Not everyone can get along with their siblings, let alone work with them. But for Jasmine and Vikram Johal — the innovative minds behind the Calgary-based bespoke suit and menswear company Studio Mavîz — working with family has provided a supportive platform to see their creative vision come to life.
“Obviously a lot of people do say, ‘Stay away from working with family,’ because it could create arguments and stuff in the future,” says Jasmine. “But it has been really great for us because we know who we are, and we know that even if we do get into an argument we are not going to take it to heart.
“You don’t really know anyone else the way that you know your family.”
The siblings launched their company in 2015, a step Jasmine says seemed like a natural move for she and her brother.
“It kind of fell into our laps,” she says. “Growing up we were really creative and we had a lot of different talents that we would always explore. And we thought, why not focus all of those talents into one place?”
Certainly, the Johal siblings possess a plethora of creative and business skills under their belts. In addition to growing their fashion line, Jasmine, 24, obtained her Bachelor of Arts in English in 2016 from the U of C in 2016, has returned to school to pursue a Bachelor of Education, and is an avid writer, painter and sculptor.
Her brother, 27, graduated in 2014 from the U of C with a degree in biomechanics, followed by a sound engineering diploma from SAIT in 2016. Vikram has since returned to school and is studying architecture.
“I feel like everything leads up to one moment, and I feel like everything is really meant to be,” says Jasmine. “You learn a lesson from one place and you learn a lesson from the next place, and a lot of those lessons help you for different reasons.”
While Studio Mavîz started as a creative outlet for Jasmine, who works as the brand’s creative director, and Vikram, the company’s director of operations, the company has since evolved into a made-to-measure menswear line offering customers cutting-edge, “in-your-face” designs that still retain class and elegance.
However, growing a fashion company in Calgary was not without its challenges.
“One of the biggest challenges was overcoming our own fears,” says Jasmine. “In the beginning, we were really trying to give people what they want — we had a vision but we weren’t confident enough to reach that vision.
She adds that by not being true to what she and her brother envisioned for the brand, and catering to what they thought people would want, it felt as though they were trying to be something they are not.
“We overcame that by realizing everyone in this industry is doing their best and making it up as they go,” she says. “Your truest expression is being authentic with yourself and authentic with your audience. Not trying to give them what you think they want, but give them what you want and the people who vibe with you are going to like that — they are going to come to you.”
Being true to one’s self is working out for the siblings, who have incorporated movement, music and film into the development of their brand, and intend on launching a new online store complete with streetwear designs within the month. The designs will be debuting at the Indian Students’ Association Charity Ball on Feb. 16.
Beyond expanding into the world of streetwear, Jasmine says she hopes to one-day work on Studio Mavîz full-time.
“It when we feel the most alive, and when we feel the most authentic to ourselves,” she says.
By Sarah Comber; photos by Anoop Brar Photography; portrait of Jasmine and Vikram Johal by Heena Uppal.
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