Designer Interview

By: FashWire
Jul 07, 2023 11:56 AM

What inspired you to name your brand?

Scarlet-colored poppies were my favorite flowers when I grew up on the beautiful Swedish countryside. I was obsessed with flowers growing wildly and naturally across the endless fields - and the fact that one would find them where least expected.

With the strong connection to my Scandinavian roots and its nature, it just felt so natural to name our brand Scarlett Poppies. 

Scarlett expresses our passion and true love for what we do. Our passion for beautiful, authentic details, craftsmanship, and clothes made to last beyond one season. 

Poppies illustrate what our collections and customers are all about. Clothes that are attractive and often delicate and feminine just like the showy, irregular flower petals; each of them is truly unique in their shapes and visual expressions. But the poppies are also a sign of how we would like our customers to feel the moment they slip into our world; beautiful, unique, confident, feminine, and not least free.

And just like poppies on a field, Scarlett Poppies craves sunshine, and you find us where you least expect to.


What is your earliest design memory for your brand?

It all started by coincidence on a rainy evening in Delhi in August 2019. With traffic jams and water-clogged streets, evening plans were canceled and freed up time to finally sit down in silence and make a vision board of how I visualized Scarlett Poppies. I had at that time already made up my mind to start a resort wear brand, I saw a need for it living in Dubai. After running a design-driven agency in India, supplying garments to some of the world’s largest retailers for many years, I wanted to have my own line without having to compromise on beautiful details and the unique craftsman skills that go into each piece.


Where do you find inspiration?

Through all my traveling that I have been privileged to be able to do in the last two decades and from the countries where I have lived: Sweden, India, Kazakhstan, and the Middle East. Indian traditional craftsman skills continue to inspire me the most though as the entire brand is about creating products crafted by the best tailors and artisans, using natural materials and often handloom fabrics.


What sets your brand apart from the rest?

While staying true to resort and destination wear by developing comfortable clothes made to last beyond one season, we also ensure our products allow skillful tailors and artisans to sustain in the future. We underline sustainability in all processes and operate with an infinite business mindset which is not just a question of looking at the bottom line but also vetting how we conduct business. With our own office in India being one of the largest production markets for us, we are fully involved in the entire process and do not depend on any third party. We have direct access to the source where all developments and productions takes place.


“We trust the outcome and that all of us together make a difference for a better tomorrow, while designing clothes that also ensure we sustain unique embroidery traditions and skillsets for the future.”


Do you have a favorite piece that you have designed? 

Not one but many. With every collection being created, new favorites are born but the old ones never die. Many of my favorite dresses are our kaftan dresses in cotton and linen adorned with beautiful embroideries and hand embroideries. I wear them anywhere in the world where the sun shines.


What were some hurdles you had to overcome in your business?

Covid hit just before we had launched the very first collection and 78 of 80 boutiques canceled their orders. We decided to honor all orders placed with factories on principal grounds and took on a huge challenge to sell readily available B2B stock amidst travel restrictions and lockdowns.

To sell a niche product like resort wear also requires collaboration with partners with a different mindset and that they are niched to. It was challenging to define those and understand the difference from traditional RTW agents.


How important is sustainability to your brand?

Sustainability underlines all our work and decisions. It is about the entire process and not just beautiful and certified products. We are grateful to be teamed up with carefully chosen collaboration partners sharing our beliefs and business values and who are known to me for decades.

We have faith in the process and all the people involved in it. We trust the outcome and that all of us together make a difference for a better tomorrow, while designing clothes that also ensure we sustain unique embroidery traditions and skillsets for the future.


What is the one piece of advice you would give to a new designer?

Realize early that you are only as good as your team. You cannot manage admin and be at your best creative side at the same time. Delegate and trust they get it right so that you can focus on your brand vision and product development.


How important is social media to your brand?

Social media is vital at this stage of our business, but we are mindful of what kind of content we post. It must resonate with our core brand values at all times. Since we have a good presence in traditional brick-and-mortar stores, our success doesn’t depend on our online store.


What is the most important thing you would like your brand to be recognized for?

Timeless designs, and mindfully crafted novelty details that create a sense of euphoria. For customers to know that behind the existence of Scarlett Poppies is a larger vision of creating products, helping to sustain artisanal skillsets and high tailor skills in India and other production markets.


“We also aim to inspire everyone to think of how clothes have been made, to value quality, and buy clothes that are made to transcend seasons and last longer.”


How would you define fashion?

I personally don’t like the word fashion in the context of clothes. It triggers a sense that something is temporary and short-lived which doesn’t resonate with me nor the brand. Clothing is a way to express who you are and what you stand for irrespective of the age of a piece of clothing.


What is your favorite fashion trend? Least favorite?

Anything that is feminine, classy, and of good quality - in terms of choice of material, colors, and silhouettes. My least favorite is anything that doesn’t transcend seasons.


How has the fashion industry changed since you first started out?

It has gone from a few solid seasonal collections a year to the pressure of new drops arriving almost every week, to again having transformed into a more slow-paced process post-Covid. A consumer awareness that didn’t exist before Covid seems to have come to stay, customers are curious and want to know the brand they are buying from. Another revolutionary change is the access to any global brand – no matter where you are in the world - compared to just local brick-and-mortar store offerings in 1990s. Lots of diversity and with that, opportunities.


What can consumers expect to see next from your brand?

Besides resort wear and focus on summer wear, we have a demand for clothes that are more RTW, especially from the northern hemisphere in the wintertime. Clothes that have unique novelty details and are true to the brand, for instance, comfortable traveling clothes or a beaded indoor jacket.


What do you envision for the future of your brand?

A further extended global presence than today. We are currently retailing in approx. 200 stores globally, and we aim to be in every five-star resort and premium boutique sharing our company and product values. It matters to grow together with the correct partners, not just any.

We also aim to inspire everyone to think of how clothes have been made, to value quality, and buy clothes that are made to transcend seasons and last longer. There is an equally big responsibility on the consumers to think sustainably and buy less but better.


If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career, what would it be? 

Follow your gut instinct in life. Not everything can be logically explained and make sense to others around you, but ultimately you are the person who has to take full responsibility for whatever decision you make.