Interview with Suzana Nikolovska designer of Leopold & Livia Swedish Kids clothes


How did your fashion adventure begin?

Designing has always been a part of my life, a life on engagement, which resulted in four years Womenswear Design studies in London. While in London I used to work for designers such as Ann-Sofie Back. I also had my own line of womenswear and accessories that were stocked in several boutiques such as Koh Samui in Covent Garden in London.
Making children’s clothes was just a natural progression after having given birth to two lovely girls. A great desire blossomed wanting to make my girls look beautiful and well dressed.
Since there was a gap in the market for this kind of clothes for children in Sweden where we live, we decided setting up our own brand. We just wanted to make the kind of clothes that we want to dress them in.

How did you manage to launch your own fashion line?

I am very lucky that l have my husband Vasko as a business partner, he is great at all things that I am not. We make a very good team. We had been discussing setting up a business forth and back. A few weeks before giving birth to our second daughter, in April 2012 we decided to start our brand.

Where did the name Leopold & Livia come from?

It comes from a little story that we used to tell our children before bedtime about a prince and a princess called little LEOPOLD and little LIVIA.

What makes your collection stand out from the crowd?

We are a family run business and make all the designs and pattern work in house by ourselves. We strive for the perfect fit, this means that the "fair of our designs are constructed it that kind of way so that it fits the body perfectly. What we do want to point out is that we use only the best quality available on the market and pure natural fabrics that feel great against kids' skin. We do not only want to make beautiful garments on the outside but we make sure they are made beautifully on the inside also in terms of refined sewing techniques and finishing’s. We make sure that all parts of the garments are nicely made with French scams, bindings and similar.

What is your favorite piece from your AW collection?

It is hard to choose only one but from our Autumn Winter collection we do love our “Adela" full circle, black leather skirt combined with our “Ava" blouse in powder cotton voile. These two garments are to be seen on our campaign image.

Do you have a custom design service?

If you by this mean if we design on request then yes we do, but not on a daily basis. We do it for special occasions. In fact we are doing it right now for a very well known celebrity couple that loved our collection - so we are making a couple of garments from it  in tiny baby sizes.

Tell us a bit about your AW collection. Favorite tools or materials?

“...memories of the child I was...” is inspired as the title indicated by childhood memories. For the Autumn/Winter  we wanted to make a girlie and feminine collection. The starting point was a few garments dating from my (the designers) childhood. As a contrast to the femininity we also wanted to capture a formal feeling. With the collection we wanted to highlight the interplay between soft and hard materials, the strict and the fragile.

Delicate sheer fabrics and tighter knit.
A pale palette of soft pink, cream and grey with contrasting black.
We have chosen the highest quality for our silks, cashmere blends, the softest of long staple cottons, leather and wools wanting to give our customer a sense of a luxurious feeling.
The garments are designed to last over time Delicate, clean and subtle shapes on garments beautifully made.

On your mind is it difficult for Swedish designer to thrive in the fashion world?

We have had an overwhelming response from many countries from around the world. It is more appropriate to say that for the type of clothes that we are designing it is harder to thrive in Sweden that it is in the rest of the world. This is because Sweden is a country where minimalism and functionalism has a strong “foothold”. This does not mean that this kind of clothes for children is not appreciated in Sweden in fact it is by many and hopefully more it will be. We have already had so many people in Sweden saying that they are so bored of functional clothes and have longed for the type of beautiful and chic clothes that Leopold & Livia are.

What is the staple piece that all kids should have in their wardrobe?

I would not call it a staple piece but in my opinion every little girl should have a chic little coal for strolling around in the cozy autumn days. And obviously a beautiful little dress for that special occasion.

If you could dress any celebrity's kid who would it be?

That would be any kid whose parents outlook we admire like the children of Sarah Jessica Parker.

What are your hopes for the future?

We would like to see our brand represented in children's boutiques in the major cities of the world. We hope that the success will enable collaborations with successful creators, filmmakers, photographers bringing out the feeling and the philosophy behind Leopold& Livia in an enchanting way. We also look forward to our success enabling us to refine the outlook of Leopold & Livia even more.

What does fashion mean to you as a developing fashion designer?

Fashion is something fading. Style on the other hand means much more, because style never gels "out of fashion”. Style remains. Our aim is to focus on design and best quality possible and to make sophisticated garments that lasts over time. A timeless elegance.

What advice do you give young people who have a big dream like you had?

Try to be prepared to work hard, harder and then working some more. Expect that many things will stand in your way but be sure that all this will be worth it. If we could have had any advice at the beginning it would have been the knowledge of what a steeplechase course it is starting a brand. Doing a lot of research and trying to gain as much experience as possible beforehand is very important.


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