Sometimes all we need in our wardrobe are simple designs that work with everything and can be worn everyday. That is what Santicler excels in - her collection is filled with high quality cotton, cashmere pieces that is seasonless and will last a lifetime. Come find out more about the designer Monica Miller and her brand, Santicler.
q: How did you come up with the name of the brand - Santicler?
a: The name is derived from an old Romanian slang word, used at the end of the 19th century that meant "a precious thing". I stumbled upon it when I was considering names for my new company and I loved it for its old-world meaning, and because it resonated with the approach I wanted to take to my new collection: design exquisite quality pieces of lasting value, made with social and environmental consideration, and that can be cherished and worn for seasons and years to come.
q: How has working for brands like BCBG Max Azria influenced you as a designer?
a: Working for a large company as BCBG Max Azria has taught me to consider the lifestyle of the end-user above all else. I love making beautiful pieces, but for me, it is essential to ensure that each design is practical, wearable, and versatile. I love selling through down to the last item and I am so happy when customers return to purchase new colors in the same styles or try a new piece altogether. At the moment, 50% + of our consumers return to make a new purchase, while our returns and exchanges are 5% or less. If a client loves their piece, it means that I've accomplished my mission as a designer and that brings me tremendous satisfaction.
q: You mentioned that you learned hand-knitting and weaving techniques from your mother and grandmother, what was your favourite part of that?
a: I grew up in Romania in the 80's and early 90's. Back then, I spent a lot of time in the countryside at my grandparent's home. In the summers I learned how to plant, grow and harvest linen, process, prepare, and dye the yarns. In the spring, wool from the sheep would be collected, washed, and prepared to be spun by hand into yarns. In the late fall, when work in the fields came to an end, my grandmothers would set up their wooden looms in the house and began weaving cloth for various uses: towels, bedsheets, throws, decorative. My mother was a phenomenal hand knitter so I picked up the skill at an early age. Sitting side by side with these incredible women are some of the happiest memories of my childhood and I am really grateful to have had the opportunity to grow up this way.
q: What inspires you?
a: I've been living in sunny Southern California, close to the ocean for nearly two decades. I am inspired by the incredibly relaxed, effortless lifestyle of this beautiful place and its modern minimalist architecture. On the other hand, I travel back to Romania for production often. I love the beauty and creativity of traditional textiles, and I am fascinated by the stories weaved or embroidered on their surfaces. I am a hybrid, a product of two worlds and I draw inspiration from these places that together, define who I am.
q: Who are the designers you admire and why?
a: I admire the legacy of luxury designers, but for the most part, I love discovering independent brands that have a unique point story to tell. Jewellery: Dezsosra - a beautiful line of jewelry by Sarah Beltran. I love the unique, hand-carved pieces she develops with artisans in India. Each piece is one of a kind and simply a collectible. Vintage: I love vintage. I wear my own Santicler pieces, but for the most part, my wardrobe is made up of incredible vintage finds. Marfa Stance: I purchased a coat from Marfa Stance which is also on Curated Crowd! I absolutely love it! It is so beautifully made! I love the cut and the style and I will keep it forever. Romanian custom made blouses and tunics: I commission my own pieces and I am really excited about the opportunity of working with local artisans. It is a dream of mine to have a line of Romanian traditionally made pieces. The process of making them for myself helps me discover different artisans and understand how to best work together. These pieces are so unique and beautifully made, that I will keep and cherish forever. Kemo Sabe Hats: I just got my first hand made in Texas hat, branded with my initials, and I am smitten! It is a piece of art! So so beautiful! The Kemo Sabe Store in Aspen Colorado is just fantastic! I could spend a fortune in here! Every piece is authentic Americana, hand made to last a lifetime and from makers across the United States.
q: Why is sustainability so important to you?
a: I grew up in a family where everything was made by hand and used until it no longer was usable. I was taught to cherish and take care of my clothes so they can last longer. Today, in the developed world, we all suffer from having too much clothing and accessories. Therefore, slowing down and purchasing mindfully is not only good for the planet, but it is also good for the mind, and ultimately for the customer's wallet. Additionally, the unprecedented growth in consumption over the last couple of decades simply cannot be supported by our planet's resources, and that is deeply concerning to me. Unless we alter our behavior, our children will live in a strained world and our generation will be to blame.
q: What are the next steps for Santicler?
a: I have big dreams for Santicler and sometimes is difficult to slow down. At the moment my focus is on the next fall collection which will be mostly made of cashmere and viscose cocktail pieces. In the next couple of years, we also want to introduce a trade-in program for old Santicler pieces so we can recycle or upcycle and resell refurbished pieces. I strongly believe in the quality of our garments and since most of our materials are natural, there are more and more opportunities to recycle them properly.
Getting to know a designer like Monica Miller is a true honour for us at Curated Crowd. She is a designer who knows exactly what she wants out of a brand and isn't afraid to go out and get it. She designs inncredibly simple yet versitile pieces that suit everyday wear and we cannot get enough of it! They're made from the highest quality of materials, soft cashmere and smooth cotton that glides onto your skin.
Having that wealth of experience working with big brands, such as BCBG Max Azria, has given her the insight of how the fashion industry works from the inside out. It has certainly given her the advantage of knowing how a brand should and shouldn't operate. Monica is very passionate about bringing sustainability into her brand, Santicler - it is vital for her to create pieces that her customers can wear over and over again, taking it from season to season, year to year.
From her interview, we can tell that Monica is also a person who loves to support other small businesses, for it is them that is going to be the future of fashion. We are so focused on fast fashion and big corporations nowadays that we forget the small designers and businesses that are trying to thrive in this industry. We need to support one another in order to succeed!
We are so excited to have her on board with us and we can't wait to see her thrive with us!