Ever wanted to pick the brain of a fashion designer and see just where all their inspiration comes from? Ever wanted to learn a designers aesthetic and see how they create their designs from start to finish?
Continue reading and learn more about Fashion accessories designer: Maria Cardelli.
Q. Give us a little background of yourself, how did you get started in design?
A. I have been designing my entire life. I started very young, and used to draw all over my school books even during school lessons. I began painting at around age 10, and spent all my pocket money on new pencils, watercolours and paints. I still remember when I found my first set of watercolour pencils in the shop. I was so excited! As a teenager, I used to spend evenings and late nights working on oil paintings. Since at the time we didn’t have the internet, I had to teach myself and just figure things out. An artist friend of my dad lent him a book on basic painting techniques, how to prepare your own mix of gesso, how to stretch a canvas, etc., which I learned from, as well as from my own mistakes. At that time, my works were mostly figurative, and sometimes a friend would pose for me.
Q. What lead you into the direction of designing Clothing?
A. At a certain point I had to make a decision whether to go into fine art, architecture or fashion design. Since I really enjoyed designing my own clothing, which my aunt Matilde was making for me, I opted for fashion design and joined the Accademia di Moda e Costume in Rome. After a couple of years, eager to get some hands on experience, I began looking for freelance work with companies all over Italy. A friend of mine mentioned someone she knew in NYC who was designing children shoes, and recommended that I stop there on my way to California, where I was headed. I did. I ended up working at BBC international for 7 years, designing children’s shoes for very diverse clients.
Q. Where does your inspiration come from when designing your pieces?
A. I’m mostly inspired by my own past designs. I dig into my pile of sketches and things that I drew but hadn’t had a chance to produce and I rework them, often for hours or even days, until I come up with something that I am happy with. I may take a piece from one of my bags and make it into a strap for a shoe, or sometimes get an idea while at night when I am trying to sleep. I always keep a sketch pad near the bed for those moments of inspiration. Other times I get inspired from a new leather treatment I find, or a fun fabric I see, and I may design a bag or a shoe just to use them.
Q. What is your design process? What types of things do you or don’t you incorporate?
A. I plan the categories I want to cover in the handbags, or the heel heights I want represented if I am working on the footwear, and then I start drawing ideas. I may draw numerous rough sketches in a little book I keep around, then I choose the ideas I like the most and develop only these. Since my brand is a small company, I cannot make a very large collection, so I do a preselection at an early stage. I then carry ideas from the footwear into the hand bags or vice versa, so that they can complement each other. Once I am happy with my designs I start with the prototyping process.
Q. Do you envision the wearer when you’re designing your pieces? Who do you envision?
A. I mostly design things that I would like to wear myself. I don’t have many opportunities to wear glamorous shoes myself, so when designing footwear I imagine the wearer at a special event, all evening, and I try to make them beautiful and functional. (For example, I can sometimes add platforms in the front of the shoe so that the heel does not feel as high as it looks.) When designing the bags, I like making them beautiful and practical as well, with useful inside pockets, removable shoulder straps or even bags that can be used 3 ways, like a handbag, shoulder bag and also backpack (like my Back-Up bag). All of my bags have the modern working woman in mind, and are large enough to fit a laptop and other gadgets, so that she can always travel and work in great style.
Q. What are some new designs you’re working on? What do you envision for the future?
A. I am currently working on the spring-summer collection for 2017. Lots of gorgeous colours, simple, sophisticated and clean lines, and some fun prints.
Q. How did you come to realize your talents? Did youhave any formal training for jewelry design and or clothing design?
A. My true love is to create more luxurious products, ones allowing for more creativity. And, I always wanted to go back and produce things in Italy, and to one day be able to create something more special and unique as a tribute of sorts to Italian craftsmanship. I took part in numerous art exhibitions around Europe for a few years. Many people commented on my colourful paintings in a way that made me think that I could probably have them printed on silk and make scarves, or ‘wearable art.” So, in 2013 I started doing that. After that I added a collection of handbags and now a small collection of women’s footwear for winter 2016-17. Everything I design is made in Italy.
Q. What were your first designs that you created? And how has your brand evolved over the years?
A. To be honest, I’ve been doing this for so long I can’t remember my first design. But come to think of it, it might have been some kind of clothing. And as far as how my designs have evolved, I think they probably evolved with what i’ve included in my designs and I attribute that to what I have learned through the years. When I started, for example, I used to design only very elegant footwear with leather soles and artsy heels. However, after working with factories in many parts of the world and designing many different types of footwear, from wooden clogs to athletics and dress, I incorporate that knowledge into my designs and I can mix and match styles as I please, for example incorporating some typically athletic feature into the more elegant styles, and I can have more fun in the process.
Q. How did you go about creating your business plan and what was your starting investment?
A. I had gained some experience already while working for others, but did additional research before creating my own company, especially since I didn’t know the rules in The Netherlands. (Where my husband and I relocated.) My husband has been my main supporter of course. And, he had been telling me for years that I should do my own collection. So he helped me by financing most of it. The rest came from cashing out my pension plan.
Q. What is a typical day in your life and at your office?
A. In the morning I take care of my 2 children. I get them ready for school and when they are off, I work until I have to pick them up at 3:30. Once they are in bed for the night, I pick up my work again. Fortunately, I work on my own and, without many distractions, I can be as productive as possible. And, with all the communication tools we have these days like Skype and video calls, I can talk to the factories regularly and make many corrections to the products without leaving my desk. Sometimes traveling is still necessary, especially at the prototype stage, but thankfully, Italy is not far from The Netherlands.
A true world class designer Maria is, and her accessories are to DIE FOR!! A fashionista, multi-tasker, designer and fellow lady boss, Maria Cardelli is one woman to watch out for she’s taking the Fashion world by storm. Her designs are ones you’ll want to own and add to your wardrobe. I don’t know about you but I absolutely LOVE her designers. I want one of everything and I know you will too. To shop and learn more visit her website: www.mariacardellifashion.com.
Go and check out her website you WON’T be disappointed!!
Thanks to Maria Cardelli for collaborating with me on this post. All thoughts are my own.
As always thanks for stopping by, reading, supporting, and following along!!