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Interview with Sophia Schneider-Esleben

Home > Designer Interviews > Sophia Schneider-Esleben

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Sophia Schneider-Esleben (SS) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Sophia Schneider-Esleben by clicking here.

Interview with Sophia Schneider-Esleben at Wednesday 26th of April 2017
Sophia Schneider-Esleben
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
SS: My family exists of four generations from well-known freelance architects, musicians and designers. These influences have inspired and guided me from the beginning.  Being surrounded of interesting, successful people gave me the inspiration and the courage to become a designer. After a long journey to graphic design studios, goldsmiths and photographers, I met fashion at age seventeen by an internship with Maria Mahlmann, fashion designer, Hamburg, who showed me the world of the draping and I have fallen in love with it. I identify myself with design, its beauty and chances, to express my talents to change the world …

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
SS: I love family, fashion and sustainability, so I combined these interests and started my own Eco Fashion & Fairtrade abel for "Mommy and Me". This is my tribute to our planet. I only use organic fabrics and I obtain green energy. My collections are produced in small series and on demand in my studio in Kassel.

FS: What is "design" for you?
SS: My Design is a composition of classical beauty, poetry and commitment for slow fashion.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
SS: I love dresses! There are so many ways to express and create a mood. There is no better way to look fabulous!

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
SS: There is a variety of designs that I like. I love Art Nouveau and Bauhaus. I feel home with Provençal Details, Architecture & TechnoStyle. I love the mix of all. My fashion idols are Coco Chanel and Vivienne Westwood.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
SS: At my internship by Anja Gockel, Mainz, 2011 I designed a knitted pullover for her winter collection "Signs".

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
SS: I love all natural, sustainable and vegan fabrics like cotton, linen and bamboo. I always have my eyes on new concepts, for instance like outdoor fabrics made of recycled plastic bottles or new vegan fabrics made from ananas or mushrooms.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
SS: When I start new projects. I always feel the high energy of a new beginning. But there is no day without a creative and new idea!

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
SS: Fashion is about fun, that´s one important issue, that sets the design. Of course as an eco fashion designer the design needs to be timeless, an evergreen. More important, still a hidden aspect is the sustainability. The comfort for a pregnant or breastfeeding woman is also an important aspect, but you will not think my design is specially made for pregnancy.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
SS: Love, harmony, freedom, luck, joy, delight, happiness ...

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
SS: I always feel satisfied. There is nothing better than having a finished product after a long way of  creative process and production.

FS: What makes a design successful?
SS: When my costumers are happy.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
SS: I am very critical and factual, I always look for colours, shapes, finishing and simplicity.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
SS: We all need to design sustainable products! The pollution of fashion industry is enormous, I can´t believe that you can see the trend colour of the next season in the Ganges. Or Indian women who sort textile garbage from the west, think we have a big problem with water scarcity, since washing is more expensive than buying new clothes ..!

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
SS: In addition to the desire that all fashion labels produce fair & eco. I believe in a decline of black by the fear of islamophoby. In menacing situations fashion has always been extravagant. The first signs today are the pompous sleeves. I am happy about the digitalization of the fashion and hope to have someday an own 3D Printer. Now I am very pleased about the plastic bottled recycled 3D printed Adidas sneakers.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
SS: My last presentation was at the design fair „Blickfang“ in Stuttgart, now I'm heading to the Fashion Week, Berlin, this summer, presenting my new collection at Playtime Berlin, Ethical Fashion Show, Berlin and Kleine Fabriek, Amsterdam.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
SS: The ease, fantasy and inquiring mind of children inspires me. I get feeded about happiness, inner freedom, nature and culture. Lots of inspirations also come from the interesting conversations, politics, movies, music, art and travelling.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
SS: Since fashon is the second skin my design is made of organic fabrics and colors without pesticides produced fair trade. But despite of the normal eco design my design is slow, smart and eco, neoclassical with a romantic flair.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
SS: I live in Kassel, known for the international art exhibition Documenta. As a half German and half Italian I connect design and function. Germans only want to have function, I miss the sense and celebration of fashion and beauty. Specially for kids fashion, they only ask for drier function, while in the south of Europe they dress kids like a prince and a princess and celebrate the beauty of fashion. I really love that.

FS: How do you work with companies?
SS: I’m always open and free for cooperations!m I love the beginning of something new.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
SS: Companies often tend to stop designers from their creativity, as they only think of profit and sale. Nothing new is created, since only that is produced the customer purchases safely it is a reproduction of bestsellers. The retail store is yawning dull. If a company engages a designer please take over the expertise and the ideas!

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
SS: I don’t need more than one day and a sleepless night to imagine the new collection. Very quick after designing I start to create prototypes by draping on a tailoring doll. I don’t think to long about a design I finish very quick. Either there is a result after a day or not. Love it, change it or leave it.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
SS: The Art Nouveau Chaiselongue of my Grandgrandmother, Ursula van Diemen, Concertsinger. The SputnikChair "PSE 58", designed by my Grandfather Paul Schneider-Esleben, Architect, for which he gained also a Silver Award from Triennale di Milano in 1960. The bookshelf "SH05 Arie" by Arik Levy produced by E15, Frankfurt. A few side tables, vases, metal pictures and accessories which I brought along at the flea market in France A barrock armchair I have restored with red velvet & goldapplications.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
SS: Very early I go running for an hour every day in the central park in front of my studio to plan my day, thats a great kick start. After that I enjoy my cappuccino and self-made muesli on my balcony. Charged for the day I start drawing for an hour. After that I work on my daily projects. 

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
SS: Never stop dreaming, never despair, believe in you. Good stuff take time. Stay tuned, the planet needs you.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
SS: The best thing being a designer is the never ending creativity, to always have the chance to create something new. Holding a self designed product in my hands is awesome!

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
SS: Love what you do. If you don't feel good about it, leave it.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
SS: Imagination and to know how to realize, sell and use the design.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
SS: My pencil, sketchbook, watercolors, all Adobe programs, my tailoring doll, sewing machine and the internet.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
SS: I work in blocks and projects. There are days I only do one subject.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
SS: It depends on the object. It can take one week for design and three months for developing.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
SS: From where do I get all the creativity?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
SS: At Anja Gockel. There I learned, that I want to work sustainable, and fair-trade, because she doesn't.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
SS: Consumers, Retail shops, Families, Mums, young open people, who love good design. Eco committed Clients.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
SS: I enjoy every single step creating design, especially drawing, watercolorig & Darling. Because I like working with my eyes and hands.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
SS: To establish my eco label more, getting successful in the market, opening my own shop, networking internationally …

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
SS: A a one woman show, I design and develop all on my own! But I am supported by a huge network of fantastic professionals.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
SS: I am very excited about our children's book project which my boyfriend, he as the author and me the illustrator.

FS: How can people contact you?
SS: schneider-esleben.com  sophia@schneider-esleben.com


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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