Interview with Sofía Arribas and Saioa Goitia (Sophie et Voilà)

Founded by Sofía Arribas, with the incorporation of Saioa Goitia in 2016, Sophie et Voilà is a wedding and evening dress firm recognised for its haute couture designs. Their designs are entirely hand-sewn in their workshops in Madrid and Bilbao and made using the most exquisite fabrics with impeccable finishes. Their authentic and modern creations are designed for all brides who seek minimalist simplicity.

What has inspired you in the creation of your collection?

(Sofía Arribas, Creative Director) This collection is partly a continuation of the collections that we have made so far, with very minimal lines that do not lose their femininity. Without exaggerated volumes. It is somewhat the line we always keep. What we do not want is to pigeonhole ourselves what is solely minimal because in the end fashion always ends up being related a little to clothes on the street.

So that this does not happen, what we have done is combine all the style of women within this collection. Not only the minimal collection. That is why the hashtag of the collection is #SEVerywoman, SEV by Sophie et Voilà, and that is also why until now in the shows and across our entire communication all the models always wore the same accessory – a beret , sunglasses, gloves, or whatever.

However, this year they are all wearing a black detail because it is one of the characteristics of the Sophie et Voilà bridal brand. As an antagonism, with each one wearing or carrying a different thing – no two have the same accessory. This is to maintain the essence of the brand and show that all accessories are in the collection as can be all women. Any woman can be a Sophie et Voilà woman. This is part of the inspiration behind the brand.

Has the pandemic influenced your creativity?

(Saioa Goitia, CEO) On the company level, totally. We had a marked strategy and it has forced us to change it at a dizzying pace, all over the world. Both in Spain and in other countries. It has meant adapting to all the legal measures of each country and each region. As far as weddings and large gatherings are concerned, creativity has been in business management, since the collection was already designed before the start of the pandemic. In January we had everything ready and photographed, and therefore in regard to the collection it has not been influenced.

(Sofía Arribas) Yes, it is true that we have always opted for a relatively urban bride. A bride that is not a classic princess, the Disney princess. At this time when there are many more, smaller civil weddings, of 10 or 20 people, we believe that wearing a dress with a two-metre train is not appropriate. In that sense, for us it is a particularly good moment, since our type of bride fits in better.

What do you think of the VBBFW experience and that it is a totally digital edition?

(Saioa Goitia) It seems to us that it had to be that way, because there was no other option. It is true that we think it is important to be the first to do it, I think that nobody in the world has done this before. And being the first in the world to do it seems like a wise decision. We loved the set up. It is done very professionally and with all the love in the world. We are going to have to wait for us all to adapt a little to the digital medium because it is the first time it has been done. We do not know if it will be a resounding success but, to me, being first seems like a success in itself.

Do you think that this digital experience that allows the participation of professionals from all over the world will benefit the bridal sector?

(Saioa Goitia) Today and in the short term I don’t think so. But, as I have said, I think that being the first is important, and that re-educating people is also important. I think this is here to stay. Although the COVID is ending, we have learnt that to sell to New York, they do not have to come here and that we do not have to travel the world as we have been doing every month until now. In the end, that is unsustainable, for us, for the planet and as a society. I think that on a personal and business level it has been hard, but finally we learn, and I think that we will be strengthened as a result.

What do you think about the fact that this platform allows the collections also to be seen by the final public?

(Saioa Goitia) Sounds good to me. The more people see it, the more people give their opinion and the more people get to know us. This would seem beneficial to me.

How do you imagine the future of the bridal sector?

(Saioa Goitia) I think there was a social change already underway before COVID. The bride is no longer a princess, the bride is no longer a bride and so on. We already noticed this trend five years ago and we started working with this new philosophy. Obviously, we will adapt to millennials and generation Z and to their requirements. This situation is helping us, albeit at a forced pace, because it is true that the bridal sector is always one step behind the fashion sector in general. The current situation is “facilitating” us to change faster.