S Joon is the latest brand to hit the contemporary accessories sweet spot with its elegant, minimalist styles. Founder Sahar Asvandi talks designer friends, classic novels and her love of manufacturing.
The tagline for contemporary accessories brand S Joon is “British based. Italian made. Persian roots”, and it is influenced by founder Sahar Asvandi’s heritage. The brand’s name combines a Persian term of endearment, “Joon”, that is used to mean “dear”, and S, for Sahar.
Founded in 2017 and based in London, the brand creates minimalist, classic leather goods, focusing primarily on structured bags.
Asvandi previously trained as a solicitor, but for 10 years before launching S Joon, she worked as a dance teacher and choreographer, and began the brand as a way to supplement her work. After selling vintage bags on Ebay and seeing the demand for saddle bags in particular, she decided to turn her hand to design.
The brand launched for spring 19 with styles including the mini-bucket bag “Milk Pail” and the classic saddle bag style. Wholesale prices range from around £80 to £180. It is launching for autumn 19 with Net-a-Porter as its debut stockist.
What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
I check my emails and read the news over a cup of tea.
What’s your coffee (or tea) order?
It’s always breakfast tea with a healthy splash of milk. Or peppermint tea in the evening.
What was your first job?
My first job was working as a waitress at 16. I loved it. I worked most weekends and enjoyed the buzz of working in a busy environment with great people.
How would you describe the brand in one sentence?
Contemporary minimalism with a timeless aesthetic.
Where are your favourite place to shop?
I try to buy from brands I know. I’m fortunate to have some very talented friends: I’ve bought a dress, hat and jewellery recently, all from friends’ brands.
Last fashion purchase? Why did it catch your eye?
My wedding dress. It was from Valentino and it’s pink – the dream!
Emails or phone calls?
Always phone calls. I prefer to chat to someone. It makes everything so much easier.
Most important lesson you’ve learned during your career?
You know your brand better than anyone. Trust yourself.
What would be your ideal office/meeting space?
Somewhere light and airy that makes great tea.
What’s your favourite part of the creative process?
I love working directly with my factory. There are so many elements that go into the creative process, and it is amazing to see these elements come to life, surrounded by wonderful Italian people.
What has been your proudest moment since you launched?
Launching with Net-A-Porter for autumn 19 will be my proudest moment.
What’s the last book you read?
Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles. I really enjoy the classics.
To Sicily, and I fell in love with the island. The food, the vibe, the sea – it’s magical.
Who in the fashion/retail industry inspires you?
Rather than an individual, I am inspired by women who are unapologetically, unreservedly themselves. Current girl crushes include [singers] Lizzo and Cardi B, but my top gal has to be Solange [Knowles].
What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion today?
As an emerging brand, it is trying to be seen and heard in an ever-expanding sea of information.
One piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t worry as much, and keep going.
Who do you turn to when you need advice?
It depends on the problem, I’m very lucky to be surrounded by some wise heads that I can call upon. Sometimes my husband, sometimes friends, sometimes colleagues, usually my mum.
What would we find you doing at the weekend?
Ideally, having a slow morning, doing some pilates, and catching up with friends. However, running your own business can mean working weekends too.
What are you looking forward to most in the year ahead?
Continuing to grow the brand and all the new things that may bring.