Conversations with Designers, Little Style

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT :: A Conversation with The Little Hummingbird

It’s been a while since we had a Designer Spotlight on Oaxacaborn! The conversations in this series are intended to inspire and encourage, and allow all of us to glean a little wisdom from fellow creatives and small businesses owners.

Today, I’m chatting with Olivia Lin and Archna Patel, who together run the childrenswear brand the little hummingbird.

sophie hoodie in pink by the little hummingbird as seen on oaxacaborn's interview with the little hummingbird
mae top, brooklyn pant by the little hummingbird as seen in an interview with designer Olivia Lin on Oaxacaborn

Walk me through your creative process — I guess you could call this the “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” question. Do you have a finished product in mind from the start, and then execute a series of steps to achieve this? Or do the ideas evolve and take life as you go through the creative process?
We think it can be a little bit of both!

Sometimes we have a finished product in mind; our poncho from the Fall ’12 collection and the pointelle cardigan from Spring ’13 are both examples of this. Other times, it is an evolution of ideas starting with a piece of trim, style detail, or theme we both like and are inspired by. Because we are a duo, we communicate and bounce ideas off of one another a lot, and try to make sure we are merging and using ideas each of us has.

When it is an evolution, it is definitely exciting seeing an idea come to life! (I think that is how we feel each time we complete a photoshoot and see a collection come to fruition!) For our current Spring ’13 line, we knew we wanted to incorporate pintucks into our designs but didn’t have the finished product in mind yet. We started by sketching as many different ideas as possible– which is the fun creative part! From there, we edit, share our sketches with each other, edit some more, then we finalize which styles we should go forward with and have in our collection.

stella dress by the little hummingbird as seen on oaxacaborn's interview with the little hummingbird's designer

At one time or another, all creatives experience that “hitting a brick wall” feeling, where the ideas just stop. How do you deal with creative slumps and roadblocks?
We hate it when that happens! We deal with it by taking a break and focusing on doing something else such as reading, baking, or cooking. Putting some music on and surfing the web or flipping through magazines — we both are inspired by clothing for women — can give us a fresh perspective as well. Another thing we like to do is look back at old photos of ourselves and siblings when we were kids, and modernizing the pieces we used to wear.

hazel sweater, ava top by the little hummingbird as seen on oaxacaborn's interview with the little hummingbird's designer

So is it safe to say you’re more influenced by the idea of reinterpreting vintage rather than keeping up with latest trends?
One of the things we wanted to do when creating the little hummingbird line was to create pieces that are timeless and can be passed down through the generations. We don’t really follow trends– we try to stick to the beat of our own drum and be true to our style and design aesthetics.

ida top, kaity skirt by the little hummingbird as seen on oaxacaborn's interview with the little hummingbird

From a business perspective, what does collaboration look like for The Little Hummingbird? How do you decide which roles each of you takes on?
We both do a little bit of everything for the little hummingbird and try to make sure we are being fair and the workload is equal. The way we decide which roles we each take on is a combination of a few things. Which method is the most efficient? Is one of us is more skilled in that area? What’s the timing and priority? Who is available? And sometimes it just comes to logistics, like which one of us has a shorter drive to save time and gas! I think the big key to our collaboration is honesty and lots of communication. You should see how many emails and texts we exchange in a day!

amelia dress by the little hummingbird as seen on oaxacaborn's interview with the little hummingbird
What is the most challenging thing you have faced in your creative career?
The most challenging things we have faced have been the funding as well as marketing — getting the little hummingbird to a place where it is a known and trusted brand.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to fellow creatives?
We would say to give your dreams and goals a chance, follow through, and don’t give up! It is not easy and you have to be able to handle rejection, but believe in yourself! Be fearless, open to making mistakes and learning — ask questions and try to stay organized and remember to have fun and enjoy the journey :)

Thank you so much, Olivia and Archna!

The Little Hummingbird | on Twitter | on Facebook | on Pinterest


Previously on Designer Spotlight:

Conversations with Designers, Little Style

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT :: A Conversation with Lithuanian Childrenswear Designer Mummymoon

It’s time for another installment of Conversations with Designers! My aim with this series is to inspire and encourage fellow creatives — and either introduce you to talented people you might not have otherwise met, or help you get to know your favorite creatives even better.

Today, we’re talking to Ieva from the gorgeous brand Mummymoon about the clothing business she runs alongside Vėjūne. Ieva lets us take a peek at her creative process, and shares how she’s influenced by her children, the country of Lithuania, and trends — or the lack thereof.

