Archive for the "A Conversation With…" Category
A Conversation with :
POSTED Aug 21, 2014
Designer Ola Omami of OmamiMini, a new brand we are carrying this season, took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with us about why she launched OmamiMini, the line’s fall 2014 collection, & her views on children’s fashion. Enjoy!
1. We are excited to be carrying OmamiMini this fall! How would you describe the brand & its spirit?
We believe children’s clothes should not be very different from what we, parents, consider stylish and would wear ourselves. Kids are cute enough naturally, so there’s no need to add extra cuteness through clothing. And since I personally like all things simple and precise, I strive to make our garments very uncomplicated, but awesome.
2. You worked in interior design before launching OmamiMini. Why did you decide to shift gears and start your own children’s line?
When my daughter was born and I couldn’t find clothes for her (everything was so pink and cute I ended up buying half of her layette in boys’ sections) I decided to try and do it myself. I asked Natasha, a friend of mine and genius graphic designer who worked for Metropolitan Museum of Art at the time, to help me with logo and she got so excited about the idea that we ended up working together on the first collection and do it ever since.
3. Are there any similarities between designing an interior space and a children’s line, or they completely separate?
I think any design process is similar in a way. You have your general aesthetic vision, concept for a particular project or collection you’re working on and biggest chunk of work is always the technical details. In all cases design is turning something that exists in your head into something you can hold in your hands and it’s equally magical in all fields.
4. What has been your favorite part of designing children’s apparel?
The fact I can dress my daughter exactly the way I want to!
5. Walk us through your design process. How (or where) do you find inspiration before you begin a collection? Does sunny Los Angeles influence your design aesthetic?
We start with general concept and color palette, working in tandem on developing prints and patterns. Since we’re a bi-coastal duo (Natasha is in NY), we exchange hundreds of emails with ideas, links to inspiring pictures, fill up Pinterest boards, and text each other little schematic drawings when all else fails. Los Angeles is major source of inspiration to me – most of all that feeling of permanent vacation that is so easy to tune into with this perfect weather year round.
6. Your entire collection is designed & manufactured in LA. How important is it that you keep production close to home?
Very! The first aspect of it is practical – I have to overlook every step of production process to make sure everything is made in according to our specifications and standards. I also believe that we have to give back to the city we live in. In our case we do so by creating jobs and using local resources when it comes to every single detail of our garments, from zippers to labels. This is a great way to become a true part of the community. It might not be the most business driven decision, but it just feels right.
7. On your website, you say that a “wardrobe is not the most important thing in life. But the right clothes just make it way more pleasant. And fun.” Do you have a particular philosophy on how children should dress?
First of all, children should never sacrifice comfort for fashion. Second, there’s no reason for comfortable everyday clothes to be boring! I think parents job, among 10,000 other things, is to plant seeds of good taste and personality and one way to do it is through the way we dress our kids.
8. What other brands does your daughter wear?
Honestly, hardly any. We do have to get the shoes elsewhere though and I love the simple sandals by another LA based brand, Zuzii, as well as amazing Italian brand Pepe and French Pom D’Api. In general I tend to like European labels – they always have such elegant, timeless appeal.
10. Are there any fall trends that you are particularly fond of? What pieces from your fall collection at Estella are you most excited about?
I’m a true purist at heart and could just wear grey on grey all day, so I love the variety of textures this season brings – all the furs, chunky knits and quilted details are great for mixing and matching even if you stay within a very minimal color palette.
I absolutely love our faux leather leggings with lining. It’s a very simple item that takes any outfit to another level without trying too much. The silver chinchilla fur coat is another favorite. The fur is super soft and print of dots and cats on the lining adds even more fun to this stunning piece.
11. Do you have any fashion advice or stylish tips you could give to our readers?
Never underestimate the power of accessories! There’s not so much children would agree to, but think suspenders for boys or little scarf and hat for girls do wonders to upgrade any look.
Thanks so much, Ola!
