With London Fashion Week filling our feeds and stoking us into a style-fuelled fever, we FDJ LDN mavens thought that this would be the perfect time to start our new series of designer-focused interviews. We here at Fashion Du Jour LDN love nothing more than discovering new brands. So when we stumbled upon the simply stunning Black and Sigi Jewellery, we simply HAD to contact them and get the inside scoop on this hot to trot gem of a brand! We chat to the sister duo behind the range, Athena and Clio.
So tell us a bit about Black and Sigi – how did it all come about?
Athena: It all started when I was at college studying fashion and had made a wire beaded ring for a project. Clio in the meantime had come home for a holiday (she was living in Italy at the time) and had bought a ring in the same style. In passing she said that she preferred my ring to the one she had bought…the seed had been planted!
Clio: I come from a business background, having studied management and Italian at Reading Uni and after I fell pregnant I decided that I wanted to leave my job in London and pursue a more creative career (which is what I should have explored straight away!). I had always said that Athena needed to develop the accessories that she often made, so I took the bull by the horns and set up the business with her and threw us into the deep end. That was last year – we now both design and create the pieces and are going from strength to strength every month.
How did you come up with the name Black and Sigi?
The name comes from our mother’s maiden name (Black) and our surname (Sigismondi). We wanted to bring together both parts of our family names and create an identity for the company. It’s also a nod to our father who was nicknamed ‘Sigi’. Two names, two sisters and two personalities.
As one pair of sisters to another – how do you find working with your sibling?
It’s great fun, and for us it really works. You have the familiarity and candidness that you can only get from a sister relationship, as well as being able to discuss and disagree without falling out over things. We use our strengths to drive the business and make sure we have fun with it all.
Which aspects of running the business do you enjoy most and which do you find most challenging?
There are lots of different aspects which we love, from designing and choosing the colourful beads to connecting with new people. Of course, with every business there are lots of challenges and lessons you learn along the way. The challenge is learning from your mistakes and making sure that you don’t do the same again. We can say we have learnt lots this year and so have faced many challenges!
Talk us through an average day at Black and Sigi.
Athena: The first thing we do is put the kettle on and have a coffee to kick-start the day!
Clio : Each day is very different for us (one of the aspects of the job that we love!), so for example, today we came in and have been designing and creating samples for our new SS16 collection and getting this ready for our photoshoot at the end of the month. After lunch we finished off our orders and then discussed our lookbook graphics, finishing off with a few marketing items. We have been very busy today!
There’s a wonderful aesthetic to the brand. What influences and inspires you?
Our environment is a great influencer of what inspires us. It could be from our travels or from a personal experience. Our AW15 ‘Rupture’ collection was inspired by a trip to Naples and seeing the beautiful Volcano Vesuvius, which incidentally is the name of one of our rings in the collection. The Immortal Collection, on the other hand, is inspired by Greek mythology, which was a great passion of our father.
We are LOVING the new AW15 range “Rupture” – if you HAD to pick, which piece(s) would be your must-have to get you through the season?
Clio: The Mauna Loa Bangle teamed up with the St. Helens bangle and then finished off with a Juno bangle is a GREAT stack for me. The Labradorite stone is just exquisite, and the amber crystal sets it off great. Fabulous colours for AW. The Vesuvius ring is also a favourite of mine, a great statement to add to your outfits.
Athena: The Mayon earrings and the Maelifell necklace are my go-to pieces. The earrings are going to be great for all those Christmas parties.
What do you think the Black and Sigi customer is like?
Our customers are made up of many different types. The beauty of our collections is that we have statement items within our seasonal collections, yet have a more simple and classic collection under the Immortal collection. We’ve found that there is at least one piece in the BAS designs that every person likes! Let’s hope that continues.How would you describe your own personal style?
Our style is keeping it simple then adding a statement piece to finish the look. As you can imagine, we love an accessory to change up a look!
What is your proudest moment to do with the business so far?
Receiving our first order through the website. That made us pretty excited and gave us massive confidence to get out there and produce lots more!
And finally…how’s SS16 looking at Black and Sigi?
Colourful and sweet smelling! Those are the only clues you are getting for now. You may also see hair accessories in the mix. We are too excited for this! Keep posted by following us on Instagram and signing up to the BAS club for up-to-date inside information!
Thanks so much to the lovely Clio and Athena for taking the time to chat with us! If you haven’t already checked them out, head over to their website now and prepare to fall in love – www.blackandsigi.com.
Be sure to keep heading back to FDJ LDN, fashion fillies, as we have a packed schedule of LFW posts heading your way all this week with super stylish exclusives!
Love Nicky and Leigh at FDJ LDN HQ x