Wool Pocket Pants from Lithuanian brand Mummymoon as seen on Oaxacaborn dot com

Welcome, Ieva! Let’s talk about your clothing brand. What prompted you to start Mummymoon?
Boredom. I am very active in nature, I have to be busy 12 hours a day – it makes me feel complete. After I had my first baby, when I got used to being a mother, I came to realize that I struggle with just being at home all the time. As she got older, I found it difficult just being at home or playing outside with my daughter. I started to express myself here. I always wondered what I would do when my children get older. Maybe back to making films, or interior designing or even photography? But it happened, when another life was growing inside me, I felt a desire to start sewing and making clothes for little people. It was only one example of this kind of business in Lithuania at the time – MUKU, so it was hard to imagine it will grow into something big one day. It was more like a hobby for me, a way to express myself. However, looking back now, we have our distributors and agent in Korea, Japan, have a little shop in the capital of Lithuania – Vilnius. We have teamed up with other 6 designers and opened a YéYé store in Paris. So I can firmly say – don’t be afraid to dream as dreams come true!
Nuobodulys. Esu begalo veikli, turiu buti uzimta aper diena 12 val. ir tik tada jausiu pilnatve. Kai atsirado pirmas vaikas, kai apsipratau su motinos role ir supratau, kad paagus dukrai man darosi anksta buti vien tik namuos ir lauke kartu su vaiku – emiausi realizuoti save cia. Iki to laiko masciau, kur eisiu, kai vaikai paaugs. Ar atgal prie kino, ar prie interjeru, ar..fotografija? Bet taip nutiko, kad pastojus ir pradejus glausti pilvelyje antraji vaikuti Rapola – mane kazko pradejo traukti siuvimas ir mazuju rubeliu kurimas. Lietuvoje tokio verslo pavyzdziu buvo tik vienas – MUKU, tad buvo ganetinai nedrasu svajoti apie kazka daugiau, nei hobis. Bet siuo metu mes turime distributorius Korejoje bei Japonijoje, turim parduotuvele Lietuvos sostineje Vilniuje, bei kartu su 6 dizaineriais ikureme Paryziuje YéYé store. Tad…reziumuoti galiu drasiai, kad svajoti reikia! Svajones pildosi!
Wool Blouse with buttons, as seen on Oaxacaborn dot com's interview with Mummymoon's designerWalk me through your creative process — I guess you could call this the “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” question. Do you have a finished product in mind from the start, and then execute a series of steps to achieve this? Or do the ideas evolve and take life as you go through the creative process?
Sometimes the egg comes first, sometimes the chicken. Creation is like life, it falls into how you live the time. Our creative process is based on our children’s moods or if we simply have time to create or not. It might not sound very interesting but you would not like to hear a fake, made up story, would you?
You can never know how one or the other item of clothing, a detail, a shade will come into life. I always sit down with a pencil and a piece of paper when I get a chance. The desire to create…it is always there, it never goes away. Sometimes I get angry with myself for not making more time for this but I want to give myself to my children first and then to other part of my life – mummymoon.
Kartais nuo kiausinio, kartais nuo vistos. Kuryba kaip ir gyvenimas. Kiekvieno susidelioja taip, kaip pats gyveni. Musu gi – viskas pagal vaiku nuotaika. Yra ar nera laiko. Skamba labai neidomiai, bet ar jus norit pagrazintos istorijos?:)
Niekada negali zinoti, kaip atsiras vienas ar kitas rubas. Viena ar kita detale. Vienas ar kitas pustonis. Sedu prie popieriaus ir piestuko kai tik yra tam laiko. O noro…jo yra visada, jis niekur nedingsta, kartais pykstu ant saves, kad nepasidarau jo daugiau, bet norisi atsiduoti vaikams, o tik tada savo gyvenimo kitai pusei – mummymoon. Continue reading “DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT :: A Conversation with Lithuanian Childrenswear Designer Mummymoon”

Conversations with Designers, Little Style

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT :: A conversation with Swedish children’s clothing designer Anna Nordqvist of Lobilo

Today (Happy Friday!) I’m delighted to share a chat I recently had with Anna Nordqvist, the designer behind the Swedish children’s brand Lobilo.

A conversation with designer Anna Lundqvist of Lobilo, a Swedish children's brand - as seen on Oaxacaborn dot com

Anna, I’m so happy to talk to you about your clothing brand! When did you first get the idea to start Lobilo?
Anna: The idea started when my daughter was about two years old. She, as many other children, was very decisive with what she wanted to wear: only clothes with prints. I did not really liked the ones I found in stores, so I started at first to hand paint on some of her clothes. She liked them, and so did many others, and that is how Lobilo was born.
Lobilo jersey shirt with bird printI’m curious, is there a story behind the name Lobilo? What does it mean?
Anna: It´s actually a secret…but I guess I can tell ;) I tried to teach my husband to say “I love you” in Russian. But he could not say it correctly, instead he said “Lobilo”, and it become our way to say “I love you”.

Swedish children's brand Lobilo as seen on Oaxacaborn dot com

That’s so great! I always enjoy hearing what goes into a name. 

You describe Lobilo as “play, love, and a lot of fantasy”. I see the playfulness — how did the concept of fantasy influence the autumn collection?
Anna: I guess fantasy is in everything I do. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been very imaginative and I think I still am. Children’s imagination is so fantastic and it is something that should be encouraged. The autumn collection is called “Secret Friend”; the influence is from the children’s book and movie The Secret Garden (written by Frances Hodgson Burnett). The children in this story keep a lot of secrets and the story is very inspiring for your imagination. I hope that the prints on my clothes can do the same: inspire children to fantasize more.

A conversation with the designer of Lobilo, Swedish children's clothing - as seen on Oaxacaborn dot com

Can you share your design process? What inspires you as you design clothes, and where do you get your ideas?
Anna: Before I start to design a collection I go and think about it for weeks, but the time to sit down and draw it never seems to come. So when I do have the time, the collection is almost already finished. In this collection, the shapes on the designs are inspired from the clothes that are worn in the movie mentioned above. The one thing that takes the most time is the prints…I do them over and over again.

I get inspired of a lot of things that I see around me like art, movies and sometimes even things like dust ;) You never know when the inspiration will hit you. But something that is very important for me in the process and that inspires me are feelings. What I mean by that, is, for example — for this collection secrets are a main issue, and how it makes you feel to keep a secret, and share a secret with someone.

Handprinted clothing inspired by the Secret Garden from Swedish brand Lobilo - as seen on Oaxacaborn dot com

Oh, it’s been so fun getting to know more about Lobilo. Where can readers purchase your clothes?
Anna: At Lilla Mode. They ship worldwide, and soon Lobilo will open its own web shop.

Thanks, Anna! Readers, check out these links — and head over to Lobilo’s Facebook page to leave Anna a comment!

Lobilo.se| Shop Lobilo at Lilla Mode | Lobilo on Facebook