SIRAN MANOUKIAN

Santiago In Conversation With December 2, 2016

siran

Born in Los Angeles, of Armenian and Lebanese descent, a lifetime of travel has inspired designs that capture the motivations and passions of the modern woman. channeling feminine simplicity for any occasion, ease of movement, enjoyment and comfort are fundamental characteristics behind every piece.

Education and Career

I was born in Los Angeles but raised in London where I went to school. I would always go back and fourth to LA for vacation as it was like my second home, which I think has really influenced my character and style.

After graduating from high school, I went to the European Business school in Regents Park, London and studied business for 2 years until I realised it was not my true passion. I then went to GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and studied diamond and jewellery design. I learned about diamond grading, different types of stone and everything you could possibly want to know about jewellery. From there I did a few years of custom jewellery design for high profile and high-end clients. I would be approached to create and source pendants and all types of jewellery. I would have total control to design, choose precious stones and use my imagination to create some really
beautiful pieces.

I would only ever use precious stones and precious metals and would create really simple, elegant and classic pieces, rather than costume jewellery. I am allergic to the nickel used in costume jewellery so it wasn’t really an option to me to wear myself. Exquisite luxury jewellery has a style and quality I just adore. This is reflected in my choice of fabrics and style of clothing within my collection today, where I use very high quality fabrics that are not only aesthetically beautiful, but also luxurious to touch on the skin.

Interests

Growing up I was always into fashion. I would sit and read all the magazines and even from a young age I would look at outfits and clothing and would pick it apart and say how I would like to change it. I guess that has never changed since and that’s why I chose to create my own collection, where I could really design for myself and what I felt would make a woman feel sexy, confident but also comfortable. Even from a young age, every day before school I would dress my mum in her clothes and make her wear the outfits I chose to take me to school. I have been lucky enough to have been surrounded by beautiful clothing which has allowed me to have a good eye for it.

When it comes to jewellery, I have always loved art & art history. It was my favourite subject at school as it allowed me to be creative and allow my imagination to run free. I think I got that love from my dad who is a huge art collector and has a true appreciation for it. However, compared to my dad I have a much more relaxed approach in the way I create it. From a young age I’d always be sketching, painting and doodling in my own little world and from there I’d just come up with designs from my own imagination. To this day, that is how I create and design clothing and jewellery through free flow doodling.

Why Jewellery Design?

Even from the age of 2, I’ve always had a love for jewellery and sparkly things. My mom has the most beautiful jewellery collection that included timeless and one of a kind pieces that my dad designed just for her. When I was around 4, my mother had this gorgeous and very expensive ruby bracelet that I was obsessed with. So, for Christmas, she wanted to get a matching one for me, but tricked me with a less expensive one from Butler and Wilson. When I opened it, I immediately knew and told her I only wanted hers! I guess being involved in luxury jewellery was always meant to be.

For me, my love for jewellery is from the heart. I have a deep passion for it and it is not just about the materialistic aspects of it that makes me want it. My signature style is delicate, everyday wear with simple designs, and that is the same for my clothing. With my Siran collection, I wanted to incorporate soft, beautiful fabrics that look like jewellery, so you don’t necessarily need to wear jewellery with it.

Siran Collection

At the time, 5 years ago, there were so many new jewellery designers coming up, which made it quite difficult to truly establish myself as a designer. I’d love to go back to designing jewellery again in the future, but I do feel you can be more creative with fashion, which goes better with my free-spirited approach.   

With my collection, I designed clothes exactly how I would wear them and exactly how I wanted them to fall, to fit and to look. I would design everything that I could not find in store. With most of the big designers now being male, they don’t necessarily wear the clothes themselves so can’t experience how they feel on. The dresses they design are beautiful and appealing to the eye, but what is most important for me is what is comfortable as well. If you’re spending that kind of money on an evening gown, you don’t want the night to end just so you can take it off. You want it to be luxurious to touch and comfortable to wear day or night!

The name ‘Siran’ for the brand was the most difficult to choose and it actually took me a few months to finally make a decision on it. I didn’t want to use my own name initially because I was worried people would pronounce it incorrectly, or that it would seem a bit narcissistic. A couple of months later, once the collection was designed, I realized that the brand was so true to myself and everything I believed in that it made sense to name it Siran.

