Miami-based designer Nilüfer Bracco redefines sustainable luxury.
Designer Nilüfer Bracco wearing niLuu in her Miami home PHOTOGRAPHED BY DANIEL ZULIANI
Nilüfer Bracco hails from a small town outside of Istanbul and has dreamed of being a fashion designer as long as she can remember. After a stint as a professional volleyball player in Turkey, her journey brought her to the U.S. to study interior design, which pulled her closer to her true passion, and eventually Miami Beach, which she now calls home and where she helms her 2-year-old silkwear brand, niLuu (niluu.com).
The niLuu concept grew out of a fusion of both Bracco’s rich heritage and worldly travels to majestic coastal cities, from the open-air clubs of the Bosphorus to the Greek Islands, from dining alfresco in Montauk, N.Y., to winter getaways in St. Barts, and of course the endless Miami summer. However, it wasn’t just about the aesthetic for Bracco—what the designer is most proud of is that her brand is completely vegan, biodegradable and cruelty free, remaining true to its core mission of sustainability at every step of production. In a very intentional product range, niLuu offers versatile pieces in buttery soft, breathable fabric for both men and women that can easily be transitioned from casual to elegant in any season. Bracco shares more about her Miami-based brand that she calls a dream come true.
What inspired you to create niLuu?
The idea and inspiration to launch my silkwear brand came when I discovered this wonderful certified-vegan alternative to traditional silk, which has all the benefits of traditional silk without its issues. It feels great, it’s good for hair and skin, it is more breathable, longer-lasting than animal-derived silk, and it is sustainable and free of any animal cruelty. Putting it all together into a brand and company with a product line that I love is a dream come true.
What is your creative process like?
My creative process for a new collection starts quite simply by imagining what I would like to wear. I follow fashion naturally but assiduously, so I have plenty of exposure to trends that will inform the next steps. To go from the imagination phase to making and delivering products, I don’t follow a rigid process. I may do light sketching and prepare mood boards as a starting point; in other cases, I imagine how existing pieces can evolve and be aligned with trends and expectations. When an idea is concrete, we move to creating initial samples. What we probably do more than most is adjust the design of samples repeatedly until I feel it is perfectly in line with my vision.
Bracco’s home is a personal reflection of her style—impeccably decorated with just the right amount of flair and vibrancy, complete with gorgeous artwork, prints and colors that inform her designs. PHOTOGRAPHED BY DANIEL ZULIANI
How challenging is it to balance both quality and sustainability?
I have been learning a lot about sustainability and am really encouraged that more brands talk and think about it. For niLuu, I sought and chose to work with fabrics that are sustainable and free of animal cruelty, and I am very proud to be doing just that. So, the question that remains is how we keep it up into the future as our brand evolves. This is a trend that is shaping the future of fashion. Then, the next question is how to trickle down these innovations to the mass market. To be sustainable over the long term, any social responsibility initiative needs to be good business. That is the only way that we can guarantee that niLuu can deliver on its mission. I believe the new generation of customers want products that look and feel great but are also made sustainably. That is our goal and our purpose, so we stick to it because it’s good business.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY DANIEL ZULIANI
Who is your celebrity muse?
Kate Hudson, for her free-spirited West Coast style that’s very grounded in the idea of sustainability.
Any plans to expand into new categories?
Certainly. In fact, we had started with pillowcases and loungewear. We are currently developing new ideas that would further expand our proposition, but I would only do that if we can reach my expectations in terms of quality and design while staying true to our sustainability ethos.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY DANIEL ZULIANI
“MY FAVORITE PART OF THE HOUSE IS THE INDOOR-OUTDOOR INTEGRATION. BY USING LARGE GLASS SLIDING DOORS AROUND THE LIVING ROOM, NATURE IS ALL AROUND US.”–NILÜFER BRACCO ON HER HOME DESIGN
Photography by: Photo By: Daniel Zuliani