Interview by Jo Blackened
Interview with Alis; creator and owner of Vinenoir
Videnoir ® Couture is a family-run clothing brand focussing on Haute Gothique vampire couture lingerie handmade in Italy.
* Shop will be back open in January 2021*
Firstly, thank you so much for this interview today and I hope all is well, especially with what’s going on at the moment with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s start at the beginning; how and when was ‘Videnoir Couture’ first created and when did you first get the idea to create this line?
Before creating Videnoir I used to work for theatres as a costume maker until I came to the realization I wanted to have something I could call my own, realized according to my taste and standards and worn by real people in the real world. So I simply quit and started working on putting together my own brand, and here we are!
How and when did you first meet your husband and decide to create this business together?
My husband and I were already married when Videnoir came to be, back then I was a costume maker with a background in graphic design and he was a full-time graphic designer and illustrator, so when I decided to quit my regular job and start my own brand he followed along pretty much immediately, it was a huge task and I really needed his full support. The roles in the business were decided rather organically: since the very
beginning I’ve been the one taking care of the practical side such as sewing and physically creating our items so he started taking care of the design and prep part.
All your products are made with such quality; where do you source the material and who makes them?
We’re still sort of old school in this sense. We like to go to fabric fairs and visit factories in order to see and touch the fabrics in real life before making any purchase, I believe that’s the only sure proof way to guarantee a certain quality standard. The vast majority of our materials come from Italy, France and Germany and then the whole line is put together in our lab in Italy.
Were you always creative as a child and interested in making things?
Yes, I was a fairly creative kid although my attention back then was focused mainly on drawings, hence the design studies. At the same time, I come from a family of tailors and corset makers so it’s kind of my natural
environment, so I guess creativity and predisposition got me where I am today.
What’s your creative process from the start to finish when making orders?
Nothing really ground-breaking here, my process is quite standard… if we’re talking of a custom order I first present a sketch to the customer, once that is approved and we agreed on the main elements like fabrics,
ornaments and colours and I got all measurements I work on the custom paper pattern and fabric prep, sew it and finally ship it out. If it’s an item from our range it works exactly the same way minus the sketch part,
“easy” as that!
When did you first get into the gothic vampire culture scene?
If I have to pinpoint a year I’d say 2014 where we “debuted” with Videnoir at Wave Gothik Treffen. I’ve been a part of the gothic scene since long but I never participated in the event before although I was surely aware of it. When my line started I was mainly focusing on corsetry and vampire collars so I felt like I needed to be there in order to see if my line really had a market to grow and if people liked my style. Luckily, I was very welcome and my business started growing slowly but steadily and finally evolved into what it is today.
Where do you draw your inspiration from when it comes to creating new designs?
Inspiration to me comes from everything I come across: could be a movie or a book, a song or even just a conversation I had with my husband. I’m pretty hyper and I generally have 26353 ideas in my head at all times so that’s never been much of an issue to me.
With over 51k followers on Facebook and 136k followers on Instagram, what makes you such a good promoter when selling your products?
Might be fairly uncommon in 2020 but we got no real social marketing strategy, we believe the key to our success is simply hard work, consistency and having a good product based on good ideas we strongly believe in.
How do you feel is the best way to advertise your brand?
In a world where everything is filtered and pre-determined or carefully planned with a precise marketing strategy, I went the opposite way. The best way for me is to show my creations just as they are, I’m proud of my products and I believe it’s all that matters. I also love publishing real, sometimes candid, clients pictures to show how our range performs on all different types of bodies.
How do you choose which models to feature on your site? Do you design clothing for all sizes?
As I mentioned before both me and the Videnoir team have like 2000 different ideas in our heads at all times, we’re just lacking time to make all of these a reality. So we mostly decide together which idea is getting developed next and eventually featured on our social media channels once ready so it really is a team effort. And yes I personally feel it’s important to provide options to all sort of different bodies, that’s why we do
custom measurements without applying any sort of additional fee and came up with several supplementary options to accommodate everyone (such as foam cups to make our balconette bras more suitable and
supportive for voluptuous ladies). Unfortunately, it is not always possible to achieve such a result as different bodies require different solutions and it’s a constant work in progress but we’re hard at work to offer
garments that always fit and feel awesome no matter the size!
How has the pandemic of COVID-19 affected your business?
We’ve been super lucky in that sense, we were expecting the worst on the assumption that during such dire times people would cut off all that is not strictly necessary and also they wouldn’t have any event to wear
our items to… turns out people needs treats and distractions now more than ever, a little slice of happiness and maybe also something to look forward to whilst we all wait for this pandemic to blow over.
Your shop is to reopen in the new year; are there any new items coming out soon? If so, can you tell us?
Our next opening is currently scheduled for Mid January 2021. As usual, all of our classic items will be available and quite a few new items we will be presenting through our social media channels within now and
What are the pros and cons of having your own business?
The answer here is probably not gonna be that original at all… pros are being able to take your own decisions without anyone standing in your way, managing your time as you most prefer and feeling ownership of something you’ve created from start to finish and that is somehow your “baby”. Cons are somehow strictly related to the pros: you never really close the door and leave your job behind as you’re 100% responsible for what happens with it so it might end up occupying all of your life every single day with no weekend or holiday breaks. Balance is key here and we’re still trying to find ours.
With such an amazing range of clothing, which one is your personal favourite?
For sure the next one! I’m never fully satisfied with anything in life and I always strive for something better, whether in terms of design or implementation. However, I have some pieces that are special to me, like the
bat clouds bralette which gave us our very first viral post or the blood drips range which is currently one of our best sellers.
Have you had any musicians, or alternative influencer’s buying your products?
I’m not into name-dropping but I’d say yes, from alternative models or influencers to musicians Videnoir has been chosen quite a few times whether for small accessories or whole outfits and it’s definitely something
I’m happy about it, but after all I’m happy every time our brand gets chosen over the other millions available online!
How do you feel the gothic/vampirism fashion industry has changed over the years?
I’ve gotta say I’ve noticed the very same pattern as in mainstream fashion with an increasing number of fast-fashion lines reaping success worldwide. No judgement here, I get the charm of cool items at very
affordable prices but it’s just not what I want to do with my own brand. After all, I couldn’t even compete with such giants so it would be completely pointless and I have a completely different vision and target.
I like the idea of providing unique items that are long-lasting and custom-made and that you can wear over and over again with pride.
What other interests do you have outside your business? Do you have any hobbies?
A blessing and a curse currently Videnoir takes 100% of my time and I really have no spare time to do anything else 🙂
What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business?
I think the most precious and honest tip I could ever give is to be yourself, be creative and be original. There’s no point in doing whatever someone else is already doing, if you can come up with good innovative
designs you will most likely find or create your own niche. After that is all about hard work and customer care.
Lastly, is there anything you would like to mention or say to our readers?
I wanna thank all of the Videnoir supporters and clients all over the world. Thanks for choosing us, for sharing our vision and being so understanding and patient. Truly hope we’ll be able to meet and surpass your
expectations with every new garment and keep growing together for many years to come!