Alexandra Cotîrlan, owner of Saudade, joins the series of interviews with female entrepreneurs who create high-quality Romanian brands.

Two things inspired me the most about the Saudade label: the blazer as the muse and my favourite fabrics, cashmere and wool, which are used to make Saudade's pieces.

As I previously stated, this article, like the others on my blog, reflects good taste, ethics, and social responsibility, all of which are values that I cannot imagine my life without.

The main purpose of this series of interviews is to give a voice to some local entrepreneurs I admire, but also to inspire other women to embrace the life they desire but are afraid to pursue.

I am also living proof that when you push yourself out of your comfort zone and build slowly, over time, with impeccable ethics and guided by beauty, your chances of success increase significantly. So, BLOOM!

Alexandra Cotîrlan, owner of Saudade

Who is behind the Saudade brand, and how did this business take flight?

In theory, the team consists of 4 people—me along with 3 highly experienced tailors—but practically, behind the brand, there are my family and friends who supported me from the very beginning, whether they believed in the potential of this idea or not.

It's a business that slowly took off. I have always wanted to have a clothing brand, but it was a dream that I envisioned in the very distant future and only as a hobby. It all started in the summer of 2020, when it was almost impossible for me to find a simple black dress with quality fabric and cut; that was the moment when, out of curiosity, I made a list of the necessary things to start.

I had no hope; at that time, I was quite young to think about laying the foundations of a business. I had just finished my second year of college, and this idea was still far away. Only 2 years later, I started laying the foundations of this business, and I established Saudade with the help of a European-funded project dedicated to students. At the moment, we are still adapting to the market and all the challenges that come with it every day.

What are the attributes that define the Saudade brand?

Saudade stands out with timeless cuts and designs and with simple yet sophisticated elegance, characteristic of the effortless chic concept. Attributes such as versatility and refinement define these pieces, turning them into long-term investments in everyone's style and wardrobe.

What does slow, premium, ethical fashion mean to you, and how do these concepts integrate into the Saudade brand story?

Saudade clearly identifies as a slow-fashion brand that emphasizes sustainability!

The current form of the Saudade brand has undergone some changes from the moment the idea came to me in 2020 until I brought it to life. However, what has not changed is my initial desire to bring high-quality garments to the market, well-cut and sewn, which can be stylistically integrated at any time, regardless of current trends.

In essence, I wanted the clothes not to have a validity period and to be an option compared to what we find in mass-market stores. Many times, I have bought clothes that fit well but did not last more than a few wears; this is why I wanted the opposite of Saudade.

I wanted the Romanian concept of "good clothes" to be less present because a quality garment can be worn for many years without having to refrain from wearing it due to the fear that it will wear out after a few uses.

Why did you choose the blazer as your "muse" for your designs?

I chose the blazer to be in the spotlight because it is an extremely versatile piece. It can be worn during the day at the office with jeans or trousers, as well as in the evening with a silk dress. At the same time, I believe it suits any age.

Saudade's products are made from two materials that I greatly value: cashmere and wool. Why did you opt for these instead of others?

I chose these materials as a commitment to quality, comfort, and sustainability. In the search for materials for Saudade blazers, my focus is especially on wool fabrics.

I choose wool as the main material for blazers due to its exceptional and natural qualities, being an experience in itself, providing significant benefits that define quality, and contributing to creating a refined and sophisticated look that feels and looks.

The impeccable cuts and refined shades of Saudade blazers remind me of the effortless chic style of French women. Was this a source of inspiration for you?

Yes, definitely. I like it because it stands out for its elegance, refinement, and timeless style, seemingly simple but not boring, combining functionality with beauty and quality.

Fashion is often viewed - by many - as a whim, a frivolity not worth paying too much attention to... or money. What is the actual role of clothes in our lives, besides covering our bodies?

I believe that fashion represents a way of self-expression. The clothes we wear have a practical purpose but also become a part of our identity, subtly communicating who we are.

At the same time, fashion is the mirror of the times we live in and a story of the evolution of society, managing to capture the changes, values, and thoughts of an era, contributing to the definition and redefinition of our cultural identity.

Thus, fashion becomes a means through which we express ourselves, a form of visual communication, and a catalyst for changes in our ever-changing world.

Which women inspire you?

There are many women who inspire me at every step. As well-known figures, there are Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Alt, Inès De La Fressange, and Caroline de Maigret, but I believe my main source of inspiration in terms of style has always been Charlotte Rampling.

I like her seemingly effortless and minimalist approach and her ability to easily combine both feminine and masculine elements, which I consider extremely elegant and seductive. Confidence in embracing your own uniqueness is essential to looking good.

Where can Saudade creations be purchased?

We take orders on the website and on our Instagram account.

What does happiness mean to you?

Happiness, I believe, is a state of peace and reconciliation with oneself, where we accept the beauty of imperfections and rejoice in every aspect of life, even if it is not perfect.

It is the art of finding peace in the midst of everyday chaos and appreciating the journey, regardless of the destination.