Category: Designer of the Month


Paloni Designer interview: Netta Kervinen / Ainokainen

Pictures: Ainokainen collection: Roots and bonds, Photo: Nadi Hammouda, Suada @ Paparazzi,  MUAH: Kata Niemi,  Style and design: Netta Kervinen / Ainokainen

Photo: Nadi Hammouda

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I`m a playful, strong-willed and sensitive person with a huge passion to create.

How would you describe your label in five words?
Unique, soulful, ecological, beautiful, mystical.

Why handmade / locally produced?
Making products with my own hands is very important to me. It gives me a deeper connection to the materials and the products I`m making. It also gives me artistic freedom to do many kinds of variations in decorations and colors. Making things by hand, I feel being a part of a long line of artisans.  All Ainokainen products are made locally, in Helsinki by me, except the knitwear, wich is made in Kotka, my hometown.

Pictures: Ainokainen collection: Roots and bonds, Photo: Nadi Hammouda, Suada @ Paparazzi, MUAH: Kata Niemi,  Style and design: Netta Kervinen / Ainokainen

Photo: Nadi Hammouda

How are Ainokainen products ethical / ecological and what does this mean to you?
Ainokainen uses as much as possible carefully selected recycled, vintage and surplus materials. I want to make something beautiful and useful out of something that already exists. Using recycled materials is my ecological choice and gives extra value to my products. It is very important for me to respect the nature, as well as human and animal rights in my work.

What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?
Many things inspire me! It can be a good piece of music, something I suddenly see through a bus window, history, colors, nature, dreams, materials themselves. I also like forgotten places, such as abandoned houses. There are stories and influences everywhere. You just have to be open to capture them.

How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?
It has been fun to be a part of Paloni`s family of designers and a joy to get know Minna. I have also met many wonderful designers and got a great opportunity to participate the Paloni in NYC project with Ainokainen. I can`t wait what we will do next. Starting from June I have started leading lace jewellery courses at Paloni, so that is a new kind of inspiring co-operation. I think Paloni is the right place for Ainokainen.

Pictures: Ainokainen collection: Roots and bonds, Photo: Nadi Hammouda, Suada @ Paparazzi, MUAH: Kata Niemi,  Style and design: Netta Kervinen / Ainokainen

Photo: Nadi Hammouda

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Listen to your intuition and follow it. Remember that no matter how big your project is, by doing it piece by piece, it will be finished. As they say, a field is sown one potato at a time.

Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?
Be clear about what you want, but at the same time remain open and be always ready to work your ass off. As one photographer whose course I attended told me: “Never think that you are finished. If you believe that you have nothing else to learn, you might as well quit.” He had heard this from his own teacher.

Pictures: Ainokainen collection: Roots and bonds, Photo: Nadi Hammouda, Suada @ Paparazzi, MUAH: Kata Niemi,  Style and design: Netta Kervinen / Ainokainen

Photo: Nadi Hammouda

What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
Every time I see an excited face looking at my designs, it  is a highlight for me. Other highlights have been Ainokainen’s first fashion show in Berlin Fashion Week in 2010, the Paloni in NYC project, taking part in a styling competition on TV last year, and getting media attention such as the cover of Voi Hyvin Magazine. Many musicians have also supported Ainokainen, for example Yona, Maija Vilkkumaa, Ona Kamu and Anna Inginmaa.

Please continue the following sentence: My passion is…
to create beautiful and interesting designs ecologically and ethically. I hope to bring joy and to spread the ecological message through my work.

