MWK talks to… Lisa Colombera, Founder of MyTwirl 💫
When did you first have the idea for MyTwirl and how did this evolve to where you are today?
When my 2 daughters were younger they went through what I now refer to as the ‘twirly phase’, when they would test the twirl in every dress they put on. At the time it wasn’t easy to find gorgeous dresses with that perfect twirl and inevitably they would end up in their polyester princess costumes as an alternative. I met so many mums facing the same problem with their daughters and I thought it would be a great idea to create a dress brand dedicated to the ‘twirly phase’. I mentioned my idea to a friend who literally grew up in the design rooms of Calvin Klein (more about that below) and was living through the ‘twirly phase’ with her daughter, and voila – MyTwirl was born.
When you were growing up, did you always want to be working in this industry?
I learned to sew in high school and from a young age if I couldn’t find what I wanted to wear in the stores I would make it myself. I was the kid in the fabric store rather than the candy shop. It was empowering to wear a garment that I created from scratch with love, sweat and sometimes tears. I was the first generation in my family to have the opportunity to go to University and I worked hard to get into law. My love for creating took a back seat during my 10 year career as a Corporate lawyer. When I left the law to build MyTwirl it was like a baptism of fire into the Fashion Industry – a whole new language, people, way of thinking, limitless possibilities – I LOVED IT!
At MWHQ we are inspired by female leaders (particularly as our leaders are two incredible women!) – have you been inspired by past colleagues or leaders?
I have been fortunate to meet many inspiring females along the MyTwirl journey and am continuously touched by their generosity in sharing their time and knowledge. However, one female in particular that stands out is MyTwirl’s original designer, Celeste Poggioli, who is also the Mother of my friend with whom I co-founded MyTwirl. With a career spanning 40 years in the Fashion Industry Celeste defied prejudice towards young females, with talent, hard work and determination to achieve her dreams. Her design talent was recognised at an early age, commissioned to design and create a wedding gown at 16 and achieving a full scholarship to Parson’s School of Design in New York. She ultimately landed a design job at Calvin Klein just after marrying her Prince Charming and at a time when married women were discriminated against in the hiring process for fear they would leave to have babies. At the height of her career she was 5 months pregnant when tragedy hit and she was left widowed. Working for a man who was considered one of the toughest in the Industry at the time, when she went to resign he refused to let her go. Instead he offered her as much time off as she needed with the promise to return to flexible working hours and a cot set up in her office; truly groundbreaking in the 1970s. With a toddler in tow, she went on to launch Calvin Klein’s first childrenswear range, including the first denim nappy cover featured on the front page of the NY Times and also on her granddaughter 30 years later – now that’s sustainable fashion!
What’s your favourite fashion trend for your children?
I love chunky boots with feminine dresses. It works so well for all girls, big or small, and allows you to reinvent a classic look. This is the true joy of fashion for me – it’s a constant reinvention.
What’s most important to you when choosing an outfit for yourself , and for your children?
The Marie Kondo test – “does this bring me joy?”. It’s key that whatever you wear makes you feel good and this is usually achieved with great design and premium quality. Childhood should be joyful and what a child wears can have a significant influence on how they feel. Our children are growing up fast with pressure from school, social media and technology. It’s my hope that MyTwirl is helping slow down the race in allowing children to find joy in the simple things in life. This season we were so excited to increase our sizing to size 11/12 in response to the demand from our growing customers who still enjoy twirling in a beautiful dress as they head into their teenage years.
What do you like about the experience of rental and resale fashion and how it can help the current consumer climate?
When it comes to that favourite dress, children are natural champions of getting as much mileage out of an outfit as possible. Hence premium quality and timeless design is essential in every MyTwirl Collection. The rental and resale concept reinforces the value of quality to consumers and provides a platform for consumers to play a direct part in supporting sustainable fashion.
What would you say has been the driving force for your success?
I established MyTwirl in 2016 to create stylish and versatile ‘playground to party’ dresses with that essential twirl factor. I wanted my daughters to feel happy, confident and free to twirl and express that beautiful energy inside…and I wanted it to be in a dress that I loved too and was confident could withstand the ‘favourite dress’ title (and the constant wear and washing that comes with that honour!). Creating gorgeous dresses that last and bring joy continues to be the cornerstone of our brand. The amazing twirl in every MyTwirl dress is created with clever design and premium, machine washable fabrics. Our European makers are talented artisans that take immense pride in their creations and share our passion for uncompromised quality. And of course my daughters still put each dress through rigorous twirl testing!
What were your favourite outfits as a child?
It has to be the 1980s classic rara skirt in neon pink. Fun and fashion is always a winning combination.
What is your fave dress from the MyTwirl collection on MWK and what would you choose from the women’s platform to match?
The MyTwirl Audrey dress is one of my all time favourites. I love discovering unique jacquards and this stunning Japanese denim and silver daisy jacquard allowed us to reinvent a traditional style with a modern twist. The Edeline Lee Hannah Dress from MW Women’s would make a lovely match with it’s gorgeous navy bubble jacquard and twirly ruffle hem.