March’s – ‘The Sustainability Issue’ – Download Now
Bulgarian fashion brand Bogdar is the brainchild of husband and wife duo Pavel & Teodora Lozanova.
With a mission to be known first and foremost as the go-to sustainable partywear brand, Teodora discusses the fashion label’s six-year journey and how they are putting Bogdar on the map.
What inspired you to go into the world of fashion?
The idea of launching Bogdar came from my husband with whom we run the brand together. His family has been in the fashion industry for generations and it only made sense for us to go the same way. He grew up running around the sewing machines and for him was quite natural to continue his professional development in that field. Prior to Bogdar, I have always been in the corporate world up until we decided to create something ours.
Can you talk us through your career prior to launching Bogdar?
Before launching Bogdar I was always in beauty. I worked in marketing for Estée Lauder Companies in Dubai, where I was part of the team responsible for Mac Cosmetics’ marketing strategies throughout the Middle East.
How did Bogdar come to fruition – what was the inspiration for the brand?
Both my husband and I are very entrepreneurial. Considering his family’s background and our strong passion for a sustainable life, we decided to combine the two and create Bogdar. With the launch of the brand, we moved back to our native Bulgaria – a country with a rich history in garment manufacturing. All pieces that carry the Bogdar label are produced in our family-owned facility in Vidin, Bulgaria by a dedicated team of 16 members.
Can you talk us through the concept?
We are currently working on repositioning the brand as “the sustainable party brand”. We identified that there is a gap in the market for sustainable partywear. Currently, there are many sustainable brands and many partywear ones, but none that offer both.
“Sustainability in fashion goes beyond materials, traceability or general impact on the environment.”
In your opinion, how does a brand become truly sustainable?
In reality, there is no brand out there that is truly 100 per cent sustainable. There is so much more to be done than just using organic fabrics. It is a whole mindset that runs through each and every process of your business. Starting from the design process, one should be thinking about creating pieces that do not go out of fashion after one season. Moving to sourcing – one should choose durable materials from socially responsible fabric suppliers that are certified for clean production and do not harm the environment. Going to production – transparency and the actual people who are involved in the production is something that should be given more light. Finally reaching logistics and packaging. I cannot claim that we are 100 per cent sustainable, and it is my believe that no one currently is, but we do our best to create pieces and run a business that leaves the smallest footprint possible, constantly improving our brand.
How have things evolved since you launched Bogdar?
When we launched Bogdar in 2016 sustainability was not a hot topic yet. I am glad that something that has been so essential for the brand since day one has now evolved into an unprecedented global trend.
How would you describe the Bogdar woman?
The Bogdar woman is self-aware and confident in a very effortless way. Party is her second nature and getting ready for a night out is what she lives for. She likes the spotlight and we make clothes that turn heads around. She is committed to finding pieces that are ethical but at the same time show her true style. She is mindful about waste and how garments are made.
In terms of the fashion industry as a whole, what is a must that needs to change?
First and foremost, the idea that we constantly need new pieces in our wardrobe and therefore we are ready to compromise quality over quantity. We need to educate the consumer that having less but stand-out pieces that would last season after season is actually more.
However, there must be some things the industry is doing right. In your opinion, what are these?
More and more brands are now trying to be sustainable. It is not an overnight change, but a slow process that requires a lot of resources and time. However, every step in the right direction is great and we should be happy with any progress.
In business, what is a philosophy you live by?
Realizing that there are many different paths to success. Once you accept this and get over your fear of failure, you will feel empowered to move forward and get things done in the best way that you can.
What are some of the key lessons you have learned throughout your career?
Persistence is key, especially when you are starting something from scratch. Just don’t ever stop until you achieve what you are after. Be very agile and always trust your gut.
Do you have any mentors who have helped guide you during your career?
I am very lucky that both my husband and I come from families with a strong business background who have always guided us and we have been able to learn from their knowledge and experiences.
What have been the hurdles you’ve had to overcome throughout your career?
When you kick off your own business, you start out by doing everything by yourself. However, once the business has grown, one has to learn to let go of things and delegate to other team members. Accepting the fact that I can’t do everything by myself and that others can in fact do better in certain areas has proven very difficult for me.
Meanwhile, what have been the key milestones?
It is very rewarding when you see your work being recognized on a global level especially when you come from a place like Bulgaria that is not really on the fashion map.
This is ‘The Sustainability Issue’ – what does this mean to you?
For me, sustainability in fashion goes beyond materials, traceability or general impact on the environment. It is a lot about transparency and people. About the actual individual who has produced with their own hands that top that you really like, and the about the conditions they work in.
March’s – ‘The Sustainability Issue’ – Download Now
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