The showjumper, singer-songwriter, model, mother, and wife to footballer Erik Pieters is combining two of her passions – fashion and horses – with her new equestrian brand

'Anyone with a passion for horses knows that it is a way of life – bordering on obsession,' says Nermina Pieters-Mekic, in her office-come-studio in Wilmslow, which is filled with designs from her new equestrian clothing brand, Equidae London. 'You have to be passionate because horses require so much time and care.'

Two of Nermina’s four horses are stabled at Somerford Park Farm in Congleton and she tends to them daily. 'It’s amazing how versatile you have to be as the owner of horses. I have my HGV license and you will often see me driving my horse truck around the countryside. Somerford Park Farm holds a number of two-star eventing competitions each year, as well as one of the premiere dressage shows in the country. The yard my horses are based on is owned by Andy Heffernan who is the Olympic trainer for the Dutch team. We love being there – it’s such a wonderful place for the horses to live.

Great British Life: Equidae London offers clothing with style and for performance (c) Tine JohnsonEquidae London offers clothing with style and for performance (c) Tine Johnson

Great British Life: As Nermina spent so long in horse-riding clothes, Erik inspired her to launch her own clothing range (c) Tine JohnsonAs Nermina spent so long in horse-riding clothes, Erik inspired her to launch her own clothing range (c) Tine Johnson

Although Nermina, mother to two-year-old Alaya-Rose, admits she spends much of her time in horse-riding clothes, it was her pro-footballer husband Erik who inspired her to launch her own designer equestrian brand.

'I like to look good when I'm riding; it's something I have always been particular about, but the clothes have to be functional and durable to meet the demands of life around the horses.

“Erik said something playful about me always being in jodhpurs and it got me thinking about how I might combine my two great passions – horses and beautiful clothing – to create something really special. This really set the wheels in motion for the journey to bring Equidae London to life.'

Nermina’s love of horses transcended the tragedies her family faced as refugees fleeing war-torn Bosnia for the Netherlands, where she and her little brother grew up together. 'My cousins on my father’s side rode horses and introduced me to riding when I was five years old. I was instantly hooked. They’re such intelligent and majestic creatures and I felt so privileged to be able to forge a bond with them. I also thrived on learning the skills of riding and show jumping, so it really was a win-win for me.

'I’ve had one of my horses, Orson, since my 12th birthday, which means we’ve shared more than 21 years together. Our bond truly is unbreakable. I love him dearly. The Equidae London range has been designed and crafted with a care and precision that matches my passion for horses. I love high fashion – beautiful clothing with attention to detail and beauty in every line, stitch and trim and wanted to create something that infused the beauty and passion of the equestrian lifestyle with the durability and functionality required for the attire to be successful in the saddle.'

Nermina worked closely with expert designers to craft her first collection, which includes breeches, leggings, gilets, base wear, bombers jackets, tops, show rugs and saddle pads, all with the distinctive Equidae black and gold branding. 'My designers were experts in their own field. One works in the sportswear arena and knows how important performance and comfort are to athletes. My other designer has extensive experience in the equestrian clothing industry. Bringing together their expertise with my own ideas has created a range I am truly proud of. We have taken our time on everything – over two years – to make sure that everything is perfect.

'It’s been a journey that has really tested me in so many ways. I am so proud to have kept going – Erik has been such a fantastic supporter and adviser too. All the hurdles have been worth it though – I couldn’t be happier with the end result and the collection we have created.'

Great British Life: Nermina has a passion for horses and high fashion (c) Tine JohnsonNermina has a passion for horses and high fashion (c) Tine Johnson

Great British Life: Nermina Pieters-Mekic (c) Tine JohnsonNermina Pieters-Mekic (c) Tine Johnson

The intricate details included in the first Equidae London collection are second to none: 'The trims, labels, hang tags and zip pulls are all made separately and specifically designed to create a beautiful finish. I am so proud of the fabrics we have created too,' says Nermina. Everything has been hand-spun in a mill in Portugal and I have spent a lot of time with my team there. We have lived every iteration and amendment to the garments to achieve the exceptional quality and finish I wanted.

'The result is a collection of timeless pieces that create classic lines to flatter, support and enhance while keeping up with the rigours that come with the equestrian lifestyle. I road-tested everything and really put it through its paces with my horses to ensure we had achieved the winning formula or style and performance.'

As well as creating beautiful, durable pieces, it was important to Nermina to ensure the brand reflected her concerns for the environment. 'We know the provenance of every thread, button and zip used in the collection. Our suppliers work to ensure the highest quality materials are created to reduce waste and meet sustainability credentials that mean our product is kind to the planet.'

Great British Life: Nermina, Erik and their daughter Alaya-Rose. (c) Tine JohnsonNermina, Erik and their daughter Alaya-Rose. (c) Tine Johnson

Great British Life: Nermina Pieters-Mekic and her new equestrian range, Equidae London. (c) Tine JohnsonNermina Pieters-Mekic and her new equestrian range, Equidae London. (c) Tine Johnson

Nermina's designs were inspired by one of her equestrian heroes and she is hoping she might see another royal in her collection one day: 'I have always admired Princess Anne. Not only is she an accomplished horsewoman but her equestrian style portrays such eloquence and strength and there are overtones of her early looks in the shapes and lines of the collection.

'I’d love to see Katherine, Princess of Wales in one of my pieces – I think she would look effortlessly beautiful in a pair of our breeches, and our fitted lightweight jacket, which is called Charlotte.

'The Equidae London collection is receiving feedback from happy customers who rave about the quality and finish and I am already planning our collections for 2024 while continuing to gain inspiration from my horses – they are the real stars of the show.'