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Gizelle Renee on trend setting, the work/mother balance, and her favourite gloves

Posted on by Lizzie Watson

Fashion, for Gizelle Renee, is about inspiring the imagination.
It’s about getting lost in a world that empowers you to feel confident with the challenges of today.

As Gizelle so passionately explains; "our hands are so important for communicating; shaking hands at work, hugging our partners, holding our children, caring for parents and carving out our lives. So, on reflection, a gift for our hands is extremely special, intimate and has an empowering message." 
Making accessories that empower and inspire, Gizelle Renee has three key principles for her design process: creativity, craftsmanship, and character. Every glove made inspires your imagination and blows your mind.

We wanted to get 'behind the gloves' on what inspires Gizelle Renee, her work routine and career highlights, and her view of British craftsmanship. 

Tell us the idea behind the Gizelle Renee brand?
For me, hands and what we wear are the closest thing to getting to know someone from first glance. Fashion because there is a reason why you put on those clothes you’re wearing today. That can be practicality, a statement, a belief, comfort, strictly work…whatever it is, you were empowered to make that choice. And hands because they are the very things we carve our life out with, hold our children with and provide for the people we love. I could not find a glove brand that celebrated and is aspirational towards the idea that gloves are the must-have accessory and therefore, I decided to start one.

What inspires your products, and do you focus on trends?
I don’t focus on trends although I do enjoy following them and seeing fashion develop. Various designers inspire me and it’s important to recognise movements in the fashion world; especially perspective. I enjoy using materials found in the haute couture houses and finding a way to embellish them on my gloves. Recently we were asked to support Marta Jakubowski at London Fashion Week and it was an honour to be on the catwalk as a trendsetter in our own right.

 


What is your product philosophy?
Our product philosophy is to inspire your imagination through glove design. We do this by applying three key principles to every glove we handmake; creativity, craftsmanship, and character.

What’s your daily work routine?
It’s 24 hours now. Nonstop. We have some major collaborations unfolding. Some of which are worldwide and so I’m usually out of the country at least 1-2 days every week or every two weeks. This week it’s Paris, next stop after that Brussels. And then it's more local based but still 7 hours round trips at times – it’s hard with two children under 5! Running your own business, no two days are the same. I am someone however who is very organised, so I always make sure I meet every deadline and well within time. It gives me anxiety if I leave something right up until the last minute!  

Do you have a favourite, go-to pair of gloves; and is there a pair you just couldn't live without?!
My favourite gloves in the current collection are the Arabella’s. They are demure and effortless. However, if I wanted a pair as a gift, it would have to be the Josephine’s. Super feminine, sweet and they feel amazing. And lastly…we all need a pair of driving gloves in our life!  

What does British craftsmanship mean to you?
For me, it's about the knowledge of how to make a glove and designing it with a unique spin. I’m British and I design every glove from start to finish.  

What’s been your biggest career highlight so far?
There’s a few I sadly can’t speak of right now that top the chart but to date, probably gracing LFW catwalk.

Who inspires you in the world of product innovation?
Donatella Versace. She is one incredible lady. Unapologetic and inspirational to women in the fashion industry.

What’s your advice for young British entrepreneurs of the future?
In the fashion industry? Creativity is key in design, but business minded is key to being successful. Always be kind, thankful and look for the diamond in every opportunity. Trust your gut and remember those who have supported you along the way.  

Considering International Women’s Day, what changes towards equality are you most looking forward to seeing as women continue to join forces to advocate diversity? 
I love this question. It’s one of the reasons why women like Donatella Versace, Victoria Beckham, and so many more women are incredibly important in our world at this moment and in history. I am looking forward to a time when a woman can do her job with the same respect, opportunity, and recognition as a man. We’ve made huge steps, but we have more to do. Time's UP indeed.

How do you think feminism is motivating change across the world?
It’s giving women an opportunity to speak out and be honest about their encounters. To have free voice and share their experiences. It is bringing people together, men and women, to fight for equality. We all bleed the same, we all have one heart, one brain…. there’s a saying I truly believe in; ‘Don’t hang your hat higher than you can reach’. It’s a Jamaican proverb and I have a hat tattooed on my wrist to symbolise that I believe that the CEO of a company is no better than the homeless man on the street. We need to start being more respectful to not only women but to people.

Who is your female role model, and what has been the importance of her impact on your life?
Victoria Beckham is my role model. She’s a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a designer, a philanthropist, and a businesswoman. I’m sure it’s not easy, but she carries herself in a way that I feel is remarkable. Very humbling, kind and appreciative of those around her. I think she’s remarkable.  

What’s next for Gizelle Renee?
We have a huge year ahead of us. Considering these questions, I feel it’s probably the right time to let you know about a collaboration Stefan Olsdal, Placebo and I have been working on last year. We have collaborated to produce a new glove design, inspired by the iconic Gilbert Baker flag, to celebrate PRIDE, with a percentage of the proceeds going to two charities close to our hearts. The glove will be realised for pre-order in April with only 100 available for men and women right away. There will then be a lead time for more orders. The glove is important as they dress the very thing you carve your life choices with – your hands. This rainbow glove is made up of six pieces of coloured leather, a handmade merino cuff and lined for comfort. It takes five hours to hand make this glove and we are excited to make something where fashion can be instrumental in our messaging.

 And the Gizelle Renee vision? 

“For My Customer To Feel Empowered To Be Themselves Through The Accessories I Create.”

Buy Gizelle Renee's favourite gloves today!