event?
This collection is a celebration of ‘life’ and ‘woman’. I decided to make these pieces as colourful, vivid and lively as I could to celebrate ‘life’, ‘hope’ and ‘to honour women’ wherever they may be from. I chose the colours of precious stones such as Tanzanite, Ruby, Emerald, Yellow Diamond and Sapphire in this collection and they represent women.
I am dedicating my collection also to two very important women; my late university tutor Professor Saadet Ergene, who taught me everything I need to know to become an accomplished designer/dressmaker during my education in Turkey and to my lovely mummy who has gone an extra mile in the last couple of years to support me. She is truly amazing.
The founder of the Turkish Republic, the greatest leader Ataturk once said “everything we see in the World is the creative of world of women”, and it is what I believe too.
Which five pieces should every woman own in her wardrobe?
A tweed jacket to combine with pretty much everything, a silk shirt/blouse, a black dress, jeans and a white tee.
What keeps you motivated?
Being alive is a pretty good reason to be motivated; it’s a good start if I may say so. I am one those people who gets a little annoyed when they get distracted or interrupted during work so as long as I am left alone whilst I am working, I function well and the motivation is all there. I have to have the music on whilst working and it’s either the radio or a Queen or a Beatles album. Oh – chocolate helps too!
What inspires you?
It could be anything, the season, a subject, a song. I am lucky enough to have my studio in the countryside so the beautiful surroundings and ever-changing colours in the nature always inspires me and gives me ideas for a new design.
What is the next challenge/event planned for your brand?
It’s the Paris Fashion Week Show on the 5th of March, which I am looking forward to very much.
Where do you want to be one year from today?
A year from today, I would like to my designs to be distinctive enough to be recognized all over the world.
What has been the highlight of your career?
The positive feedback I had after my first catwalk and the opportunities that came after that. I really enjoyed the experience, the buzz and the excitement during and after the show.
If you could choose five people, living or dead, to sit front row at your fashion show, who would they be?
Gwyneth Paltrow, Audrey Hepburn, Kate Middleton, Paul McCartney & the one and only Coco Chanel.