By Alja Horvat: Ethical and sustainable fashion from Slovenia

Illustrator turned fashion designer Alja Horvat shares her fashion story.

When researching our brands we try to source brands from places we have not featured before. Todays feature is no different as this shows the work of illustrator turned fashion designer Alja Horvat from Slovenia.

Alja has taken the illustration world by storm and we can see the By Alja Horvat fashion brand taking the fashion world the same way.

We love the Alja Horvat brand as a whole and the designs on the fashion side of her brand as they are timeless and individual. The whole collection is beautiful. If you have not heard of Alja’s brand yet you definitely should after reading this feature.

This is our first Slovenian brand and definitely not our last. We have found some lovely brands from there and we hope to share more in the future.

Alja’s designs are all created in house by Alja. The dream for her was to create her own fashion line with ethical fashion and sustainability at its heart.

Enough of us talking about Alja, here is how she started her own brand self funded from nothing to a successful sustainable brand.

Over to Alja…

Why did you want to start an ethical/ slow fashion brand? 

I realised I wanted to make products and clothes more colourful after seeing works of Josef Frank and William Morris. Working as an illustrator/designer I collaborated on many amazing fashion projects, but ever since I was a teenager I dreamed of having a fashion brand with my own prints and my own designs. 

As an artist, I want to be involved 100% in everything I make. What I mean is, if I’m creating a fashion collection,  I don’t want only to design clothes, but I also want to design the prints for the clothes, so the collection is 100% mine.

I also knew that when I would create my own brand, I would do that properly – our collection is ethically sewn in Slovenia by a freelance seamstress from my home town, and I’m really glad to have a very good relationship with her. This is another reason why I love having my own brand – making personal connections and building great relationship with other business owners. There is enormous wage gap between owners and workers in fast fashion, and horrendous working conditions these workers and working in – even if I’m making a super small change in a world of fashion, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. We actually have a price breakdown under each product in our online store, so people can see how much it actually costs us to produce each garment. 

The bold prints you use are so effective, how did you choose them for your collection?

One of the biggest inspirations for my fashion collection are the 60s and the 70s – so every one of my collection will probably have a touch of sixties and seventies in them. For each collection I create 3-4 new prints and the hardest part is to decide on the colour palettes. I usually choose them based on what I’m inspired by at the moment, so each collection is representation of a certain part of my life. 

Why did you choose to use the same designs across the pieces in your collection? 

The main theme of my collection are prints, since I’m the one creating them. I want them to be the focus of the collection and this is also why I use them on multiple products. I actually have blog posts about inspiration behind each pattern on my website.

What is your plan for the Autumn/Winter season with your brand? 

We just released our first part of AW2022 collection, which includes long sleeve tops, short sleeve tops and headbands made from organic cotton. We used prints from our SS2022 collection, but you can expect new prints in SS2023 collection (which I can’t wait to share!)

What inspires your designs and what will be next for you as a brand? 

My biggest sources for inspiration are definitely the 60s and 70s. I first fell in love with the music and later discovered the amazing fashion and never looked back. I want to bring the spirits of these two decades back to life, but with a modern twist. 

I would really love to be able to continue working on my fashion label, put new collections out every year and be able to express creatively through the collection. Having a fashion brand is a costly business and as I don’t have any external funding (the brand is 100% self funded from what I make with my illustration business, which is also completely self funded), my main wish is to become profitable enough to fund the next collections from my previous collections. I see BAH in three years on a lot more people than I do today and a dream come true would be to have a physical store.

Finally, where can our readers shop By Alja Horvat? 

You can shop us online at www.byaljahorvat.com

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