Q&A with our Founder
Aēyra (formerly Les Inimitables) is founded by Kirsten, former fashion stylist, jewelry collector and graphic designer. Get to know us more with this Q&A.
Q: Why did you launch Les Inimitables?
A: I feel like it gets said a lot in interviews but I actually wanted to be working in fashion since I was about 5 years old. I have always been very intrigued by fashion and what it does for personal expression and creation.
My grandmother a lot of times took me shopping, she is super fashionable. She has a walk-in closed bigger than mine at age 82. I must say when I look back at pictures my mother used to play around with fashion and jewelry a lot. I recently found a photo from her wearing these beautiful Chanel earrings. So I think I got the love for fashion from my mother's side of the the family.
In my styling career over the years I received and collected a lot of feedback from models and team members who would tell me about their experiences with brands. About what they would miss while shopping to genuinely being surprised about my styling selections and wanting to buy from my rack. I then knew I could make a difference and do something with that passion. All that feedback I have been collecting and saving in my mind to one day develop my own line of garments and accessories and approach my brand from the consumer's perspective on needs and wants.
Q: Where does the name come from?
A: I was struggling to find a name that I would instantly like and wouldn't bore me when years go by. The French have always inspired me with their effortless style and so I knew a French name would fit the brand. I started writing down a lot of words that would describe the brand and I started translating them to the French language. The word that stuck with me was INIMITABLE. Meaning: unreproducible, unique, one of a kind. I made it plural because I want to build a community of like minded hearts that would all like to feel 'one of a kind' in some beautiful way. And I want to support that.
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
A: Very minimal, classic but with a raw edge to it. I love a good suit and bold jewelry to add a little funk. I think I am always wearing either a blazer or a sweater together with jeans or tailored trousers. I like mixing old and new, older pieces give something extra dimensional to a look. Plus I love the fact that older stuff can't be spotted on each street corner. I looove dresses in summer time but I am more of a pants type of girl, I guess I love them more on other people. A well-made bag and shoe is always on my side.
Q: Would you consider yourself a silver or gold person?
A: In my teenage years I always wore silver because that naturally suits me better. I know silver is the more flattering color for my skin type. I am a winter type when it comes to color matching and that means I'm all about the cool tones. But as I got older I got intrigued by my grandmother's jewelry which mostly is yellow gold. I inherited a few of her rings and since then I started collecting more gold than silver. But I am seeing a lot more silver these days so who knows, I might be getting back to silver sooner than I might expect. But I am also a big fan of mixing metals. I don't believe in strict rules, just do what feels right because it might just make your appearance unique.
Q: Did you know where to begin starting out your brand?
A: Not at all. Before I started working on LES INIMITABLES I had been a stylist for 8 years, working at several brands and freelancing in graphic design at night. I have always been juggling positions, I am easily bored and in need of challenges. Working in so many different job positions gave me insight in the industry which meant I've gotten to learn a few disciplines.
It was with my internship at fashion magazine GLAMOUR where I was truly inspired by how big fashion campaigns got together. What the magazines were interested in and how those collaborations worked. How trends were spotted, what brands to follow and how such a big brand was build from the inside out. I feel lucky getting to meet such great minds and industry professionals to learn from.
To be able to start my business I had to deep dive into the world of design, patterns, production and textiles. Also I had to learn how to find good manufacturers and how to bond with them. I feel a company thrives best with good people who have a vibe between them. So personal connections mean a lot to me. All the research I did myself because there simply is no local course to follow to know all there is to know. It doesn't (at the moment) exist.
Q: How did you get started?
A: Aside from styling school I never got into the actual education part of setting up a brand. It was when me and my husband had layover in Dubai during our holiday in 2019 when I stumbled upon a bookstand which had so so many fashion books on design, patterns and basic knowledge. I stood there for 30 mins collecting all the books when my husband said: "I don't think we will be able to take all these books home... in our hand luggage." haha!
I wrote down all the names and ordered them once I got home. I studied them all, for weeks and weeks. And I Googled a lot (we are BFF's now). After 9 months of designing, sourcing and scripting a clothing developer expert and I crossed paths and she ended up helping me get me final designs right. I am so glad I chose to work with her, it was a great way for me to avoid huge mistakes with suppliers that in the end would cost me way more. She and I also became great friends last year which I am already eternally grateful for.
Q: What are the benefits of working on this brand as a stylist?
A: I think the most beneficial part of designing as a stylist is I spot trends rather quickly. LES INIMITABLES is not a trendy brand, I am not designing following seasonal trends because that would mean that once the trend is over, you probably won't want to wear our items again. But it comes in handy knowing what way society is working towards. I'd rather make timeless pieces that last but will suit the needs of a moment in time.
Q: Where did jewelry came into place?
A: From the beginning I wanted to add jewelry to the collection. I LOVE jewelry pieces and have been collecting memories with jewelry over the years. It began with my mother & grandmother's heirlooms. Then when I was sixteen I got a Pandora bracelet as a birthday gift from my mother (which was very popular at the time) and started collecting pendants. Eventually I ended up with a full bracelet of pendants that each represented a birthday, special event, loved one or friend. Even though the design doesn't fit me anymore, I still keep that very bracelet in my jewelry drawer because it is so special to me. I believe that is what jewelry does, it keeps memories alive.