Behind the SO.nia® BareSkin Jewels brand is an admirable story. In this interview, Czech designer Sonia Hlaváčková will share with you the story of the origin of her brand and what preceded it.
Sonia Hlavackova, a Czech designer of clothing and jewelry and owner of the SO.nia® BareSkin Jewels brand, has been mainly designing wedding dresses, models for special occasions and luxury swimwear for the last fifteen years. Her models are renowned around the world. Customers absolutely fell in love with her job, but longed for something they could wear every day, and not just on special occasions. It occurred to Sonia to create jewelry that would be as dazzling as a dress, but would always fit
anywhere, and be more affordable. But let’s not overtake…
Sonia, can you tell potential customers more about how you started designing fashion than you got to where you are now?
I opened an Italian fashion store in Prague, on Národní třída. Sometimes I also sold clothes designed by me in the store, which were quite popular among customers, so I started designing more. I started with ordinary dresses for a few hundred, I gradually worked my way up to a dress for 150 000 CZK.
How was your dress different from the others?
I used only the highest quality materials, such as hand-embroidered lace from Portugal and Italy, silk. Then I decorated the dress with stones and luxurious crystals. Customers started coming to me from all over the world, for example from the USA, Italy, England, France, and Australia.
Such details must have taken quite a long time.
Oh yes. One dress was sewn for 2 to 3 months. If the bride wanted to have her dress sewn, it was necessary to book my job a year in advance due to great interest. Then I sewed 5 to 7 dresses at the same time.
I have already outlined a little above what led you to design jewelry. Was there anything else related to your decision to design jewelry and create the SO.nia®BareSkin Jewels brand?
The first impulse really came from customers. They were sorry to have my clothes sewn and then put them on only once. Subsequently, they could only expose them. They demanded something they could wear every day, for any occasion. But one specific customer led me to the absolute determination to start designing jewelry. Her wedding dress had one sleeve long, so she demanded a piece of jewelry to adorn her hand, which was not covered by cloth. The idea of a decorative piece of jewelry was born in my mind. The fact that as far as the dress was concerned, I could no longer grow anywhere, also contributed to my decision. The only way was abroad, but that was out of the question for me for other reasons.
Your jewelry is timeless. What first came to your mind when you decided to design them?
I definitely knew I wanted to create something different, something more modern and trendy so that it could be reused. I wanted to design art that women can afford to wear, which will be affordable for everyone and, at the same time, luxurious, made of the best and highest quality materials. It was interesting for me to watch the transformation from amazing dresses to unique jewelry.
How long did it take you to really start making jewelry? I guess it also took some time to think about what the jewelry would look like and what it would be made of.
You assume correctly (laughs). For three years I was looking for information on how to do it all and what permits I need. It took me a year to figure out what it should all look like and what material the jewelry could be made of. It took a lot of work. It was necessary to figure out how to stick the jewelry on the skin so that it would hold and so that it could stick back on the skin after it was removed. I tried to find a suitable adhesive base that would adhere well to the skin, which I finally succeeded in doing.
You provide an adhesive base. It is safe?
Absolutely. The adhesive base that I use for jewelry is hypoallergenic, so it is also suitable for allergy sufferers. Proof of health safety is also the research of the health institute, which examines 60 women for allergies. It is stated that out of 60 women tested for allergies to common cosmetics, 8-10 women suffer from the reaction, which is a relatively high number, not a single woman suffers from allergies on my adhesive basis. In addition, during fashion fairs, I prove to women the absolute safety of the material and this base by a test on their skin on their hands.
This is very interesting. So your jewelry is made to meet even the most demanding requirements.
Yes. I really care not only about health safety, but also the quality of the material and the technology used to make the jewelry. The underside of the crystals is made of simili, which is a thin layer of protective varnish that creates a mirror effect and thus increases the luster and shimmer of the crystals. I try to harmonize the technical parameters, adaptability to the skin, and the overall appearance of the jewelry.
Have you ever managed to step aside during production? Whether with the material or the ornament as such?
I can say for myself that the customers like all the ornaments. At first, however, I thought that the gold color would be more desirable. As far as sales are concerned, the silver color has an overwhelming success rate, it is as much as 60 %, followed by black with 35 % and then gold with the remaining 5 %.
Did anything else surprise you during your work?
In a way, yes. I thought that the SO.nia® BareSkin Jewels adhesive jewelry will be bought mainly by younger customers aged 19-27. However, women aged 30-40 buy them more.
Your logo is interesting and atypical. It consists of several symbols. Will you share its significance with us?
Of course. The whole ornament as such is called Rome, which embodies my popularity in ancient art, the Renaissance, and Classicism. It is a symbol of art for me. The circle in the middle represents the planet Earth, the universe, magic. Centralization is a sign of order and basic values. The sticks with tips leading north, south, east, and west represent my son, a male symbol. The ripples or letter S around the circle represent me, Sonia. The crowns above the waves are then apples from the crown jewels, which signify values, strength, and goals.
I have to say that it is really sophisticated and impressive. Your whole brand is carried in this spirit…
I’m trying. I characterize it as modern, affordable and interesting.
Your jewelry is unconventional. Please share with us what influenced your production.
In addition to history and fashion as such, it was to some extent foreign designers and fashion weeks. Then also travel, people, culture, life as such. The creativity flows from it. I have no problem with creativity. I don’t work like other designers who prepare sketches of hundreds of models and then actually sew only a fraction of them. I feel sorry for wasting time and work like this. I will prepare a maximum of 40 of them and in fact 30 of them will be used at a fashion show, for example, which is great.
Does it work the same way with customers?
I have regular clients and since I have known some of the customers for 18 years, I know exactly what they want, what I have to place, which advantages I should highlight. This then saves both parties work and time. In addition, I do not only see an individual piece of jewelry, but I visualize the entire outfit. I can say that I really enjoy the combination of sneakers, jeans, and small jewelry (laughs). This contrast is amazing.
So your jewelry is suitable for both a sportier and elegant outfit …
My jewelry fits almost any outfit. It only depends on the appropriate combination of ornament and outfit. You can wear them every day, just like classic chains and bracelets. You can be more discreet or more pronounced. In any case, glittering stones attract men (laughs).
Really? And do you wear your own sticky jewelry?
Yes, they can’t take their eyes off them, and if you place them deftly … (laughs). I wear my jewelry, always and everywhere. I choose the pattern according to the outfit, mood, and color of the nail polish on my nails (laughs). In winter, I usually wear jewelry on the back of my hand. For everyday wear, I liked Flower of Life, Feathers, Romances, Butterfly, Dragonfly, Hummingbird, Aloha, Yoga or Dream Catcher, and then also Renaissance ornaments. When I wear a turtleneck, I apply jewelry to my hair. In the summer, I then wear them in the décolleté, on my back and legs.
SO.nia® BareSkin Jewels are designed to underline a woman’s beauty and help her be unique every day. What would you recommend to all women to wear your jewelry?
Enjoy it. Enjoy yourself and wearing jewelry. If you are in a bad mood, look at your jewelry and realize your and its beauty. You will feel better.
Some customers state that the Flower of Life adhesive jewel provides them with energy and acts as a protective talisman. Don’t forget to make yourself happy and buy such a protective talisman for yourself.