Be different, be Straiu
Straiu’ is a registered Italian brand with Romanian origins. IoanaSamarghitan is the designer who turned her passion into a reality and business at the same time, making Straiu’ to be the first Italian Brand with Romanian motifs designs. It all started when she was very young, but we let you discover her story and the story of Straiu’ with the following inspirational interview.
How did you discover your passion for fashion?
There’s so many years since I’ve discovered my passion for fashion, it’s making me hard to count. I was about 3 and a half years old when I started to draw. And my way of play was to lay down and match pieces of fabrics, scarfs I dressed children and draws exclusively with “girls” I was creating on leftover notebooks of my parents. It was like “create a Paradise out of nothing”. This is how I born!
When did you put together your first collection and how did it start?
The first collection “Straiu” was completed in 2018 for an important fashion festival in Romania. There was a unique feeling and endless happiness to see the support received from my hometown. This was for me (probably) one of the biggest joys of my life!
What are you inspired by?
I get inspired by the Romanian national attire. By Romanian embroidery. I could talk for ages about this. But what you should know is that on every nation attire costume there’s not only embroidery but much more, …..there are stories, life stories, traditions for hundreds of years.
When you look at a fashion show, what gets your attention first?
The first thing that attracts my attention is the degree of innovation. Basically I look and search to find the same things I would also like to send across with my creations.
Why Straiu’? What’s the story of the name?
I am so happy you asked me this question. It has a beautiful story. Basically I had everything ready: my mind was very clear what’s my dream and what I want to accomplish, the legal documents for the business were ready for submission, but I had no name in mind for my brand. More than 18 months I was “searching” for the perfect name. I needed a short name but at the same time a meaningful one to fully express my vision and my creations. One day, I woke up and I had the name Straiu in mind. It was like a miracle. Straiu, in Romanian language, is an archaic word which defines the traditional attire, very famous in the are of Transylvania. This word was often used by my grand-grand mother (from my mother’side) as I had the opportunity to spend my childhood near her. She was so dear to me and I can’t believe how the inspiration came from “up there” divinely!
You are truly a gifted designer. Your work is getting huge recognition worldwide and you have also been awarded in the past months, including at the World Fashion Festival Awards in Dubai. How does it feel to see your efforts and passion being recognized and appreciated?
Although I’ve waited 20 years for my dream to come true, today I can truly say it was worth waiting. I am an emerging fashion designer. The brand ‘Straiu’ was launched last year. We’ve started with small steps and huge sacrifices, but with high hopes and enthusiasm. At WFFA SS19 I was awarded at the category: Avant-Garde for one of the TOP 3 Best Dresses! Beside the Swarovski stones and traditional folkloric symbols, I have incorporated a part of my heart in my creations. Seeing my work and efforts being appreciated empowers me to carry on with my dream, with confidence and enthusiasm. I have been very happy and I truly respect the Jury of WFFA for being able to understand my vision and give me the vote of trust for the creativity and innovation! And being in a competition with high-end and extremely talented designers from all corners of the world, gave me more joy and pride to have won.
Tell us more about your experience in Dubai at the World Fashion Festival Awards?
My experience in Dubai was amazing! I met different people from various cultures and mentalities which opened my heart and eyes for NEW. WFFA was an amazing festival. Being my second participation to a fashion festival (previously I have attended a fashion festival in Romania), I could make a comparison between those two, but I won’t share my opinion. All I can say is “hats down with huge respect” for the organizers of WFFA, who were every step of the way beside me and helped me fulfill my dream! There was nothing I missed, much more we received more than what we have expected, a huge team effort behind the WFFA!
What is the ultimate goal of the Brand Straiu’?
The ultimate goal for Straiu is close to the border of “impossible”, if I may say so. Many other Romanian designers have tried to integrate the Romanian folkloric symbols in modern designs, and afterwards they gave up. It’s hard, extremely hard – because one need to discover the heart of this concept, to understand it and then to adopt! And I can assure you, once one fell in love with this type of style, there’s nothing that one would want. So, today, as the designer of Straiu Brand, I won’t give up until I see that people from all nationalities are dearly wearing designs with Romanian motifs.
Any successful brand is sustained by team work. Can you tell us about your team?
What can I say about my team….they are my family! Truly my family! It’s a family business where everyone has a contributing role, from the youngest to the eldest. My mother is a wonderful tailor and my full trust goes to her (and her hands)! At the beginning it was a bit hard, due to different visions we both had, but now we are guided by telepathy. We are a demanding team, meticulously and detail oriented for everything to be perfect! Our artworks are mainly focused on uniquely! So, we don’t look at quantity, quality is what drives us!
Your collections are designed for both children and adults. What is the degree of difficulty to design for each of the two categories?
Children are very demanding, straightforward, they are pure souls who love colors, embroidery and especially flounces. That’s why, I often get my daughter’s advices and this really helps!
Children don’t like what the mothers are choosing for them, I am telling you this from my experience. It doesn’tmater if the mother wants fade pink, the child wants fuchsia, but the joy their eyes are giving is priceless! I haven’t had many collections for children, however this will change very soon. The dresses I designed for children do far brought both to children and me great happiness, enthusiasm and motivation to continue!