So much admiration for this gorgeous and talented #femalefounder.
Coming to London as a child fleeing the war in the former Yugoslavia, Nina Kovacevic’s mother taught her that looking your best and making an effort can work as armour against the outside world.
‘She always looked the part – with her Dior red lipstick and vintage furs – even when everything was falling apart around us. My women’s wear label War & Drobe was named in dedication of this time and the influence it had on me.’
Nina is delightfully understated, but her story, as with so many female founders, is one of hard work and dedication. Having studied Fine Art at Central St. Martin’s, during her final year she began an internship for a tailor. It was there that her love for the craftsmanship of sewing began. The transition from Art to Fashion, she says, was a difficult one but a journey worth pursuing.
‘War & Drobe is a women’s wear label with a strong focus on timeless yet contemporary elegance. I hand-make each garment and accessory in my home studio in South London using sustainable fabrics such as organic cottons and designer surplus from Italy and the UK.’
By slowing down the process and never mass-producing clothing, she aims to celebrate and preserve traditional, artisanal sewing techniques.
‘Crafting consciously is at the heart what I do taking care to consider the full life cycle of a garment and what impact it will leave. For now I’m a one-woman band so everything from choosing the fabrics to keeping on top of the financials is down to me.’
For the future, ‘I’d love to have a permanent retail space and run workshops teaching people how to sew – especially lingerie. Ultimately, I would have a shop and workshop space combined. I am slowly but surely working it out.’
Check out Nina’s gorgeous, one-off pieces below. And if anyone has a spare corner of retail space to spare….she’s your gal.
What is – or has been – your greatest struggle? My confidence has been a huge obstacle to overcome and I’ve learnt that it can make you your own worst enemy at times. Work in progress!
What did you want to be when you were growing up? I think possibly because I’m a Gemini I wanted to be everything under the sun from archaeologist to human rights lawyer.
Best advice ever received and from whom? My dad always says, “If you want to be an eagle you can’t fly with the pigeons”.
Who do you most admire? My mother, for being an incredible human being and teaching me that as a female I shouldn’t conform to the traditional stereotypes. She always encourages me to take risks and live life my own way.
What keeps you up at night? I’m obsessed with pattern cutting for new designs – always keeps me up.
When were you happiest? Growing up and spending time with my older brother.
Favourite object you possess? A family ring my mum passed down to me when I was 17, I’ve worn it ever since.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Let’s not panic”
What is the most important lesson life has taught you? Mind over matter.
What is your guiltiest pleasure? Browsing through Instagram and trying to justify it as “work”.
What change do you hope for in your lifetime? I’d love to see sustainable living become the norm.
Who could help you next? Someone who owns a retail space and would be interested in renting it to me for utilities only – I live in hope!
Please recommend a brilliant female-led brand or business you have used recently. I’ve recently bought coconut hair balm from Virginutty a small and independent business with a beautiful story of why they started doing what they do!