Monday, 7 February 2011

Designer Of The Day: Claudia Polo

Designer Bio:

 Enthusiastic and passionate Fashion & Textile Designer and social entrepreneur is the founder of the British label and social enterprise CLAUDIA POLO 'Fairtrade Fashion & Accessories'. Her speciality is creating  Fashion & textiles based on Fair & Ethical Trade principles'. Her designs reflect her travels, experiences and adventures in creativity and imagination. She’s obsessed with details and finds in Designing and Fashion the perfect ways to get her creativity to flow, developing very unique creations.
Her passion and fascination for  artisan techniques, diverse cultures and natural resources are her main source of inspiration. She combines her style and global influences always with the ethical purposes of preserving cultural heritage, protecting the environment and improve the lives of many vulnerable groups. Through her work she aims to re-address social and environmental issues, empower women and campaign and promote organic and eco-friendly materials and Ethical practises in the fashion industry.
Dynamic Fashion and Textile Designer, Concept Maker and Art Director who is able to design and develop latest collections of Fashion and Accessories aimed to the most varied and demanding global markets.
Can demonstrate a strong ability to manage projects from conception through the whole process to successful completion. A proactive and flexible individual with a creative approach to challenges, performing effectively within a pressurised working environment. Enjoys being part of, as well as leading a team. Quick to grasp new ideas, and to develop innovative and unique products.

1. What inspired you to get into fashion design?
A huge passion for creating!
I’m fascinated by the feeling of creating new things, the feeling itself keeps me alive! I specially enjoy making different, special, unique, stylish and off course green creations that inspire people and have a story behind and some sort of personality.

2. Where did you go to school and what was your major?
I did a 5 year fashion & textile degree at the University of Azuay, in my hometown Cuenca-Ecuador, where I graduated as a Fashion Designer.

3. Describe your philosophy about fashion?
Fashion is an amazing way of expression! A very strong one, images speak louder than words! Fashion is changing and evolving every second! So many stories can be told through fashion, everybody can tell their own one in their own particular way. Fashion is my favourite way to get my creativity to flow and materialise.

4. What words of wisdom can you give to aspiring designers?
 If I’d have to put all my advise for aspiring designers in one word, it’d be: Audacity.
All designers but specially the new up and coming ones face many challenges! I would recommend them, and all professionals to take very seriously the responsibility of creating sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly products or always taking these practises in consideration. Trying to adapt to the necessities of this new demanding and rapidly changing modern society by being amazingly curious, great readers and keep constantly updating with what goes on around us in our own community and world are musts.

5. Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
Everyday life inspires me! Designing keeps me in such a conscience-awakening mode. I try to have all my senses awake to be able to prescribe and capture little details, feelings, textures, expressions, flavours, colours, images, styles, trends, people’s reactions and more. My big fascination for artisan techniques and my native Ecuadorian diversity and talent plus off course, British culture, have been my main sources of inspiration!
But my can come from anywhere and everywhere! It is a sum of bits from here and there. The world being so accessible now is truly amazing! I like to take little bits of the places around me and from the ones I visit too. I mix British quality, style and attitude with some Italian glamour, Swiss clever design, Spanish passion, Moroccan magic, American comfort and others and materialise them by beautiful artists hands and with eco friendly materials from the Andes! No wonder why my creations are complete hybrid pieces!
I aim to combine my own style and global influences always with ethical purposes, protecting the environment and improve the lives of many vulnerable groups.

6. What is a typical day for a fashion designer like yourself?
Definitely a busy one! They tend to be different depending on the time of the year or place I am. As all the production of my designs is done in Ecuador and I am introducing my new company in the UK and European market, I have to travel and be on the phone or internet a lot and in a constant switch to Spanish and English! It all has become normal to me now, it’s my lifestyle!
My day includes loads and loads of time on the computer, phone, reading, meetings and going, well running at times, here and there!

7. Which fashion designers have been important points of reference for you?
British designers are definitely my favourite ones! Vivienne Westwood has always amazed me with facts such as her poor background or age never stopping her from creating proper stylish and superb collections and imposing her ideas with such impact. Oh, she’s just fantastic!
Stella McCartney too. Despite being a Beatles’ daughter she was meant to be well known for her talent! Because she combines fashion with green principles like no designer has! Her brilliant attitude and work inspire me. Galliano is a great British one too! His designs always have so much power! So much going on, explosions of colour and style! JPG (Jean Paul Gaultier) is the fabulous French designer I adore! I love his baroque, catchy and glamorous style full of details. But a very important and great influence for me is the wonderful self-taught knitwear designer Conchita, which is the head of Design at the Artisan Cooperative that produces my knitwear collections in a rural little town in the Ecuadorian Andes.

8. If you had the opportunity to design an outfit for one person who would it be?
I would love to design a very special and amazing hat for Queen Elizabeth. I will do at some point!

9. Can you tell me about your collection?
In a few words they consists of ethical, stylish and Eco-Chic Clothing and Accessories. Our collections include Ladies, Men, Children, Babies and Pet ranges.
Stylish yet warm and comfy, full of textures, and vintage style knits. Classy, jazzy and edgy felt hats. Chic, elegant and lovely wool jackets, coats and capes are our AW ranges. Chunky, bright and vibrant colourful vegetable Ivory jewellery and funky, modern, sexy or classic genuine panama hats are the ones for the SS season.
Designed in England and handmade in Ecuador by a specially selected group of artisans. Claudia Polo’s 'Slow Fashion' pieces are constructed using 100% natural fibres and materials, considering every ethical and ecological possible aspects. Products with great attention to detail that stand the test of time. Contemporary and classic, functional and transeasonal pieces, which are made to be kept.

10. Where can we find your collection?
Our products can be found at where a worldwide shipping service is available.
In the UK they can be found in central London at the Fashion Capital boutique 2 Seymour Place, , W1H 7NA, nearest tube Marble Arch.
And in central Birmingham you can find our products the ‘We are Birmingham’ Boutique at Unit 2, Kings Parade, Dale End, B4 7LN. We have got sales representatives and stockists around Ecuador and in Switzerland and stockists in Zurich. For wholesale orders please and for house party bookings please contact