Mardi has a beautiful voice, I'm highlighting this because I had the opportunity to spoke over the phone about her career as a designer.
Originally from Tasmania, she started early on working on the craft of becoming a shoe maker.
In 2014 She completed a Masters degree in Footwear and Accessories from Italy.
Her origins are translated into her designs as well as her recurrent dreams, both elements are a key part of her creative process.
Go on take a look at her web and social medias spaces, it is a very pleasent visual experience Mardi Price FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM
There is a certain je n'ais se quoi to what she does, is attractive and sexy as well as delicate and experimental, as I perceive it.
Looking at the designs you can immerse in her own personal world, a details I find appealing and very interesting.
Symbols that tell stories, using mostly aborigine imaginary, creating a unique aesthetic that evolves with every new collection but keeping a tone and a certain wink for timeless items.
From harnesses to turbans and leg spatsies (a beautiful and incredible delicate version of the type of classic footwear accessory for outdoor that covers the instep and the ankle), you can find pieces that are delicate and REBELLIOUS at the same time. Actually I have found myself creating a full fledged outfit only with Mardi's creations...
I found very interesting as well, from the business perspective that she is currently working solely in direct sales (no stockists here) which can be really good as a customer you can engage directly with the designer, that is a really BIG plus in my checklist.
Now she is based in East London, where she has her studio.www.mardiprice.com
Zynni Cashmere was created by Qing Hua. She is originally from China. She dedicated many years of her life to become a professional dancer, now how six years of classical training in Chinese dance translate vis-à-vis a designer of luxury cashmere garments?. In 2014 she finished a degree al London Fashion college where she specialized in knitwear. She found in cashmere the perfect material to create garments that express style / luxury.
Her brand evolved when she moved to US where eventually the production of a season was speed up by working with a dedicated factory in China.
Currently her designs are seasonal as well as bespoke where she caters for specific customers requests in a short timeframe.
Her 2018 collection evolved around the topics of functional, wearable and chic items.
While talking to her, she mentioned that someone once asked her why she didn´t wear her own designs and her reply was that in order to create she needs to interact with the idea of someone else, bringing as well her own experience as a dancer and her own knowledge of body and extreme movements, as the ones you have with classical dancing, create an atmosphere where her designs come to life.
When I did enquiry about the manufacture process, I was so please to have an insightfull description: Zynni Cashmere has a factory in Guangdong, China, with design and Quality Control center. Its production capacity is 100,000 pieces a year but they are also positioned so that the brand can effectively take smaller orders such as 10-20 pieces a time with different designs. All of Zynni Cashmere materials are from Inner Mongolia, where the harsh weather and vast grassland produces the best cashmere, of these some we choose no dye cashmere for their natural quality.
NO dye cashmere this is an particularly interesting technique, it's Eco-friendly and the possibilities are fantastic http://zynnicashmere.com/
While browsing across her designs, I know some readers might be upset about it, but it reminds me a lot of the early works done by Gabrielle Chanel and the way she use jersey to create amazing garments...
Qing Hua loves cashmere not only as a material but also as a blank canvas for specialised design where textures, paterns and colours come to life. I found myself wanting to explore more about the material and the possibilities for my personal style, I never paid too much attention to it, until I came across Zynni Cashmere!
I urge you to explore the new collection and mix and match the many pieces it has incredible possibilities.
One last word about the designer, Qing currently resides in the Northern Virginia with her husband and two 5 years old twin boys, Anthony and Matthew.
I've been pondering about this designer for quite some time. Public interest never seems to be diminished, as she is so prolific and mysterious at the same time.
What would I ask to #ReiKawakubo the mother, power and spirit behind @commedesgarcons and @doverstreetmarketlondon
(not that I will ever have the opportunity...)
It would be something like: How you envision the next collection will be better than the past ones?
For all the designers I admire, they are very focus and obsessed people who work day and night moving forward with their work, and that work flows seemingly into their life and routine. And they never seemed content with what they finished, the quest for perfection and answers is eternal. I think there lies they that makes them genious.
For a really interesting read go to "6 Life Lessons From Rei Kawakubo" by #LynnYaeger in Vogue
As well as the 1995 this text from #PaulSmith
in Dazed Magazine
I discover the amazing creations on Instagram... Felt immediately attracted and went deep on the research...
Luxury + UNIQUE + Handmade bags, say no more. I wanted all the details I could get, and was very lucky I did!
I wrote to the creative duo, who have the studio near Amsterdam, and voilà behold the lengthy and meaty post. For all you luxury bag lovers, who crave uniqueness. Their motto is "Life is too short to wear boring bags" and I couldn't agree more.
