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By Chere Di Boscio
Daniela Milosheska is the founder of Bastet Noir, a multi-brand online portal for sustainable fashion based in Macedonia. A former researcher at the Ethical Business Forum and fashion columnist at Mindthis, Daniela is the changing the way the fashion business works in the Balkans and beyond.
With her eye for emerging talent and fashion design, Daniela aims to make Bastet Noir an international platform for up and coming fashion talents to showcase and sell their designs. Bastet Noir requirements stipulate that clothing must be made from fair traded, natural and/or recycled materials.
Here, Daniela talks about the East/West fashion divide, ending her Zara habit and being a Girl Boss.
How was the concept behind BN born?
Bastet Noir was conceived as an idea to promote and get product placements and coverage for Balkan designers outside of their countries’ borders. The idea at first was to create a platform that would offer designer pieces made with respect to the Earth, at affordable prices.
However, as we developed, we found it easier to start collaborating with foreign designers as well, and so our next logical step was approaching new and emerging designers to come and display their products on our website.
What differences do you see between Eastern and Western Europe style, if any?
Eastern fashionistas tend to follow trends and they like to dress casually at home, but love dressing up for every occasion, and heels are part of every woman’s style.
Eastern European women are chic, however what bothers me the most is that many of them are shaping their style according to fashion industry trends. For Eastern European women, Zara, Bershka, Pull&Bear are the high street fashion brands they must have.
On the other hand, chic Western women are more oriented towards knowing themselves and creating style that suits them. Western women, I think follow trends as well, but most of them are shaping that style according to their own personality. They are also not resistant towards wearing vintage or second-hand clothes, whereas Eastern women are–a lot.
However, the biggest difference I would say in style is that Eastern European women are only glamorous when they’re attending (events like) weddings, whereas Western European women have all these fashion events where they can dress up and be glamorous.
Who are some of your favourite sustainable designers?
I would have to say Stella McCartney is the one that I love the most. Her designs are very chic with straight lines that flatter a woman’s silhouette. I love Henrietta Ludgate’s crazy chic dresses in bright colours. Jasmine Aaron’s (VOZ) prints and embroideries are also something I’m always looking forward to seeing.
What do you personally do in your daily life to be more eco-friendly?
Before I started working for Ethical Fashion Forum in London, I was always buying clothes from Zara and Bershka. After what happened with Rana Plaza, I started thinking how can I contribute to stop things like these from ever happening again. So I decided to stop shopping from these stores and turned to tailors. I buy from local designers who I know are always custom making their designs or buy my clothes from ASOS Marketplace and ASOS Green Room. I also started wearing second hand clothes. My first ever vintage item is a denim shirt that’s very soft on touch. I don’t think they make clothes like that anymore.
Which people or organisations trying to make a difference to the planet do you most admire?
I love Emma Watson and Livia Firth for using their fame for raising awareness for eco fashion. I also love Cartier and the Kering corporation for at least trying to do something about the problem and shifting their operations towards more nature-friendly ways of production, as well as supporting many small and medium businesses.
What’s your greatest ‘eco sin’?
Probably leather. I love leather, even though I try not to wear it and when I decide to wear it, I’m always making sure that it’s a second hand piece, a vintage find or something from my mom’s closet.
What are you proudest so far in your career?
Hmmm, I don’t really want to point out a particular moment in time, because I’m very proud of everything that has happened these past two years. It might sound like a cliche, but these past two years have been filled with so many amazing and not so amazing adventures.
If I really do have to point something out, it would probably be the people who I’ve met throughout the years, some of whom today have become my closest friends and are part of the amazing team behind Bastet Noir, especially our creative manager Monika Zec and our PR manager Meri Vanchovska Mihailovska
who have contributed tremendously to the development of making Bastet Noir an international company. Meeting these people had such an impact on the development of Bastet Noir that I forever will be grateful to them for being a part of my journey.
Where do you see BN in five years’ time?
I would like to see BastetNoir becoming a community of independent and emerging designers and fashion bloggers, sort of a go-to place where empowering and independent women can come and shop their favorite eco-friendly pieces. We’re also working on getting an investment, so we can broaden our target market and invest in marketing as well as hiring new team members.
A very ambitious goal of ours is to be featured in American Vogue 5 years from now.
Any last words?
I’m reading Sophia Amoruso’s book #GIRLBOSS and there’s a quote in there which I really like and think every young entrepreneur should follow. It says, “When your goal is to gain experience, perspective and knowledge, failure is no longer a possibility. Failure is your invention.”