Inspiration

It is all based on my love for jewellery and my belief in always being comfortable in what you wear and in yourself. All the fabrics look like precious stones and metals. Beautiful to touch and to look at. They are simple, yet really eye-catching and classic. You can also mix and match the whole collection, dress it up or down, plus it’s multi-seasonal. I believe a collection should be timeless and classic, and I wanted women to be able to wear it at all times and all occasions.

Has it always been an interest of yours to have your own business?

It’s really important to me to be true to myself and genuine in anything I do and I think that’s what really drove me to want to start my own business. I am very independent and I have my own style and like to do things my own way. I think I have also got that drive and determination from my dad, who was a businessman himself. I have a fierce, entrepreneurial side to me, which my dad passed on and has really influenced how I run my own business. In fact, my whole family are all strong individuals and are happy to express their views, so I don’t think I could run my business in any other way. My parents are so supportive to me and the brand. They know it is truly my passion, which is always important.

Personal Interests and Hobbies

I love going to shows and seeing the collections on the runways, but I would only attend the ones that truly appeal to me. I’m not so keen on the mayhem and craziness of the shows
and parties.

I love going to see art exhibitions and try to go to every new exhibition there is, whichever city or country I am in. I am involved in a lot of charity work, which I really enjoy. My parents have their own foundation and I often support Unicef too.

I’ve recently started travelling a lot and have taken the opportunity to see the world. When you go on family vacations as a child you only experience so much culture. Now as an adult, I love to travel and I really love to immerse myself in the culture of wherever I go.  Last November, I went travelling to Bali with my boyfriend and had the time of my life. I fell in love with the culture; the spirituality of the country and how carefree and humble everyone was. I felt I could really relate to the locals and loved being in such a beautiful environment. I stayed in Ubud, where it was less touristy so I could truly understand the Balinese way of living and I tried surfing for the first time. It was an incredible trip.

Yoga and Meditation

I love yoga and I love to meditate, which I believe is really important to get in touch with yourself and to be able to clear your head. I used to have a lot of anxiety and meditating and regularly doing yoga has definitely helped. I can leave a room for about half an hour and easily zone out and have some time to myself if I need to. It’s strange as my mind is constantly going and I’m always thinking non-stop, but to be able to zone out for a moment keeps
me sane!

Describe your own style and where you get your clothing

I would say my style is refined LA style, with a touch of European glamour. It is really influenced by my upbringing from living in between London and LA. I love the laid back, free-spirited LA look, but I like to always add a bit of luxury to my outfit. I literally live in jeans and t-shirts but the fabrics will always be sumptuous to refine my look. I love E-com and I mainly always shop online. Net-A-Porter is incredible; you can see everything right in front of you, see all designers and filter it if you know exactly what you want. I love how much variety there is online and I also hate trying clothes on, so the ease of sending things back is just amazing. It helps that I know what I like and I know what styles suit me, so it is much easier for me to
shop online.

Philanthropy

I love attending the Unicef ball in the states, which is always such a great night and also for such an amazing cause. I support my parents foundation, where they help to support underprivileged children go to university around the world. I’ve also recently been asked to be on the board at UNICEF, which is really exciting. I try to do as much as I can to be involved in charities to help other less fortunate people out.

BIRTHDAY PARTY hosted in London

The week coming up to my birthday was really hectic, with people coming from all over the world to celebrate with me. I had a pre-party and was doing things with my friends and family the whole week so I didn’t really get the chance to properly think about my party.

When it came to the day of the party, it was everything I could have wanted. I had envisioned a Winter Wonderland, a happy place where people would be blown away and it would feel like you were in a different world. It was basically Narnia, which was amazing. I invited all my family and friends and we literally danced and partied all night. Even my parents stayed till 3am!

Because my party also fell on fashion week, everyone was in London for the week so many random people showed up to the party, which was hilarious. There were big celebrities there who gate crashed – It was so funny.

The highlight of my party was definitely when my younger brothers flew in from LA with his band and actually performed at the party. Everyone was loving the performance, dancing along. They had no idea that it was my brother! Watching him perform really inspired me to follow my dreams, like he had followed his.

I was in awe at how carefree and humble he was, and how focused he is on his work. He is honestly so talented and has the most incredible voice. My other brothers also gave the most beautiful speech, which truly meant so much to me. There was so much love and positivity in the room and I think that is why everyone had such a
great night. 

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