Posts tagged "Designer Interviews"

A Conversation With :

Laia Aguilar of Bobo Choses

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!

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Our Interview with Katherine from Wovenplay

POSTED Nov 25, 2010

wovenplay girl

Wovenplay successfully features sustainable clothing that hasn’t lost its playfulness or touch of magic – a combination that seems perfect for every child and family.  Culling inspiration from vintage books, Woody Guthrie, Jacob Lawrence and her own son, Wovenplay owner and designer Katherine Edmonds creates effortless play clothes that ignite a child’s imagination while keeping them stylish.  As we look forward to the Wovenplay’s exclusive holiday collection for Estella, we caught up with Katherine to ask her about her work and life.

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I love your tagline, “Sustainable Couture for the Everyday Artist and Adventurer.”  That’s beautiful.  Do you think that is the kind of child who wears Wovenplay?

Yes absolutely.  Children are drawn to the expressive quality of the original fabrics, hand-tinted colors and original trims.   The clothing is comfortable and great for everyday adventure.

I recently read your guest blog post at Boz Around where you describe the perfect New York day.  You mentioned feeding birds at the Bronx Botanical Gardens, grabbing a sandwich at Walter Foods, and taking the subway often instead of a cab.  Is this list permanent, or do you see it changing as the seasons change and your son grows?

This is a timeless list for me. I love being outside in nature, wandering into new experiences and being free to get around  efficiently so there is more time to have fun.  I have a curious and passionate son and we have fun playing, learning and exploring together.

Let’s talk about the Wovenplay Holiday collection. What was the inspiration for the collection? There’s definitely a touch of theatricality to the clothing – without being too costumey.  I love that!    How do you find inspiration before you design a collection?

This holiday collection was inspired by the lines, colors and shapes of Modigliani as well as the opalescent and glossy shine of natural materials like shell and glass.  I like clothing to be expressive and original yet subtle so the person wearing it is the prominent focus in the end.  I find inspiration from many sources—art, literature, nature, ideas and discussions, memories, dreams and theater… all coming together and re-connecting in new forms.

How is this collection different from your past collections?  What pieces from your special holiday collection for Estella are you most excited about? Why?

For Estella’s holiday collection, I am most excited about an exclusive starburst tutu which has a one-of-kind luminous radiating pattern on the bodice resulting from the hand-dying method we used on the silk satin and finished with a striking silk tulle skirt.  We are also introducing hand-knit cardigans with vintage glass buttons, exclusive ribbon tights in pine/dark cherry and two new holiday featherbands with hand-made italian beads in dark turquoise and wild grape.

How far in advance do you work on your collections and what is the process?

I begin designing about 5 months in advance for each collection.  Much of the process is difficult to describe as it is happening deep inside my mind without a logic, but very much inspired by color, textiles and hand-processes.  Often technical methods need to be worked out through a number of trials and suddenly something completely unexpected turns out to be a great surprise and then leads into another area of development until finally the collection almost builds itself!

I know your background is in textiles and traditional French dressmaking, how did you decide to get into fashion?  Did you happen upon it serendipitously?

I was an Art History major in school with a Studio Art minor and always wanted to make things with my hands.  I worked in both fine arts and design before falling in love with draping and making clothing after I enrolled in an intensive French dressmaking course in Manhattan.

Which women’s clothing designers to you admire the most? Are there any other Estella kids clothing designers that you admire?

I am most intrigued and excited by designers like Boudicca, Hussein Chalayan, and Dries van Notten taking risks and pushing outside the lines with color, texture and always something abstract and conceptual.  I also like Rick Owens  and Ann Demeulemeester for their modernity, comfort and rock and roll aesthetic.  I also like very much the modern elegance and luxurious decadence of Alber Elbaz for Lanvin. Other Estella designers I like are Max and Lola, Simple Kids, and Maan.

Do you have any fashion advice or styling tips you could give to our readers for dressing their babies and toddlers during the holidays?

I would focus on original, colorful and charming pieces that are always comfortable and inspire the children.

Thank you!

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Imps & Elfs Designer & Founder, on Sustainability, Fashion, Life & their Spring/Summer 2010 Kids Clothing Collection

POSTED Jun 24, 2010

We were able to interview one of the designers behind Imps & Elfs!  This is a real treat four readers.  Please enjoy!

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On Sustainability – When you make baby clothesout of love for them then you must have a twisted mind not to care about the environment”

You’ve been around since 1997 and much has occurred in the world of fashion since then.  Do you feel that you have moved away from your original goal of being, “…a modest children’s label without frills or fancies, which concentrates on the shape of the child”?  Or do you feel that each season you reinterpret and reinvent that philosophy?
We put a lot of effort in following this goal. It is more than a goal; it is what we believe in. It is our mission. We study the anatomy of children. We invest in own patternmakers, CAD cam systems, etc. When we start designing, we do not make drawings but we design from the sewing machine, putting ideas in 3D form.

