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Say No More’s Founder on the business of holiday style

Looking to lock down your New Year’s Eve outfit? Say no more.

Founder by Kristina Lisovets, the Moscow-based label, SAY NO MORE, serves up statement occasion wear that’s low-key luxe and cool-girl glam.

The brand’s signature corset pieces and figure-outlining dresses make for the perfect outfit for all the upcoming occasion on your radar.

Having been in the fashion industry for 10 years as a prolific stylist, Kristina has founded SAY NO MORE from satiating the desire for fashion-forward statement pieces for her clients. Forging a new path as a fashion entrepreneur, Kristina gets down to business and shares with Emirates Woman how she brought her vision to life to build a brand of her own, opening a store in Dubai, the trend she’s excited about for next season, and lastly, what’s next on the horizon.

How did you know it was the right time to launch the brand and what was the catalyst for this?

I had ten years of practice as a stylist; while creating fashion looks for Russian pop singers, we did a lot of sewing for big shows, and in the process I gained experience in tailoring and styling. After seven years in the industry, I wanted to create something of my own. I knew what was in demand in the market and what my clients wanted, because every day I was faced with the fact that I couldn’t find something. I also understood what real luxury quality is, and finally, I had my own vision of the brand – I wanted to create something artistic and theatrical, bright and unlike anything else.

We spent 30,000 rubles on fabric and hired a tailor who made the first three items, two of which we are still selling with great success after four years since creation of the brand. As soon as our Instagram account was launched, there was an immediate response from my clients. At first we sewed all the items piece by piece, now we have grown to full production and two flagship stores in Moscow and Dubai.

Tell us what inspired you to launch SAY NO MORE in Dubai?

I was inspired to launch the store in Dubai by the city itself. Our clothes are about holidays and Dubai is a perfect city for such a life. They were waiting for us here – we had been sending our products here for a long time and knew that there was demand. Customers asked why we didn’t have a store in Dubai and we realized that this city needed us, and we needed it.

How would you define the DNA of the brand and what was the inspiration behind it?

Our inspiration is the female hourglass silhouette, which we exaggerate even more with the cut of the pieces and draperies. If we talk about names in the fashion industry, it would be Jean Paul Gaultier, Mugler and Schiaparelli. We take art, theater, graphics, female body and wearability – and combine them in SAY NO MORE. We stay in the middle-up segment, it’s important for us to be sophisticated but affordable and comfortable. Our brand’s clothes are elegant and appropriate, but at the same time they set a certain mood for every occasion – this is our main specificity. We make a woman feel her inner confidence and brightness.

Your career transitioned from a stylist to set designer and then to a creative consultant — how did these experiences and knowledge shaped you as a designer?

I am a theater artist by education – even though I never worked in my specialty, I was very interested in getting this profession. Until now this part of my life has stayed with me, it is part of my profession. I worked as a stylist and art director – I know how to delegate responsibilities and I understand exactly that if I hand over responsibility to another person, I need to give time and wait for the result.

SAY NO MORE is a collective image of my experience, a mixture of education, crazy stylizations, my taste and views.

Which piece from your current collection is your favorite and how would you style it for the festive season?

I can’t say which item is my favourite, but the thing I’ve been looking forward to the most at the end of this year is our denim collection. We recently styled an ambassador of our New Year’s collection – popular Russian singer Glukoza – and dressed her in wide jeans with an asymmetrical bodysuit and a black sequin cape. It looked super cool. I realize that our jeans are perfect for any occasion, even a New Year’s Eve party – it’s an essential piece to calm down a bit our crazy corsets. We picked an atypical cut and color – only our brand can take something basic and turn it into something special and unique.

What are your brand signatures that are driving sales within Dubai?

Our consumer in Dubai is no different from the one in Moscow – corsets remain at the top of the sales list. Probably because we are still working for the Moscow audience, who have emigrated or come for a vacation, so basically everything remains the same. This is the first season when we have created three wool and cashmere coats, so our clothes are equally in demand both in Dubai and in Moscow.

What trend are you most excited about for next season?

I love the trend for sophisticated ugly colors in the truest sense of the word – graphite gray, brown in different shades, beige-chocolate and beige-powder, but not pink. Say no more is a brand about sexiness, but I enjoy the calmness of the colors, which we pair with a sophisticated cut, making things relevant on an everyday basis but still emphasizing and embracing the style of our clients.

Any current trends you’re ready to see retired for 2024?

This season I’m ready to give up the colored feathers that I loved last December. I like the heavier story now, both in colors and fabrics. The brand is moving away from naivety to something more grown up and conscious. The brand is changing with me – it’s like I live 10 lives in a year, and the changes are reflected in the collections.

Who has the biggest influence in your work ethic?

It’s very simple: I spend a lot of time in our showroom, listening to clients and collecting feedback, doing work on mistakes. Our clients and their requests are everything for us. So quality, real pricing, showroom convenience and beautiful packaging are a sign of respect for the customer and part of our brand.

 

Kristina Lisovets, Founder and Creative Director of SAY NO MORE

 

In business, what is a philosophy you live by?

To be sincere and never sell a bad product in a nice package by good PR. For us, the product is important in the first place – what it is made of, what kind of mood it creates, what value is embedded in it. In second place is service: convenient location, store, packaging. The product itself sells us. We really appreciate the cooperation and friendship with our influencers. We have never paid anyone for advertising, because a good product sells itself, like our name: SAY NO MORE, I’ll show you what you desire. And so far we have succeeded.

What is next for the brand?

Develop the wedding line, continue the story with denim, and work more with wool – both for coats and suits, as long as we like this direction. We plan to open a second shop in Moscow and hopefully we will launch the first line in Dubai by the end of next year.

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Images: Supplied

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