Thursday, 7 February 2013

Interview: Stéphanie Caulier, I Love Mr Mittens

I first discovered Belgian born, Perth based Stéphanie Caulier's gorgeous line of beanies I Love Mr. Mittens via the ever-stylish Jessie of We The People. Made from Peruvian pima cotton and wool, they are the perfect essential for the cold, winter months and add much needed pizazz to any outfit! From the classic pom pom beanie to the urban turban, Stéphanie's designs are both playful and practical. Enjoy! 
Hi Stéphanie. Where are you and what are you doing right now?
I`m at home in Australia, trying to stay cool in front of the air conditioning. It`s very hot in Perth at the moment.

How did you get into design?
I learnt how to knit when I was about 7 years old. My mother and grandmother are both very creative and that must have rubbed off on me. They are so good at sewing, crochet, knitting… I picked up my needles again in 2007 while I was visiting a knitting cafe in New York . After that I started selling scarfs to friends and family and never stopped.

How would you describe the I Love Mr Mittens aesthetic in three words?

Tell us about the designs you create.
I design handmade knitwear using 100% Pima cotton yarn. Every piece is available in six different colours. The new collection will have different beanies, turbans, scarfs and snoods and in the future I would like to add more colours and slowly add more designs.

Who and what influences your designs?
A lot of things influence me. Movies, books, street style photography,  I read a lot of fashion and interior blogs.

Talk us through the design process.
I have big mood boards that are full of street style photography, colours, squares of stitches I've tested,  patterns and other things that inspire me.
The entire collection is hand knitted with Peruvian Pima cotton. I first start knitting with a basic pattern and check how I have to adjust the pattern to the cotton thread I use.
After that I just keep knitting the pattern over and over, adjust the pattern, experiment with different stitches until it turns into a design that I`m 100% happy with.
I`m not very technical, so when it involves more complicated patterns I get advise from my knitters and we work it out together. At the moment I have about six knitters that help me knitting, each with their own specialty. Every piece is carefully inspected on possible mistakes and irregularities. The quality is very important!
I used to knit for about 14 hours a day, which resulted in a constant pain in my wrists and didn`t leave me much time to take care of paperwork and other work involved with I love Mr Mittens, so it`s good to have knitters helping me out.
They are all very passionate about their knitting and it`s nice to share that interest.

Who is the I Love Mr Mittens girl?
A girl that is fashion conscious and likes to add some knitted staples to her wardrobe. Someone that is looking for quality and a unique timeless piece.

How would you describe your personal style and how does that manifest itself in your designs?
My personal style is very simple and comfort is key.
I love good basics like denim, white t-shirts, timeless designer pieces mixed with Zara or H&M. There is not much difference between my day and night time wardrobe.
Since living in Australia I rarely wear heels and live in Havaianas and sneakers.
The I love Mr Mittens pieces all have a simple, fashionable design that will stand the test of time just like the pieces you will find in my wardrobe and my home interior.

What are your 5 wardrobe essentials?
Isabel Marant sneakers, skinny jeans , T by Alexander Wang t-shirts , I love Mr Mittens scarf/beanie , a black blazer my mother made for me

Any beauty rituals?
Bumble & Bumble shampoo, Aveda smoothing fluid, Aesop Skincare products, Bare minerals powder, black mascara.

What’s coming up next for you?
I`m waiting for my next yarn delivery from Peru. Once that arrives, my knitters and I will be flat out knitting up new stock. I`m also shooting a look book for the first time, the E-shop will be online by March-April and I`m working on a collection in wool.

Describe your perfect day
A day at Margaret River, a wine area south of Perth, with my partner Adam. Just driving from one winery to another, visit all the gorgeous beaches and finish the day with a delicious meal at one of the wineries. 

See more of Stéphanie's work on her website.

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