08 Feb “I CAN BE AN ICON”
“I CAN BE AN ICON” – interview with Petra Pavlic by Sandra Kylmakorpi, lifestyle blogger
January 21, 2017 | By Sandra Kylmakorpi
Petra Pavlic is a 23 years old girl from Croatia. In October 2016 she debuted with her own fashion brand “I CAN ICON”. She had had no previous experience in fashion world, on the contrary, she works as a construction technician in her family’s company. One day, she decided to go on a trip to New York – city where dreams are made of. She wanted to prove her family and herself that she is capable of independent choices. While reaching the destination, she realised that it’s only a beginning of a brand new journey.
Travelling all alone to New York isn’t the most popular thing to do for a young girl. How did you end up there?
I needed a gateway and New York has always been my dream. I am the youngest child in my family and I felt that I would like to be treated more seriously. One day I simply booked the ticket. When I told my parents, they did not really believe. Only when I packed my bags a day before the flight, they understood I was not joking.
Going alone, you wanted to show them you’re not a little girl anymore?
Absolutely, that was my goal to be honest. It was a proof to me as well that i can do absolutely anything if I put my heart and soul into it. I come from family of great entrepreneurs and all my relatives have very strong personalities. For a long time I felt like their shadow, being the youngest I felt not good enough, no relevant. This feeling was very strong when I was about 15 years old, later as I was getting older, everything changed. I was aware that with the support of such role models as my family I can built my own character and personality. They always, especially my father, expected the best of me. Everything I did, I had to do perfect. Even while running marathons, I had a thought “what will they say” in the back of my head. They inspire, push and support me.
So you went to New York, what happened there?
It was April, cold but sunny day. I was walking down the 5th Avenue and I saw a jewish priest praying. He was wearing his jacket in a really different way, right sleeve was off his shoulder, while left stayed in placed. It was like a thunder struck for me. I run to the first nearby Starbucks and started sketching. I designed a jacked inspired by the praying Jew, added Russian collar and coordinated it all in a girly way. In a few seconds, while drinking coffee and sketching, I had my whole future spinning in front of me. It was magical, it made me eager to wake up every morning. It still keeps me going!
You are working in your family business as a construction technician. Fashion does not really mix up with this occupation. Did you have any experience with designing before you started your brand?
Not really, but I have always been interested in fashion. As a little girl I was always sketching some clothes and it’s quite funny – when I look at them now, I still really like them! As long as I can remember, I have been creative in this area. For example – when I went for an event such as wedding, I never bought a dress. I designed it myself and I brought the idea to my friend who is a great tailor. Fashion has been present in my life and I can definitely say that I pay close attention to appearance. But I don’t think I have ever imagined it to be my career.
How long did it take you to create “I CAN ICON” since the breakthrough moment in New York?
I went there in April and my brand officially launched on 19th October, however everything was ready in September.
How on Earth did you manage to have it done in just 6 months then?!
Everyone of us have 24h day and it only depends on our choices how we want to use it. I go to my regular work for 8-10 hours and then focus on “I CAN ICON”. During the preparation process it happened that I stayed awake all night and rushed to the office in the morning. However creating my own brand was such a big pleasure that I did not feel tired or even considered it as working. I think determination, persistence and passion are the main keys to achieve goals. Without them you can’t accomplish big things.
How did you find finances and people to work on this project?
I did it all myself and this is the best part of all! It was my money, my time and my dedication. I am pretty good at managing finances. I could not imagine spending my parents or anyone else’s money, because what if something goes wrong? I was scared that if people don’t like my designs I would waste their money. This is why it was important to find a person that can realise my imagination, give me few advices. It was really hard and expensive. To sew first samples, try one piece 17 times and change it millimetre by millimetre, comparing imagination with reality is a long and exhausting process. But once it is finally done, satisfaction feels unreal.
Then you finally had your projects ready. You must have been really anxious before the brand went official?
I still cannot believe “I CAN ICON” is out! Im pinching myself everyday asking if it is really happening. There were numerous meetings with web designer, photographer and model. Photoshoot was an unreal experience, but it all worked out so well and our shots were published in over 25 fashion magazines and websites. In many cases they loves it and the brand was all over Serbian/Croatian fashion and lifestyle magazines.
Your designs can be purchased online, but also stationary in Zagreb.
Yes in Zagreb “I CAN ICON” can be purchased in a store that sales other Croatian designers. Of course in the future I would like to expand, have a bigger collection and create more pieces.
How would you describe woman wearing your brand?
Absolutely daring, fearless, independent, strong, confident and powerful! You do not want to mess around with women wearing “I CAN ICON”.
Do these words describe yourself?
You see, the whole idea was born, because I had a crisis regarding my own self. I was asking myself what am I good at, what do I want to do in my life? I am a very religious person and many times within this process I was asking god for help. I realised that firstly you need to listen to your heart and hear what is telling you. Find your true passion and go for it! Also, remember not to stop on the first obstacle. There will be many problems in your way, but keep your head high and keep going. Today, while being a creative director of my own brand, I can say that I am becoming the person I always wanted to be.
Which well known personalities could in your option wear “I CAN ICON”?
Rihanna, Beyonce, even former first lady Michel Obama. I see Gigi Hadid, Kylie Jenner and many more! My brand is still young, but the future is bright and I dream big.
Your designs are very modern and bold. Wearing them requires some dose of self confidence. Would you consider yourself a feminist?
I am an absolute feminist! We have to point out power of women, our capability and uniqueness. The world is a set of ambition, persistence and endurance. “I cannot” does not exist! Do not let anyone dictate your future, blackmail or manipulate you. We are so much more!
Petra Pavlic, 24 years old designer from Croatia.
Creative Director of “I CAN ICON”