With a business degree in her pocket, Verena Berlisg was not meant to be designing handbags and other accessories. But her passion of collecting scarves would not let her down and she finally managed to establish her own luxury bag brand UNIQUE ALLURE
Who are you?
Designer & founder of the brand UNIQUE ALLURE.
Where are you from?
I’m Austrian-French. I grew up in Vienna and lived in Paris, Milan and Geneva.
At the moment I am based in Paris.
What do you do?
Designing one-of-a-kind accessories.
Your style in 3 words?
CASUAL, CHIC, BOHEMIAN!
What is your weakness?
Wanting to do many things at once.
Not being able to say No.
What is your strength?
My creativity, being hands-on and perseverant.
How did it all start?
Initially, I had a little personal addiction to vintage scarves from the 60s and 70s. Being inspired by their unique designs, motives and by the incredible colour combinations, I began to collect them more and more. Soon, I had so many that I did not know what to do with them anymore, apart from keeping them in my inspiration-box. As nobody really wears them anymore apart from grandma’s and stewardesses, I decided to reinterpret their functions and turned them into bags. So, I picked up a vintage shopping-net in cotton (from my mother) and combined it with my favourite vintage scarf: The ‘FILET FOULARD’ (‘Scarved Net’) was born. Soon my fashionista friends like Loulou Moore fell in love with it and encouraged me to develop the concept around the Vintage scarf, to create my brand and to sell them to selective shops. All this was back in 2005, when I was still in another job, doing this new project on the side.
Due to the rarity of the vintage material and due to the fact that I was producing them myself, the quantity was very limited. Unfortunately I could not fulfil the buyer’s wishes and answer to all their orders… and furthermore, I could not make a living out of my designs…So it was only last year when I decided to leave my full time job to dedicate myself a 100% to my brand and design activity.
Since then, I have successfully re-launched the so-called SCARVED COLLECTION by adding up new models i.e. the original ‘WRAPPED BAG’ with an interchangeable scarf and categories like the PARKA JACKETS.
How did you come up with the name unique allure?
As each bag possessed its own scarf, own design, motive, or pattern my first collection seemed very kaleidoscopic. I needed a fitting name that would define the variety of my exclusive one-of-a-kind products. UNIQUE ALLURE encourages individuality and a woman’s freedom of expression. UNIQUE ALLURE bags are unique.
Where do you get your material from?
Most vintage scarves come from selected vintage boutiques around Europe. Some pieces come from local flea markets and other from a scarf manufactory in Italy. My VELVET CLUTCHES are made out of French velvet normally used for interior decorations; the upcoming leather bags will be made in Italy.
Sourcing is crucial for young creators like me. The relationship –which I have built with my suppliers over the past years’, is very determinant. Without their sympathy for my designs and their trust, I would not have been able to re-launch my collection.
How often do you produce per year?
I don’t stick to the general fashion business seasons, but I have a summer/ winter theme. Sometimes I rework my bags when they did well in the previous season, so I add up to them and might re-sell them later on in a different format. The boutiques I am working with are used to this and are happy to stock older models, which are unique pieces anyway!
Where can we find your accessories?
They are available in many different cities around the world. From Europe to even Tokyo. More infos can be found on my website: www.uniqueallure.com
How do you think about colours and its combinations?
Personally, I love to combine a colourful bag with a sober outfit, to emphasize on the specialty of the accessoire.
What makes you different?
As the name says: UNIQUE ALLURE accessories should always be one of a kind (UNIQUE) and add up to the person’s style and aura (ALLURE) wearing it!
Anything coming up?
Yes, my ONE OF A KIND LEATHER collection: the clients will be able to customize their own bags!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Probably in the same place as today: having the luxury to travel around the world in search of new inspirations, special garments and craftsmanship; sitting in the middle of fabrics with my head in my design-cloud, BUT WITH a lovely and big team besides me, which takes care of administration, distribution, communication and production of my truly unique collections.
by Gabrielle Berlin