true inspiration to all women. When the Bosnia Civil War erupted in the early 90s, Soltani was
participating in a high school exchange program in Los Angeles, California.
Far away from her country, Soltani spent 2 years of the war cut off from her friends and family. “I am
from Sarajevo, the capital, which is the most incredible place you have ever seen; mysterious,
exotic, intelligent, sophisticated, historical, enormously cultural and diverse. The experience of
living abroad during the outbreak of the Bosnian Civil War, when I was seventeen, greatly impacted
my life in many ways. I was forced to act as an adult at a young age and was confronted with
feelings of loneliness, due to the loss of connection with my family. The experience taught me
survival skills, strengthened my character, and allowed me to channel more creative energy into
my work as an outlet for expression,” Soltani confirmed.
Letting her imagination and creativity flourish during a time in her life when all hope could have
faded demonstrates Soltani’s resilience and luster for life, which is reflected in her courageous
and commanding designs. When asked what defines the Ina Soltani woman, she dished, “The
Ina Soltani woman is one you definitely notice in the crowd. She exudes confidence and originality
and puts a lot of thought into her wardrobe selections. She is current and bold, yet sophisticated
and chic at the same time. She has an appreciation for vibrant colors and quality fabrics. She
acknowledges the energy and care invested in each of my pieces and is able to appreciate them
like great paintings or sculptures.”
Finding refuge in California, the city of Los Angeles has become Soltani’s home away from home
for many years and is a befitting city for this design star. "As a designer living in Los Angeles, it is
nearly impossible to resist the influence of California. There is certainly a Hollywood glamour-
influenced movement with a bit of the rock star edge. Color is a must here! I try to mix unusual
textures like a really romantic ruched gown with en exotic skin bustier. Quite bold and dramatic,
but still very sophisticated. I think designers all motivate each other regardless of what we actually
design. Denim and tattooed tees to red carpet ensembles and haute couture, California inspires
creativity," commented Soltani.
While California may inspire creativity, Soltani inspires FashionQandA.com. After over coming
many obstacles, we admire her light hearted take on life. Mother, designer, war survivor and
originator, Soltani is fascinating in every way. FashionQandA.com brings you an in depth
discussion with her.
Designer on the Radar:
FASHION Q&A: How would you describe the style of Bosnian
INA SOLTANI: I am from Sarajevo, the capital, which is the most
incredible place you have ever seen: mysterious, exotic,
intelligent, sophisticated, historical, enormously cultural and
diverse. The city exhibits the duality of being truly open-minded,
yet deeply rooted in traditions, just like Bosnian women.
FQA: Your collection seeks inspiration from the narratives of
your homeland. Do you feel you try to empower women and
women survivors of war through your designs and if so, how?
INA: As a woman survivor of war surrounded by women survivors
of war, it is only natural to be inspired by our tragic yet compelling
narratives. I certainly find empowerment in the life and story of my
mother, my true inspiration. She has experienced life in all of its
hues, embracing both the bright and the dark. Her vivacity in light
of tragedy inspires my creativity, and in turn I seek to empower
others through her story as told through my creations.
FQA: Since having your two daughters, has your personal style
changed? What style tips do you have for other mothers who
have active lives, but still want to look fabulous?
INA: To me, my style really developed once I had my two children.
Becoming a mother gave me an increased sense of self, which I
think helped develop confidence in my style. As advice for other
mothers living active lifestyles and still wanting to look fabulous, I
would suggest looking at fashion from the standpoint of self
expression and going with your first instinct of the way you
envisioned the outfit. After all, isn’t that the whole point of
fashion? It is about exploring originality and exploring oneself.
Accessorize, add, have fun with every outfit, and never leave the
house without glimpsing in the mirror to make sure you love what
FQA: Many women go to great lengths to strike a balance
between their work and their personal lives. How do you
successfully balance both growing your line and being a
devoted mother and wife?
INA: I find balance by integrating my professional and personal
lives. My children and husband are my number one supporters
and I try to incorporate them into my job in every way possible. I
bring them along with me to photo shoots and they enjoy being a
part of all the action – offering up comments and suggestions. I
hope that by demonstrating my passion for the line I can set an
example for my children, demonstrating that dreams can become
a reality. I strongly believe that being fulfilled creatively and loving
what you do makes you a better person and certainly a grander
FQA: What accessory and shoe lines do you feel pair well with
your collection and why?
INA: I always tell my clients to accessorize. A great watch is a
must. The Dior Christal is my absolute favorite. It’s decadent!
For bags, you can’t go wrong with Chanel. They are always and
forever. Invest in one now and one day it will be a vintage
Shoes are my weakness. I choose shoes that are sculptural and
significant in pulling an outfit together. I love different labels for
different reasons – Givenchy for its flamboyance, Chanel for its
classic and unique collection, Balenciaga for the avant-garde and
my absolute favorite (and always original) Dior.
FQA: What was your biggest shopping indulgence this summer
INA: This season I’ve indulged in pieces from Elsa Schiaparelli,
Yves Saint Laurent, and Madeline Vionnet. I also treated myself to
a red quilted oversized bag from Chanel and a pair of Dior
extreme gladiators. Love them! I’ve also bought lots of books.
INA: While the list of my favorite California designers is truly endless, if I had to pick one, it would be Bob Mackie. His
level of detail and precise choice of fabrics always impress me.
FQA: What was your biggest shopping indulgence this summer season?
INA: This season I’ve indulged in pieces from Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, and Madeline Vionnet. I also treated
myself to a red quilted oversized bag from Chanel and a pair of Dior extreme gladiators. Love them! I’ve also bought lots
FQA: Fashion Week in the Bosnian is held in the capital of Sarajevo. Do you have plans to show your collection during
Fashion Week Sarajevo? What would that journey back home mean to you?
INA: I do visit Bosnia quite often and each time, the trip is incredibly meaningful. My roots in Sarjevo represent an
important part of my identity and they provide countless inspiration. Being part of a fashion week in Sarajevo would be an
honor and I am certainly planning it for the future.
FQA: You have a passion for jewelry design. Have you ever thought about designing jewelry pieces that could be
tailored for different looks in your collection?
INA: Jewelry and garments are part of the same family, so I often design my own jewelry pieces and incorporate them
into my collections. I create bib collars that are encrusted with chunky crystals or semiprecious stones. Perhaps one
day, I’ll even do it with diamonds!
FQA: What is the number one thing you love most about fashion design and being a designer?
INA: Freedom, I wake up every morning eager to test my imagination and surprise myself. It’s a great feeling! I’m also
extremely fulfilled by the moment one of my clients puts on a dress and looks at herself with contentment and pride.
FQA: What are the future plans for your line both business wise and creatively?
INA: I am hoping to build the Ina Soltani brand both nationally and internationally. My goal is for the label to be one that
fashion lovers will be able to instantly recognize for its distinctive flavor. I also hope to continue to keep my customers
happy and stylish.
FQA: Can you briefly divulge some of the highlight pieces in your Fall Collection, and what details of Fall do you feel
are essential for women this upcoming season?
INA: Fall is all about glamour. From the hats, scarves, and coats to the fabulous suits and boots, the options are
endless. This season I’m inspired by Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. One essential is a fitted metallic brocade coat with a fur
collar, embellished with Swarovski buttoning. An ostrich jacket or vest is also a must indulgence for this season.
|Center of page and below are designs from Soltani's Spring '08 Line
By Qianna Smith