Valianu: Aussie sisters who started business during lockdown scouted for Paris Fashion Week

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A luxury street-wear label created by two sisters in their living during lockdown has been scouted for Paris Fashion Week after selling $10,000 worth of stock in its first 24 hours. 

Rachel, 30, and Katie Vale, 26, launched Valianu in August 2021 while Sydneysiders were under strict stay-at-home orders as the city battled its second Covid outbreak.  

Their winter collection – featuring bold-coloured hoodies and track suits – was an instant hit with fashion enthusiasts rushing to their online store to buy $10,000 worth of products on the first day. 

‘We were screaming in my living room,’ Rachel told Daily Mail Australia. 

Katie (left) and Rachel Vale (right) launched their own street wear brand during Sydney's Covid lockdown

Katie (left) and Rachel Vale (right) launched their own street wear brand during Sydney’s Covid lockdown 

The sisters became inspired to launch their own line (pictured) after finding a gap in the market while seeking comfortable street-wear for home

The sisters became inspired to launch their own line (pictured) after finding a gap in the market while seeking comfortable street-wear for home 

‘We were sitting on my laptop watching the sales go up. We didn’t know what to expect. We had never sold anything before – not even on market place.

‘It was insane. We definitely celebrated that night.’  

The pair, who both have no prior experience in the fashion industry, came up with the idea in March while Rachel was stuck in bed with a broken hip and struggling to find comfortable street wear.  

After work slowed down amid lockdown for Rachel, a casting agent, and Katie, a marketing executive for a real estate agency, the siblings decided to leave their jobs and throw all of their energy into building their brand. 

The line quickly formed a fan base among Aussies who were ditching going-out outfits for cosy everyday pieces to wear at home.

Valianu also soon caught the eye of big name New York retail company, Flying Solo, who reached out to the sisters earlier this month with an exclusive offer to take their designs to France.  

The duo built their brand from home, with their first collection racking up $10,000 worth of sales within the first 24 hours

The fashion line (winter collection pictured) features bold colour everyday pieces

The duo built their brand from home, with their first collection racking up $10,000 worth of sales within the first 24 hours 

The brand has been scouted by New York retail company Flying Solo to attend Paris Fashion Week later this month

The brand has been scouted by New York retail company Flying Solo to attend Paris Fashion Week later this month 

The organisation, which only accepts around 100 entrepreneurs from thousands of applications each year, hand-picked the label for Paris Fashion week after following their brand online. 

RACHEL AND KATIE’S TIPS FOR STARTING A BUSINESS 

Network 

Meet others in the industry to gain knowledge and talk through ideas 

 Dive In

Don’t be afraid to just get started. Lots of the learning takes place throughout the journey 

Believe

Believe in the vision for your brand 

‘We weren’t even dreaming of a fashion show – it was so far from our reality,’ Rachel said. 

‘We were probably in shock for a couple of days,’ Katie added.

‘They said our brand represented their aesthetic and looks and associated with their vision. 

‘People go to fashion school and dream of this and we were invited. It is crazy. We never thought anything like this would ever happen.’ 

The Vales will arrive in Paris on February 24 and will spend a few days piecing together the final preparations before runway show at La Galerie Bourbon on February 28.

They said the NYC-based company has been helping them select items for the event, and choose the models who are best suited to represent their brand.     

Named after their grandparents Armand and Denise Valeanu, who ran a successful Maroubra dress shop after migrating to Australia in the 1950s, Valianu incorporates the siblings’ Romanian heritage by using the nation’s flag colours – blue, yellow, and red- in its designs.

Valianu has since released a Summer Sport 22 collection (pictured) which has been picked up by Adelaide streetwear store Hussla Official

Valianu has since released a Summer Sport 22 collection (pictured) which has been picked up by Adelaide streetwear store Hussla Official

Katie worked as a marketing executive and Rachel as a casting agent before joining forces to  start their business

Katie worked as a marketing executive and Rachel as a casting agent before joining forces to  start their business 

After their widely-popular first drop sold out in just two weeks, the pair have since released a satin range and Summer Sport 22 collection, which is now being stocked at retail store Hussla Official, in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall. 

Rachel and Katie said the design of their business, such as releasing short-run exclusive drops and focusing on finer details like quality materials, has been instrumental to their success. 

They urged anyone dreaming of launching their own business to network to gain industry knowledge and talk through ideas – but more importantly, not to be afraid to dive in. 

‘Just go for it,’ Rachel said. 

‘Don’t read too much into what you have to do. 

‘Believe in your vision, believe in the design, and believe in the profits.’

The siblings will head to Paris next week after being invited to take part in the industry event by New York retail company Flying Solo

The siblings will head to Paris next week after being invited to take part in the industry event by New York retail company Flying Solo 

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