Luxurious, modest and unapologetic, today we enter the world of VIVACIOSA. Entirely dedicated to modest fashion enthusiasts, this Dubai based brand is, as its founder states, “the first ever luxury ready-to-wear brand dedicated to women who dress modestly.”. Eager to know more, Ilona Marceniuk, founder and creative director of Vivaciosa, unveiled for ALMAZE the story of her brand, along with the strong and meaningful values it bears.
Please, could you tell us more about your brand?
The origins of our brand are my personal experiences. It has been almost impossible for me and time consuming to find luxury clothing with long hemlines, non-transparent and with a relaxed fit. I had to either compromise on my style or go on with garments which were of poor quality. As a result, in 2018 my luxury modest fashion brand was established – VIVACIOSA. The name derives from an English word – vivacious meaning attractively lively and exciting woman.
VIVACIOSA takes into account every nuance of modest dressing. We listen to women who choose to dress modestly. We cater to their needs, appreciate and celebrate their choices. VIVACIOSA rejects and question stereotypes. We challenge the misconception that modesty is boring and covering up is oppressive. We want to change the perception of who the Modern Modest Woman is. She is not oppressed, she makes her choices and she chooses to cover. Our mission is to encourage her to embody her authentic self and to wear it inside and out, unapologetically.
Where do you take your inspiration to create your collections?
I am inspired by the women we cater to. I am inspired by their strength, their passions, the goals they have, the things they do, the places they go, the challenges they face.
Our first collection is inspired by the modern woman; the millennials and the colour they choose the most. Pink used to be a girl’s colour only. It was associated with femininity sweetness and innocence. However, recently the attitude to this colour has changed. Pink challenged the stereotype. It became the defining colour of our generation. Now it represents a change, strength and unapologetic confidence.
What makes your brand unique?
VIVACIOSA is the first luxury ready to wear designer brand that is solely dedicated to modest women. Of course, there have been luxury brands trying to expand their product offering with abayas and long dresses, but the modest women always were the secondary customers. There has been no designer brand which primarily catered to us.
Moreover, there has been a misconception that modest fashion is boring and cheap. VIVACIOSA wants to change that. All our garments are extremely beautiful, delicate and exude luxury. Made of the finest fibres, exquisitely cut and handcrafted to the highest standard.
What is the favourite fabric you like to work with and why?
Our long-sleeved silk dress with a self tie bow is my favourite.This princess-worth glamour gown perfectly embodies our romantic, sophisticated and modest aesthetic. The dress is cut from light-catching delicate silk satin and is finished with a self-tie neck bow to draw attention and subtle femininity to the neck. It speaks luxury and covers you in the most elegant way possible.
What does modesty mean to you and how do you think it can empower women?
Modesty for me means being authentic, confident and refined inside and out.
It means standing true to your principles regardless of people’s opinion. Modesty for me means making my own choices. It means being in control and rising above perceptions and expectations.
Women empowerment? I do not believe in it. Empowered means to be given power. I don’t believe women need to be given power. I believe the strength is within me and I don’t need an acknowledgement of others to make me stronger. We need inspiration, we need encouragement, we need passion. We are already strong enough to make our own choices and to pursue our goals and dreams.
The place of the world that inspires you the most and why?
Dubai is such an inspirational city. On one side we’ve got futuristic high skyscrapers and on the other side desert with sand dunes. A place where old and new coexist in harmony. A place where people respect and appreciate each other’s differences.
Do you listen to podcasts?
Yes, I do listen to podcasts. I’ve got quite a long list of my favourite podcast but if I had to choose one I would say any with Simon Sinek.
Your philosophy in life and/or your favourite quote?
Be the leader you wish you had -by Simon Sinek
What was the biggest challenge(s) you have encountered while building your brand and how did you face it/them?
The biggest challenge that I face now is building brand awareness and recognition. It requires many phone calls made many emails sent and good networking. We are getting there slowly.
What advice would you give to women willing to start their own business?
Go for it. There is never a better time. Dream big, start small and continue regardless of what others may say.