Future Vintage: In Conversation with Darina

Many hands make our clothes, and we are close to each craftsperson through the supply chain. We work with small factories who relish the challenge created by our designs and employ artisans whose skills have been passed down through generations. In doing so we support creative communities and help in keeping their inherited craft alive.
Hayley sat down with Darina at her factory in Wimbledon to catchup and discuss their working relationship over the years.

Hayley: We’ve been working together for the past seven or eight years now haven’t we?

Darina: Do you remember the first dress we did together?

H: It was probably a personal one right? Back when I used to go to fancy parties!

D: It was! It was a personal dress back in 2012.

H: Wow so ten, eleven years ago?!  A long time. What I love about working with Darina is that she’s just so passionate. She’s as passionate as I am about making beautiful clothes. We’re tough cookies and nothing but perfection is good enough at any stage of the way. I recognised that straight away in Darina and she did in me. We both ring each other super excited when a collection is finished.

D: Can I just say as well that it’s fascinating to me how you survived during the pandemic. We didn’t stop and we have so many supporters. And that’s how the business survived.

H: And we had an incredible time during the pandemic in the end, once we got over the initial shock and sales started coming in and I was wrapping and packing all of the orders, because everyone was working from home and we didn’t have a fulfilment warehouse so I was literally doing it all myself. And it was great, I was like “oh my goodness I’ve got a business this is great!”

Hayley: Darina why don’t you tell the story of your mother's factory?

Darina: So 150 years ago my great-great grandfather had a small workshop in Istanbul in Golden Horn, which is one of the best parts of Istanbul for trading as it’s a crossroad between Asia and Europe. He used to make leather clothing and personal dresses for the Sultan. This was passed down through the family and my mum started to sell clothes when she was ten years old. Her aunt gave her this passion. She even used to say to her aunt “When are you going to die so that I can have your machines?!”

H: So now Darina you do all of our sampling and smaller production runs for us here at Eden Studios in Wimbledon and then larger production runs at your mother’s factory is in Bulgaria. Wasn't she was one of the first women to start a business over there?

D: She was. My mother started the business 35 years ago and it’s been up and down throughout the years for the company but it works.

Hayley: Business is always up and down and it is a struggle but when you’re deeply passionate about something you find a way don’t you.

Darina: Yeah and fashion is never easy, it’s always full of challenges.

H: It’s ever changing; the landscape and the demands of the consumer and environmental issues and whatever else. It all gets chucked out way and we just have to keep reinventing ourselves and the way we run our business.

D: And the good thing about me and Hayley is that we understand each other very well and know to try to keep the essence of what is important. The colours and shapes for the season, what is coming to the market. So I try to understand Hayley and then this is shown in the final garments with the wovens. It’s so important to understand what the designer wants and when we see the final garments and it comes to life. So thanks for having me and my little factory!

H: No thank you!



Read more about our commitment to working with female-led businesses and sustainable production here