20 September 2007

panda head interviews...

if you live, love and shop locally in DC, chances are you're familiar with virginia arrisueño's sharp line of bags-and-more, de*nada. she's at all the great shopping events (styleistics, crafty bastards, black cat's rock n shop), all your favorite stores (kickballers, smash, redeem, alex boutique, NIDO, unsung designers, and even trim) and perhaps most importantly, all up on your best friends. DC girls love de*nada - but considering she sells across the US and canada as well, we can't really call her our little secret. but we DO get the dirty details on her new fall line first...

when and how did you start de*nada?
At the beginning of 2005, I was toying with the idea of starting a small business but I was clueless on what I wanted to create. At the time, I was working as an assistant to a local handbag designer who was teaching me how to sew, create patterns and overall how to manage a small business. One day, she decided to move her business to another state to be closer to her fiancé. After she moved, I figured enough was enough, now is the best time to start something. I was young and had plenty of energy. So I used what I learned from my former job and started a small business in handbag design…and presto, De*Nada was born!
A lot of people ask, "why did [you] name [your] label de*nada?" and why not use my own name for my label like most designers do. The answer is very simple. My last name, Arrisueño, is very difficult to pronounce properly. So rather then hear my name get butchered each time I did business, I decided to use a Hispanic word that is catchy, easy to say, and most people know what it means ("you're welcome"). Also, since my parents are from Peru, South America, I wanted to choose a word that was somehow connected to my roots. That connection is really important to me.
Although I had some problems at the start, I always knew what I wanted to achieve as an independent designer and entrepreneur: to design/create limited-edition products that focus on craftsmanship/detail, function, style and affordability.
how is this collection different from your first?
Personally, I feel that this upcoming fall and winter collection is very different from my first collection. The materials I used for the products, the overall appearance of this collection and the addition of tees and knitted accessories make this fall and winter collection very different from my first one.
After selling my products at numerous shopping events and talking to my customers face to face, I realized that the majority were young professionals/urbanites on the go who needed bags that were functional, durable, well made but still affordable. So for the fall and winter collection I decided to use a combination of vinyl and canvas. The vinyl I use is a higher grade of vinyl that feels and looks almost like leather - the difference is that vinyl is a lot more durable, easy to clean, water resistant, vegan-friendly and affordable. The canvas I use also has the same qualities as the vinyl.
For the overall look, I decided to transition the theme towards a more unisex/tomboy feel. Ever since my first collection, I never felt like the collections truly represented me. Since I have always been a semi-tomboy, I decided to combine both masculine and feminine qualities to this collection. For example, I included screen-printed images of guns and keys on a shopper tote bag.
Lastly, I decided to expand and include a small line of tees and knitted accessories, which I’m very excited about. For the tees, I worked closely with my long-time boyfriend, Kelly Towles. Since he has a lot more experience working with graphics/illustrations than I do, we would both develop the concept and he would illustrate the idea. The knitted accessories developed from a personal passion I have for fiber art, etc.
the scarves are a new venture - tell me about them!
Since I was kid, I remember my great aunt teaching me how to knit. She taught me how to knit sweaters for my Barbie dolls, teddy bears and later how to knit scarves. Unlike most kids my age, I spent most of my free time knitting. Since then, I have always had a fascination with knitted accessories and it followed me through out my years in college. My senior thesis was on fiber art. So for this season, I decided to branch out and design a small collection of scarves using alpaca and angora.
Essentially, the collection includes four styles and each design comes in various colors. Since I am personally not into the frilling, super feminine styles, I decided to keep the designs simple and elegant yet still functional and affordable.
I love this line and hope by next fall and winter season I will be able to develop [it] further and include a larger variety of knitted accessories like gloves, hats, sweaters, etc.

interview: morgan. pictures courtesy of virginia arrisueño. the f/w de*nada line is available online september 24th at www.DeNadaDesign.com and locally at the aforementioned retailers. and go add de*nade on myspace like now.


Blogger DC Goodwill Fashionista said...

LOVE de*nada! Thanks for the interview. -the DCGF

11:34 PM  

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