In Conversation With... Kriss Soonik

Lascivious have worked alongside and supported other independent brands since our inception in 2004, we are thrilled to collaborate and feature some of them on our site. Creative Director Chloe chats to Kriss Soonik about their history and mutual loves... 
In the office we have nicknamed you ‘Sunny Soonik’ because you are always smiling. I love working with you because of that, I think we probably got to know each other the best when we were both awarded a stand at a trade show in Florence. Neither of us spoke Italian, but met some amazing designers over there that welcomed us (Individuals by Carlo Galli and Ikonostas by Daniela Corcio). I think a mutual respect and positivity is really important with those you work with - would you agree? and does this affect who you choose to work with? 
Thank you Chloe! It means the world to me. Yes, that was my first ever trade show in Italy. Being together with big names in the luxury lingerie industry like Lascivious was a dream come true for me. The biggest shock to me was how open everyone was. We were all competitors but you were sharing all the start-up "secrets" with me. Now every time I talk to up and coming entrepreneurs I tell them that my biggest mentors have been my "competitors".  We are like a close family. I was amazed by it at first. Why would you share all this info? But I realised quite quickly - you can give all the info but the person receiving it has to know how to implement it. Just reading a "how to start your business" book won't make you an entrepreneur. Fashion, and especially luxury lingerie, is a tough industry to be in, so to be able to share the highs and lows with fellow designers has been the greatest thing for me! I am truly grateful that I can call so many of you my true friends.

Having met your wonderful parents and your very stylish mum, I know that they are a part of your business - I believe your mum helps to manage production in Estonia? How important are your family when it comes to your business?
Family is everything to me. I am the only child, so I am very close to my parents. They have been my biggest supporters and I owe them a lot for that. Yes, my mum works with me. She has now moved more towards logistics and remains a very important part of the business. I always say that the reason I chose to start manufacturing in Estonia, is that it always gives me a reason to go back home.

Kriss Soonik - Lace Bra & Knickers In Powder Pink 
Ahh that’s so lovely. I think as small designers the support network around us is really pivotal, to help us feel strength and believe in what we are doing. You’ve always had a really unique take on this sector - single-handedly creating the term ‘Loungerie’, which I love! It now seems more relevant then ever, with the increase in popularity of bralette styles. I know for a lot of young designers it was originally connected to lacking the technical knowledge to create wired styles, but wanting to offer lingerie. Where does your love of ‘loungerie’ come from? What made you create your own line?

Thank you! Well, to us the word "loungerie" came by accident really. I was constantly complaining that lingerie is not what we do, nor is loungewear. I was having a proper identity crises. So one day my photographer had written Kriss Soonik Loungerie on an image. When I saw it, I knew this was what we were doing! She had misspelled "lingerie" but I am sure it was a result of my constant complaining. As I am sure you know, it's not easy when you create something new. It takes a lot of time for people to understand what's going on and it can be a tiring process. But what really keeps me going is our superfans. The people that really get us and support us.
I've always mixed lingerie with ready to wear in our collections. We have bodysuits, suspender tops, robes etc. I never wanted to create something that's only hidden, I wanted some styles to be showed off. In our first collection we had proper padded and underwired bras and then also had a cute bralette. After hearing all the positive feedback for the bralette I ditched the underwired stuff from the collection, The style immediately became our signature.  Now triangle bras are everywhere, it's such a massive trend but when we first started no-one was doing that. I think it worked well with our concept, I believe we are quite casual for a luxury lingerie brand.

riss Soonik - Fishnet Body
We have both been honoured with the accolade of Coolbrands status. I know for me, when I received the email I screamed with excitement! I think what is so nice about Coolbrands is that it isn’t something you can put yourself forward for, it is a process that can’t be influenced, so feels like true recognition. I know also that you are rather fondly thought of in Estonia, where you originate, didn’t you meet the Prime Minister and win fashion designer of the year award? In terms of accolades or awards what stands out for you? Or career highlights so far?
I remember when you were given the CoolBrands award! Oh my, that was the most exciting thing ever! I had worked for two luxury lingerie brands before - Madame V and Agent Provocateur and they both had been awarded the CoolBrands status. I saw what it meant for them, so naturally it was one of the things to achieve also for me. But it seemed more like a dream, something you strive for but never achieve. But when Lascivious was awarded the status I felt like dreams can come true. I was so happy for you guys! The next year when we were awarded it just felt bizarre. Truly weird. It's definitely one of the highlights. Of course being awarded the fashion designer of the year award in Estonia was also a big deal. But I guess for me, so far the most amazing thing is how well our collections are doing in Japan. Finding a market like this has been my greatest achievement so far.
Kriss Soonik Pop-up Shop In Tokyo
Yeah, I always think, I must design something that the Japanese market will love so I can get out there and visit! The culture is certainly an influence on your work, will this impact your collections in the future - do you have plans to diversify further into this market?

They really get our concept. In Japan we sell not only in the lingerie but also ready to wear in boutiques and departments. We do make a lot more pink and pastels now, which of course I love myself, otherwise I wouldn't design it. We have plans to add more ready to wear styles and to expand the collection in that direction.

In Tallinn (Estonia), where are your favourite places to...
Hang Out?
Cafe Klaus
Pegasus. A legendary restaurant and cafe in Tallinn. Still as fresh as ever.
Estonian Design shop Tali
Header Photo Credit: Photographer - Laura Strandberg

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