Sofia Clara | TOP 10 SWISS DESIGNER GIFTS
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TOP 10 SWISS DESIGNER GIFTS

To me, handmade is the new luxury. There is nothing more luxurious than knowing that the Christmas gift that you are giving or receiving has been made or designed by a creator’s very own hands. Today, I wanted to share ten Christmas gift ideas made and/or designed by ten amazing Swiss-based brands. I have had the pleasure of meeting or at least talking to these amazing creative entrepreneurs on the phone and I am so excited to be able to share a little bit more about their stories with you today.

This is not a sponsored post whatsoever but I will be a little bit more factual than I usually am about the brands simply because I have learnt so much about these amazing people and really want to share their stories.

Swiss designer gift guide

Photos by Hannah Shan Photography

The Loving Spoon 

The Loving Spoon started when founder Maya (who also graduated from the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne) moved to Vancover and struggled to find a job in the hospitality industry. She was making these unique hand stamped vintage spoons as a hobby and started selling in small shops in the city. A couple of years later, Maya is now working on The Loving Spoon full time in Zurich and is selling her handmade spoons all over Switzerland. You can find the list of shops on her FAQ page or place a customer order directly on her website. She still manages to do pretty much all of the work herself (except for some help polishing the spoons) which is insane.

I think a hand stamped spoon with a quote/memorable date/nickname on would the loveliest Christmas gift.

The Loving SpoonPhilippe K

Philippe is such an exceptional person. You know when you meet someone and immediately delve into a deep conversation and time just flies by? That’s exactly what happened when I first met Philippe. I walked into his shop at around 10h30 and walked out god knows how much time later. He has such a fascinating story. Philippe was adopted by Swiss parents when he was 3 months old, and only when he was well into his career as a perfumer, did he go back to Sri Lanka to find his birth parents and really discover his place of birth and his story.

He sells these fantastic luxury candles that tell his story of self-discovery from his beautiful boutique on Rue Beau-Séjour 15 in Lausanne but is also so relatable. Before he opened his boutique in 2015, he even had a shop within his Lausanne apartment.

The candles are made using 100% vegetable wax and are therefore non-toxic, unlike many candles on the market. They burn for approximately 52 hours and diffuse such amazing scents around the house. My two favourite candles are his Signature candle that I think is peppery and dark with a freshness from the lime and one of his recent launches, Nuwara Eliya, which is fresh, floral but still quite earthy.

If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth stopping by Philippe’s shop and if you know someone who appreciates delicate scents and quality candles, I have no doubt they would love a Philippe K candle.

Philippe KVERA

Vera, latin for true, is a statement jewellery company founded by Valerie. Valerie is from the Davao in the Philippines but living in Zurich since 2011. She has such a stunning selection of accessories on her website that would make for such a unique gift this year.

I love that Valerie focuses on craftsmanship and the talent of the designer irrespective of whether the designer is well known or whether they have trained somewhere reputable and makes sure to give the recognition to the person who made the product. I was so drawn to these Misokyklo Fan Earrings made by Merriam Batara even though I’m normally pretty minimalist when it comes to jewellery! These are the perfect gift with all of the holiday season festivities coming up.

VERA Sofia ClaraBy Vanja Jocic

I met Vanja just a few weeks ago at Le Pain Quotidien down by the station here in Lausanne. I walked in, we sat down and 20 minutes later we realised we had been chatting so much that we hadn’t even ordered anything. It was another one of those amazing rencontres that I’ll never forget.

Vanja shared her story about how she worked in a corporate job for years but then one day, she walked out of a meeting with her (then) boss, and knew it was time to move on. She wanted to learn a craft and use her hands so she got in touch with London’s top couture milliner and trained with her for years to perfect the art of hat making. She now has her own studio in Geneva and has recently sold her “By Vanja Jocic hats” in Globus in Geneva.

Every single hat is hand made by Vanja herself and I am desperate to go over to see her in her element, steaming the felt and using her hands to do what she loves. Vanja offers gift vouchers for a tailor made hat that would be such a unique Christmas gift this season.

Vanja Jocic

Lahara

Lahara is a luxury leather goods company founded by Laura, who also studied at the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne. I met Laura at Le Pointu for the first time and over coffee, she told me about how the designs of most of the iconic elements of her handbags came about. Like Vanja, she was also working a corporate job and was yearning to do something more creative. It was on a holiday in the Dominican Republic, followed by various trips to Latin America and Mediterranean countries, that she got in the inspiration for the curves and shapes that you see on all of her bags.

