Being selected to be a part of NET-A-PORTER’s Vanguard mentorship program is no small feat. The global luxury e-commerce brand’s Vanguard program offers nascent designers the chance to receive a comprehensive 360-degree mentorship from NET-A-PORTER professionals with the goal of supporting their development into becoming successful, sustainable businesses in the long run.
Only four designers are lucky enough to be selected to partake in the prestigious program each season and Iranian-British handbag designer Sahar Asvandi’s S.Joon brand is part of the Vanguard’s Spring-Summer 2020 season.
BAZAAR caught up with Sahar to ask her about her experience, her background and her brand S.Joon whose name has been derived from the Persian term of endearment “joon”.
S.Joon in The Vanguard Spring-Summer 2020 campaign
Harper's BAZAAR Arabia: Congratulations on becoming a part of The Vanguard! How does it feel?
Sahar Asvandi: Thank you! It feels wonderful to be part of a programme that is so supportive and encouraging.
HBA: What are you most hoping to learn from the mentorship element of the programme?
SA: It’s great to know that the mentorship is there to turn to for advice. When you launch a brand or a business there are so many things to consider and you are constantly learning. As we develop as a brand there will undoubtedly be new challenges that will mean the guidance is invaluable.
HBA: Can you tell us a bit about how you ended up launching S.Joon?
SA: I studied in contemporary dance and choreography. After completing my degree, I spent years dancing, choreographing and teaching and S.Joon began as a side project to this work. I think dance and design have many connections so I feel really lucky that I still get to nurture those passions.
HBA: Your brand’s name literally is inspired by your Persian heritage, how else do you seek inspiration from your Middle Eastern heritage?
SA: My heritage is definitely part of who I am, and so S.Joon will always be influenced by this in a wider sense but inspiration can come in many forms and ways!
S.Joon Saddle Shoulder Bag
HBA: Which is your personal favourite S.Joon bag?
SA: The saddle bag will always a hold special place in my heart as it is where my journey began, but I love the Tulip as it was inspired by my engagement.
HBA: What advice would you have for anyone looking to launch their own fashion brand?
SA: Have patience, persistence and the courage to trust your gut. It usually knows the answer. And if really doesn’t, don’t be afraid to ask.
HBA: What can we expect to see from S.Joon in the future?
SA: I have a few ideas up my sleeve, we’ll have to wait and see if they come to life!
Images courtesy of NET-A-PORTER