Life for the Kapiris family was firmly placed in fruit and veg. For one family member, Sofia, following in her family’s footsteps and becoming a cog in the farm to shop business was exactly how she planned the next couple of years.
Bigger and better things were on the cards for Sofia. In less than a year after starting her fashion label, SCK by Sofia Kapiris, her designs have been worn by Hollywood stars and reached an international audience.
Khloe Kardashian is a convert, Maria Menounos wears the designs proudly, and more and more celebrities are flocking to be seen in the designs.
You’ll find Sofia’s designs in Dubai, America, Asia, Europe and London, while red carpets around the world are beaming the designs to local audiences.
She’s gone from a made-to-order seamstress to a fully fledged fashion empress with her knack for feminine cuts and versatile evening wear.
“I did have a keen eye for fashion but I was more concerned with working for the family,” Sofia tells Neos Kosmos.
“It was something I always dreamed about, but I never thought I could actually do it, I just never had the confidence.”
With the help of her cousin and business partner Leannda Kapiris, SCK has become a household name is just nine months.
The business harnesses the power of social media, with Sofia and Leannda constantly uploading photos of their customers (the famous and the not-so-famous) in their beautiful designs.
The openness the brand shows to its clientèle makes it much more appealing for buyers, with many coming back for more.
Their Facebook account has close to 3,000 followers while their Instagram account, the juggernaut of the brand, has more than 18,000 individual followers.
For a business that’s not even a year old, the following has more established brands scratching their heads.
Amazingly, Sofia is self taught. Going to just a couple of preliminary sewing classes to get the basics down pat, Sofia started making designs at home by draping fabric over an old mannequin.
“I just found that I learnt better, on my own. My sister bought me a mannequin to learn,” she says.
“But I’ve never been taught how to design.”
Sofia’s ability was most admired by her cousin, Leannda.
After getting a made-to-order dress, Leannda was hooked, and the idea to make it a business was born.
“She actually made me a dress, and my husband and I fell in love with it and he said ‘you guys would do great together’,” she tells Neos Kosmos.
“I’ve always loved fashion and have always been very business minded, so getting together was fantastic.”
You’ll now find Sofia juggling to make at least five or six dresses a day thanks to online demand, while working hard to keep her suppliers well stocked.
The brand is known for its sexy silhouette that accentuates a woman’s natural curves.
“What really defines us is sexiness, but we don’t push the boundaries, the dresses are elegant,” Sofia says.
The initial aim was to create a dress that keeps that balance, while making women feel amazing and comfortable.
“It’s a good balance, when you know you’re going to have a little bit on top showing, you don’t want a bit on the bottom so much,” Leannda says.
Their use of stretch jersey fabric gives the dresses the ability to cover a woman’s curves comfortably, while looking like the dress was tailor made.
As local Adelaide girls, Sofia and Leannda also use a much wider colour palette than normal, appealing to the wide range of climates and fashion
sensibilities of Australia and the international market.
Their dresses are famous for being incredibly versatile and alterable. One dress can be worn six different ways all just by playing with the straps.
More than half of their dresses are alterable and it’s something they both wanted to specialise in from the start.
“One of the reasons I started making dresses was because I always used to alter everything I bought,” Sofia says.
“I know how I want dresses to fit me, and I’m curvy, I’m not very thin, I want girls of all shapes to look good.
“You can’t be versatile with every design, but if we know a design can be versatile, we do it for that reason.”
Her dresses aren’t out of reach for the wider public; starting from $55 and topping off at $250 you can build a beautiful outfit to wear to your next event.
Affordability was one of the key aspects of the business when it started out, says Leannda.
“We want to make them affordable to everybody, and we find a lot of girls, especially in their early 20s, they can’t always afford to buy a dress over $300 that they can only wear once,” she says.
“Our dresses are affordable and you can wear them anytime.”
The appeal isn’t just for thrifty shoppers. The price tag definitely isn’t an issue for celebrities, showing just how important a well designed dress is.
Mellissa Gorga from The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Lauren Pope from The Only Way is Essex and Sydney Fashion Blogger have also been seen in designs and are becoming indirect brand ambassadors, much like Khloe Kardashian and Maria Menounos.
Khloe Kardashian has loved the designs so much that Sofia and Leannda have sent another six dresses to her.
One of their most popular dresses is the ‘forbidden love’ range, a dress that uses the balance of sexy and elegant expertly well.
The huge V-neck slit attracts a lot of the attention, but the use of long sleeves and a long skirt brings it back to the tasteful.
The use of sleeves in almost half of their dresses is deliberate, Sofia says, after her own struggles finding a nice evening dress that works well for winter climates.
“I love winter dresses, and it is hard finding nice dresses to wear to weddings where they are still very sexy but they’re warm,” she says.
Now the duo is looking to their first Spring/Summer range, the bread and butter of most labels.
But expanding the range is just the tip of the iceberg.
Swimwear and resort wear is in the pipeline and should be hitting stores in summer. Currently, stockists are being set up and sourced in Amsterdam, Paris and the UK, while Sofia and Leannda look to expand their Australian presence.
A Sydney store in the centre of the city is on the cards, while more stores in their local Adelaide will be coming soon.
Having the stocklists expanded isn’t so much to meet demand, but rather to give customers a chance to try the dresses on.
As popular as online fashion stores are now, there is nothing compared to the in store experience.
“Nothing can beat word of mouth and having your clothes out there for people to try,” Sofia says.
It will be safe to say the idea of going back to the fruit and veg shop is well and truly gone. They are now firmly in the business of selling the fruits of fashion labour.