Sunday, June 10, 2007

brunch with mirjam

Today I had brunch with Mirjam and her gorgeous kids! She designs her own patterns and of course, creates all of her pieces. A while back I made a collection called flower girl with one of her dresses in it - I just can't get enough of them! Whether you're from the 70s or just 70s at heart, this shop is perfect for you! And we love that they are actually made out of vintage materials.

1. Tell us a little about yourself
I graduated ten years ago from Fashion School as a designer in Amsterdam. I've had my own small woman’s wear label for a few years and worked freelance in fashion.

I've always been interested in 3-dimensional, sculptural ways to construct clothing and experimented a lot with patterns and working with fabric right on the mannequin. My work used to be conceptual, minimalist, often asymmetrical and with details like folds and pleats, but was always quite wearable.

Now I do something totally different. I'm having fun making kids clothes out of my treasured collection of vintage fabrics, making pleasantly clashing combinations of patterns and using funny appliqu├ęs.

It was relieving to notice that when I could get rid of my mind when I was making things I became immensely productive and had so much more fun! It was like my brain had been in the way all the time.

2. What is your craft?
Both sewing and pattern making. Now that the design and fabrics are doing most of the work, I keep the shapes and silhouettes simple. And to think I hated sewing when I just graduated! I now can see all the endless seam ripping and trying again and again did lead to something. I enjoy it immensely to be able to make all the things that appear in my head.

3. What inspires you?
Right now it's the amazing fabrics I can get my hands on. I love making combinations, standing before my huge four-door closet, pulling out different pieces, and just let the ideas evolve. When I have a golden combo I make several different items in it, also because it can be hard to say goodbye to my work when it sells.

And to feed my head and have fun I try to find solutions for the restrictions in shape, size or condition that my fabrics usually have. Like I did with the seventies ovenmit in the 'warm hands pants'.

4. Do you have any advice to give to other indie designers?
Ha! Well I'd say, make sure you use materials that you have unlimited access to, in case you'd like to have your work produced in series. (my problem right now :()

And, although these two things don't always go together well, I think and notice recycling is very hot. As it is becoming fashionable to 'buy and think green', I have a feeling it won't be long before there will be a big demand for items that help buyers express that they think and buy green! This is an area where we can still beat the bigger companies, because in our products it will be directly visible and not only on the label.

Another tip: For designers that feel they get a bit stuck in their routine, as we all do sometimes: Switch off your brain when you're making things from time to time and let coincidence or unforeseen circumstances be your set of boundaries to work with, just to have fun and see what you'll come up with. It will be like entering in your own contest, where you will win if you can surprise yourself!

5. What's your recent favorite item you've made?
My Swiss tea towel Cow dress. I found a super cute vintage swiss souvenir tea towel with Shepard’s bringing their cows up the hill along a winding road. It was nice and rare enough to frame. I combined it with two other fabrics and made a dress out of it. I wanted to keep it for my girl, but she preferred a variation I made of it, so I will list it in my shop soon...

6. What is the first thing you can remember making by hand?
I was six and I was sewing a flat fabric structure from different scraps, symmetrical, like a tiny patterned rug or quilt. I remember my mom asking me why I didn’t make anything real. I guess she meant something 3 dimensional. When she had a good look she saw what I was doing and praised me for my creativity, which made me glow with pride.

7. Where do you sell and when did you decide to start selling your work?
I have my simple but sufficient website where I sell my stuff here in Holland and I sell on Etsy, which I love! My customers are so sweet and enthusiastic it always gives me energy and inspiration to make new things.

8. Apart from creating things, what else do you enjoy?

Photography, relaxing with friends, vintage fabric hunting, going to Amsterdam, which I miss so much! And going on outings and picnics in the weekends with our kids in the 'bakfiets', a 'boxbike'.

9. What three words would describe you the best?
Creative, feminine, impulsive.

10. What/Who is your latest indie crush/designer?
Roshekie's dolls I found on Flickr, and Etsy shop too.


Emma said...

I am a big fan of Mirjam's children's clothes (from buying through Etsy). They are AMAZING. Check them out.... now!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Love her work.

esther said...

Mirjam is so sweet and creative, love her work!

Alicia said...

a great interview. I love discovering fabulous new Etsy sellers. And, I am always encouraged by other indie artist moms!

Lotta said...

Adore this designer and really like this blog - I'll be back!

Karin said...

Really like Mirjams stuff. My daughter owns one of her dresses and I'm constantly tempted by her new designs. She's also very sweet.

beki said...

Thanks so much for the interview! I love Mirjam's creations!!

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RD Robertson said...

What a nice collection for kids! I am very thankful to you for this post. Pls keep posting...