From work to play, staying in to going out, Labeca London has you covered from head to toe. Founded by sisters, Lara and Bercis Ustunberk, come with us as they tell how they utilised the pandemic to create the ultimate collection.
q: How has it been starting your own brand with your sister?
a: Surprisingly to some, starting Labeca with my sister has been such a fun experience, probably because we both get along so well. We work well together as a team, bouncing ideas off one another and we’re not afraid to be honest - something that I think people would struggle with when partnering with a non-family member. I have a strong interest in the creative side of things, such as visuals, branding and design, whereas Bercis brings a more business-oriented perspective. These two skill-sets compliment each other; maybe if we were too alike it wouldn’t work! Nonetheless, she’s a great business partner and family is so important to both of us, hence why we chose the name Labeca. We have a brother called Can and we wanted our brand name to represent us. It is a combination of our own names; Lara, Bercis and Can – La-Be-Ca.
q: As much as the pandemic was a trying time, do you think it was a source of inspiration for you as well?
a: Definitely, the pandemic came with its challenges, but it has also brought a lot of positive changes to Labeca – in terms of both our designs and overall approach. Initially, we aimed for our clothing to be workable and chic for those who travel, whether that be for business or pleasure, and this does still stand. Yet, as our lifestyles changed due to national lockdowns, working from home became the new norm and as we have all most likely noticed, comfortability can make all the difference when working from our at-home offices.
We also recognised that women still wanted to stay stylish and maintain that professional look; whether it’s for the morning zoom call meeting or to feel prepared for the working day ahead. Therefore, our designs and brand approach became oriented around this demand for comfortable yet still chic clothing. In particular, our loungewear sets and cashmere pieces from our AW20 were uber appropriate given the national climate in the UK. As we adapted to new working environments, comfortability became a mainstay. Now that we are moving towards eased travel-limits, a vision for style and comfort continues to be Labeca’s main agenda. Our SS21 pieces have also adapted this focus, with aims of transitioning cosy-chic winter lounge/workwear into equally comfortable summer-time pieces.
q: What is the unique selling point of Labeca?
a: Being luxury fashion lovers ourselves, we understand the competitive market. Primarily, our unique selling point is providing women with clothing that is both comfortable and stylish, helping to dress women to look and feel fabulous when on the road, working from home and everywhere in between. Adding a Labeca twist to classic clothing pieces, such as our Denim Hoodie or Jean Joggers, we aim to create unique wardrobe staples we know people will continuously reach for. We also ensure all of our fabrics and materials are sourced and created with the best craftsmanship, from specialty manufactures. Customers come to Labeca for timeless and quality pieces that are sure to last a lifetime. Our versatile designs take you from day to night and we’re proud of our products adaptability to different occasions.
q: Do you have a favourite piece you’d wear everyday from your collection?
a: Our ‘Portofino Yellow Knit Cardigan’ has definitely been our favourite piece from our SS21 collection. Where yellows and pastel colour tones have been a trend this spring/summer, the lightweight quality of this knitted cardi has been the perfect throw over for those crisp spring days and breezy summer evenings. It has been the ideal layer for trying to keep up with the ever-changing British weather! I find it is extremely easy to style as well, and because of its luxurious 100% knit-cotton, I could honestly wear this all-day, every-day.
q: Who or what is your design inspiration?
a: Initially, the design inspiration behind Labeca came from our travels around the globe and maintaining a work schedule that meant I was constantly on the go. We found it difficult to find stylish and work-appropriate outfits that also suited our busy travel routine. Therefore, we wanted Labeca to fill the demand for clothing that is comfortable yet chic, to provide women with outfits suitable for all occasions. Myself and my sister have always had a love for fashion, which was strongly influenced by our Mum, who being a strong female lead instilled an appreciation for femininity. We both moved to London to study – a city we have always adored for its fashion culture – and here I studied within the Arts, which grew my personal interest in contemporary art and influenced my interest in art’s relationship with fashion. The two revolve around each other, but I also feel they both offer an opportunity for self-expression. Our favourite artists and travel experiences are therefore also integrated into our designs, creating products that are unique and full of personal vision. We love to share our favourite travel spots, artworks and inspirations to allow our customers to see what’s behind the brand and give them an insight into Labeca’s ‘moodboard’.
q: What’s the plan for Labeca in the next few years?'
a: Labeca actually has many exciting prospects to look forward to. With our SS21 collection just launched, we are always thinking of the next step. AW21 designs are well underway, and planning a celebration for our 1 year anniversary in November is definitely in the pipelines. Since lockdown restrictions are easing, we would also like for our products to be available for more in-person shopping experiences. Being currently partnered with Curated Crowd, stocking our products in your pop-up store has been a great experience and this is absolutely something we are planning to do more of. Keeping our plans in line with the current climate and considering the slow easing of travel restrictions, we very much hope to be able to also take Labeca global in the next few years - something we are very excited about! Expanding our products and collections by introducing giftware and more accessories is also something our whole team can’t wait for.
If Labeca London has shown us anything in the past year, it is that anything is possible. They've made use of the time during the pandemic to create opportunities for themselves and founded a brand that provides the ideal everyday pieces for every occasion.
They take all time classics and make them unique and timeless. From dresses, to co-ords to jumpsuits, they have you covered from head to toe. They want all women to feel their best and be able to jump from home to a business meeting or a lunch date straight away without worrying about what they should change into. Their designs are transitional and fluid - that's what makes them so attractive and well, sellable!
Join the Labeca family and have a little browse of their incredible collection.