If you are in for a treat you can have a great insight of the brand, the creative and handmade construction process as well.
I can't recommend enough for you to go and check the website! All the bags can be personalized as per your desire, for me that just add the cream at the top.
Honestly considering the quality and all the factors such as UNIQUENESS, then I think these are really inexpensive and worth every penny!
You can have a sneak peek at the complete process, I have created a playlist on You Tube... But don't go just yet, below the full interview!
Besides having two different origins, Franc as a saddler and Hanz as a designer. They have both become entrepreneurs in a vast and rather complicated Industry, such as Luxury goods, specifically focus on accessories.
What was the anecdote that brought you together as a creative team?
Being partners for a long time, we found out that working together meant we could achieve so much more than when working alone. Working alone leads to a tunnel vision. Franc needed a breakthrough in his creative mind. Hanz, with a completely different background, character and experience proved to be the most critical, detailed observer, Franc had ever encountered. Opening our minds for the other’s disciplines, experiences, and developments created the synergy that leaded to a range of first-class design and creations.
As a start-up in the luxury goods landscape...
We had many, many challenges. Basically: we had to row against the flow. In a very early stage we decided we didn’t want to have any investor at all, so we could focus on our goal to make bags of an absolute uncompromised quality, without interference. This choice meant that we had to take the long road as for us this was the only way. It took a great deal of time and lots of money (to our last penny). Next to that the most difficult part was to cope with all the critiques from everyone; defending ourselves and explaining them why we had set our goals this high (exclusiveness, highest quality and obviously “expensive” bags). But the more hesitant the people were, the more determined and inspired we got and after the 100th person telling us we should go for fast successes, we were more determined than ever. We have to admit it is difficult to stick to what you believe, especially when there are so many shortcuts available, but in the end, it is all worth it. To conclude that we had overcome all the critiques, that we didn’t settle for less and that we have surpassed our expectations with the produced quality bags.
We admire every individual who have a goal in life and is determined not to take any shortcuts. We certainly have people in music, sports and art who inspire us. But for our particular type of art (our bags), we aim to be different than anyone else.
We want to create more technical advanced designs, use more advanced saddler techniques, use the best materials, create more value for our customers and most of all we don’t want to be a marketing based brand, but a first-class product brand.
The fashion industry in terms of consumers, influencers and the volatile landscape of Social Media
Being high-end bag creators, we experience the fashion industry is changing. There is a large and growing group of consumers who have passed their A-brand phase, and are looking for something more exclusive, which is not mass produced, and which can be adapted to their personal taste. This creates a niche market. Especially younger generations are definitely much less interested in famous labels and are searching for something unique in all these marketing based hyped up, fast products.
We did not use any influencers so far. It is very difficult to stick to your creations when one is diving in fast marketing based solutions. We much rather take the long road to establish our brand based on meticulously handmade quality, and until then being the best kept secret for those who know.
We use Instagram a lot, and we really appreciate the close connection to people all over the world, and their input and ideas and last but not least to find our customers. We feel using Social Media as an unparalleled possibility to get to know our customers better. For marketing purposes, we are however still aiming to be a first-class quality product brand, and hope we will never be dependent on fast marketing.
Ignite a new idea starts: a concept, an image, an experience, a memory...
We remember each and every bag that leaves our company. There is so much handwork in just one bag. It normally takes three weeks to finish a bag, so when a bag leaves our company we feel a connection to it.
Our inspiration comes from our own personal experiences, day to day life, objects, and situations with a strong preference for nature and natural beauty. Being influenced by horses and horseback riding and the background as a saddler there will always be some kind of equine influence. We really love and get inspired by customer input! We try to use customer experiences and ideas creating new products. First, we elaborate all these ideas in designs and then elaborate whether the design fits in our collection and whether they satisfy our quality standards. We want to create hand-made products which will endure and cannot be copied in a mass-production. We pride ourselves that there are no bags out there that are this difficult to reproduce.
We never do trends, never use standard patterns, and we never make something that’s already there. We try not to allow fashion trends into our designs as we want to stand out. We always design from scratch, that means we rethink every single part of a bag: closing mechanisms, lining, shoulder bands etc. Naturally we start by drawing a few ideas on paper. After the designs have been drawn, we create a few prototypes, and sometimes, if we are not satisfied, we create a few more, because we never compromise in our aim for perfection. There is something enchanting about a bag when you know how much work has to be done to finish every single part, and that it has been made solely for you with passion, craftsmanship and dedication.
