Creative Series – Designer / Business Owner
BY JERRI JONES | 27.07.18
Introducing Natalija Bouropoulos, founder and designer of NATALIJA, a nightwear and lifestyle label thoughtfully designed and made in Australia for the effortlessly cool, modern woman.
I have admired and followed Natalija’s label and journey for some time now, relating to her core values of quality, timeless design and longevity as they echo my own values for JERRI.JONES and appreciating her advocacy for slow fashion. Natalija through her label and social platforms mindfully educates consumers on the importance of buying less and buying well, taking care of investments and mending when needed – encouraging a shift in mindset to appreciate quality and longevity rather than supporting fast fashion ideals.
NATALIJA steps away from the traditional fashion calendar, instead creating season-less, highly considered collections and garments that women can wear year-round and for many years to come. Placing value on doing more with less and relying on a wardrobe of fewer, more versatile pieces that have longevity and are worn and loved for many years ahead.
With ideals much like JERRI.JONES, I’m thrilled to be adding NATALIJA’s beautiful silk collection to my curated e-boutique. Crafted in Sydney, Natalija’s silk garments are the ultimate luxury for sleep, home and beyond – the perfect pairing with our leather essentials.
As part of our creative series, profiling inspiring women chasing their dreams with style and grace – I spoke to Natalija to find out more about her beautiful silk loungewear label, what inspires her and her passion for advocating slow fashion and more mindful consumption.
Tell us a little background about yourself
I am self-taught. As an emerging designer, I think you’ve really got to commit yourself to a career of constant self-education to learn where to look for the best opportunities.
The more I learn about the fashion industry, the more I am convinced that people need to buy less but buy better. It is my passion to create long-lasting, precious pieces of impeccable quality and strive to do so in the most sustainable way possible.
Like most girls, I was introduced to the concept of personal style by my mother. She instilled in me the value of ‘quality over quantity’ and made me aware of that certain ‘attitude’ a woman can have when wearing beautiful, well-made clothes. Watching how she dressed I became observant of how an outfit can transform how you feel and subsequently started to develop my own taste and sense of style.
My style is not overly complicated or challenging, you will always find me wearing quite minimal ensembles in classic, comfortable shapes. The most significant thing for me when buying things is that each addition is always very considered. It’s about slowly building and adding to your wardrobe so that it becomes a true reflection of you.
“The more I learn about the fashion industry, the more I am convinced that people need to buy less but buy better. It is my passion to create long-lasting, precious pieces of impeccable quality and strive to do so in the most sustainable way possible.” – Natalija Bouropoulos
How did NATALIJA the label come about?
The idea for NATALIJA was born in 2014 from my own personal struggle to find nightwear that was understated and contemporary, although all that I found available was either too matronly or overly seductive. After 7 years pursuing a corporate career in marketing my passion for this path was fading and this idea was the creative outlet I craved.
I began designing a line of silk underpinnings and soon after I had received an overwhelmingly positive response from women who were reaching out to me to say, “Thank you for creating such lovely things… I felt beautiful from the second I put my piece on.” This feedback led me to the realization that I was onto something special.
What is your favourite quote / mantra?
I live by the mantra, “Everything is possible” (so much so that I have it tattooed on my forearm). It’s about believing in yourself, because no one is going to believe in you if you don’t. I strongly believe that once you know yourself and stay true to that, things will fall into place.
NATALIJA is a response to the needs of a modern woman, who shops less but won’t compromise on style. Have you seen a change as of late in consumer behavior of fashion vs. slow fashion?
For me, there is a space to love fashion yet support sustainable practices. As a brand, we are hoping to be a part of this movement to shift consumer’s mindsets back to appreciating quality and longevity rather than supporting ‘fast fashion’ ideals – that is, consuming more but paying less for poor quality garments. Knowing where your clothes are made and being more mindful as consumers, is key to breaking the chain of trend driven throw-away culture.
“As a brand, we are hoping to be a part of this movement to shift consumer’s mindsets back to appreciating quality and longevity rather than supporting ‘fast fashion’ ideals – that is, consuming more but paying less for poor quality garments.”
Tell us about your most exciting collaboration
It was with Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, when they approached me to create a limited-edition NATALIJA sleep mask available exclusively for them. This collaboration came to life through a bespoke and ultra-luxurious 100% silk sleep mask that perfectly reflects the beauty of resort; it’s commitment to sustainability, and the magnificent splendour of the Australian bush surrounds.
What is your ‘can’t live without’ lounge piece from your collection?
One of my favourite pieces is the Silk Slip Dress– it’s bedroom- and brunch- appropriate! It’s easy to transition it from day through to evenings, seamlessly.
