Joanna Skoczylas and Eliane Diethelm are self-confident. Very self-confident. And they have to be. After all, what they aim to accomplish is quite radical: to change the fashion sense of the women in Zurich.
“When I first came to Switzerland, I was a little disappointed. It wasn’t stylish, not fashionable. Women here dress for comfort and convenience. They don’t want to draw any attention to themselves. I wanted to change that.” Johanna was born and raised in Warsaw. At first, she was surprised that the women in a rich and cosmopolitan city like Zurich seemed to have so little self-confidence. “Men don’t have as many opportunities as women to express themselves with their clothes. Men wear pants and shirts. That’s it. Women, on the other hand, wear skirts, dresses, pants – why don’t they play with these different options and enjoy it? A dress is so beautiful, because it’s enough by itself, because it’s a fast solution and looks great!”
The only thing they still needed was a name–Little Black Dress. “Black” is crossed out in the logo, and naturally everyone wonders why, but nobody asks.
The two of them were looking for a suitable and affordable store. They found it in a very exciting area–Kreis 5, an up-and-coming neighbourhood. The young women worked hard and within four fast-paced years, they managed to make their label famous throughout the city.
“I always have something to write on next to my bed. Sometimes when I’m dozing off, I have ideas I’d like to capture,” Eliane confesses. Such ideas might even be the starting point for a new collection. The two women work together closely on the composition of their designs and they make their decisions jointly. As soon as an idea is solid, they move on. Sometimes they go back to old drafts–and that’s when the real work begins: crossing out and revising things, choosing fabrics. Where is all this going? That’s what they talk about, discussing it over and over again.
What are the happy moments? The two women seem to agree, taking turns answering. There are so many moments, they say. For instance, the moment when a new delivery arrives. Unpacking the merchandise is like Christmas. “You have handed over the designs and the drafts and everything else–and then the finished product arrives: pure, beautiful, clean, sewn perfectly, well creased. And then you put it on for the first time.”
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