Each bag is unique and customisable. Does that bring more work? Why have you incorporated this into the process and the buyer experience?
When starting our brand, we had one goal: make outstanding and uncompromised creations. We keep production of every single part in our own hands and bring the complete process of our own creations to our audience. This meant not only more work (as we cannot work in advance, everything is made on request), it meant a completely different road than other high end bagmakers.
Making everything customisable is another way to add more authenticity to our creations and to make our brand more exclusive and unique. Besides, making everything by hand allows us to adapt the bag to the wishes of the customer, as long as it stays within the boundaries of our design.
How to manage the workload
We currently are only with the two of us, with sometimes someone helping us out with some basic things. Thus far we have done everything ourselves; from building the website to designing and producing the bags to taking all the photos of our bags for marketing purposes. There wasn’t a single task that didn’t rest on our shoulders. It was a crazy time, one which we probably don’t want to repeat again. For now, every bag is still exclusively made by ourselves (Franc & Hanz).
The skills to make these bags are absolutely rare, so in case we need to expand our company with personnel, we will have to educate our potential new employees thoroughly. Our bags are made as haute couture. Creating quality on this level takes a lot of effort and as we want to ensure this level of quality every single bag will always pass through our hands before it leaves the company. This might also mean that in the (near) future we will have to imply a waiting list for our creations.
Challenges of the fashion landscape when it comes to Business and Marketing
It is difficult to stay true to yourself and your brand especially in business and marketing in the fashion landscape. It is so easy to get lost, and exchange that what is basically us and our goals for money and fast sales.
We are sorry for all the superior brands out there who traded their potentially high-quality production company for a mass-production marketing company with bookkeepers and shareholders to show them the way. For all the new start-ups out there: don’t go for second best, nothing beats a first-class product: here is your niche market. When you stay true to yourself success will come naturally (but with a lot of work).
The essence of what you do in one word...
I was desperately looking for a yellow tartan bag for a post I'm writing and came across a lot of different bags in a wide range of designs, materials and textures. Although I was very focused on the tartan yellow item, something got me distracted, a beautiful embroiled handbag, so I made a note of the name of the designer to come back later.
And I'm so happy I did went back for a second look. I felt for all of them. Mariia Dovghenko, the designer is super talented, one of those designers to watch, there's craft and art to what she does. The detail of every design, of every image neatly crafted into the bag is just so wonderful and it takes me back to my mother's taste so it gives me an extra special feeling.
I knew language and distance could be an issue, neither of us is native English speaker and I'm based near London, she is in Kiev, but I threw myself into it, and contacted her.
She is super kind and her work for handmade bags is beautiful. I'm super pleased to find out that she started her career as a shoemaker and that she will be launching a new line for embroiled shoes... Heaven on earth.
If there is anything that makes me instantly happy when thinking about fashion that would be first: vintage findings and second handmade pieces. Both are so special for anyone who loves fashion as an art. You should really check her Instagram and Etsy Shop, the items a luxurious but super affordable.
How did Mariia started as a designer...
My origin as a designer is in that fact that every stage of production of my bags is handmade and they are made with love. I start to think about making a career of designer after my first baby was born. Before that I was working as a shoe designer, my hobby and passion was embroidery. So I decide to make not only beautiful pictures with embroidery but the bags to. And the next level of my career will be shoes with embroidery.
Highlighting the challenges
My biggest challenge was that I started to work at domestic sewing machine on which I couldn’t sew leather on high quality because it was made for sewing fabric. And after I bought industrial sewing machine for leather I can realize almost all my creative ambitions.
The role models and muses
I like works of Dolce&Gabbana very much, they use o lot of embroidery at their models. I also like pictures of Gustav Klimt.
Social Media and Fashion Industry
People are often under the influence of trends that designers impose them. But it’s important to keep your own origin style.
How a concepts sees the light
The new idea starts from embroidery. When I see embroidery I decide in what model of bag it will be better looking.
The fashion industry in Ukraine
The fashion industry of bags in Ukraine is raising nowadays. There are many new designers and Brands.
The buyer experience
Usually I’m making bag for particular client. Because I make design and sew bags myself it’s easy for me to change the parameters of the bag to satisfy my client’s needs.
Who else work with you, is it a family project?
The people who work with me are my children Anna-Maria (4 years) and Roman (2 years). J, my husband also helps me.
But to tell the truth I don’t have enough time to realize all my plans.
On Business and Marketing
My biggest challenge is difficulties in promotion the Brand.
The essence of what you do