Tags Faux Fur Coats, Faux Fur Leather, Girls Coats & Jackets, Girls Skirts, Printed Leggings, Toddler Girls Dresses, Toddler Leggings
Category Faux Fur Coats, Faux Fur Leather, Girls Coats & Jackets, Girls Skirts, Printed Leggings, Toddler Girls Dresses, Toddler Leggings
A Conversation with :
POSTED Aug 7, 2014
Stefanie Lynen, the designer and co-founder of one of our customer’s favorite organic baby & toddler clothing lines, Winter Water Factory, was kind enough to answer some questions we had on the boutique brand’s fall/winter 2014 collection! Enjoy…
1. How did you decide to get into fashion? Did you happen upon it serendipitously?
I’ve been fascinated with making things and mass production since I was in Kindergarten. I moved to New York in 1999 from Germany immediately after completing medical school, intending to change careers and find work in the design industry. Working first as a freelance crafter, I started selling knitted hats and felt bags to a small boutique on the Lower East Side.
When I rented a silk-screen studio with my friend Margaret, we learned how to screen-print, and were excited to explore the possibilities of textile design. That’s when I knew that I had found what I wanted to do. We made women’s clothing, bags, pillows, and children’s clothing. Eventually, we began to focus on designing for kids since it gave us the room to be whimsical and playful. We ended up being very successful with our baby and children’s lines, but I have to admit that it’s always been about the prints for me. I love the process of designing a new pattern and then seeing stacks and stacks of clothing made from that print!
2. What adjectives would you use to describe Winter Water Factory?
Whimsical, fresh, fun, organic, American-made.
3. You’re based in Brooklyn; does the borough influence your designs in any way?
I don’t know if I’d say that Brooklyn really influences my designs, but it provides an incredible support network of amazing, inspiring people that are committed to quality manufacturing.
4. Winter Water Factory’s prints are unlike any others out there. Where does the inspiration for these bright and bold graphics come from?
I’ve been inspired by a broad range of sources: children’s books, envelope liners, vintage wallpaper. I’ve always been drawn to designs that appeal equally to a three year old and a graphic designer. I look at a lot of graphic designers that have done work meant to appeal to children rather than looking at fashion designers. The right balance of whimsy and intelligent design.
5. Is there a print or style that you are particularly fond of? Why?
I’ve always been a big fan of Polar Bears so I’m very excited that we’re introducing a Polar Bear print this fall. The High Seas and Outer Space are two more of my all time favorites which are also popular with the staff and our customers.
6. Take us through the silk-screen processes. Is it still all done by hand in Brooklyn?
Screen printing is an old printing technique where ink is pushed through mesh to create a design.
All of our fabrics used to be screen printed by hand in a print shop in California, but we’ve since outgrown their faciities and all of our production prints are printed by machine in Los Angeles. We continue to print samples and the occasional limited edition item in our Brooklyn studio which keeps us in touch with the process. It allows us to experiment with print and color until each one is perfect.
7. How far in advance do you work on your collections? And how does the design process start each season?
Design work for future seasons starts about nine months before the collection will be released, which usually means that I’m designing for next spring before the fall collection comes out, and vice-versa. I always keep a notebook handy to sketch whenever I have some time, usually on the subway. Some prints have been on my mind for years and just take more time to fully develop.
8. Do you have a particular philosophy on how children should dress?
Above all, children should wear clothes that are easy and comfortable. Kids like to run around and play, so their clothes should allow them to do so! I know they sometimes like to mimic their parents but I feel like kids should dress like kids, not like mini adults. When else in your life are you going to wear a dress covered in polar bears or a tee shirt covered in UFOs! Parents tell us all the time that our clothes make it easier to get their kids dressed in the morning, they actually want to put them on.
9. You recently launched a collection of dresses for women using your signature prints. Is there anything you’d like to design but have been unable to do so yet?
We’ve got a few new products hopefully coming soon – we’ve been working on backpacks and children’s bedding. I have so many ideas it’s hard to find the time to do them all. The biggest challenge is sourcing fabric that’s organic and made in the USA, but we’re always searching.
10. Are there any upcoming projects in the works that you can tell our readers about?
I’m very excited that we’re setting up a printing table this fall in our studio. We’ll be able to hand-print fabric ourselves at a much larger scale than ever before. There are very few facilities like this left in the US – it will allow us to print yardage for home decor. We’ll also be able to add home goods such as napkins, aprons, tablecloths etc. to our line. Customers have been asking for many years if they could buy our fabric by the yard and soon they’ll be able to. So stay tuned!
