You’ve probably heard about local brand Sacria Atelier, whose handbags are worn by Vice President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, artist Leyla Aliyeva, and People’s Artist of Russia and opera singer Anna Netrebko. However, few people know that, behind this brand combining the traditions and artistic aesthetics of Azerbaijan, there is a love story of two young people with visionary tastes in style.
Shamil and Fidan met on Facebook back in 2015. They bonded over their love for creativity, art, and fashion, as well as their unconventional view of the world. Sharing a love of beauty, traditions, and, most importantly, each other, they created their brand – Sacria Atelier – in 2019. The brand was born from the childhood dreams of a little girl, Fidan. It was a dream she was destined to realize with her future husband.
At the beginning of their journey, the two lovers created a single space, which they call the Sacria Atelier House. Over three years of painstaking work, the young couple has built a strong team and considers every detail, realizing their fantasies through their own approach to trends. Their creativity is united in the brand’s mission to be a must-have for girls who know their worth and are confident in themselves. After all, these products open the door to the world of oriental ornamentation mysteries…
BY SALATYN MIRZAYEVA
AZERI OBSERVER STAFF WRITER
Q.: How did you develop a passion for fashion in general? How did the idea for the Sacria Atelier brand come about?
Fidan: It all started with a love of art and creativity, which I felt from a very young age. I was eight years old when my parents sent me to an art school where I honed my aesthetic taste. Later, during my school years, my mother bought me my first sewing machine, and I got interested in sewing doll’s dresses, leading to my dream of becoming a fashion designer.
In terms of my love of fashion, I owe it to my aunt on my mother’s side, who was distinguished by her great taste and sophisticated style. Her image made a vivid impression on me and informed my perception of the beauty and appearance of a woman. I knew that I wanted to work in fashion field, but I could not decide on a direction in the industry. Subsequently, I decided to focus on creating a brand, which initially created handbags, though now we are preparing to launch a clothing collection as well. We started with handbags because,in a sense, a woman’s handbag is a work of art that does not require any additions.
Q.: Can you tell us how you came up with the brand name?
Shamil: I remember the day when Fidan shared her idea of opening and developing her own handbag brand. It was an amazing and exciting announcement. We talked a lot about the concept of the brand, really exploring her vision. After a long and thorough discussion, the name Sacria Atelier was born. The brand slogan is “Secretly, yours…” which means that the product is sacred and secret – only yours. That’s our main message. We know your ideas of perfection, and we bring them to life.
Q.: You presented three collections: the Regions of Karabakh, Regions of Azerbaijan, and All Eyes ON Sacria. What are the main differences between the collections, and what inspired you to create each of them?
Fidan: Initially, we were attracted to ethnic motifs – in particular, the patterns and compositions reflected in national carpets. Back in 2019, at the beginning of our journey, we drew inspiration from the multifaceted compositions of Azerbaijani carpets from different regions of the country. In November of 2020, we launched the Regions of Karabakh collection, which was dedicated to the Great Victory and the restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. We feel strongly about the rich cultural and historical heritage of the Karabakh school of carpet weaving. Taking the unique patterns and symbols of the region as a base, we drew unique designs for each of our bag models. This collection is still very popular among our customers and fans of our brand today.
Shamil: We didn’t stop there. While working on the Regions of Karabakh collection, we had plans to create the Regions of Azerbaijan collection. This time, we focused on all Azerbaijani regions and their unique and distinctive ornaments and symbols. To date, we have only released the first part of the collection, which includes designs of Baku, Shamakhi, Guba, Barda, Nakhchivan, and Gazakh. Each design is a whole world, with a history and description of the rich heritage of each region. There has always been a burning desire in us to be innovative in popularizing national ideas through design. I think we have made progress in this regard.
The limited edition All Eyes ON Sacria collection is based on the artwork of Leyla Aliyeva – in particular, her Eyes collection comprised of 12 paintings. In close collaboration with Aliyeva, we have adapted her paintings into the design of our items. Only the first six models from this collection are available at the moment. The rest are planned for release in the near future. The All Eyes ON Sacria – Inspired by Leyla Aliyeva collection is imbued with a mystical spirit of sacral mystery, expressed in each of the 12 unique looks.
Q.: Tell us about the process of handbag creation. What is the first step in creating a new item?
Shamil: It all starts with the creation of a sketch. It is an extremely creative process, defying logic and analysis. You have to catch the energy wave and immediately start implementing new ideas. When it comes to the production process, all the work – design preparation, fabric selection, template drawing, pattern making, as well as the assembly and production of the item – takes place within Sacria Atelier. Many designers outsource this process, but that’s not how we work. My wife and I are both perfectionists, so we have to follow every step of the process to satisfy our aspirations for perfection. We assembled a team of specialists in our atelier and have been personally involved in the process of creating pieces for a long time. Our team is now working autonomously. To be honest, we took the hard way, but the results were worth it.
Q.: Your products are based on traditional geometry and form. Are you thinking about creating Sacria Atelier accessories in other styles?
Shamil: We are not just thinking about it, we are already actively developing it! We will present our first clothing collection soon. But I’d rather wait until I can show you images, so we won’t share the details just yet.
Q.: How are rapidly changing trends reflected in your brand?
Fidan: We always follow the call of the heart and the principles of comfort, aesthetics, and functionality when creating our models and collections. This is the foundation. Trends are temporary. Above all, we aim to create local trends which will be relevant regardless of the year. For example, we have used national design elements since 2019 – a trend that became massive in 2020 and 2021.
Q.: Tell us about your customer profile. Are there any features that connect you with your customers?
Fidan: Our handbags attract people who prioritize quality, uniqueness, and originality. There are many creative and socially active people among our customers. Our products are also purchased as souvenirs and as gifts for friends and relatives living abroad.
Q.: Famous public figures such as Vice President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Leyla Aliyeva, and People’s Artist of Russia and opera diva Anna Netrebko have been spotted wearing your brand’s products. How did they become admirers of your brand?
Shamil: Actually, both cases were pleasant surprises for us. Our friends first told us that Leyla Aliyeva wore our Anahata Bag at an event in memory of the People’s Artist of Azerbaijan Tahir Salakhov in Moscow, then we saw it for ourselves on the news. It was quite an exciting moment, which became the start of our creative collaboration. In the case of Anna Netrebko, we also didn’t know that she got Bodhisattva’s Bag until we started getting photos and videos of her holding our brand’s product. When such famous creative people choose you, it is always an inspiring joy that gives you impetus to grow and develop further.
Q.: In your opinion, what does the ideal bag look like?
Fidan: Firstly, the ideal bag is a handy and useful accessory. Secondly, it naturally expresses your mood and style, creating a harmonious accent to the owner’s look. Undoubtedly, quality complemented by a unique design solution should be at its heart.