When Pavel Lozanov, aided by his wife Teodora, created Bogdar in 2015, the couple had a clear mission in mind: to enrich Pavel’s family fashion heritage, and produce clothes “not meant to hide, but bring out the woman wearing them”. The brand specialises in statement pieces which “embody the night”, and set the brand apart. Their sustainable fabrication process make each piece more unique – and environmentally-friendly.
Bogdar chooses to produce on a made-to-order basis to reduce waste, making each piece directly for the consumer. Every product comes with a sustainability passport, indicating the materials used, how they were sourced, and how every supplier involved in the chain of production is using eco-friendly practices.
The clothes are created and made in the family atelier in Vidin, Bulgaria, by a small team of sixteen. Over half of the collection is made from certified eco-friendly materials, from tree-friendly viscose made from cotton crop waste to organic GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) silk and recycled polyester. Bogdar is also fur and leather free, opting for materials such as polyurethane – a polyester/cotton blend fabric that has been heat-laminated and does not release CO2.
Teodora first worked in the beauty industry, in marketing for Estée Lauder companies and Mac Cosmetics in Dubai until 2016, before joining Bogdar full-time. Upon graduating from ESADE business school, her husband Pavel, whose family manufactured for the likes of Versace, Armani and Burberry, decided to start his own label in 2015, with the help of his wife as co-founder.
Ranging from €150 to €900 (£132 to £790) in retail prices, Bogdar is currently only selling direct-to-consumer. However, they are in discussion with distributors which may lead to Bogdar’s sparkly dresses and shiny latex tops in British department stores soon.
What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Teodora – I usually get up at around 7am and the first thing we do as a family is enjoy some cuddle time with our dachshund Barry. It is the best start of the day!
Pavel – I kiss my wife good morning, play with my dog for a few minutes, make a coffee, and read the Economist’s daily edition. I find this to be the calmest time of my day and really appreciate it, but it will probably change as we are expecting our first baby soon.
What was your first job?
Teodora – My first work experience was totally not fashion-related. I studied finance in my undergrad, and my first job was an internship in an insurance company. That is when I realised that I would like to change my career path and work in something more creative.
Pavel – I used to work as a sales assistant at my mother’s store selling formal men’s shirts.
How did you start your career in fashion?
Teodora – It is my husband who started Bogdar. I have been helping him in my free time since day one but at one point, the business started growing, and it only felt natural for me to join full-time in 2016.
Pavel – I was always helping my parents in our family business, who managed manufacture for other brands. I always knew that one day I’d want to have my own brand and after graduating in business, I thought it was the right time, and that it made sense to launch a fashion brand.
How would you describe the business in one sentence?
Teodora – Bogdar is a collection of sustainable partywear statement pieces that embody the night and the nocturnal state of mind.
Pavel – We are the sustainable party brand. We want women to wreck their shoes, not the planet.
What’s your coffee (or tea) order?
Teodora – Classic macchiato, no sugar.
Pavel – I like an espresso with a tiny bit of milk, but I feel that they only truly get it in Spain – they’re classic cortado. Anywhere else a macchiato doesn’t have enough milk for my taste, and a latte has too much of it.
Apart from Covid, what’s the biggest challenge that the fashion industry is facing at the moment?
Teodora – There is a lot of talk about sustainability in fashion nowadays, and more and more brands are looking into sustainable alternatives and ways to operate. However, an important role of this transformation also plays in educating the consumers and changing their habits to not only look for quality over quantity, but also go for the “greener” option, and understand where this piece that they are buying actually comes from.
What do you think the fashion industry can learn from Covid-19?
Teodora – It gave us the chance, and at the same time taught us how important it is to take a step back, rewind and rethink.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
Teodora – I only shop online because of the wide choice online shopping has to offer nowadays. Having said this, I would always enjoy visiting a physical retailer with a curated shopping experience. If I like a brand, I tend to go back to it again and again.
Pavel – If I am shopping from a brand I already wear, then I go online. I like to shop both from a brand’s own website, as well as from an e-tailer. If I am on a mission to discover though, I like the big department stores.
Last fashion purchase? Why did it catch your eye?
Teodora – My husband got me bright purple fluffy Jacquemus gloves. Purple is not only my favourite colour, but also Bogdar’s main colour. We can say it is the family colour!
Pavel – My style is quite classic and I am trying to break it up a little bit, which is why I recently bought a pair of very colorful trekking shoes from Woolrich that I plan to wear in the city.
Emails or phone calls?
Teodora – For sure emails. Being a brand co-founder, people always look for your input and feedback regarding any business area. I find emails a much easier way to arrange my time and get things done.
Pavel – Definitely emails, teams and whatapps over phone calls. We can have a call after that.
Most important lesson you’ve learned during your career?
Teodora – Follow your dreams and be persistent and determined in what you do. Have a clear vision of what you would like to achieve and work hard and consistently to do so.
Pavel – Don’t stress out! You have to be more patient than that. There will always be more you could have done, but stressing out over what could have been will not keep you sane.
What’s the last book you read?
Teodora – I am currently reading The Cursed Bunny – a collection of short stories by the Korean author Bora Chung.
Pavel – I recently did a course on futurism and how to see my business in the year 2050 and it really opened my eyes to the sci-fi genre, that I was originally not the greatest fan of. I am now in the middle of the Remembrance of the Earth’s Past trilogy by Liu Cixin.
Who in the fashion/retail industry inspires you?
Teodora – It is very difficult to chose one person, but if I have to, it would be Yves Saint Laurent.
Pavel – With the risk of sounding too mainstream – I think Jacquemus is a great example of a successful brand in the digital age. Simon (Jacquemus) is a great story-teller for the digital and online-first age, and this is something that you cannot learn, you are born with it. Another brand that I admire is By Far, because they are also Bulgarian and are getting really huge lately.
One piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Teodora – You can’t do everything by yourself. In order to progress and grow, it is important to learn to delegate and sometimes just let go.
Pavel – Hire people early on, even if it seems like you can do without them. People will help you build your brand. Work with the right talent right from the start.
Who do you turn to when you need advice?
Teodora – My mom is always the first person I call, no matter if it is a personal or a professional matter.
What are you looking forward to most in the year ahead?
Teodora – To coming one (or why not a few) steps closer to our mission of becoming the number one sustainable partywear brand.
Pavel – There are a few things actually – hiring more people, moving to a new office and starting wholesale.