Thank you so much, Stefanie! Be sure to check out our Winter Water Factory collection & organic baby clothing boutique, too!
Tags Baby Rompers, Designer Baby Clothes, Organic Baby Clothing, Winter Clothing
Category Baby Rompers, Designer Baby Clothes, Organic Baby Clothing, Winter Clothing
A Conversation With :
POSTED Jul 24, 2013
We were lucky enough to chat with Laia Aguilar, the creative director and designer of Bobo Choses, about the line’s fall 2013 collection, her favorite pieces from the collection, what the future holds for Bobo, and even her famous gazpacho. Be sure to check out the preview of the fall collection, available for pre-order now.
1. Your joy for design and love for what you do clearly come through in the clothes you create. What are your most favorite and least favorite portions of designing each season’s collection?
I love to create T-shirts and sweatshirts. I like simple and bold garments. My wish is to be a part of the children’s memories once they grow up. Each garment is special and it is a part of a whole. It completes a story, and I like to invent them constantly. Actually my colleagues tell me to take a rest!
2. Do you have a philosophy about how children should dress in terms of colors, fabrics, gender or anything else? What brands does Pablo like other than Bobo Choses?
I don’t have any particular philosophy. Above all, kids need to feel special. People say that BOBO CHOSES makes children look handsome, and I think the secret is to do simple and honest clothes. Pablo and Adriana (my little daughter) wear Bobo Choses basically but they also like Bellerose, Nico Nico, Mini Rodini and basics from Zara.
3. What are your favorite pieces from this fall’s collection and why?
Jagger pants, Pablo adores them. Guitar t-shirt and multi-hats sweatshirt, multi-umbrella dress, and pink kitted jumper for my little princess. And the boots!
4. What adjectives would you use to describe Bobo Choses?
Simple, honest and with a strong personality.
5. Bobo Choses is really a lifestyle brand: you design clothes, shoes, bags, toys, women’s, home furnishings, etc. Is there a space the line has not gone yet that you would like to go?
We are working on new projects that we can’t make public yet, we hope you can see them soon. The truth is that I am curious about everything. I love the synergies with other talented brands that really have things to tell. We’re always trying to produce new things. The culmination will be the day we open a BOBO CHOSES concept store.
6. Bobo Choses is clearly evolving: you’ve added new fabrics and some dressier bodies for fall. How do you see the line developing in the future?
We started in a very naive and spontaneous way, with all its good things and bad things. We try to improve every day searching for new ways, fabrics, patterns, but keeping the original comfort and simplicity. We are constantly evolving and researching, and I hope this is perceived from the outside.
7. How do you balance the tension between your creative vision and the commercial success of an item/collection?
I think I handle it pretty well. Luckily our team is very empathetic and we always put ourselves in the place of the consumer. I know that I need to give up on small things some times (although I admit I am very passionate and intransigent if I see the collection losing its original intended essence). Coherence is very important for me and for that reason I take care of all the details.
8. Your talent is huge: you design, illustrate, and even shoot the collections (the lifestyle pictures are phenomenal). Is there something you don’t do well that you wish you could?
Yesss, cooking! I would love to learn to cook, but for now, I’m not pretty good at it, surely someday! My husband cooks better, but my gazpacho is unbeatable!
Thank you, Laia!
Tags Designer Interviews
Category Designer Interviews
A Conversation With :
POSTED Jun 13, 2013
When we discovered Cassaundra’s blog, The Blue Closet, it was love at first post. Whether it’s fashion for babies, toddlers, tweens, or moms, Cassaundra’s discerning eye and beautiful photos have us visiting her site daily and dreaming of Southern California’s sunny weather. What we love most about Cassaundra is that she encourages her children to express themselves through the clothes they wear, whether it’s by mixing patterns, rocking sequins, or dressing up for formal events. And since she often includes posts on her own outfits and picks for the season as well, it is the perfect one-stop shop for fashionable moms with stylish children. We had the chance to sit down with the lovely Cassaundra to talk all things children, motherhood, and what her family’s plans are for the summer. Thanks, Cassaundra!
