From waitress to drama teacher to starting up a coffee shop and party venue … but it was Izet Changuion’s never-ending love for designing clothes that won her over. Now her life is all about dressing women … one vintage-inspired outfit at a time.
Watching her mother, design a dress. The sound of scissors cutting. The smell of new fabric. The buzz of a sewing machine.
‘I grew up in a house where my mother, Christa designed and made dresses for a boutique in Menlyn’, says Izet Changuion.
‘As a young girl, I was always surrounded by fabrics, patterns and dresses. Watching my mum design and make the most gorgeous dresses slowly but surely became part of who I am … it started flowing in my veins, became my joy, my heart, my vision.’
As she grew older, she naturally started to help her mother with the designing of outfits, whether for pageants or special occasions. ‘But mom stayed the dressmaker.’
Throughout school and later at uni, apart from buying a pair of jeans on the odd occasion, most of her clothes are handmade. She would choose her own fabrics and design the outfits while her mother turned all her ideas into a reality. The result? Fab outfits that will get compliments time and again. How lucky can a girl get!
Being so involved with clothing design, you might assume that fashion designing was an obvious career choice for Izet. Right? Wrong.
‘Drama was also a part of my life from a very young age. I absolutely loved to perform in front of other people and enjoyed the creative part of acting. So … drama it was. After my studies, I was in the privileged position to work in London for two years. First as a waitress and later as a teacher. What an incredible adventure, and I gained so much experience. Although I didn’t have anything to do with fashion designing in London, my inner passion for fashion was always there. And in London, my eyes were opened to a whole different world of fashion and trends.’
When she returned home, she was a drama teacher and had her own drama school for children for a few years. Then she and two friends started a coffee shop and party venue. But, between all of these ventures, she was always experimenting with dresses for herself and exploring designs. She started getting a lot of interest and realised the business potential.
Finally (and we’re breathing a sigh of relief here!), she followed her lifelong passion and Glare Modern Vintage was born.
‘Although I do not have any formal training in fashion design, my mother remains my go-to. All those years helping her and experimenting myself paid off and I took the leap of faith to start my own business … with my mother and husband, Laurent as my mainstay and biggest supporters.
‘Mum still has her own business, designing and making wedding dresses and formal wear, yet plays a huge role in Glare. Where I’m 100 per cent involved with designing, I can go to her with an idea and she does the pattern development. Luckily, I have a small, but a great team helping me build and keep my dream alive. Everyone has a specific role and we hope to collaborate and partner with more local talent in the various legs of the business. Ultimately, I would also like to print our own fabric … we are currently exploring this venture.’
As the name says, Glare Modern Vintage makes vintage style clothes, combining vintage style patterns with modern fabrics and accessories.
‘I love working with feminine styles, bold colours and interesting patterns. Patterns are actually the first thing that draws my attention. The bolder, the better. When I feel and touch the fabric the different options of designs start to run through my mind. And then much later on in the process, I just like to combine wooden buttons or a leather belt to complete the look.
‘For me, comfort is key, that’s why we aim to design and make items that also offer that flexibility, so you can easily switch between your informal sneakers and your favourite pair of heels.’
You might be a little surprised to know that Izet doesn’t really like to follow fashion trends.
‘Be very careful to listen to what is beautiful and trendy and what’s not. My idea of being fashionable and stylish is to combine your unique style by adding something that is really trending at the moment. Always dress according to your own style and personality. Most importantly, consider your body shape. Then wear your outfit with confidence.’
Mom of two busy boys, Izet says that when she is at home, she is extremely structured and set in a fixed routine.
‘Actually, that would just be wishful thinking! In fact, just the opposite. My days are informal and relaxed. I never even wake up or go to bed at the same time. Usually every Monday I start off with the best intentions and the whole family start with a strict routine, exercise and healthy cooking. But by Wednesday we are having pizza and wine, dancing in the kitchen and watching movies way past bedtime!’
When asked if she has an organised or organised chaos closet, she quickly admitted to organised chaos.
‘If you dare to open the closet doors you will find all the Glare samples and all the clothes from my ranges with flaws. All very colourful and floral. And no heels and 20 pairs of sneakers. Don’t judge, I did say that comfort is key! ‘
One thing is for sure, Izet is just as vibey as her clothing line. Already working on her Spring/ Summer collection, which will launch on Spring Day (think detailed sleeves and of course, more vintages vibes), Izet only has one aim with her designs. To make women feel beautiful and confident. Which she does. One gorgeous outfit at a time.
Her favourite colour is every shade of coral! ‘If I don’t stop myself all my designs would have a splash of coral. It is such a lively colour yet feminine.’
She is looking forward to our lives going back to normal. ‘Just to see people more relaxed and with less anxiety.’
In her handbag, you will find lip ice, Celestamine for allergies, rocks, flowers and feathers that the kids picked up for her.
No outfit is complete without a leather belt!
Her ultimate guilty pleasure is chocolate and red wine.
She has toured Lesotho with her husband on a motorcycle and swam through the Bloukrans River while doing the Otter hiking trail.
Her fashion icon is Aubrey Hepburn.
Izet’s Spring/ Summer fashion forecast:
We have been faced with a worldwide pandemic and this has influenced the fashion world. To me, the colours and the trends capture that of inspiration, fun and femininity, all grounded in the field of nature.
• The colours will be plant-based green, calming blues and creamy butter with an intense electrifying pink – energizing both fashion and life.
• Layers always bring interest to an outfit and we will still find the practicality of a layered leather jacket bringing strong structure to an outfit and mirroring a confident woman.
• Knitted fabrics will make a strong appearance while an athleisure look will still be an inspiration for some time to come.
• High waisted pants or skirts emphasising femininity will still be a part of our wardrobe with cropped tops. Frills and fringes will bring in some playfulness.
Details: glare.co.za or follow @glaremodernvintage on Facebook and @glare_modern_vintage on Instagram.
* Text: RIALIEN FURSTENBERG. • Photographer: TANJA ROOTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY. Make-up: EYES ON MAKEUP.
Izet’s Fettuccine Alfredo
You’ll need: ¼ cup butter; 1 litre cream; 1 clove garlic, crushed; 100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese; ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley; 250g sandwich ham cut into small blocks; 1 red onion chopped; 250ml sweet white wine; 500g button mushrooms; your choice of pasta (penne, tagliatelle, fettuccine)
Cook the pasta according to package directions and set aside.
In a saucepan or skillet over low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, ham, mushrooms and garlic and fry until soft and brown.
Add the cream and let it simmer on medium heat for a few minutes. Add the wine and simmer for 20 minutes on medium heat.
Pour the warm sauce over the pasta and toss to coat.
Serve topped with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.