Melis Sawerschel is the brain behind She Is Rebel.
She speaks from her heart and tells us what she rebels against. To understand what She Is Rebel is all about, we meet with Melis to discuss the backstage of her online brand, where she envisions it and what inspires her in life.
First and foremost, where does 'She Is Rebel' name come from?
I have been a rule-breaker since I started the school, which wasn’t easy for my parents. My mother has been telling me ‘You are so rebel!’ my entire life. I wanted to create a strong brand that encourages women to stand out without being afraid of it. I always think 'I have a brain that produces opinions, why would I not share them?'. But when I do, they don't necessarily comply with others' opinions, so people think of me sometimes inspiring, but mostly a trouble-maker misfit and rebel. I want women to be fearless when rebelling against all things that don’t sit right with them in life. So that when people call them ‘She is rebel’, they can feel proud.
What does being rebel mean to you? What do you rebel against exactly?
Being rebel means standing up for what you believe is right, questioning if what is given is right for you. So you do not necessarily go against what is right. You embrace yourself and your beliefs first, this is what makes you outstanding; hence rebel. At She Is Rebel, we don't favor XS or XL, we never say 'be feminist' or 'never be feminist'. Especially, the fashion industry has to stop pushing certain stereotypes just because it is trendy. I am literally sick of seeing all commercially purposed feminist t-shirts, but still reading the news about gender pay gap. We should let women think, decide and act by themselves instead of stimulating them how to benchmark themselves better against men. She Is Rebel is made to inspire being yourself no matter what you choose to be in life and acting to make it happen with the power coming from being yourself. I rebel against the idea of categorising women, making them look inferior/superior, even comparable to men, or labelling them in need of empowerment. Women are smart and strong. We don't need empowerment! Seriously, have you seen any man comparing himself with any woman? Why would women base their progress on men? Thus, She Is Rebel is far from being an aspirational or empowering community, but the community for doers, go-getters.
Where are the clothes positioned within your rebellious mission?
Fashion can take any form in women's lives from being a statement of self-confidence to covering your body as a necessity. For She Is Rebel, fashion is a universal language we use to communicate with women across the world. It is a way to synchronise the internal with the external. Our clothes highlight the lifestyle of stylish power women. Being powerful should not prevent women from acting, thinking and dressing like themselves as woman. So many strong women I’ve met act and dress like men to survive the so-to-called men’s world. We rebel against this. There is even no such thing as ‘men’s world’. These are all intangible beliefs that are just commonly and wrongly believed. She Is Rebel is born to change these stereotypes with the help of clothes, addressing our external, and an outspoken magazine, addressing our internal.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
To distinguish managing the business from managing the people. I’ve always considered myself as a people person who respects people’s personal achievements and want to align them with our business achievements. My decisions obviously create different impacts on people and business. People are emotional, even being completely logical is also an emotional choice, but business is more rational. Thus, you no longer be just a business woman achieving numbers but also a problem solving sister, an understanding psychiatrist and everything in between for your team.
Where do you find your biggest inspiration?
It is hard to categorize what inspires me. For example, I have seen the movie ‘Coco Before Chanel’ and got inspired by her true rebel character which I didn’t know before, nor was I expecting in the movie. I can’t name which format exactly, but unique life achievement stories and their outcomes inspire me the most in life.
What was the most touching situation that happened so far at She Is Rebel?
There are actually quite some. We have this amazing lady from US who gave birth a while ago back then and she was wanting a pair of skinny jeans, but one size smaller than our suggestion. She afterwards shared with us that she still wants to get the smaller size as a motivation to get back to her body before pregnancy and fit into it soon. I can confess our email exchange with her put me in happy tears as I got excited to contribute to her journey of achieving something. By putting our community at the center of everything we do, we can really enjoy seeing how we touch women’s lives across the world and how fashion is differently purposed for each one of our lives.
What do you hope about She Is Rebel’s future?
I vision She Is Rebel as the most preferred and trusted brand with its stylish choices for a strong community of intelligent and power women worldwide. Ironically, I have no clue what kind of opportunities may come along my way during this journey. I’ve met amazing women both physically and digitally thanks to She Is Rebel. If what you want is creating a community authentically, I don’t believe in creating piles of models, plans and strategies. Before She Is Rebel, I did everything by the book and achieved great university degrees followed by a notable corporate career success. Now, I prefer to experience the other side, be opportunistic and open-minded, and evolve with all the ups and downs in pursuance of my vision.
What do you do to unwind yourself outside of work?
I go to gym for a run at least twice a week and without any music in my ear. It is in theory for clearing my mind, but in reality I always find the best solutions to all business problems which I normally contemplate for hours in front of laptop. Travelling the world and discovering visual arts are our common hobbies with my husband, so I enjoy visiting art galleries in different cities and pretending to be art critics. I also love painting, which is probably the one thing that makes me forget about the world for hours.
Let’s discover your lifestyle. What is the one piece you have a lot in your wardrobe?
Would you prefer good eating or good dressing?
Good eating. I am Turkish born into a heaven of food.
What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?
I remember falling into the kids pool and almost drowning when I was like 16!
Who is your shopping buddy?
Myself! Nobody can bear with my decision making process as a Gemini.
Do you have any absurd beauty secret?
Actually none. I have a very little portfolio of products. I find products that work well on my skin and purchase the same for as long as they are sold. I don’t like treating my skin experimentally. I respect beauty bloggers in that regard.
Which perfume do you wear?
Alien from Thierry Mugler for more than 10 years. Some days if I need a little change, I go for Euphoria from Calvin Klein.
What is your life-saving style when you feel lazy?
Put on a good cut white t-shirt with any bottom. If it is a special event I combine it with heels. If casual, I wear sneakers. It saves me every time.
What do you advice women reading this now on She Is Rebel?
We have so many aspirations in life from getting a promotion to buying that luxury bag we’ve been saving money for. Don’t doubt yourself and what you want from life, no matter what it is. People speak, make you doubt yourself based on their own experience, then go back to their own life, but you live with ‘their’ doubts after. When you get your power from within, not from what others think, say or doubt, you become already outstanding. I believe it is impossible to beat a person that gets the power from within and never gives up.
By Samantha Johansson - Marketing Manager at She Is Rebel