Q: Tell us the story behind Silvia Tcherassi. What inspired you to start your own business?
A little over 30 years ago, I started making t-shirts with appliqués followed by pieces to complement them. Little by little, I began to formulate a vision which then gave way to an entire collection—you could say that the brand started from that collection. From that moment on, the material selection, attention to detail, and the search for elegance that was never pretentious or excessive were very much part of our brand ideals. When I realized that what I was creating was well-received, I decided to put my interior design career on hold and focus completely on fashion. Fortunately, I had the support of my mother Vera who is a true visionary and at the time worked in finance. Since the start, the goal had always been to create a luxury brand of international reach, which at the time seemed like a big dream given that my brand was born in Colombia and the country’s fashion industry was not as well-regarded as it is now. Before, the country was mostly known for its textiles and confections, but when I presented my collections during the Milan and Paris fashion weeks, Colombian design had achieved international presence alongside some of the most important brands in the world.
Q: Recently, Sofia entered the family business as the Director of Ready-to-Wear after graduating from Parsons School of Design. What are some advantages of a mother-daughter-run company? Why is it important to your brand and business?
Having Sofia in the company has been a blessing; she brings a unique vision and formative experiences that have enhanced the brand since her arrival. She is creative yet disciplined, an unlikely combination of sorts. Because she has grown up in this world, she knows and understands it very well. She is also able to have a lot of fun with it, which I believe is so important. It was her choice to major in design and to join the company—that being said, I could not feel more confident and at peace with my legacy.
Q: Your atelier brings hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind creations to life using haute couture materials. How did you learn about couture construction? What is the importance of keeping ateliers alive?
Every time I visit an art exhibit or have the opportunity to appreciate vintage treasures, I am always taken aback by the level of details and their artful construction—it is something I try to incorporate in my designs for modern women. It could be manifested in a particular drape, a delicate embroidery, or a way to craft voluminous ruffles. This has led me to explore and come up with my own techniques. The atelier grants me the liberty to work and experiment with a mannequin and a fit model, which makes the whole creative process more organic, natural, and less rigid—you can definitely perceive this in the final outcome. Another important factor of the atelier is the fortune of having highly talented people on the team. Many of them have been with me from the start and are highly skilled and masterful of some of the most complex techniques. If the creative process comes down to a digital sketch emailed over to production, then where does the magic of fashion lie?
Q: Silvia, you are the author of Elegancia sin Esfuerzo, a beautiful book that encompasses a unique aesthetic and knowledge of fashion. What inspired you to write a book? Do you have plans to write another book in the future? In addition to fashion and writing, do you have any other artistic passions?
I wanted to share my vision of fashion and style, the sources of my passion, and my origins. I also wanted to explore the role of modern women and of fashion in our society. It was an invitation for women to identify their own personal styles and to motivate young designers to dream. Presently, I have no plans to write another book, but I have no doubt that when the perfect subject arises, I will get to work right away. Some of my other passions include floral arrangements. I love everything from the selection process to settling on the perfect place for my finished piece. Not only does it bring me aesthetic pleasure, but I also find it relaxing and inspiring. These kinds of activities are more important than ever.
Q: What or who inspires your designs? What was the inspiration behind your Fall 2021 collection?
I don’t let age or a specific nationality become a factor when designing for women. I keep in mind that she is fond of details, thoroughly enjoys fashion, and wants to look unique and different, as opposed to someone who is devoted to the trends of the season. On a creative front, I have multiple influences. I like to play with contrasts. My Fall-Winter 2021 collection is aptly named “Mélange” as it blends colors, textures, and prints that result in a seductive and balanced aesthetic.
Q: Why is it important to support female-owned and run businesses? What does “the future is female” mean to you as a female fashion entrepreneur?
Because it is a way of showing the world that we are capable of doing anything. If we don’t support these kinds of businesses, they might not have the opportunity to flourish and evolve and we will be unable to show the world that we are disciplined and tireless fighters set for success. There are increasingly more female leaders in the fashion world and I think if the industry is to become more diverse, inclusive, and sustainable, it is imperative that more women are involved in building this better future.
Q: What is your advice to aspiring young entrepreneurs and designers in the fashion industry?
To persevere and have a clear vision. Also, to be disciplined and not lose focus. It is also important to think of fame or recognition as a direct consequence of hard work and not as means to an end. Nowadays, social media makes a celebrity out of anyone, but it takes a lot more courage to be a designer, a genuine creator of fashion, and the founder of a brand. It’s important to not lose sight of this.
Q: What is your personal style?
Q What will never go out of style?
A white shirt—truly the most versatile of all items, which is why I love to reinvent it every coming season.