Pictures: Ainokainen collection: Roots and bonds, Photo: Nadi Hammouda, Suada @ Paparazzi, MUAH: Kata Niemi,  Style and design: Netta Kervinen / Ainokainen

Photo: Nadi Hammouda

Pictures: Ainokainen collection: Roots and bonds
Photo: Nadi Hammouda
Suada @ Paparazzi
MUAH: Kata Niemi
Style and design: Netta Kervinen / Ainokainen

Designer Netta Kervinen (middle) with her colleague Paloni designers, Anna Talvi of TOHONO (left) and Mari Himmanen of First Crush (right)

Designer Netta Kervinen (middle) with her colleague Paloni designers, Anna Talvi of TOHONO (left) and
Mari Himmanen of First Crush (right)

Designers of the Month: Sanni Salonen & Niina Sinisalo / Kaino

Anni Hautala wearing a Kaino Rose tunic on The Voice morning show

Anni Hautala wearing a Kaino Rose tunic on The Voice morning show

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
We’re two innovative young women with faith in intuition, a yearning for beauty, and a healthy dose of recklessness –  plus a chronic shortage of time owing to an overflow of ideas.

How would you describe your label in five words?
Comfortable, beautiful, nostalgic, timeless, unique.

Why handmade / locally produced?
Simply because it’s more fun, more personal, more environment-friendly, more individual, smarter, more genuine, more soulful… And also because it allows us more opportunity to express ourselves as designers.

How are Kaino products ethical / ecological and what does this mean to you?
Both of us are friends of nature with common sense. In our products we favor pure natural materials such as cotton and merino wool, and most of the new yarn used is organically produced. We seem to have a tendency for hoarding and have difficulty in parting with anything that might prove useful someday. As a result, our production facility is sometimes about to burst with leftover knit, which we then use to create new products: pouches, potholders, quilts, jewelry… However, it’s impossible for us to utilize all the excess material generated during production so we also donate and sell it to craftspeople. The point is not to take any usable material to the landfill.

What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?
Imagination, art, childhood, granny’s house, dreams, nature – new ideas can actually spring from anything! We play with the original idea until it gets refined into a finished product. Both of us bring our own vision and competence into the process and work it together into a seamless weave. We both have strong,  somewhat differing visions, but each new product is still a joint creation.

Member of Finland's Parliament Kristiina Salonen wearing a Kaino evening gown for Finland's Independence Day
 Reception. Picture by Jenni Gästgivar / Iltalehti. http://www.iltalehti.fi/linnanjuhlat/201212070011831_lj.shtml

How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?
During the past six months of cooperation we have only had positive experiences. It’s an honour to be among Paloni’s talented craftspeople and designers, and cooperation with Minna is smooth. They’re a great, inspiring bunch that enhance our faith in our own work.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Stay true to yourself and your vision.” Especially in the very beginning we were far too susceptible to the comments and opinions of others; it was a struggle to recognize our own voice and obey it.

Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?
Success consists of three parts, all equally important: head, heart and elbow grease. No matter how great your vision, success always entails work – even futile work – and sacrifice and disappointments, and you must be prepared for that. On the other hand: the more you strive, the greater the value and satisfaction you get from your achievement.

What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
It’s difficult to name just one: during our three years of the Kaino adventure, there have been many achievements that may seem inconsequential, but for us they’ve been priceless. Most of them begin with the words ”the first”: the first official fashion collection, the first dealership, the first Kaino appearance on TV, the first ball gown at the Independence Day Reception at the Presidential Palace (that’s right!)…

Please continue the following sentence: Our passion is…
…to produce Kaino garments with soul, sensitivity and a strong will – and see how far it’ll take us!

Sanni Salonen and Niina Salonen with their Kaino Spring-Summer 2013 collection on its way to New York

Sanni Salonen and Niina Salonen with their Kaino Spring-Summer 2013 collection on its way to New York

Designer of the Month: Charlotte Cooper / Hoo Hats

Designer of the Month: Charlotte Cooper / Hoo Hats
 
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m a wry, warm-hearted, endearing, slightly compulsive & completely irreverent workaholic.

How would you describe your label in five words?
Clever, cozy, kind to the environment. Wait, that’s six.

