As we start to wander out into the world again and attend more parties and events, we thought we would introduce a new fashion brand perfect for those who are looking to make more sustainable and ethical purchases without having to compromise on their style. British luxury brand, Sarvin, is an ethically conscious womenswear brand who make Persian-inspired occasion wear from sustainable and high-quality materials. We sat down with Sarvin Clark, the founder of Sarvin, to find out more about her brand and journey to creating sustainable luxury clothing.
What inspired you to start Sarvin?
I used to go to the York races with my husband quite a lot. I would get a glass of champagne, watch women’s outfits and admire their glamorous dresses and elaborate hats. Before the races, I would go online to look for dresses, but I often struggled to find the ‘perfect’ one. So, I decided to make my own. I started working with a seamstress and posting pictures in my own dresses on my social media. I asked people to email me if they were interested in any of my dresses… and they did! I started making bespoke dresses for them which at the time, was just a hobby. I wasn’t making much money from it, I just loved seeing people wearing my creations. After 6 months, I got spotted by Vogue as a Persian-English Fashion designer and got published there. That’s when I thought this could turn into an actual business, and since then we’ve just been growing.
What is the process of designing and producing a dress? What are the steps you usually take?
I get inspired by my fabrics. I go to a lot of trade shows to see what’s in the market. When I touch and feel the fabric, I think about what I would like to see it in. I then start sketching and designing the piece. Next, I work with my seamstress to create a sample. We send it off to the press, get it photographed and then it goes live on the website.
You have a range of sustainable clothing made from recycled cotton linters. However, many people don’t perceive sustainable products and materials as luxurious. How has the response to your sustainable luxury clothing been so far?
That’s a really good question. I once said to someone I sell sustainable luxury products and they said oh do you sell second-hand luxury products?! They didn’t even understand what sustainable luxury means. Unfortunately, people are not that educated on this topic, but I feel like awareness around this is growing now. We don’t label ourselves as 100% sustainable, because sustainability covers many things. We try our best to be sustainable by for example, making the majority of products in the UK, reducing our waste and using our offcuts, and making high-quality timeless garments that can be worn over and over again. We cover as much as we can, we try every day to be more sustainable and reduce our impact on the planet.
Your brand is inspired by Persian culture which is quite different to the usual fashion style in the UK. What would you say is the key to embracing your own culture while making products that are appealing to the UK customer base?
I think people in the West love the vibrant colours of the East. That’s where the Persian influence comes in. I love the classic British silhouettes which I combine with my own cultural roots through colours and patterns. For example, for my recycled vegan collection, I worked with a Persian artist and turned his painting into digital prints for my collection which was my favourite product ever.
What are the main challenges of running a fashion business? What would you recommend women who want to start their own business do to overcome them?
Financial challenges are the main ones I would say. The second one is trust. I used to trust people so quickly which was a big mistake. So do your research on any person you decide to work with and put a contract in place. That is something that I cannot stress enough, especially for people who just want to start, because unfortunately we go with our gut (to trust) and I think we shouldn’t. Third, knowledge. Make sure you do a lot of research to understand the market. I would also say if you can, get an advisor. Everything I learned was through loads of mistakes. I didn’t have the luxury of having someone to show me the path. I had to find my way myself which took a very long time … and a lot of money! So find a mentor in your sector who can help you step by step so you don’t have to waste a lot of time and money learning everything yourself through mistakes.
Written By: Darya Badiei | Fashion Content Editor