Smoke & Mirror

Smoke & Mirror

Swiss-based Smoke & Mirror is brings Japanese-street style to European tailoring

TORONTO, Canada — It is said that as our population grows, the world is in fact becoming a smaller place. Over the last few decades, technology has allowed the mobility of people, objects, ideas and trends to flow easily across borders and oceans more simply and quickly than was ever possible. This paradigm shift has spared no industry or sector of our lives, especially not the fashion world. These days, some of our favourite brands are a collaboration of techniques, ideas and styles from across the world. One popular source of inspiration for many Western brands has been the cuts and trends that drive Asian style.

Smoke & Mirror is designed, hand-cut, made and sewn in Lugano, Switzerland. Their eco-friendly clothing uses Italian and Swiss-made new-tech fabrics that are sensitive to the skin, easy to maintain and free of harmful dyes in the production process. Moreover, they claim to never use child labour and never exploit animals as part of their focus on ethical production. What makes them even more unique, as a high-quality European brand, is the Japanese street-style that inspires their collections.

We sat down with Xander Kostroma, the creative mind behind Smoke & Mirror, to discuss Japanese style, European quality and how the two have merged.

Smoke & Mirror

Smoke & Mirror aspires be at the forefront of asexual design.

What inspired you to name your brand Smoke & Mirror?

Smoke & Mirror was created out of fashion rebellion. The name Smoke & Mirror is a play on words, taking into account that what you see printed in the high fashion magazines, the air-brushing, the editing… it is all fake. You take away the postproduction and the image you are left with looks nothing like the model that originally posed for the shot.

We wanted to create a transparent label where what you see is what you get because everything else is just “Smoke & Mirror”.

What makes Japanese street-style so unique?

We have always been interested in Asian fashion. Asia tends to focus on cuts, intricate detailing and always seems to be one-step ahead of the Western world when it comes to style. It is the notion of genderless fashion that emerged from Asia, which really caught our attention.

Fashion is changing. The way we think about clothing is becoming more relaxed and we wanted to be at the forefront of asexual design. Who says a dress is just for women? These ideas originated from the Asian world. Take Kimonos for example, Japanese men have been wearing these for thousands of years, they are often worn at weddings, tea ceremonies or very special occasions, and yet, it is a dress that has lost its stigma.

Why it is important to produce in Switzerland?

We strive for quality with our garments. Switzerland is a prosperous country, known for its stable economy and advanced human rights movement. We felt Switzerland had the exact specifications that we were seeking, and the technology to produce sustainable fabrics, which is of high importance to us.

We hand-make all of our items in our factory, which is local to our Head Office. This brings regeneration into our community while cutting down on carbon emissions in the production process. All of our materials are sourced from within an hour of our factory (apart from our cotton which is made in Zurich). Following this, our other fabrics are then produced in Italy.

What makes being ethically-conscious and environmentally-friendly so important to you?

It is about respecting the planet in which we live. Why does humanity feel the need to consume and destroy the natural habitat, ruining our planet for the next generation? The Earth is in a state of crisis. If we are to maintain balance with nature then it is everyone’s responsibility to think about how their actions impact the Earth and what they will leave behind after they are gone.

With Smoke & Mirror we are trying to change how people perceive ethical fashion. It is not just for “hippies”. My style has not been affected by my ethical choices. What we are trying to say is that you can be ethical and “fashion forward” at the same time.

Smoke & Mirror

Smoke & Mirror produces in Switzerland due to availability of the technology required to produce sustainable new-tech fabrics

What do you see as a big trend for spring/summer 2016?

For Spring/Summer 2016 we are developing skirts, dresses and new knitwear. We have found a great supplier who uses eco-friendly inks meaning that the energy consumption is lower, less ink is used and more importantly, no ink ends up in our oceans.

With this, we are developing exciting prints for the first time in our collection using the amazing skills from one of the team members who used to work at Alexander McQueen.

Concluding thoughts

As the designers, state on their website: “We are not a faceless corporation. We want to change how people see the fashion world by producing honest, ethical fashion pieces.” In this case, there are no smoke and mirrors, what you see is what you get.

Courtesy of: Xander Kostroma | Website:
Tarini Chandak About the author

Aspiring businesswoman and fashionista, bringing her youth perspective in the fashion space, ethical fashion movement and Canadian lifestyle trends. Working towards a degree in accounting and finance, she lets her creative side shine through her passion for writing, fashion and exploring the world.


  1. How refreshing!!! Can’t wait to see the next collection.
    The quality is amazing!!! and it’s all 100% ethically made. Very impressive 😉