Gina Brar, a budding entrepreneur and clothing designer, launched her own self-titled label in 2015. Mixing modernity and traditional tones, the label encompasses versatile wear-ability as well. Bold, feminine and also fun, GINA BRAR provides ready to wear and bespoke items, which may often comprise of delicate embellishments, vivid prints and confident colours.
Yinsey Wang quizzes Brar on her journey, aspirations and plans for the future.
What made you decide to launch your label?
I have always toyed with the idea of launching my own label, creating beautiful garments was definitely the high point of my Fashion Design & Marketing degree. Whilst I dabbled in other areas of the industry, I found myself longing for the days where I was bringing the clothes in my head to life! Hence, launching my label felt like a natural next step.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
I have got huge aspirations for my label and in the next 10 years, I want to expand the range to include accessories and jewellery. This would enable me to provide a full look for our customers, as well opening a flagship store. It is definitely exciting being at the beginning of something and knowing that there is so much more to come.
You have a love of fine quality and luxury, why did you choose to take your brand in this direction?
Craftsmanship and quality are two things that are very dear to me and are definitely an intrinsic part of the Gina Brar DNA. I have always felt that it is much better to invest in something special, as opposed to indulging in fast fashion! The satisfaction of a beautifully crafted garment will last far beyond a season or two. So, naturally when it came to my own label, a focus on luxury and quality was non-negotiable. I think it is so lovely when you have beautiful pieces in your wardrobe that you turn to time and time again and can truly cherish; I want to invoke that sentiment in my pieces.
What is the most challenging aspect of managing a fashion brand?
Running a fashion brand, much like any business, involves wearing so many different hats and finding the balance can be challenging. Whilst I would love nothing more than to spend my days focusing on being creative and creating new designs, the reality is that my attention is as focused on growing the business as it is on designing. It is a constant balancing act, to ensure that all aspects are being run smoothly, from keeping our website and social media up to date to balancing the books and managing our supply chain. There is a whole bunch of very unglamorous processes between sketching a collection and having the finished garments to hand, but once you see the complete collection, it is always such an amazing feeling so the hard slog is definitely worthwhile.
What was the inspiration behind AW15?
The theme for this collection was “Into the Woods” – my own super-feminine take on Red Riding Hood and what she would wear if she were to grow into a glamorous, Louboutin wearing, cocktail drinking, no-nonsense vixen. After all, if you can defeat a murderous wolf, then it would surely embolden you to take risks with your outfits and the little red cape would be the first piece in the makings of a fabulous wardrobe!
Springing from that idea, I created the print for this collection, which is my depiction of a bleeding woodland. It sounds gruesome, but I loved how it turned out: both bold yet still delicate. The lace used was floral but in fiery red and inky black, it had a tougher feel, which beautifully balanced the full skirts and sleeves that I designed. All in all, it was quite a contradiction, super pretty but with an edge.
Tell us a bit about your earliest fashion memory.
If my childhood photographs are anything to go by, my love of fashion began long before I can remember. There are so many pictures of me with scarves draped across myself, pretending they were sarees or elaborate gowns whilst rocking a red lip (I am not quite sure where I was constantly finding red lipstick from but I have been rocking it in photos since I was two years old!) and falling out of mother’s high heels. I have come a long way since then – I have learnt how to properly apply lipstick, but sarees are still my favourite garment to wear! It always feels special and a little bit like dressing up.
Out of all your pieces, which is your favourite and why?
That is a tough question! I am pretty in love with all my pieces, but I truly adore the Rosa dress – something about the print against the waterfall silhouette of the dress – it is one of those pieces that just came out so perfectly and it is one that is sure to turn heads every time I wear it. And it’s twirly. You just can’t go wrong with a dress that you can twirl in!
If you could have any person act as the face of your brand, who would it be?
Without a doubt it would be Mindy Kaling – the woman is my absolute hero and I love how brave she is with her wardrobe choices. Confident, ambitious and bold yet super feminine and fun, she’s exactly the kind of woman I want to dress and I would just love to work with her.
You have an active presence on social media – tell us how it builds into your business.
I have always had a great love for social media, so it was really important for me that the company has an active presence and a voice across multiple platforms. It is so essential, I think, to connect with people! Using various social media platforms gives me a chance to really engage with our customers and build a relationship that goes beyond a transaction. I think these days, people really want to know the personality of a brand, especially when it is a newer company like ours; whether we are posting behind the scenes pictures from a photoshoot on Instagram or tweeting about our never-ending need for coffee, it gives an insight into the human part of the business.
Photography: Jevgenija (http://jevgenija.co.uk, Instagram: @spiritux, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jevgenijaphotographer, Twitter: photojevgenija)
Clothing: Gina Brar (https://www.ginabrar.com, Instagram: @ginabrar, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theginabrar, Twitter: @ginasplendid)
Model: Torn + Polished (http://tornandpolished.com, Instagram: @tornandpolished, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tornandpolished, Twitter: @tornandpolished)
Makeup: Shirley Ho (http://www.modelmayhem.com/3245774, Instagram: @kaxhero)