Designer Background Summary:
*”a sliva” i.e. A small piece of something.
A small piece of something wonderful, we believe. Designed by South African fashion designer, Annette Smuts, and manufactured locally in Johannesburg, South Africa. This label seeks to redefine the shape and fit of ladies’ suits. Powerful women want to feel beautiful, and elegant. We seek to meet that need.
How did you get started?
I started doing couture & bridal wear, but always had a yearning for tailoring and eventually left the bridal & couture industry to follow my passion for suits & tailoring. I created SLIVA and started selling to Johannesburg based boutique stores and over the last 4 years has slowly worked my way to creating a recognizable and noteworthy brand trademarked by my passion for fit!
Why did you join Noblivity®?
How would you describe your design style, design signature and who is your targeted customer?
Classic pieces that make a statement and get you a lot of compliments while still giving you a lot of wear! Suits that are designed for women… to flatter, shape and accentuate everything that makes us powerful and strong.
Our designs are ageless, and can work on any woman with the right attitude and confidence.
What inspires you?
Strong women that know who they are and what they want. Confident ladies with a joy for life! That moment when someone enters a room and instinctively the crowd knows they should be paying attention to her.
What obstacles did you have to overcome to get to where you are?
I’ve had to overcome the lack of recourse, infrastructure and fashion related services in Africa. It makes it challenging to build a successful career in the South African fashion industry. Not always having access to a variety of fabrics and trims it teaches one to become very inventive and creative to make do with what resources you do have access to, count! The emotional roller coaster of being a designer, manufacturer, teacher, charity and an entrepreneur does take its toll, but the results are always worth it.
How did you overcome the obstacles along the way?
Through not giving up. By believing in what I do. By changing and growing and learning and constantly improving.
What has been your greatest moment on your journey so far?
There have been many moments of joy! One of those was the opportunity to make my label available in the United States.
Another such moment was being involved in the charity fundraiser for the Cape Town Red Cross Children’s Hospital, it was a wonderful event where designers created fabulous dresses for SA celebrities, worn by the Celeb on the evening, to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, in aid of improvements to the hospital.
Another smaller, but no less important joy, is each time a customer calls/ emails me to tell me how many compliments they get from wearing my clothing and how much joy it brings them!
What has been the biggest change in your designs so far?
The changes in my designs have been small and constant. I’m perpetually refining and re-inventing. Perfecting fit and function.
What’s next for your brand?
After becoming recognized in America, I would love to open a flag-ship store in NY.
If money were no object what would you do right now to promote your brand?
Open a flag-ship store in NY, and do NY Fashion Week.
What are the best and worst things about bringing a product to market?
Having to sometimes deal with disappointment of not being successful in achieving your goals. Having the chance to try again tomorrow! Getting positive and reassuring feedback .
Describe your typical day?
Over-seeing the manufacturing of our clothing. Planning photo shoots and the next season’s range. Pattern making (I like being personally involved with creating our fit), liaising with buyers. Searching for more buyers and new ways to expand our market. Trend research. Improving our classic items. Testing new styles and fabrics.
What is your philosophy of life?
Enjoy the little things. Try to see that there is something wonderful in everyone. Believe in yourself. Don’t give up… ever. Be careful with your trust, it should be earned not given away freely. Ask for help. Never stop learning. Treat others with respect, and insist on being treated the same way. Aim for the stars, learn to fly and never look down!
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would’ve started building systems into my business sooner. I would’ve taken bigger risks. But I live without regret and the solution is to act on these things and address them once you become aware of them.
When will you know you have made it?
When I can afford to open my flagship store in NY.