We caught up with co-owner of est. Leana Shutte, who spoke to us about the family owned business driven by a passion for ageless dressing and their new Joburg pop up store
What is the concept and vision behind est.?
Est. fashion was found 23 years ago by my mother, Este Schutte when she identified a need for premium international fashion brands in South Africa. After completing my degree in International Business in the South of France, I joined the family business to pursue my dream of curating the est. woman concept – a fashion destination of note for the modern woman. As mother and daughter we embarked on an incredible journey. Our vision to create an inspiring space and experience to offer our customer an exclusive and sophisticated wardrobe - without having to board a plane.
Over the course of three generations in the fashion industry, we’ve experienced many changes. But we always remain true to the est. heritage of simplicity, quality and beauty. The est. collection is carefully curated with the modern and empowered woman in mind.
Who is the est. customer ?
The est. woman is an innovative thinker with an enduring love affair for beauty and quality. She is a modern , self confident, open minded woman that lives in the moment.
Fashion is not her only interest in her life – she is multi-faceted and this is reflected in her style choices. Est. woman wants to be fashion aware – and not fashion-led. She has a mind of her own and has high expectations in terms of design, quality and material as well as the latest processing technology and perfect fit.
What goes into the thinking behind the clothes and collections that you bring into the store each season?
The procurement of collections and the selection of pieces within the procured collections remains a challenge. Of course, comprehension of international fashion trends is important. However, while in fashion metropoles like Milan and Paris we may never lose sight of our customer profile. Translating these international trends into functional, practical collections that fit our local lifestyle and climate needs. (While we strive to challenge and inspire our customers we have to bear lifestyle and climate in mind.) We honour the individuality of our customer. Consequently, I have developed a buying model to assist me with the buying process for the est. women. Hence, we host around 10 -15 different brands every season to be interpreted in different ways by different style profiles.Our brands reflect an individual understanding of femininity, sportiness and comfort.
Tell us about your pop-up store in Johannesburg, why was this the right moment to bring something like this to city?
We had an overwhelming response in Johannesburg so far and are very excited to introduce our est. brand to a different audience. Being in business for 23 years we do have an existing customer base in Johannesburg. However, we are not necessarily interested in opening a permanent store in Johannesburg at this stage – we have a very hands-on approach to our retail operations and the experience we offer in our retail spaces back in Cape Town. We want to build into a new audience in Johannesburg through these POP up experiences – we see this as a platform for cultivating solid relationships to serve the market.
What are some of your favorite pieces from the collections that we can find in the Johannesburg store?
We host 10 different collections at our JHB Popup this time round. I particularly love the ALYSI collection from Italy – it’s pieces for the curious woman. Beautiful fabrics with a strong minimalist viewpoint and controlled volume. I have always been a keen denim enthusiast and believe in the beautiful brand, Citizens of Humanity, from the United States.
Tell us more about what actually went into designing the space and how it brings together your love for fashion, art and design?
Est. brand DNA – being approachable and not to create an intimidating space. With the space only being a popup we received an empty shell and had to be very creative in a cost effective way.
Our aesthetics have always been contemporary and minimalistic – that is pretty much the est. dna. I wanted to create a space where the clothing pieces speak - with a few design accents.
The starting point for any fashion piece is really the fabric. I have a great interest in different textures (whether it be fabric, or art) and we tried to imitate that throughout the space creating a light atmosphere with textured greenery.
What can we expect from the future of est. beyond the pop-up store and more?
To offer South African women the best possible fashion choices.
To extend our offering – more shoes and handbags in nearby future.
To expose women to excellence in fabrics, designs and workmanship.
To inspire her, not only in fashion, but in a holistic way. To take her with us on this exciting journey of being a confident woman in an ever changing world.
By our unique fashion offering and shopping experience we want to make it easy for her to enjoy being a woman.
Visit est. in Parkhurst 20 4th Avenue Parkhurst www.estfashion.co.za