Taking Fashion To Organic Heights: This Is MiaSylvia
"Some people do not reply and never will so try not to get disheartened if you’re not chosen, just keep on contacting people and persevere."
The new planet-loving fashion favourite for '18/'19? It's got to be MiaSylvia.
With their natural-everything 'zero waste' ethos, honest brand messaging and beautifully designed unique styles, it was inevitable that this organic fashion brand would be taking over the festival and wedding scene at a whirlwind rate.
Using only organic, fair trade and up-cycled fabrics and dyes from fruits, plants and flowers, Mia designs, creates and captures the bespoke process in such a personal way, you feel like you're in her studio watching her at work. With each piece as unique as the last, Mia's designs have naturally been spotted (and adored) by the likes of Tatler, Bride & Tonic, Rock My Wedding, Soul Circus and Village People - to list but a few.
Words Do The Talking's Q & A with Mia discusses starting a new business, how working hard at what you love doing really does pay off and the importance of a brand ethos to set you apart from other businesses.
Ready to step into the world of fashion designer MiaSyliva?
Q. What's been MiaSylvia's greatest achievement so far?
A. Wow what a question! My business is nearly two years old and since the beginning of this year my achievements have been incredibly overwhelming. Being published in four of the largest wedding blogs and having a feature in Tatler magazine has been totally amazing. Trading/ teaching workshops all over the UK (and some in Europe) has shown me how much the brand has grown as a result of travelling.
Although, I think graduating university with a first and having the vice chancellor of the university award the degree show exhibition has been the best highlight so far.
Q. Quite a few great accomplishments so far then! Who shoots MiaSylvia's photography? It's beautiful.
A. Thank you so, so much for your lovely words! All of the images you see on Instagram (@miasylviaa) and miasylvia.co.uk are taken from my trusty phone unless stated otherwise in the description. The phone I use is a Huawei and I also have a Nikon camera which is used to capture some of the images. I have always been passionate about photography and I have an eye for what I personally like to capture, and this is how I translate the narratives behind each image.
Q. Any tips, dos and don'ts you would share with someone who is turning their business idea into a reality?
A. The first year of setting up my business was all about researching different aspects that go into starting a business. From focusing on my social media from a business point of view to getting products produced for purchase and setting up my website. When I was setting up MiaSylvia I was still studying at university so there was a lot on my to-do list. With this in mind my main advice would be to focus on one task at a time until it's finished (bearing in mind some things don’t finish but evolve), because doing a little of a lot means your attention is divided into a lot of places, and this means you’re not giving 100%. I have worked really hard to be where I am today. Being brave and believing in who you are and what your ethos is are key.
I began by emailing/ contacting people in the industry to work with, to trade at fairs and festivals, to be featured in articles and online blogs. Sharing who you are and contacting people is key because otherwise no-one will know who you are and what your brand is if you do not tell them.
Some people do not reply and never will so try not to get disheartened if you’re not chosen, just keep on contacting people and persevere.
I’m a huge believer in karma and what you put out into the world you’ll receive. And since spending that first year working so hard, I began to have people email and get in contact for various shoots, features, interviews and collaborations.
Q. Which brands does MiaSylvia collaborate with? How does this help build your own brand?
A. MiaSylvia has collaborated with so many incredible and talented people and brands. Not only does this help your SEO by featuring each other on your online platforms, but it also helps you see your own work in a context that you may or may not have thought of before. Being open to collaborate has opened up many doors for future photoshoots, weddings, contacts and further collaborations.
Also organising your own collaborations as well as collaborations organised by others is really important. Being able to direct others to work on an image you have in your mind grows your communication skills with various industries. Collaborating with other brands also helps build my brand, by inspiring me to think outside of the box - which I can sometimes get stuck inside of.
Learning how to do certain things in different ways from others really helps to expand my knowledge, practices and visual/mental ideas.
Q. We agree, collaborations are key to driving any business. We love, love, love the bearded man portrait - do you take all your designs to Soul Circus and other festivals you attend, or just take the bestsellers?
A. Thankyou! This comment is actually one that a few people have told me recently about the bearded man portrait and how I should introduce the design onto clothing again! The paintings haven’t made an appearance at any trade shows or festivals as of yet, and for now they are just available online. In terms of the garments, scarfs and accessories, they all make an appearance at all of the festivals. Each product from MiaSylvia is 100% bespoke and unique, so once sold they won't make an appearance at the next festival.
Some of the best sellers have been re-created through commissions. However, if they are naturally dyed then there will always be a slight variation due to the nature of the dye.
Q. What else makes you tick besides creating beautiful and unique clothing, art and accessories?
A. Capturing photographs of colours found in day to day life, styling for photoshoots, socialising and cooking with friends and family are the things you will find me doing.
When I am not trading at shows and festivals I work full time in a care home located in Norwich, where I specialise in caring for elderly living with dementia and organising activities, exercises and days out.
Travelling has been a really big part of who I am and where I get my inspirations from. Especially trading at festivals in Europe. This has enabled me to learn how people engage with the MiaSylvia ethos and hear people's opinion of the brand from all over the world.
Q. Your schedule sounds jam-packed! We use words in everyday life and via marketing techniques; how have the power of words helped your business so far?
A. Words are key when helping to tell the narrative of my collections and pieces. Poetry is a really huge personal passion of mine and it is poetry that I studied to inspire a few collections this past year. The bridal wear collections feature a lot of the work of Rupi Kaur and her poetry.
I find her work speaks volumes to MiaSylvia pieces and their story. I am a rather open person about who I am and my practice, and this is why my online platforms are so open. So people can see the person behind the work and the process which goes on behind the seams/scenes of MiaSylvia.
The ethos of MiaSylvia is really important, so being able to share and communicate these views is paramount. Sometimes I use symbolic references instead of words to communicate collections. For example one of the most recent bridal collections was inspired by the colours of the flowers found in pre-Raphaelite paintings. These colours and flowers are symbolic with the Victorian tradition of the language of flowers.
Q. What can we expect from Miasylvia in the months and years ahead?
A. Within the next month you’ll find MiaSylvia trading at WoodFest which is a festival within a national trust forest from the 7th-9th of September.
I’m in the process of planning autumn workshops and also working on a new bridal collection for next year.
The website is in need of some TLC so new pages will be added to view all of the new Bridalwear collection and accessories.
The goal for the next couple of years is to create a new hand made and naturally dyed patterned collection.
Vital business tips to take away
1. Do not get disheartened when other businesses don't respond to collaboration requests. Persevere, someone great WILL want to work with you
2. Create and stay true to your brand's ethos. This is what sets you apart from other similar brands. Read how to create and tell your brand's story here.
3. Work hard on your project and keep faith. You will get there.
4. Ask for customers' opinions on your products, this will help you learn, develop and grow. Read the blog on essential business feedback here.
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