Designer of the Month: Charlotte Cooper / Hoo Hats
 
Why handmade / locally produced?
I’m not a shopper. I’m just not. I have a really hard time getting excited about mass-manufactured clothing & other items. But get me in the middle of a huge craft fair like Portland’s Crafty Wonderland or Seattle’s Urban Craft Uprising I’ll go bonkers. There’s just something about the energy of wearing/carrying/using unique handmade items – you can’t help but feel proud of the maker, you feel lucky to be on the receiving end of someone else’s genius. Aside from all that, I simply love to create stuff. I never met a handmade project I didn’t fantasize about tackling (damn you, Pinterest!). If only there were 70 hours in a day…

How are Hoo Hats products ethical / ecological and what does this mean to you?
I’m devoted to the idea of upcyling. I’ve always hoarded leftover bits & pieces of this & that just in case they might prove useful someday ages & ages hence (you really should see my garage! ak!). When my family outgrows clothes, I give each item a once over & salvage what I can for future sewing projects before shipping off the rest to the local charity shop. And so when it came to producing my hats, it was obvious where I would turn for my source materials. Each Hoo Hat is crafted by hand from lovingly rescued wool sweaters that I score on periodic visits to Value Village & the like. In addition, the hats are lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles & the felt encircling the eyes are made from eco-felt. So, that’s what? –somewhere around 95% of these adorable hats are essentially saved from a landfill? That feels pretty good! And to top it off, I’ve found other fiber artists who are salvaging my scrap so I have virtually zero production waste. It’s really amazing.

What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?
I’m inspired by my children. Hoo Hats was birthed at the start as a gift for my son, whose middle name “Shannon” -meaning “wise little owl”- inspired the entire effort. But generally speaking, being present day in & out with them has taught me that I don’t want a “real job” so long as they still love me more than anyone on earth & want to be near me. And so I’m motivated to continue creating here at home. I’m always dreaming up new brands & designs (all those beautiful scraps, you know!). The wool itself is awfully special too, I should note. There’s nothing like rich teal or rust orange cashmere to set me to daydreaming of all the possibilities….

 Left: The singer-songwriter Chisu posted a picture of herself wearing a Hoo Hat to her Facebook site last winter. Right: Fabrics waiting to become Hoo Hats.

Left: The singer-songwriter Chisu posted a picture of herself wearing a Hoo Hat to her Facebook site last winter. 
Right: Fabrics waiting to become Hoo Hats.

How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?
Fantastic! Minna is a pleasure to work with & I’m so flattered to have been given a place on the shelves of Paloni among the work of so many other amazing makers. It’s really been an honor.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Since my product is seasonal, things have a tendency to get completely nutty in my studio every autumn & I am known to mildly freak from time to time. A fellow designer friend who’s been doing this a whole lot longer reminds me not to take myself too seriously. No matter how crazy it gets & how important my deadlines may seem, they really are just hats. No one’s dying in line waiting to get one. It’s not like I’m curing cancer or anything. When I put everything in perspective like this I am better able to enjoy the process, despite the sometimes frantic pace. I’m doing this because I love it, after all.

Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?
Keep monkeying around until you find your niche. The trick is to create a product that people want, that you love to make, & that you can sell for a reasonable enough profit. If any one point on that triangle is missing, you’re going to have an awfully hard time making it work long term & enjoying the process in the meantime.

Designer of the Month: Charlotte Cooper / Hoo Hats
 
What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
Besides getting that first email from Paloni?:) I’d have to say it was something of a surprise when Etsy notified me that I’d be a featured artist in their Fall 2012 Look Book. 800,000 active sellers on Etsy & they pick me?! It was quite astonishing, really.

Please continue the following sentence: My passion is…
My passion is…to live each day to the fullest, as present as possible in the thrilling moments & the mundane alike –to be made happy by small things. If I’m doing that, I’m doing pretty good.

Designer of the Month: Mari Himmanen / First Crush

Päivi wearing the First Crush Rea dress, made of two recycled men's shirts, and the Jenny Clutch, made of recycled paper & recycled leather. Right- Mari Himmanen, the designer of First Crush. Pictures by First Crush

Left: Päivi wearing the First Crush Rea dress, made of two recycled men's shirts, 
and the Jenny Clutch, made of recycled paper & recycled leather. 
Right: Mari Himmanen, the designer of First Crush. Pictures by First Crush.