It seems so counter intuitive that many children’s clothing designers don’t know where their products are coming from or by whom they are being made, especially considering they are designing for children.  What prompted your initial move towards fair trade, child labor-free?
When you start a label for children out of love for them then you must have a twisted mind not to care about the environmental and social aspects of producing the actual clothes for them.

In 2006, Ode Magazine named Imps & Elfs the “Top Organic Company of the Year” for your contributions to sustainable selling practices.  How was that for you?  Have you changed your practices to become even greener since then?
We just try to do our best. Our aim is to use as much green material possible and to try to move our factories to the highest possible social standard available.

With the economy as shaky as it has been in years, do you find it difficult to stay true to your beliefs while still trying to make a profit?  Is it possible to have “small numbers, big prices” in this day?
We just do not put different options on the table.

On Spring/Summer 2010 Collection – This season’s Imps & Elfs collection was inspired by the need to “clean up”

Let’s talk about the current IMPS&ELFS baby clothes collection.  It has several great classic, basic pieces; a lot of black, grey and white and with the exception of stripes, not many patterns.  What was the inspiration for the collection? How do you find inspiration before you design a collection?
Every season we find new inspiration. This can come from everywhere:  a movie, an old piece of clothing, but also a political change, recession, etc.

This season we felt that we had to CLEAN UP. After all, with the problems in the economy you could not open the newspaper and avoid seeing them. We felt the need to open all the windows and doors and clean/clear our minds and house. This led to the design inspiration going back to the essence of our brand: form follows function. Colors used were pastels, summer greys, ton sur ton.

How is this season’s baby clothes collection different from your past collections?  What pieces from your spring and summer collection of Estella’s line are you most excited about?
Every season is different, but you can recognize the IMPS&ELFS handwriting of each collection. I think that we are different in making shape in a product.

How far in advance do you work on your collections and what is the process?
Almost 10 months. In September we start working on Fall/Winter 2011. That collection we start delivering to the stores in July 2011. We start making a concept, a theme. Then we think about a title and start making initial designs on the sewing machine. In the meantime, we make a product plan. Then we start making fabrics, trims and color proposals. We work in different teams at the same time on patterns, artworks and designs.

Your clothing fits every personality — the Everychild, if you will — which is wonderful.  There’s a great range and departure from pink frills for girls and tiny men’s outfits for boys. Was this a conscious decision, or did it come about, pardon the pun, organically?
The design of the clothes should complement the child rather than overrule him. That is why it suits almost every child.

Who or what inspires the designs? How would you describe your style of fashion?
Children! Sporty, no conventions, intellectual.

Besides the core group (Fons and Jacqueline) what and who does the IMPS&ELFS team consist of?
Design team, product teams, back office, wholesale team and retail team.

Can you tell us more about cotton?  Aside from the obvious lack of pesticides, why do you feel it is so important to use cotton?
It is a natural fiber and so it good on the skin. Farming it is not so nice. There is a lot of water wastage and use of chemicals. We try to work on these last two aspects. It would be better not to use cotton at all but there is not a real good substitute yet.

On Fashion – “try to avoid making little adults out of children”

What current trend or style in fashion is exciting you?
At the moment, due to the recession probably, it is not really exciting. But we really admire designers and brands as Comme des Garçons, Rick Owens, Anne de Meulemeester.

How did you decide to get into fashion?  Did you happen upon it serendipitously?
Passion!

Are there any designers, past or present, that you would have liked to work with?
Comme des Garçons, Rick Owens, Anne de Meulemeester.

Do you have any fashion advice or styling tips you could give to our readers?
Do not be afraid to mix and match! Try to avoid making little adults out of children. Do not let your children wear oversized clothes!

On Life – I make designer baby clothes because I admire children!

I read an older IMPS&ELFS press release which presented some terrific golden rules:  Let’s Not Behave; Let’s Get Dirty; Don’t Be Boring and Speak Up. A great list for today’s child, to be sure.  IMPS&ELFS asked us to speak up.  What would you love children to speak up about?
The theme of that collection was “SPEAK UP”. We were fed up with all the so-called “wise people”. We wanted to hear the children speak about their own future.

And speaking of children, I love the quote, “I admire their smile; I admire their pureness; I admire their happiness; I admire their sense of humor; I admire children for being the most precious gift on earth.”  That is beautiful. Is that the ultimate motivator for everything IMPS&ELFS does?
Exactly!

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
Thank you for carrying our line!

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