Interview: Designer Sara Lončarić (Blackpearl)

9:44:00 PM

I had the pleasure to interview independent and emerging fashion designer Sara Lončarić. Her brand, Blackpearl, was created in Zagreb in 2015 and expanded until having a range of ready-to-wear collections, known for their high quality and sophisticated style. Quality being the essential mission, the brand uses luxury material (wool, leather, fur) with pastel colours. 

"we love making clothes with the best fabrics -silk, wool, etc. Quality is our mission. we love to make clothes with details, inspired on a French style"

1. Blackpearl was established in 2015. Do you think it is hard to enter the world of fashion and making a place/name? Can an independent designer live solely out of the fashion design industry?

I launched my line right out of fashion design school. My mentor told me that I should apply for a competition for young designers at Fashion Week Zagreb, because she knew I was ready. Long story short, in the end I won the competition and a got grant which ensured my participation at Fashion Week. The show was a great start because I had an incredible appetite to learn. For the first collection, I worked 18-hour days for 6 months. I have been fascinated by the whole process, even though I was very familiar with whole process of preparing collection. My vision was very clear: to create modern, chic, high-quality wearable garments, that are still comfortable.

After 6 months of hard work, I was ready for the fashion runway. I was very thrilled and nervous at the same time, because I had to meet all the expectations from journalists and critics. After great reviews about my work, I realized that I was quite good and that I should continue with my new brand. Since then, I have totally focused on developing Blackpearl's collections through my own sensibility.

2. What kind of customer/women do you think of when creating and working on your designs?

Blackpearl. There is a powerful and fascinating meaning behind this name. If you think of white pearls there are a lot of them, just like millions of brands. But black pearls are very rare. Most people prefer white pearls, but those who fall in love with black pearls will always remain faithful. Blackpearl doesn’t fit to others. He has his own story. We create for women who don’t follow the path many lead, but leave their own stamp on the way. They are wise, motivated, powerful and beautiful. They are Blackpearls.

3. How is fashion industry in your country? How much importance is given to local designers, sustainable and ethically made clothing? 

Starting a clothing line is tricky. The fashion industry is really hard work in Croatia.This journey requires a tremendous amount of determination, passion and vision. If you want to succeed here, huge passion is the key. Moreover, we don’t have many fashion designers and brands in Croatia, because it’s not easy.  It's very difficult to move forward to the next level with the infrastructure of a small business - you have to be very strategic, focused and creative with your time and resources. We’re faced with challenges every day, but as long as we approach our jobs in an authentic manner, everything will unfold the way it should.

Furthermore, our fashion manufactures rapidly fade out, there aren't any fabric fairs or manufactures (luckily we are close to Italy, country known for its best fabric manufacturing). Croatia doesn’t have any financial support for young fashion designers at the start. Everything depends on you and your family is your only investor. I have to admit that for the Croatian designers it’s very expensive to show catwalks twice a year without any sponsors and support, as it’s difficult to cover the costs. I believe something is going to be changed about the presentation format very soon.

Fashion industry is very competitive, by the side of high street brands, which are very popular in our country and around the World. According to researches, these affordable brands produce hundreds of millions of garments per year. And some even introduce 400 styles a week on their websites. It makes the customers feel off-trend after only the first wear. If you think further you can imagine where all those clothes end up after we decide to get rid of them. As a result, we create hills and mountains of litter. On a more optimistic note, fashion designers and fashion houses decided to be the ones who try to make more people aware of it. The Earth needs all the help it can get.

So blackpearl also has a mission, to attract customers with high-quality made clothes, with the best tailored coats, blouses, pantsand dresseswith some distinctive details which are made in exclusive limited quantities. Additionally, all our clothes are made in Croatia, all pieces are made mostly of natural fabrics, and every garment is sewn in a small craft in Zagreb. Clothes like these are made to last many years and are eco-friendly,and that feeling is irreplaceable.

4. You said inspiration comes basically from French style. Do you have favourite designers you get inspired from or got inspiration in the past?

Our brand is known for its unique aesthetic. The silhouettes are easy to wear, the details are chic and distinctive. I want our women to feel feminine, confident and comfortable in our garments.I believe when I was a child I was influenced by two artists, I was literally absorbing their creative forms, colors, and unforgettable details from the pages of books. Since I was a kid I’ve been encouraging myself to appreciate beauty and I have always been inspired by: genius french artists Erté and Paul Poiret from the 20thC. Erté was a master of innovative details which are today still very modern and mr. Poiret a couturier of amazing forms and shapes of garments.

5. Your collections have stepped on the catwalk and have appeared in important magazines of the fashion world. How is Blackpearl growing and evolving?

We are a small brand which is still developing. Designing is actually a small part of what we do. We order fabrics, make patterns, collaborate with other savoire-faires and dress makers, take photos, create bulletin boards for each story, work out looks with stylist and go to fittings. The whole process takes 4 months. After that, we’re ready for Fashion Week. We had a twist of luck to be in so many magazines, websites and attending at Fashion Weeks. Still, on a monthly basis we get important invitations to be a part of Fashion Week in NY, Paris, Rome, Helsinki, and in EXPO Paris; World Fashion Week. I hope that my brand will find a financial investor soon, so that we could have the ability to participate at such great events and expand our international presence.

Seen in Cosmopolitan,, BAZAAR, JOURNAL Lifestyle Magazine,, and others, Blackpearl is making a name and place in the world of fashion. Giving a feeling of timeless elegance, with the use of fine fabrics and perfect fitting details, Blackpearl offers unique clothes.

"We look to the future by constantly changing and evolving. Our mission is to produce in an ethical and sustainable way that considers both the people and the planet.


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