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m a thoughtful and warm hearted person who easily gets excited by new things.

How would you describe your label in five words?
Unique, innovative, ecological, unconventional, timeless…

Why handmade / locally produced?
I love to make things with me own hands. It’s nice to see how your own creations come into existence step by step. It’s also important for me to give more eco friendly alternatives to costumers.

How are First Crush products ethical / ecological and what does this mean to you?
I use ecological materials as much as possible. In accessories recycled papers, eg. old music sheets and maps, are the main material. On my clothing collection, I use old men’s shirts to create innovative and timeless design for women.

As a designer I feel I have a responsibility and I try not to produce more new stuff into the world. Ecological values have always been close to my heart. Therefore it felt natural for me to start making items from ecological materials.

I also make every piece of the collection myself at my work room in Punavuori. It’s important for me that every piece of the First Crush collection is timeless and of good quality.

Heidi wearing First Crush Satu tunic, Jenny clutch and Karuselli earrings. The Karuselli earrings, made from recycled music notes

Left: Heidi wearing First Crush Satu tunic, Jenny clutch and Karuselli earrings. 
Right: the Karuselli earrings, made from recycled music notes.

What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?  I get my inspiration from everything I see. It’s a process that goes on all the time. I love the coincidence of life!

How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?
Totally great and awesome! Paloni is one of my favorite shops in Helsinki. Minna, the owner and founder of Paloni, is a wonderful person who has an eye for style and trends.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I’ve always liked to do things on my own way. Therefore I’m not really sure if I ever listened to any kind of advice. Working with your own brand is though and exiting at the same time. I like to share things with my family and closest ones. I’m lucky to have good friends and people in my life who support me.  <3

Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?
Find your own style, believe in your dreams and never give up.

What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
Getting a work room with other creative designers in 2010 has been one of the best things. Also the same year the TV channel MTV3 showed my bag in the news and that was really cool.

Please continue the following sentence: My passion is…
to be creative, do what I love and enjoy it!

Note from the editor: Paloni and First Crush organize an evening course on making earrings and necklaces from recycled leather on Tuesday 23.10. from 6pm to 8pm. The price of the course 19€ / person includes materials for making a pair of earrings and a necklace in your chosen color, plus tuition by Mari herself, and some snacks to keep us going. Eva from the duet Eva & Manu participated this course this summer. Below you can see her stunning outcome. To reserve your seat to the course, just join the event on Facebook. Payment at the event.

Eva from the duet Eva & Manu participated this course this summer. Below you can see her stunning outcome

Designer of the Month: Angel Iglesias

 

Paloni's Designer of the Month Angel Iglesias, Angel Iglesias receiving applause on the catwalk

Angel Iglesias receiving applause on the catwalk.

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Dressmaking, craftsmanship, elegance, trends, garments with charm.

How would you describe your label in five words?
Dressmaking, craftsmanship, elegance, trends, garments with charm.

Why handmade / locally produced?
Remembering the dressmaking made by my mother, I begun to design for my own clothing brand. Shortly after, I gathered together a team with family and friends to help me run the business, and we are still making garments in the old fashioned way with this team. I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.

How is Angel Iglesias clothing ethical  and what does this mean to you?
I believe in dressmaking and selling in a responsible way, and that’s how I choose to work. As I said before, Angel Iglesias staff is made up of family and friends, working all together in one workroom, avoiding middlemen and staying close to our customers.

The artisan methods of cutting, sewing and finishing we use make our clothing more comfortable and even easier to care and wear through time.

That’s what makes the difference between our clothing compared to mass produced clothes.

What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?
Women, colors, art, films, music,….the beauty in every day life.

I also draw inspiration from the fabric itself.

