Norwich-based fashion designer Veronika Guardi passed away earlier this year, at the age of 34, after being diagnosed with cancer. Six months on, her textile engineer parents, Galina and Stoyan explain how they have created a new collection under their own label, inspired by her most loved designs.
We are Veronika`s parents. We are not designers, but we are textile engineers with over 20 years of experience in the production of clothes in our run-family factory in Bulgaria. We never wanted to emigrate anywhere because we had built a good life for ourselves in Bulgaria. But the pandemic decided our fate to live in England. We had just come to visit our daughter for a few days before the pandemic closed us down and we stayed here in Norwich. We learned to distance work with our manufacturing in Bulgaria and created our British, eco-brand Numbat Ltd based in Norwich where we create and develop all clothing collections using recycled and deadstock fabrics from Italy.
We always wanted to return to Bulgaria, but every time we tried to return there was always a reason to stay here. The pandemic was followed by Veronika`s second pregnancy, followed by the birth of our second grandchild, for whom we stayed to help for two years and then, when we were ready to leave, the worst thing happened – our daughter`s cancer diagnosis.
And now we don`t want to return because our daughter stays here forever and our only consolation is that we are close to her eternal place and to our grandchildren`s house, so we can go to both places often. This gives us motivation to live and – one more reason – to fulfil her wishes to preserve her name as a designer. This a mission – and this is what we are doing in our online-store Numbat Sport, because her online-store was closed.
In honour of Veronika`s memory, six months without her, we have recreated some popular Veronika`s designs and have created new designs in her style. In the future we will create designs with ‘Veronika Style’. ‘Veronika Style’ will be synonymous with modern British fashion, with vintage details inspired by her love of British history and nature. All new collections of Veronika Style in the future will be made by us, with the same quality of fabrics and tailoring with details of Victorian style from which Veronika drew her inspiration as a designer.
With Veronika Style we will be reminded of her with her dresses, and she will not be forgotten. Her passion and warmth will continue to inspire people and bring joy around the world.
Veronika died too young, aged 34, and she had no more time to finish what she had started. We are sure that she could have been one of the greatest designers of a new generation if she had more time. Over the course of her short career, she created a lot of collections with a strong work ethic and incredible instinct.
She graduated as a fashion designer in Manchester and lived over half her life in the UK. She was an outstanding innovator of the vintage style, taking inspirations from British history and nature.
Veronika was a pioneer in the world of fashion, but her iconography remains eternal because we have kept her name alive. Five days before she died, she received a nomination for Top 5 UK designer, but she could no longer write to send a registration.
Laura Budds, founder of Norfolk Retro vintage furniture store in Norwich, is the model for the new Veronika Style collection. She adds: ‘It was an honour to be asked by Galina to model the Veronika collection. Veronika’s clothes were always designed to make real women look and feel fabulous and I can confirm that they definitely do just that! Veronika loved vintage style so Galina thought my shop would be the perfect location to show off the collection. I only knew Veronika for a short time, but her talent, beauty and strength have left such an impression on me, and her parents have done her proud with this gorgeous collection.’
All images supplied by Veronika Guardi’s parents