Fill us in on the backstory of Estilo Emporio, how was the label born?
My parents started manufacturing leather goods in a small fishing village on the Costa Brava in Spain in the 70’s. Eventually they moved out to Australia, and continued to manufacture here. Estilo Emporio was their brainchild, and they are responsible for launching the label six years ago. What started in just leather belts, has grown into a complete leather accessory offering of handbags, footwear and outerwear (that’s where I come in!).
Could you tell us a little more of your own personal path that lead you to where you are today?
I didn’t set out to work in the family business. My education and background is in publicity, but I always had a taste for fashion and it was a really natural progression for me. I loved clothes and accessories ever since I could dress myself, and growing up in a family business meant it was always part of the dinner conversation. There is nothing more personal than family – so I suppose that is what led me here.
Who inspires you personally?
My parents. They have worked in this industry for over 40 years and have taught me never to be complacent, and to work hard. They have reinvented themselves as a business many times over, and to me that is inspiring. To have the energy and the foresight to constantly evolve and be open to new things. Remaining current is incredibly important in this business.
There is clearly a luxe european influence in your aesthetic- where do you draw inspiration from in the design process?
With roots in a destination that was overflowing with artisans, writers and designers, we have always tried to parallel Spain’s appreciation for quality and a quirky and cosmopolitan vibe in our designs. Overseas travel is still key to the process, drawing inspiration from the people and places we are lucky enough to encounter.
Using quality materials is clearly an integral part of your brand’s personality- what do you look out for when sourcing your materials?
Estilo Emporio is known for mixing a variety of skins, from reptile to cow, and everything in between to create a unique finished product. Leathers and other components are constantly innovating, and we are always looking for the most fashion forward materials to use in our designs. We like to source from all over the globe, and it is also important for us to work with suppliers that practice environmentally sound processes.
What are the key items to shop for in the latest Estilo Emporio collection?
Definitely the colourful styles that will make your outfit pop! Tango seems to be the colour of the moment and is a real attention-getter. So I would get myself a pair of TANGO sandals, and an equally colourful clutch to start your accessory wardrobe for Summer.
Any key trends for SS 2012/13 that you have your eye on?
Head to toe prints. I’m a sucker for printed pants, and I love a well thought out print clash! And whilst accessorising I’m really going to embrace texture – laying with lots of fringe, beading and natural finishes. This is really integral to our collection this season – pairing buttery leathers with woven fabrics, rattan finishes, and interesting hardware.
Any tips for up and coming designers that want to break into the Australian market?
I feel like I’m really still learning myself, so I am not sure I am competent to give advice, but I would say know your market. Fashion is global, and Australians are inspired by international trends, but we do have our own take on fashion and a really strong identity. The trick is to translate international trends across borders and make it relevant for Australian women. I think we have such an amazing sense of style here and we must stay true to that.
Blogging has become such a huge international phenomenon- are there any blogs that you just can’t get enough of?
Jak & Jil is my absolute favourite (for obvious reasons)….and BWA of course!
Finally, if you could have breakfast with anyone (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
I did a google search on this one, because it is so tough! At the moment I have a serious style crush on Poppy and Cara Delavigne. So I would take my sister, Kira, and have a sister double date.
Check out some of Estilo’s AMAZING pieces below or head to the site for more!