We talked to the founder of the Latvian company, Inese Ozola, about making women reclaim our rights as sexual beings.
Even over a quick phone call, a very humble yet extremely powerful presence surrounds Inese Ozola. It’s no wonder: her lingerie and loungewear brand, Amoralle, has quickly become one of the most talked about luxury brands in Europe as well as the United Arab Emirates. Besides creating breathtakingly beautiful design pieces, the team behind Amoralle prides itself on encouraging women all over the world to come to terms with their sexuality and self-love. Inese spoke to Girls Are Awesome about her journey of starting her own brand, deciding to do whatever she enjoys and encouraging women to embrace their sexuality.
Hi, Inese. What pushed you to start your endeavour initially?
I started with another brand where I would sell beautiful stockings and tights from different companies. And then when clients started asking about the dresses I was wearing, I thought I should give them what they want.
Another turn of events happened was when I decided that I’d like my brand to be featured in Riga Fashion Week. It was a little tough, because it was not common for a sock brand to position itself as something very powerful. It was a challenge for us to try to find arguments that would allow us to be a part of this event. And, of course, when we got accepted, our models had to be wearing something, since walking the runway wearing only socks would be a little risky. And so, the first bodysuits and nightgowns were created.
How did you transition into the arts from doing a PhD in finance?
My maternity leave played a huge role; there’s something magical that happens to a woman at that time in her life. So yeah, it just happened. But I do have to say that my education helps me a lot nowadays. I believe that the only things you can work on are those you can sell, so this knowledge is very useful in my field.
What inspired you to branch out to the United Arab Emirates?
I think that the main instigator to leave my comfort zone was my insatiable ambition. Of course, it would be so much easier for me to just live without it, but I quite like it and it always pushes me to set new goals. But actually, we were approached by our partners who found us on the internet and the rest is history. Our brand also attends various trade shows in places like Paris and New York and those are the spots where partners find us and we find them.
To what extent do you feel like the lingerie industry is sort of a taboo in Muslim culture?
I think that this industry isn’t as widely talked about there, but judging by the demand, it’s clear that it’s it very popular. I strongly believe that women all over the world are united by the wish of feeling wonderful, looking beautiful and inspiring themselves and others. It doesn’t matter where you come from.
What are some of the challenges of making clothing that appeals to both Muslim and Western women?
I have this privilege of creating things that I like and then allowing the client to choose whether they want to buy it or not. I really cannot keep myself from designing pieces that I like. It is a little more common that women from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar gravitate to the more luxurious pieces. It could be because they are a little more free-looking, in a way. They really value this feminine luxury. How do you approach your design process, from the moment you get an idea to the moment your items are done and ready to wear?
Well, you know, just like with everything else in my life, I work on it until I like it. And I allow myself to make mistakes, because I am completely certain that it is impossible to get the result you want without trying and doing. I don’t know how to draw, so I have an amazing team with me. We just make different outfits and some of them get to be included in the collection and some don’t. It’s really as simple as that.
You’ve been working with a lot of silk and lace over the past few years. Do you have a favourite material to work with at the moment?
That changes a lot, but right now I am very passionate about silk velvet. It’s going to be represented in a variety of colours in our new collection. Sometimes it is very strange to look back at the materials I have been ‘in love’ with. I do very much enjoy working with luxurious materials and I know it’s a great privilege to work with materials you like instead of the ones which are a bargain.
I would say our greatest muses are our clients. I adore the idea that we’re selling femininity and joy. Women send me letters with their admiration and that makes me feel like I’m on the right path. Since my educational background comes from finances, it only makes sense that I’m also inspired by the numbers of what we sell and how much we sell of it. She (the client) does not only buy a nightgown or a bodysuit. She also buys the feeling of hope, happiness and sexuality and I just love to sell that.
Have there been any particular stories or moments that have affirmed your choices? We’ve heard a story about an older lady you met in the store?
Yes! It was so touching. That woman, you know, she was so real. I have a couple of weaknesses and older people are one of them. I really, really like these older ladies. And this particular one came to me and said I had changed her life; she’d thought her life had already reached the final stretch, but it turned out there was so much more to it! She went home and brought back homemade bread and palsy branches (a traditional tree in Latvian culture) for me. These moments are why I love to work in the store whenever the time allows.
Where do you see the future of Amoralle heading?
I would like to leave a small indent in the lives of women all over the world. I wish for Amoralle to be the place where they can reach some inspiration for everyday life and where they can find a little bit of femininity at all times. I believe that I will succeed in building something lasting and sustainable.