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Meet Sigal Cohen of SIGÁL in Surfside

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sigal Cohen.

Sigal, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My journey starts when I was very little; I always knew I wanted to create colorful images, it became my second language. I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, this has deeply influenced my design aesthetics. The bright light, the saturated colors around me, the lush nature, the beauty pageants, the latin music. After graduating graphic design school in 2002, I became partner and Art Director of an international award winning graphic design company in Venezuela called Oruga.

Even though, I loved art directing and creating animations for broadcasting companies, I always had an itch for fashion design. I was specifically interested in textile prints and color. I always thought I could transition into that industry at some point.

In 2007, I won the IYDEY (International Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year), an award that British Council in London grants to entrepreneur designers from emergent economy countries. As part of the competition I was able to visit London, tour its design scene and design universities. I fell in love with the RCA (Royal College of Art) and decided, I wanted to study something related to fashion and textiles. Little did I know, that they had a complete Textile Design post graduate program, with specialties in printed, woven and mixed media textiles.

In 2008, I got accepted to a PEP (Post Experience Program) at the RCA to study Printed Textile Design. I sold my shares to my company in Venezuela and went on to London to study a program which changed the course of my professional life completely.

At the end of 2008, I went back to Venezuela, only to realize there was no longer a textile industry there. In 2010, I moved with my husband to Miami and later that year, started working as a Printed Textiles Designer for Zumba Fitness’s apparel line, Zumbawear. I became their lead Womenswear designer, a position I still hold now.

Designing for Zumba and other smaller brands enabled me to learn about yarns, fabrics, printing techniques and how textile manufacturing works in the real world. It’s been the most enlightening experience I’ve had in my life. I also realized, I was designing hundreds of artworks and prints per year, pouring all of my creativity into other people’s businesses. It was time for me to start allocating my creative strengths into something I could call my own. With my own point of view. In 2014, SIGÁL was born.

In 2015, I launched SIGÁL’s first collection. It was made of oversized silk scarves in five different prints. The collection was inspired by travel for ladies who travel. SIGÁL has slowly transitioned into a wider resort wear line, including pieces like silk kimonos and quilted silk clutches. It will continue to broaden the silhouette offering in 2018 with the goal of becoming a full resort collection with tops, bottoms, scarves and bags by 2019.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Designing new collections while working on distribution and sales of the previous one has definitively been a challenge that I’m still catching up with. The world is moving fast and even though people’s reaction to each collection has been great, they always want to see something new. In order to deliver constant novelty and be in line with the seasonal industry calendar, a lot of things need to be taken care of, from concept to design, to sourcing and choosing manufacturing partners. From prototyping to sampling to production and quality control. From sales and distribution to marketing strategies and management of my online store and social media channels. From order fulfillment to customer care.

Wearing all the hats is very hard, specially while maintaining client work to be able to pay my bills and continue funding my brand and even more so, being a mother of two small children.

Before going on this journey, I didn’t really know what it took to run a fashion brand. I knew I wanted to create these beautiful, all over printed pieces of clothing but the business aspect of it was foreign to me. I felt I could spend days in the studio doing what I love.

It is overwhelming and difficult. But, I love this project and I’m committed to see it through. I’ve learned so much along the way, I’ve also slowly begun to delegate and hire freelancers for specific tasks. I continue to hit roadblocks every day but I’m confident in the fact that, very soon this project will get to where I know it can be.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
SIGÁL is a manifestation of global inspiration and the imaginative. A collection for the designer within, the art lover, world traveler, lifestyle blogger and those with a taste for high culture and bohemian sophistication. I create printed oversized scarves in silk and cashmere modal as well as multi functional silk kimonos. My brand is inspired by remote destinations, the exotic patterns of nature and decorative handcrafted objects found at street markets.

What sets my collection apart is the print designs, a very personal and maximalist take on what’s happening in the fashion industry and my own interpretations of culture, tradition and Venezuelan inspiration. Bold and luxurious, each season presents a very intentional use of color, eccentric tropical inspired illustrations overlaid on hand drawn tribal weaves.

For Summer 2018, inspired by the Art Deco aesthetic and rich flora surrounding my Miami home, I went within to create my most personal collection yet, Jardín. Raw brush strokes paired with intricate florals. Vibrant botanical motifs. Hand-drawn stripes clashing with exotic patterns. All coming together to create the vividly bold prints adorning the collection’s signature items – long kimonos and oversized scarves.

What started with a translation of five artworks onto cloth in the shape of a scarf, has now transitioned onto a full resort wear brand. From consigning the first collection at a few small boutiques in Miami to expanding our distribution onto bigger stockists such as Anthropologie and growing internationally, being now stocked in Dominican Republic and Lagos, Nigeria. New and exciting times are coming for 2018 as my brand continues to gain traction and awareness.

What were you like growing up?
I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t drawing, painting, designing things on paper. I’ve always had this sensibility for color and color combination. I’ve always been fascinated with prints and patterns. I could say this was my main interest growing up, spending hours and my mother’s “hidden” studio. She’s a jewelry maker, an artist and an art teacher with great taste for fashion. She used to have a small art studio in our house and I would constantly go in there to paint. Luckily, she was always very generous at sharing her space and art supplies. I also had access to amazing art books around the house. My parents have always been big supporters of culture and art in all its shapes and forms.

From a very young age, I was obsessed with my mother’s HOLA! magazines, not really interested in the gossip or the whereabouts of the Spanish royalty; I’d be mesmerized with the fashion ads and the runway photos. When I was a teenager, I would tear out the fashion spread pages and make collages, paint on them, mimic the models make up on my illustrations. Take the scraps of paper with the fabric parts of the clothes and use them to fill other things in my creations.

Fashion houses like Lacroix and Versace were always huge inspiration. I knew I couldn’t wear their clothes but I definitively thought, I could make over the top designs like theirs one day.

Today, I still look at brands like Delpozo, Gucci and Off White by Virgil Ablo but, I mainly look within and draw from my own experiences to shape my visual language and design my collections.

Pricing:

  • Kimonos range from $168 to $265
  • Scarves range from $72 to $145
  • Printed clutches are $35

Contact Info:

 

Image Credit:
Alejandro Vainstein, Maryjane Claverol, Patricia Maria, Natalie Lelouch

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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