1. Why did you decide to start The Blue Closet?
My friends and family have always asked me where to find (fill in the blank) for their child. I LOVED answering their questions. I love researching to find them the best of whatever they were asking for. It seemed like a natural idea to post my constant gatherings and finds for everyone.
2. What’s the best part about blogging?
Oh that is tough. I think it is having a creative outlet. The need to create and visualize is something I was born with. I have expressed that need in many ways throughout my life. This is all encompassing because it fuels my passion for photography, my children and fashion all in one place.
3. You take beautiful photos! Do you have any tips for beginners?
1. Read your camera manual. 2. Study the lighting around you. Recognize places were there is good lighting. For me it is in my master bathroom where the light filters through the windows into this white space. 3. Practice shooting in manual and study your settings. 4. Be patient.
4. What’s your favorite trend in kids fashion right now?
My favorite trend in kids fashion right now has to be the Tomboy trend for girls. I love ruby’s loose cutoffs, button up shirts, baseball hats and hi-tops and boots. My boys and I are still loving neon and geometric patterns. It’s a fun carefree time in fashion for boys and I like that.
5. Do your kids have a favorite piece of clothing or brand they’re obsessed with?
Ruby could wear the graphic tees and leggings from Crewcuts everyday. She also loves her tanks and cutoffs from Peek Kids. Ello loves stripes so that is easy, we find them everywhere from Target to J. Crew. Myes is at that turning point. He is a tween now. Everything has to be cool. As a toddler he would only wear blue, now he will not leave the house without a snapback hat. He is just as obsessed with shoes as I am. He is always scheming for a new pair, Vans, Converse and Nikes SB are always on the list.
6. Best parenting advice you’ve ever received?
I am surrounded by amazing parents so I get to soak in all their wisdom, it is hard to chose just one. Right now it might be turning off all the electronics in the car when I am doing my school pick ups and LISTEN. The kids are ready to chat and tell me all about their day when they get in the car. We don’t turn on any radio, TV’s or iPods until everyone has gotten everything off their chest…and they have a lot to get off their chest. A friend recently asked me how I knew all about what was happening in the classroom one day I wasn’t in there. I told her, “Myes spills it when he gets in the car. He wants to tell me every detail.” I know this is not going to last long so I am soaking it up now.
7. Proudest moment as a parent so far?
Myes has an innate sensitivity towards small children and children with special needs. Recently, at a Parent Teacher Conference, I could not have been more proud then when his teacher told us she can always count on Myes to treat the two “special needs” children in the class with kindness and respect. In fact he runs with them during PE to ensure they are not alone. It warms my heart.
8. What’s your favorite way to unwind?
After the kids are in bed my husband and I chat about our days, sitting on the couch, drinking Perrier. It is often a venting session. Then we turn on horrible reality tv and laugh.
9. When or where are you your happiest?
Nothing does more for my soul then being at the beach between 4pm and 6pm, when everyone else is leaving, the sun is going down and my children are still playing in the sand. Complete peace and happiness.
10. What are you most looking forward to this summer?
No schedules. No homework. This summer we are not signing up for any camps or classes. I am so excited to be able to drive to the beach when we want and leave when we want to. Spending real, uninterrupted time with my kids is really good for all of us.
POSTED Apr 11, 2013
A few favorites for that special new someone in your life: 2, 4, 5, 7: Vullie Teethers $18.50-$22. 1, 3, 6, 8: Estella Organic Baby Onepieces, $34
In New York City, when the weather gets warmer, the strangest and most beautiful thing happens. Out of nowhere, it seems, scores of new mothers hit the streets with their adorable new babies. And out of nowhere, it appears as if the whole city is full of beautiful new babies! We all know it’s not easy to bring a new baby outside when it’s freezing cold. As my pediatrician cleverly reminded me when I had my first baby in late Fall, “Try not to go outside too much in the first few weeks. Remember, for baby, being in the world is OUTSIDE.” Well, with warm weather brings beautiful new lives. And you can add that to my long list of reasons of why I love Spring! Here are a few of my favorite things for that new baby in your life. Something to wear and something to chew, add milk and a diaper and you’re all set.