Paloni's Designer of the Month Angel Iglesias, LEFT The Elsa dress is here worn together with a tulle half-skirt

Angel's creations on catwalk.
Left: The Elsa dress (available at Paloni from XS to XL, was 145 €, now on summer sale for 100€) is here worn 
together with a tulle half-skirt.
Right: My personal tip for recognizing a designer with potential: the collections from several years back still
look fresh and interesting today. This picture is from the Angel Iglesias fall/winter 2010 collection.

How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?
It has been a very gratifying experience to be part of this project. It’s really different from our other customers, not only because of the country, but also because of the particulars of the store, the style, the projects, the marketing, taking part in fairs, making video clips, the blog… All of this makes us a part of Paloni and we love it!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Pay attention to and follow your instinct.

Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?
Reach for your goals and believe in yourself!

What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
My work is a daily experience that I’ve been living for the past 30 years. I have taken part in many projects, catwalks, fairs, … but one of the most gratifying was to be invited to present one of my collections on the 5th Ave. in New York.

Please continue the following sentence: My passion is…
..fashion. Constant innovation and being able to do everything I want.

Designer of the Month: Mari Leppälä aka Molla Mills

Molla (in the middle) teaching crocheting at a workshop at Paloni on April 23rd.

Molla (in the middle) teaching crocheting at a workshop at Paloni on April 23rd.

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m a serious but playful designer, wanting to leave my hand print to the culture and history of handicrafts.

How would you describe your label in five words?
Colors and graphics in crocheted loops.

Why handmade / locally produced?
As a handicrafter I tend to make all products by myself from materials I can find close. The feeling of making the whole product with my own hands is amazing. Only lately I have found the idea of sharing tasks with other people. This happened when I started studying at Taik, after years of independent working.

How are Molla Mills products ethical / ecological and what does this mean to you?
My products are local production, hand made in small quantities and the materials are mostly upcycled.

What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?
Making a new collection has always been based on my mood. It can start after a period of ultimate happiness, depression or some other thing that’s going on in my life. It goes in cycles. Inspiration can be found from many places, mostly from seeing and experiencing new things. Negative experiences can as well create inspiration and give new perspectives on my works.

My works can be labeled as vintage inspired, since I’m a big fan of the 40s and 50s aesthetics, but slowly modernism and graphic patterns are conquering my head.

Molla (right) teaching how to make a crocheted basket.

 Molla (right) teaching how to make a crocheted basket.

How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?

I bumped into Paloni by accident, and I fell in love with the unique atmosphere immediately. Minna has a great sense of style and I can only be happy to be one of Paloni designers. It almost feels like having a community of designers – the atmosphere at Paloni is very intensive and positive.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Just walk in.

I’ve been horrified by socializing when I was younger, but I realized that if I stay in my murky room with rolls of yarn, I can never meet other creative people – or realize that they have the same fear. “Just walk in” simply means contacting people and being proud of yourself.

Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?
Find your own style, make it strong and let it show.

What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
It’s all of those moments when I realize a new idea is working out well and that people are interested in it. I’m a very down-to-earth person, I don’t usually think too far before things move on, but at this moment I have butterflies in my stomach when thinking about the near future and my first book Virkkuri to be published.

Please continue the following sentence: My passion is…
Yarn. Rough, semi-thick fisherman’s cotton yarn in natural white color. If I ever turn into zombie I will start yearning for yaaaaarn.

Molla's hand-crocheted baskets at Paloni. Prices start at 17€ per piece.

Molla's hand-crocheted baskets at Paloni. Prices start at 17€ per piece.

Designer of the Month: Sarita Koivukoski

Sarita Koivukoski

 

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Once a ceramic artist, always a ceramic artist.

How would you describe your label in five words?
Unique, durable, usable, colorful and sustainable (in every stage of making).

Why handmade / locally produced?
Main reason is because I have to make everything myself. In the beginning and still I had tremendous urge to do beauty as I see it. Who else could do my vision?

Ceramics is huge area of expertise where you can always learn new things. I also think we independent  artists are the ones making tomorrow’s collectibles.

