by Whitley Adkins | photographs by Amy Kolo
Renata Gasparian Lima has always worked in fashion. At 21, she got a job at Daslu, a boutique department store chain in Sao Paolo, Brazil. “Eventually, I went into managing,” says Renata, 41. “I became close with the owner, and she gave me opportunities in marketing, public relations and leading the showrooms in Paris. It was very glamorous.”
Renata, who was born in Sao Paolo and grew up in Connecticut and Brazil, moved to the Queen City with her husband, Caio, and their family in 2015. (The couple met in 2000, when Renata studied for a year at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C.) “I started selling clothing and accessories for my close friends in Brazil who had their own brands. I did this for two years, and it became clear people were enjoying the fashions. It was my husband who said, ‘You work so hard, why don’t you start your own business?’”
A family friend introduced her to a factory owner in India. In 2020, she launched Renata by Renata Gasparian, a boutique women’s clothing label. “In Brazil, I was always on the commercial side, working in marketing, managing and public relations, so this was the first time I was on the designer side … It was so hard, but I found myself — I had to believe in myself.”
Her father, who splits his time between Charlotte, Brazil and Canada, is her business partner. “He does everything I don’t want to do. I do everything to have the product come to life: study the fabric, design the silhouettes, understand what my clients want,” says Renata. She’s especially particular when it comes to sourcing fabric. The garments are often made with jacquard, silk georgette, cotton voile and embroidered cotton, along with chanderi, a lightweight Indian silk.
Comments have been lightly edited.
Do you have any favorite items in your current collection?
The vests. Also, I love tie-dye and crochet.
What is your price point?
$318 is an average. Vests start at $288, and dresses are around $418. All of my prices end with eight, because eight is infinity. It was like this at Daslu.
How would you describe your personal style?
Feminine with an edge. I believe women don’t have to wear tight clothes to be sexy. I feel it is much more interesting when you can wear something flowy, and it still creates a spark of interest. I love to mix high with low. One thing that is super important to me is versatility — being able to dress in the morning and wear the outfit throughout the day and feel pretty.
You wear your own designs 99% of the time. What is your approach to creating a look?
I always want it to look very fresh and crisp. Whether it’s the tie, the belt, the vest or the print, there will always be something special that stands out. Look good, feel beautiful, but not like you tried hard. A lot of my inspiration leans toward boho, natural style, flowy and natural makeup. I feel like we never get tired of that. I feel like there is always a little secret to that.
Is there a rhyme or reason to how you design your own closet?
I like to organize my closet by color and by season.
what are some of your favorite brands, outside of your own.
Isabel Marant, Stella McCartney, Ulla Johnson, Chloe, Valentino. SP
THIS OR THAT
Solid or pattern: Pattern
Dress or pants: Dress
Sneaker or dress shoe: Both!
Neutral or bright: Bright
Tailored or flowy: Flowy, that’s me. Same with hair — wavy over straight.
European or American fashion: European
Short or long earrings: Short. I just wear studs — no big earrings.
Stars or moons: Stars
Animal print or floral: Floral, though I love animal print. Can I say both?
Tucked or untucked. Tucked
Clutch or crossbody. If you look at all my bags, you can wear them multiple ways. All of them, you can hide the straps.
Belt or sunglasses: Belt. I can’t wear sunglasses. They drive me crazy.