If you live in a city that has sub arctic temperatures between the months of November and April, chances are you take your outerwear very seriously. I used to believe I had to sacrifice fashion for function to keep warm during the winter, until I was introduced to Canada’s luxury outerwear brand, Sentaler. Over the past few years I have seen Sentaler’s beautiful coats made from Peruvian Alpaca, on women all over the city and started to become intrigued about this little Canadian brand that has started to make a splash internationally.
Fast forward a couple year’s and I had a chance encounter with the beauty and brains behind the brand, Bojana Sentaler, this past summer. Funny enough, our paths did not cross at a fashion event, but rather on a track day at Mosport Racetrack with Cadillac, where I was learning to race cars and Bojana was filming a video feature for the luxury automotive company’s Dare Greatly campaign. Not too long after the event, we connected back in the city at the designer’s minimalist office. Here we chatted all things Sentaler and discovered our joint love for fashion and cars. It’s not often do I meet another young lady who admires cars as much as they do clothes. Or better yet, prefers to drive a manual stick shift over automatic transmission vehicle. Similar to myself, Bojanna finds parallels in vehicle design as she does with clothing, part of why she agreed to collaborate with Cadillac on Dare Greatly. The Dare Greatly campaign sought out Canadian leaders in their field who dare to drive the world in their field and naturally she made the cut as a hot, emerging designer. Here’s a sneak peek at the designer’s story shot earlier this summer courtesy of Cadillac.
As part of a way to get out of the office and get better acquainted, I took the beautiful Toronto designer for a spin in the new Cadillac ATS V Coupe, the same vehicle we both had on the track back in June. Finding similarities in different areas of design has always intrigued me. It’s interesting that the same level of care Bojana takes creating her designs, is very similar to what Cadillac’s design team does with the vehicle’s interior. The cut and sew treatment of the interior’s leather is an element the team borrowed directly from the fashion industry.
Above in Sentaler’s long coat with baby alpaca fur collar (limited edition)
In 2009 Sentaler was born. But not from the fashion educated roots of most designers. Pre Sentaler, Bojana was worlds away in Dubai working on economic investment reports (yep you read that correctly). While living way out in the luxurious desert region, she had an opportunity to meet and chat with Karl Lagerfeld and this conversation left her so inspired that she had decided that she wanted to finally pursue her passion within fashion. After leaving Dubai, Sentaler then headed to South America where she came across the alpaca fibre and spent time in Peru learning all about the alpaca fabrics amazing qualities and how to design with it. “When I launched my first collection six years ago, I loved my product and truly believed in it. I wasn’t considering failure as an option because I was so passionate about what I was doing”.
Sentaler’s Shawl Collar Poncho Wrap
So why has Sentaler’s outerwear been gaining so much notoriety as of late? Personally, I think consumers have dabbled in quick and fast fashion for such a long time and have so much access to trendy fashion at high street stores but are coming to understand again the importance of a proper investment when it comes to classic and chic outerwear. These coats are far from a seasonal fad and one can last you a lifetime. However, if you ask the likes of “Suits” actress Meghan Markle, “Sex and the City’s” Kim Cattral, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau and yours truly, one Sentaler coat is just not enough. I am already plotting on what I am going to acquire next after getting the label’s uber functional hooded wrap coat in grey. Sentaler’s full collection is ultra versatile and there is literally a style that suits any body type and style preference. The thing I love the most is that each piece can also be toned down into a more casual look depending on what you pair with it. On another note, alpaca seems to be trending as of late. On a recent trip to Quebec City I visited an Alpaca farm and learned a bit more about these cute animals that produce such excess soft fur that is now being used for everything from socks, sweaters, gloves and jackets. Like most, I always thought wool was the warmest fabric but surprisingly alpaca is much warmer but lighter in weight, making it an easier fabric to wear during transitional seasons. Bojana uses only baby alpaca for her Sentaler jackets which comes from the first shearing of a young alpaca. This is the softest and most desired fibre – which makes Sentaler coats so silky and soft to the touch.
Sentaler’s Hooded Wrap Coat
The future is bright for Bojana and I am excited to see what 2016 has in store for this young and super talented woman that I am now lucky to call a friend. Busy filling stock and custom orders for the current season, Sentaler is also keeping herself busy designing her next collection citing that she draws most of her inspiration from her travels, “Inspiration comes from everything around me. And when I step away from my everyday work, my mind is free and my creative thoughts arise.”
Photography by Danielle Reynolds
Sentaler’s fabulous collection can be found at Holt Renfrew locations across Canada, the team’s Toronto showroom and online, where she ships internationally – thank God! For more information on Sentaler, to view the entire collection and to purchase online head to Sentaler.com.
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