How are Sarita Koivukoski ceramics ethical / ecological and what does this mean to you?
It means a lot. Personally I am very ecological so of course I want to be that in my work as well. In my work nothing goes to waste. Clay can be recycled; glaze can be collected and used again as recycled glaze. (By the way the color of recycled glaze is usually a beautiful dark green.) I have made ceramic plates for 15 years now, and my goal has always been that every piece coming out from the kiln is good quality work. I also want to be economical – that’s also ecological.

Sarita Koivukoski Ruutu plates

Sarita's Ruutu plates in a variety of beautiful colors, patterns and sizes are available at Paloni. The durable plates
are suitable for everyday use and are oven, microwave and dishwasher proof. Ruutu sizes and prices: Big Ruutu:
37€, Deep Ruutu: 32€, Low Ruutu: 28€, Long Ruutu: 25€, Small Ruutu: 17€.

What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?
Colors, nature, art.

How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?
Great! The shop is something different in Helsinki. There is always something new going on. Minna has good energy and that shows in her shop. Good work!

 What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Keep going, don´t give up and believe in yourself.

Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?
Keep going, don´t give up and believe in yourself.

What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
There have been many. Basically my studio is a highlight for me every single day. It exists, it is working and a bunch of nice people work there with me.

Something to remember was a week hosted by a Korean family of whom hardly anyone spoke English. It was a mind opening experience, but nice too.

Please continue the following sentence: My passion is…
to be open to new ideas and not to hesitate to embrace them.

Designer of the Month: Minna Kaartinen / Vietto

Left: The Vietto Hapsu scarf is a classic piece that jazzes up any outfit - a favorite piece among Paloni's customers,
and for all good reasons. Right: Minna knitting a Hapsu scarf in Paloni. The director Aarni Vaarnamo
shooting material for the Paloni video.

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Well, I’m a very contradictory person so it’s pretty hard to describe myself in only one sentence, but to keep it brief: I’m an individualistic person with a warm heart and a strong will!

How would you describe your label Vietto in five words?
Independent, innovative, intriguing, eco friendly and very much usable. (not exactly in five words…)

Why handmade / locally produced?
I have my background in Environmental management so I guess an ecological point of view is the most important thing for me. On the other hand I have been interested in fashion all my life and also been making things with my own hands for as long as I can remember. I also want to give an alternative to my customers.

How is Vietto ethical / ecological and what does this mean to you?
I use mainly ecological materials in my designs – either recycled, textile industry leftovers or then ecological, locally produced textiles by e.g. Orneule Ltd. I don’t renew my whole ‘collection’ twice a year. My design process is more like evolutionary. It means that my creations constantly evolve, but most of them stay in my collection as ‘classics’ for more than one season. When design is timeless and personal, the wardrobe doesn’t need to be renewed for each season. PLUS I do my best to support local production, to use ecologically produced electricity, to recycle and use all I can… Simply and truly, I try to do my best!

What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?
My inspiration comes from everything I see. I’m very much into urban landscapes, but at the same time I love nature and peacefulness. I love colours, but I need to create a calm canvas for them. I’m really into subcultures, but I still want my creations to look unique. AND I can’t claim that I wouldn’t follow trends at all…  I guess this reflects quite a lot my contradictory personality I mentioned before…

How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?
Totally amazing! Everything has been just great! The shop is absolutely lovely, very unique. There has been nothing like it in Helsinki before. I pretty much love everything, but one thing I’m truly extra grateful is the communication. Minna is such a doll, an absolutely lovely person! It’s such a joy to be one of the Paloni designers!

Vietto Minna Kaartinen Neppari skirt in organic cotton

Minna's clothes often have a fun and functional clue to them - this Neppari skirt in organic cotton
has an asymmetrical hem with poppers. By attaching the poppers from the hem to the waist, the skirt
changes its shape and gets fluffy pleats of different forms.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I’ve been so tenacious all my life that I’m really not sure if I ever listened to any kind of advices… 😉 But I’ve got support whenever I’ve needed it from my dear ones.

Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?
This list is full of clichés (PLUS it kind of rhymes… I had my past in the hip-hop culture…): Listen to yourself, fulfil your own vision. Don’t let anyone bring you down, this business is full of competition.

What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
I wish it’s still in the future! But I guess by now, it must have been the moment I beat myself deciding to start my own label in 2007.

Please continue the following sentence: My passion is…
… to create fashion with a deeper meaning. (Note: a rhyme again 🙂

Designer of the Month: Michelle Maynard / Simone’s Rose

The designer Michelle Maynard from Ontario, Canada kicks off a new series of Paloni’s designer interviews.

Paloni designer Michelle Maynard

Left: Michelle wearing a Simone’s Rose Joan wrap dress – one series of these delights are on their way from Michelle’s studio to Paloni.
Right: Michelle working at her studio, taking care of every detail of each Simone’s Rose piece.

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m an independent girl who likes to look at things from a different perspective and believes that dreams come true if you work at it hard enough!

How would you describe your label Simone’s Rose in five words?
Chic, sustainable, romantic, unique and wearable.

Why handmade / locally produced?
I worked for a ‘made in China’ label for several years which opened my eyes to how most of the products in the world are manufactured. When I left to start my own label I decided that I would do things differently and produce garments locally – and/or with some thought about who is making the products (or supplies), how the makers of these products are treated and how the environment is affected as well.

How is Simone’s Rose ethical / ecological and what does this mean to you?
I choose to use organic, vintage, fair trade or factory end fabrics for my label… although I do sometimes have to purchase new – I will make sure these purchases support local, small businesses.  Being ethical and having a positive impact ecologically means making choices with some thought!  Every decision we make in our day to day lives affects the people and the world around us.

What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?
Much of my inspiration comes from researching different places or people of the world but when it comes down to designing a specific piece it is usually the fabric / textiles that will determine the final outcome of the design.   The unique structure, weight, color and drape of a textile (whether it be beautiful or full of flaws) can throw me into deep thought and inspire so many ideas – I don’t have the words to explain where this inspiration comes from!

How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?
In one word:  Wonderful! Paloni is such a unique home for creative works by so many talented designers – I am blessed and so happy to work with Minna to provide her customers with pieces that will work with their style.  It has been a pleasure and I hope to continue building a clientele at Paloni for a long time!

Simone's Rose at PaloniLeft: Here’s some foretaste of the Simone’s Rose Spring/Summer 2012 collection – soon available at Paloni, too. The Sevigny crop blazer is made with an eco-friendly fabric containing 55% organic cotton and 45% hemp. The Sandra tunic has been detailed with hand dyed silk bands, but the main material is a soft bamboo viscose.
Right:These Simone’s Rose Katie wide leg pants are currently available at Paloni.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I hate to say this because it came from someone who’s views and values I disagree with but this person told me many times to “Pick my battles” which has stuck with me ever since.  Sometimes you have to let things go and look at the big picture – choose your battles wisely!

Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?

  • Be ready to work hard and pull yourself back up when you get knocked down.  Its not easy to succeed in this business!
  • Don’t be afraid to accept or ask for help when you don’t know the answer.
  • Listen and learn as much as you can from everyone around you.
  • Create a unique voice for yourself and your works – everything you put out into the world should have meaning, thought and passion behind it.

What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
I am truly blessed that I have been able to do what I do and have travelled all over the world as a designer but as simple as it may seem – the highlight has been to start my own label and build something I am proud of!  I hope to have many more memorable experiences and successes in my future but I will never forget these years of building the foundation of something with meaning.

Please continue the following sentence: My passion is…
Simone’s Rose.  This question is so great because it relates back to the name of my business which represents ‘my passion’.  Simone was my grandmother and I always felt like her passion / what made her happy was to work in her garden and with her roses.  I chose this name because it represents what I am passionate about – my label is much more than a ‘clothing line’ to me.  It carries with it my beliefs and the hope for change.