Where do you source your inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from the fabrics, their movement and beauty; though to a lesser degree, from books that forecast colour trends in fashion. In the NATALIJA woman’s busy modern routine time is the ultimate luxury, which is why longevity is a significant driver behind our collections. We strongly believe that the contemporary woman’s wardrobe should be built upon easy to wear, well-made pieces that are thoughtfully designed to stand the test of time.
Can you share your sustainability journey with us and remind us why it is so important to think before we purchase?
With the sustainable fashion movement gaining momentum and emphasis we wish to seek constant improvements to our practices. Currently our garments are made from the finest silk fabrics that we have traced from the most ethical sources available and ensured that our silks are derived from sustainable cultivation processes. In addition to this we have moved all manufacturing to Sydney, Australia to ensure best practice working conditions and the highest quality of the garments.
I like consuming. But when I’m buying things, it has to be something very special and what I feel is important. It’s a very thought-out and a carefully considered thing. I’d never go out and buy lots of things in one go. I prefer to buy one unique, very good quality product at a time. Whether it’s my wardrobe or for the home, it’s about slowly building and adding to it so it becomes a part of you.
“I prefer to buy one unique, very good quality product at a time. Whether it’s my wardrobe or for the home, it’s about slowly building and adding to it so it becomes a part of you.”
How do you stay ahead of the trends and designs in this space?
The styles are not about what is “on trend” at the moment, it’s about what we believe the NATALIJA woman would love and what will make her feel good.
This new way of thinking enables us to step out from the traditional fashion calendar and produce “season-less”, but still highly relevant collections for our customer. We want to create beautiful, wearable garments that the NATALIJA woman can wear all year round and for many years to come, therefore our emphasis is on producing fewer, highly considered collections rather than abiding by the industry’s conventional seasons.
Do you rely on social media to make your business successful?
It’s interesting to see that 78% of all our social network referrals come from Instagram! So, for us, it’s important for brand building and engagement; but I don’t solely rely solely on it to market the business and promote sales.
Like me, you are a big believer in ‘Buy Less, Buy Better’, opting for versatile pieces that last- What are your key wardrobe pieces on rotation?
The white Silk Shirt – it’s completely versatile, classic, and never outdated. It’s the one item that every woman should own in their wardrobe.
The Silk slip is such a key wardrobe piece, for home and for going out – What is your favourite way to style your slip dress?
I love styling the black Slip with mules and have the Silk Shirt over and tied at the waist – it’s effortless, chic and seriously comfortable!
Coffee or Tea?
If we are visiting Sydney, what are your top eats to visit?
Warren & Holt in Marrickville or Henry Lee’s in Chippendale is lovely for breakfast or lunch; while I like to try different things; I always end up getting the old favourite, their smashed avocado toast variety! For dinner, I’m obsessed with this authentic Japanese restaurant Yakitori Jin in Haberfield, it serves up delicious yakitori, handmade gyoza and udon soups.
I love your new silk wash, it’s a dream hand washing my silk garments now – thank you! Can you tell us a little about how this came about and what does 2018 look like for NATALIJA?
One of the strongest beliefs behind NATALIJA as a brand is quality and longevity in our designs and a key element of this is educating our customer about garment care. We believe a sustainable outlook starts with emphasising care in production but is not complete without a long-term outlook for the clothing.
This belief led us to the creation of our Silk Wash, a delicate, naturally derived wash that is gentle enough to maintain your beautiful NATALIJA garments. With the light fragrance of fresh lotus flower paired with green tea plant extract, the wash combines gentle ingredients that will delicately wash and condition not only silk wear but wools, fine cottons and cashmere. The wash is available in a standard laundry appropriate size as well as a compact travel accompaniment, all of course in fully biodegradable packaging.
What’s ahead in 2018? Last year will certainly be a hard one to back up but we are so looking forward to what this new year has in store for NATALIJA. Without giving too much away, you’ll see beautiful additions to our collection, an exciting collaboration, more pop-up stores and that’s just the beginning.
With running an online business and social media account, what do you do to switch off and recharge?
At the end of a long day there is nothing nicer than treating yourself to a beautiful and considered ritual that makes you feel pampered and relaxed, and most importantly ready for a restful and rejuvenating sleep.
After a cleansing shower to wash off the day, there is nothing that feels quite as special as slipping into my silk pyjamas. Without a doubt, this feeling of personal luxury is part of what inspired me to create NATALIJA, and it is the part of my night time ritual I most look forward to. I love how silk makes me feel pampered, elegant and feminine, it is my little treat at the end of the day.
Drawing yourself away from electronic devices which not only perpetuate stress but also emit sleep inhibiting blue light. The simple act of replacing screen time with a book is an easy way to do this. Reading something that calms and inspires you is a great habit to develop as an alternative to stimulating electronics.
You can find Natalija and view her collection via her website and instagram