It’s time to introduce you to a new column on un-cluttered: ‘A Talk With’. In this section I’ll catch up with like-minded individuals who inspire me on a daily base with their unique approach on minimalism. For this first column I reached out to fashion designer Melissa Araujo who I’ve virtually met on Instagram a while ago and keeps surprising me ever since with her effortless style and minimalistic designs. Melissa runs her own clothing label inspired by architecture and geometric shapes with a timeless feel to it. In this way Melissa’s allowing modern women to wear the pieces year around as a statement or a staple piece.
Hi Melissa, please introduce yourself!
“I am originally from Brazil, moved to Canada to pursue a Marketing Degree, but once I finished, realized it was not as creative as I thought it would be. As I was deciding on what to do next with my professional life, I started to remember that many of my friends were always asking where I bought my clothes and where they could get them. A lot of those pieces were designed by me and made by mom’s seamstress. That’s when I realized I could combine business and creativity by going back to school into Fashion Design and learn how to create my own pieces. My brand is based, designed and made in Vancouver – Canada.”
You’re a fashion designer and set up your own label, could you tell us what it took you to get where you are right now?
“Once I graduated Fashion Design I started my website as a portfolio 4 years ago, a year later I decided to take this seriously and build my brand, the MA label is now 3 years old. I also created a blog to connect with like minded people, the blog is an important vehicle for emerging designers to showcase our creativity, designs and personal style.”
“There is a lot of competition,
fast fashion, and bigger brands with big budgets.
In the age of the internet everything goes
and everything is easily copied.”
How is it to be a designer in this day and age? Any pro’s or con’s?
“Being a designer is not easy, a lot people think it is all fun and play. But being an independent designer, doing all on your own is hard work, you have to be committed, focus and love what you are doing. There is a lot of competition, fast fashion, and bigger brands with big budgets. In the age of the internet everything goes and everything is easily copied. Also to be a designer now you have to be really versatile because not only you are competing with other designers, you are also competing with celebrities, bloggers, and actresses that partner up with well known brands for design collaborations.”
Can you tell a bit more about your latest collection and the story behind it?
“My latest collection is called BASICS. It is a 7 top collection for your everyday life. Easy, minimal and comfortable were the key ideas for this capsule collection. I will be focusing for the next few months on advertising and sharing the new campaign. The art direction for the shoot was inspired by the words of Ad Reinhardt, an artist of the Abstract Expressionist generation: “The more stuff in it, the busier the work of art, the worse it is. More is less. Less is more. The eye is a menace to clear sight.” I want to design clothes that will add to people’s wardrobe, a year around experience. I will continue to add to this BASIC collection every 6 months or so. Not only you can shop for your favourite MA Basic, but you may like a new item that will come out later in the year.”
“I have always been attracted to the cold,
clean architecture with sharp lines and
interesting shapes. The minimal look carries
into my designs, how I dress, how my place is
decorated and my life style in general.”
Your minimalist approach in everything you do is so thought through and detailed, how did this evolve through the years?
“Growing up I was a tomboy, always very basic and in muted colours. I was also a late bloomer for fashion, and when I started liking clothes, accessories I had to find something that spoke to me. Minimalism suits my personality the best. I have always been attracted to the cold, clean architecture with sharp lines and interesting shapes. The minimal look carries into my designs, how I dress, how my place is decorated and my life style in general. I truly believe less is more and simplicity is a harder state to achieve than over designed anything. Plus it helps that I am naturally very detailed oriented and love my surroundings to be cluster free.”
How would you describe your personal style in a few words?
“‘Less is more’. I incorporate a minimalist approach with a muted pallet in my personal style and designs with clean lines and silhouettes.”
If you could switch lives with a designer for one day, who would it be and why?
“Phoebe Philo. She brought a new touch to the Celine brand and made it her very own, creating functional clothes with a focus on minimal design, material and tailoring. She truly has the opportunity to express her vision and taste and she does it beautifully. I aspire to be like that.”
What are your favorite places to shop?
“I try to shop from independent brands and designers like myself, which is usually online.”
What inspires you most?
“Most of my inspiration comes from architecture, geometry and my travels. I love modern, minimal art and structures; I am really attracted to angles and lines.”
Any Instagram-accounts you recommend to follow?
“Be true to who you are, know what you
want your brand to represent. Work hard and
don’t give up when the odds are against you.”
What can we expect from you and your label in the near future?
“I have only worked with Bamboo Jersey and Organic Cotton because I want to be a brand that is sustainable and eco friendly. But I also would like to venture into trying some new materials to include more structured pieces. I want to continue growing as a person and as a business, travel more so I can see and experience different cultures, lifestyles and architectures. Also when I make my new collection I have a new muse, so I may not be the face of MA for the collection.”
Last but not least, any advice for other girls out there who want to start their own brand as well?
“Be true to who you are, know what you want your brand to represent. Work hard and don’t give up when the odds are against you. Have goals and be focused on achieving them. I try and remind myself of those things everyday. Be a quick decision-maker, I believe in going with your instincts. If you over think a situation, you will kill creativity and not move forward.”