Full Name: Ninja Evangelista
Current Title/Company: Creative Director at DELA ÉVA
Educational Background: Fashion Cordwainer Accessory Design at the Cordwainers Campus of London College of Fashion; Postgraduate Degree in Art and Architecture History.
Ninja, it’s such a pleasure to meet you. Please tell our readers, what was your first job and how did you land that position?
At the age of 18, I left school and worked as an Airliner in order to be able to travel and make the world with its historical art treasures and cultures educate me on life. I am a restless wanderer, a “Travelphilia”. I love to travel, explore and discover new things. Travelling is definitely a huge and important part of my life. As an Airliner, I managed to tick off 5 continents, 42 countries and several cities from my bucket list and still yearn to see many more unique and inspiring places in the world. Exploring the world I met so many wonderful people and was inspired by their stories, hopes, and aspirations.
How have your designs evolved since your first sketch?
I always wanted to create something new and outstanding.
I actually started with designing Womenswear but I felt my designs were not 100% complete. I always had the feeling there was one important detail missing to complete my artwork and to differentiate and make it stand out from the existing designs. Then I discovered my passion for Accessory Design and interest in combining and connecting pieces together. I still remember my first designed DELA ÉVA bag – I combined a Poncho with a cross body bag and the result was a “Poncho Bag” that represents the modern goddess. From that moment onwards I knew that this was the missing puzzle in my designs and that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
My work reflects my life, my cultural diversity and my never-ending hunger to explore. As I evolve, so is my work and that I reflect in my designs. I don’t mind working all night because there is nothing in the world that I love doing more than designing.
What have been the biggest challenges or obstacles you’ve faced in your career and how were you able to overcome them?
Every challenge DELA ÉVA and I as the Designer and Founder faced so far was tough and required a lot of determination. Starting DELA ÉVA required me to master many different areas outside of design, which I was not really familiar with in the beginning. As a young emerging brand we are facing new and different challenges every day and there are many more challenges to come. To master these hurdles on a day-to-day basis and to be able to take and accept failure in certain situations and use the experience gained to grow and motivate yourself to do it again, I would say is the hardest part and really requires determination and passion.
Every day my team and I accomplish new achievements and are facing failures on a regular basis but we welcome and embrace the challenges. Napoleon once said, there are only two forces that unite men – fear and interest. I truly believe that being afraid makes me human, but to overcome the fear and continue makes me a human and a winner.
We want to hear about your inspiration as a creative! Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out? How would you describe your design style?
I don’t specifically design for a season. My aim was always to create timeless pieces that can be worn all season and for every occasion.
DELA ÉVA handbags are unique in design, combining sectors of Womenswear and Accessory. DELA ÉVA’s core values are to challenge common preconceptions of what fashion can or can’t be, meticulous attention to detail and courage to break rules in order to create something outstanding. DELA ÉVA’s timeless designs always have a little twist to them – a combination of something old inspired by classic masterpieces and something new inspired by the modern world we live in today. Our signature is the modern heart shape, which symbolises devotion, creativity and the special love affair with every design detail. Be a rebel by heart, the DELA ÉVA heart belongs to strong, confident and successful hardworking women, who know what they want in life.
How did you learn the ins and outs of owning and operating your brand?
I believe that my experience working in other fields outside fashion helped me a lot with operating my own brand. My experience as an Airliner helped me to open my mind and see things from many different perspectives and my work at the United Nations helped me to be precise and organised. To collect work and life experience was always very important to me but certainly my experience as a Fashion Journalist was one of the biggest advantages and a very good learning curve to be able to operate my own brand.
Coming from a small beautiful city called Vienna to one of the Fashion capitals of the world London was like jumping into the deep end. In London, I studied and worked within Fashion and it gave me a good inside view of the industry. I saw the opportunities London can offer to young brands but also realised how good and tough the competition is. I work really hard every day to build our brand and to keep up with the competition in this fast-paced industry, but if you do what you love most people will naturally see the passion going into every detail. Every struggle, failure and victorious moment I faced made me the person I am today. I grew and learned so much along the way and I am just at the beginning of my lifetime journey.
