Alis of Videnoir shared her story about the family lingerie brand and how she found her personal gothic style.
Tell us more about yourself and your work. How you began sewing?
Sewing for me, it’s a family matter. I’ve learned it from my grandmother who, in turn, learned it from her mother who was a pretty established seamstress in France. The family business was lingerie, corsetry and swimwear, so you could say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
So for me, sewing it’s not only a passion but also a heritage I’m very proud of. That heritage, mixed with my personal taste and a distinct inclination to gothic imagery, is the foundation the brand Videnoir was built on.
Do you remember the first item you saw?
Oh, that was many, many (many!) moons ago. I am quite certain it was a pvc corset. In retrospect, probably not the easiest starting point… corsetry is a quite complex art to master and pvc remains, to this day, one of the trickiest fabrics to work with. It’s a miracle! I didn’t get completely disheartened and quit it all together, but I guess I’m stubborn like that!
How did you find your personal gothic style?
Afraid this answer is not going to be that original, but I’m a 80s kid and cannot deny the huge influence Tim Burton’s movies had over me when developing my own taste. Back when I was a teenager online shopping wasn’t an option and even though we’re based in a pretty big city (Milan, Italy) the possibilities of finding ready-made cool clothes in our local stores was extremely limited.
Hence, I started designing my own clothes and tried to make them myself, and as you can imagine being a “goth” corsets played a huge part in my wardrobe already back then.
Describe your three biggest achievements.
I've got to admit we’re generally thinking of the future rather than looking back but if I think about milestones and biggest achievements I think the main one is to have been able to somehow emerge from an ocean of small designers and independent labels and being recognized as a real brand with a pretty unmistakable aesthetic.
From the outside it may look like a big Company due to our rather relevant online presence, but in fact we’re still a tiny family-run business of handmade lingerie and being able to build a brand from that still feels sorta surreal.
Other than that I guess we’re proud to be somehow «forefathers» of trends which started from us and eventually cross-contaminated the market such as our signature vampire collars, pannier belts, horned headpieces or some of our original designs.
Speaking of designs, we're quite fond of our «Bats Cloud» bralette, our first ever item to go viral online and still one of our most popular ranges - so much so that it was the first to be developed for our «Ready To Own» line, launched in November 2021.
That surely was a moment for the books, as it marked the beginning of a quick and steady growth that currently (and fortunately) shows no signs of losing ground until today.
How did you get familiar with brand Royal Dress forms? Which dress form do you have?
I have been looking around for quite some time for some mannequins suitable for lingerie, most of the soft ones on the market have visible seams which result rather annoying when fitting lingerie or taking pictures.
And I most definitely needed a soft one with realistic proportions as it’s the closest thing to a real human body when fitting corsetry… until I finally came across Royal Dress forms which offered exactly what I was looking for.
I currently own the Penelope forms in S and M plus the padding, detachable head and arms. And I’m quite certain my Royal Dress forms collection will grow some more in the future!
How does our dress form help you during the work?
The best thing about them is being able to fit them almost as on a real person but being able to pin them if needed, which is certainly something I wouldn’t recommend doing on a model!
The absence of seams also makes them ideal for taking pictures of the finished garments, since our followers and customers love to see the development of a project and the final result without the interference of seams, which would most likely disturb the pattern.
Finally, the detachable head and arms were a blessing to fit and photograph other popular items such as gloves and headpieces and to display a full ensemble in all of its glory.
What is the most helpful advice for the beginners?
Want to start sewing? Just do it! And keep on trying. Practice is a very big part of acquiring sewing skills, and it takes quite a lot to get good at it. Sometimes you will face issues that will simply seem like a deal-breaker and that is exactly when you need to hang in there, try some more, think outside the box, and you will figure it all out eventually.
Also in my opinion another huge tip is to never stop reading, improving, trying to expand your knowledge on fabrics, techniques etc. no matter if you’re a newbie or an experienced tailor. The internet is such a huge source of knowledge these days, and it literally has all the answers you are looking for, so don’t forget to use it for your personal growth.