10 Minutes with The Vanguard: Naturae Sacra

October 21, 2019

Today we sat down with Gizem Pirincciler, the designer behind Naturae Sacra. Translating to mystery in Latin, the handbag brand aims to position the inspiration from the mysterious forms found in nature with timeless design among the different aesthetic perceptions of distant periods. Following a discovery on Instagram by the NET-A-PORTER Buying team, Naturae Sacra was selected as one of the latest Vanguard Brands and will be launching on very soon. 

Following her mentorship, we caught up with Gizem to learn more about her designing process, unique take on bags and key take aways from The Vanguard programme. 

How would you describe Naturae Sacra in one sentence?

Minimal and timeless pieces inspired by natures unique forms, for elegant and inspiring women to wear every day.

You split your time between Turkey and Milan – how does this inspire your designing process?

Milan is a paradise for a fashion designer. You can find inspiration all over the city – form all corners and for all people. It is the house of many iconic art pieces, like Leonardo Da Vinci’s, The Last Supper, along with being a hub for modern art. It has artwork in the streets; the architecture of the houses and palaces in the historical city centre is a source of inspiration itself. Duomo, the biggest Gothic church, spreads inspiration for art lovers. It is, of course, the capital of the world when it comes to fashion and design. In Milan, I love seeing people dressed as if they came straight from the runway. 

By contrast, Turkey is a natural paradise. My beautiful city İzmir has a very beautiful natüre and is the inspiration behind my pieces. Thanks to our nature, I see small plants, beaches and seaside in the Aegean coast, the big trees and high mountains in the North Blacksea Coast, and also big walleyes in the Anatolian part. The country is the home of many original works of art like waterfalls and variously shaped rocks like Cappadoccia in Goreme.

Spending time in different places allows me to combine different inspirations, which in turn is what makes Naturae Sacra special. 

The Resin handles distinguish your bags – why did you choose to work with this unusual material?

While starting my brand, I knew I wanted to use natural products, as I love to transform natüre into something useful for daily life. Resin is any natural or synthetic organic compound, consisting of a nanocrystalline or a viscous liquid substance. Natural resins come from a plant.

Working with Resin also allows our talented female artisans to work at home. They are producing handmade handles and filling, then colouring these with the Resin. This process makes all of our products unique because the paintings are never the same. Although it takes time, this truly is our brand DNA.

Can you tell us about your experience as part of The Vanguard program?

It was my dream when I began Naturae Sacra. I was not expecting that kind of success in such a short time, but it happened! I am very excited about this, and I appreciate the NET-A-PORTER team’s interest in the brand and their consultancy.

What is next for Naturae Sacra?

For me, it is crucial to keep our aesthetic minimal and functional while investing in craftsmanship techniques and creating a unique, sculptural collection, rather than designing in terms of trends. And maybe one of our biggest goals is to have a Naturae Sacra for every woman, who has her individual taste and loves the stories behind the products she buys, more so than seasonal trends too.

What is the best piece of advice you had had that you wish you had when you started? 

No doubt, the best piece of advice I could give anyone is: NEVER GIVE UP! 

When my business partner Kerem and I first started the brand, we found it so difficult to provide a more sustainable approach in our business. It was not easy at all, and we encountered a lot of problems at first. We always told each other, never give up. This sentiment kept us going and enabled us to keep trying different approaches until we found the right one for Naturae Sacra. 

Also, I can personally say, do not be afraid of dreaming big and be sure that you know where is the prospective position of your brand in the market. Build your positioning plan globally and aim to reach it. İt does not matter where you are based geographically, because being local is not a weakness in this, ‘Mobile World’. 

How has The Vanguard program with NET-A-PORTER supported your brand’s growth?

The Vanguard program and the incredible team at NET-A-PORTER have provided us with a priceless asset; their consultancy and know-how. 

What have been your key learnings from the NET-A-PORTER experts?

I guess the most significant learning we have had is to guard your brand DNA no matter what. Carrying the brand’s diversity should always come first, growing the brand’s unique position while keeping the brand awareness. Always focus on, and develop the uniqueness of your brand, do not lose it. This is the most powerful message we have, as it enables our customers to feel their uniqueness as well.