As a business owner, how do you achieve a work/life balance?
I don’t mind working 24/7 for DELA ÉVA as I don’t see it as a job. It is my passion and there is nothing in this world I want to do more than designing, leading the company and see the brand evolving. But it is indeed important to maintain a good work / life balance and I enjoy spending time with my partner (-in crime), who also is my business partner and meet my close friends for a Ladies Night.
Travelling, although limited to work-related travel at the moment, is also one of my ways to find my balance, as going to new places always inspires me.
The most important way to be balanced is having my “me-time” and going to the museum to explore art treasures or walking down the streets of London getting inspired by my surroundings. Every architectural detail, clothes, and accessories people are wearing I mix in my head and create something new.
Sometimes I also just enjoy sitting in a crowded coffee shop and be lost in a book or watch the living pulse of London and having a writers´ soul I love to capture these moments in my journal as well.
What do you see in the future for your brand? How do you hope to grow the business?
NOLCHA SHOWS – NEW YORK FASHION WEEK this September 2016. I don’t want to tell too much now but we have a lot of upcoming surprises for our customers.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
For me, most rewarding part is that I can express myself with my designs and show the world my inspirations. My work reflects my life, my cultural diversity and my never ending hunger to explore. Being able to inspire other people and to see what I can achieve with hard work and determination is driving me forward.
What is a typical workday like for you?
When I have a design session scheduled, I design the whole night until dawn and go to bed when everybody wakes up. I really prefer this way of working at night because I feel when everybody is sleeping I have the whole world for myself.
On a regular day my alarm wakes me up at 9 am (I snooze until 9.30 am) – yes, I have to admit I am not a morning person. I start my day with a black coffee (no milk, no sugar) and do my morning fitness workout. After that I have breakfast and then start the day working for DELA ÉVA at the Atelier until late at night and sometimes even forget to eat because I am so attached and there are a thousand things to do running an own company.
For days, where I have a meeting in town, I work the day in coffee shops, Google campus, museum or library. My favourite working place, however, is in the library because I love to be surrounded by great words and minds when I am in my creative phase.
Best moment of your career so far?
The moment we presented our debut collection with a Live Photoshoot during London Fashion Week. The moment of hectic when the press and people were surrounding us, taking pictures of our handbags, Snapchatting, and asking questions about the collection. I took the liberty to focus on my hardworking crew especially watching Jay and Elisabeth, the persons I most trust, then closed my eyes and realised how far we have come and how far we will still go.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Do everything exactly the same, always listen to your gut feeling and never ever give up. It will not be easy because no one is going to hand you success but if you work hard and are determined that you really want it, you can achieve it.
Go-to coffee order?
Black Americano or extra strong Soya-Cappuccino
If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be and what would you order?
Time travel and have lunch with Michelangelo and ask him if I could help him painting the Sistine Chapel. I would order a Pizza and hope that in the 16th century I would not have a gluten allergy.
Best advice you’ve received?
No one will hand you success. You must go out and work for it yourself. That’s why you are here – to dominate and to conquer, both the world and yourself! Biggest advice to myself during my “quarter life crisis”! The book “Think and Grow Rich” written by Napoleon Hill changed my life. I would recommend it to everyone.
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
The person would a combination of Angelina Jolie, Emma Watson and a bit of Romy Schneider.
The Nolcha Shows are a leading award winning event, held during New York Fashion Week, for independent fashion designers to showcase their collections to a global audience of press, retailers, stylists and industry influencers. Over the past seven years the Nolcha Shows have become established as a platform for discovery; promoting cutting edge innovative fashion designers through runway shows and exhibitions.
The team at Chic Galleria is thrilled to again be collaborating with the designers who will be featured at the Nolcha Shows. We are looking forward to showcasing these talented designers and attending their shows this fall. – Beth Anderson, Founder and Senior Editor, Chic Galleria