Sylvie Gabriel has been in love with fashion and clothing from a very young age. She grew up in the North of Belgium playing tennis and modelling, before studying Economics at the University of Ghent.
Finishing her degree with a thesis on the Belgian Textile Industry, she decided that clothing was definitely her thing, and has been working in fashion ever since. Leading a busy life, she was desperately looking for some “easy chic” clothing in which she could lounge and relax, feeling great and looking gorgeous and go out in them as well. She realized there was no such thing. Pregnant with her first baby girl Luna, she decided to give her business idea a chance. In 2004 Lounge Lover was born.
Here Sylvie lets us into a typical day as a loungewear designer.
I wake up around 6.30am and make myself a smoothie with organic fruit and oats as I always wake up hungry and love beginning the day in a healthy way! After a quick shower and my make up routine I wake up my 2 beautiful girls aged eight and six, make them breakfast (no smoothie for them, they prefer brioche with loads of Nutella!) and get them ready for school. Generally around 8.15am we are out the door.
When I get to the office I tune in to ibizasonica.com (I love music and with ibizasonica I feel I bring the sun and some good vibes into our office) , I make my favourite green jasmine tea and then I am all set for going through my overflowing email inbox.
The great thing about my job is that it is very diverse and depending on the period of the year, we have different things to focus on. During the sales period I work closely with our brand manager and I always participate in the trade shows. During production I will work very closely with our production agent in Portugal to make sure we offer great quality to our customers. The design part is what I love most! I start by sourcing the softest fabrics in Italy, and then I can bring up my creative side and think of how Lounge Lovers dress in their downtime…
We just finished shooting our new winter 2012 campaign in Nice on the Cote d’Azur in the South of France and it was just a fantastic experience! I chose Nice as it is a place close to my heart and we spend a lot of time there with my little family. It is also a very sunny place with amazing light and colours, and because I really feel alive there I tend to get a lot of inspiration and ideas for my designs.
Preparing the shoot was already great fun, as I could link the looks for the site to stunning places and spots I fancy. We gathered a brilliant team: Thierry, our photographer who not only has an amazing eye and can do wonders with light, but who also is a great entertainer, together with his assistant Guillaume, and of course Izabela, our model, she is not only stunning but has also a very nice personality. Honestly, to see my designs worn by a beautiful girl in places I love, and see them then come to live on our website, is a real treat! So stay tuned on as we will launch our new Autumn-Winter campaign very soon.
After a busy day in the office I try to fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, as it is a great way to relax and balance the body and mind. I love swimming and running, although a knee injury makes the latter quite complicated… And I absolutely swear by Pilates! It is just amazing to see how it can make your body more toned, flexible and strong, and it definitely chased away all the back pain I had after my two pregnancies!
After my workout I head home to spend some quality time with my girls, listen to how their day has been and help them with their homework. My busy husband usually comes home late, but we try to spend as much time together as possible, over a good meal and a nice glass of wine…
Sylvie shares her top ten tips for people wanting to start their own fashion brand
1. Believe in yourself and in your product. The road will not always be smooth but believing will help you fight.
2. Work hard. In this life you get nothing for free.
3. Network! It is amazing how knowing the right people can give a push to your business, so put yourself out there and meet people.
4. Make a business plan. Take the time to think of every aspect of the business, even the ones you are less good at.
5. Be savvy with your money. It is so easy to spend money, and so much harder to earn it – so make sure every penny you spend will have a positive impact on your business.
6. Think ‘out of the box’… And be innovative, only then you will stand out.
7. Have a clear vision. If you know exactly what you want to achieve, half of the job is already done.
8. Dare to ask… ‘If you don’t ask, you will for sure not get’
9. Surround yourself with a great team… As you cannot be good at everything yourself
10. Be lucky. Put all the chances to ‘be lucky’ on your side and make it happen!