She prides herself on working with naturally tanned high quality leather that is hand-stitched by artisans in Milan. She has all of these great photos on her website of the artisans discussing details of the handbags and you really get a sense for just how hands-on Laura is.

The bag I have is the Ondina bag in chestnut and I LOVE it. There are so many stunning bags on her website that would make the loveliest Christmas gifts if you’re looking to splash out for someone special.

LaharaAdori

I met Anna, the founder of Adori, through Instagram a few months ago and have since become more and more familiar with the brand. They have just opened a showroom in St. François (Place St. François 6, 1003 Lausanne). The showroom is integrated in an institut de beauté and it’s all very new. You can tell that they are still refining the concept and how the different services offered within the space work together but it’s definitely well worth a visit.

I love how passionate Anna is about working with different materials and the unique designs that she comes up with. I picked out this chunky knit hat and every time I wear it people ask me where I got it from. Anna has two sisters who also help making, designing and photographing Adori products and I love their ultra feminine vibe. They have woolly hats, turbans and knit headbands which you have to check out if you’re looking for woolly hat for someone special.

AdoriBaabuk 

Last year, I got a pair or Baabuk Urban Woolers (seen in this post) and they are the comfiest shoes I own. I have been following Baabuk for a few years now and I love what they do. Baabuk is a Swiss company founded in 2013 by Galina and Dan, a couple of entrepreneurs who are passionate about wool. They make sneakers, slippers and boots using wool, a natural antibacterial and breathable material which means you can wear both the shoes and slippers with or without socks and not have to worry about it.

The slippers are made using sheep wool and natural latex and they are suuuuper comfy. I was worried that they would be itchy (and they were a little for the first 2 days) but since I have worn them in, they have been surgically attached to my feet. They are available in a number of colours and can be purchased online. If you’re looking for a toasty pair of slippers to gift to a friend or family member, look no further.

Baabuk-slippersIsabel Pradilla

Nothing feels much more luxurious than an Isabel Pradilla silk scarf. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to meet Isabel in person but we had the loveliest chat on the phone and you can sense her ultra femininity and vibrance, which are both reflected in her scarfs. Isabel is Colombian but moved to Geneva four years ago. She has done a Masters at Central Saint Martins in textiles, as well as a Masters at ECAL in luxury design, and launched her first collection of scarfs in 2015.

I love her concept of storytelling through her scarfs and honestly, I think the most luxurious thing about her products is that you are wearing a little bit of her imagination around your neck. She sees each of her collections as stories, and each of her scarfs as chapters within that story, and I love that way of thinking. All of her designs are done by hand and she works exclusively within Europe.

Since I have had the scarf I have been thinking up so many ways that I could style it and pinning all sorts of ideas. If you know someone who loves to inject a little bit of colour to their outfit, check out her online shop.

Isabel-Pradilla

Artha Collections 

You all know how much I love Artha Collections. I have literally filled my living room with pieces from Claire and Catherine’s stunning collection, and love having the pieces in my home. Claire lives in Zurich but we see each other or chat on the phone every now and then. She was actually the year above me at school but we didn’t know each other at that stage and I love how our paths have crossed since.

Artha‘s tag line is “products with purpose” and I love what the company stands for. Claire and her mother design the pieces and work with artisan communities around the world on long term projects that aim to preserve the specific crafts of said communities. I love following their journey and hearing about their travels and above all, seeing the tangible results of their travels and involvement with artisans around the world through their stunning pieces.

I can’t think of a better gift idea that a little selection of Artha products!

 

Tallis

Tallis is a Geneva-based brand founded by a woman called Lilly. They sell a selection of winter products including a line of cashmere jumpers, and we all know I love a good cashmere jumper! Tallis is best known for selling ethical fur (and I know that is a subject that raises strong emotions but it is not one I want to get into in this post). That said, they have recently launched their cashmere collection with an interesting concept that I wanted to mention.

“Forever Tallis” is the idea that you buy a cashmere jumper that will last a lifetime. Once your jumper is slightly worn or no longer in the best condition, Tallis promise to turn your jumper into a winter hat for free. I’m all about fixing things, repurposing old fabrics, and making something new from something you once loved, so I thought this was a really nice idea.

I know I wouldn’t say no to a cashmere jumper for Christmas!

Tallis cashmereAnd there we have it, probably the longest blog post I have ever written but I felt like all of these makers, creators, designers and entrepreneurs had such amazing stories that I didn’t want to keep to myself.

I hope I have opened your eyes to some Swiss-based designers that you may have not already heard of and maybe you’ll consider buying Swiss this Christmas :). I’d love to know which is your favourite piece from the selection!

Have a wonderful weekend. Big bisous xS

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