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“Nice To Meet You” is a collective project by New York-based designers Teasy Shiruo Sun and Friszi Tianyang Jin. Their handmade and interactive garments are inspired by an original children’s story written by the designers themselves. The collection aims to educate and encourage imagination through its innovative, playful and earth-friendly textile design. The collection features high craftsmanship such as felting, knitting and natural dying.
We chatted to Teasy and Friszi about working together and what the collection is about.
It was amazing seeing your designs in person at Dot to Dot last summer. It's such a well respected platform for innovative and creative children's lifestyle brands. An inspiring, exciting space to show your creations to peers within the industry. Putting yourself, your ideas out there at such an event must have been such a proud moment. How did it feel?
Teasy: As a young designer who recently graduated at that time, I felt really lucky to be chosen as the winner of new design talent contest by Dot to Dot London and lunamag.com and was offered this amazing opportunity to showcase my designs at Dot to Dot London 10th edition. I appreciated the moment to have more people recognize my collection, my design aesthetics and my brand value as they were very different from the massive children’s wear market. But what excited me the most was to get to know and talk to other brands all over the globe and to learn their own stories— Dot to Dot was such as a cheerful, inspiring and supportive space for young designer like me and I look forward to going back!
The fit of both brands as a collaboration seems like such a natural combination of your aesthetic, your values. How did it feel seeing your ideas, your stories come together for this collection?
Teasy: I am surprisingly happy about the final outcome! To be honest, Friszi and I are completely different children’s wear designers which you can tell from our previous work. Friszi has a passion for ethical textiles and loves subtle, natural and conceptual elements. My designs, on the other side, are more graphic, modern and are usually detail oriented with a distinct colour palette. I believe it is because the fact we are so different in terms of design aesthetics makes our collaboration have a stronger voice and more unique in today’s children’s wear market. But the most important thing in our collaboration is that Friszi and I do share the same design value— we want to make children have fun with and learn from their daily wardrobe. Our designs are not just wearable, but timeless pieces that allow children to gain something meaningful when they interact with the imaginative textiles and get to learn about the narrative behind the clothes.
Friszi: The final collection is a true combination of the aesthetics and values that Teasy and I have as individual designers. We sort of infused the playfulness and colourfulness from Teasy and the subtleness and simplicity from my aesthetic. We both integrated our “signature” textile techniques to this collaboration and tried to fulfil our original story, that we wrote on a cozy afternoon, through textile. I really enjoyed the process of me handing the yarns and wools that I just dyed to Teasy to get her doing the felting, or Teasy giving me her felt pieces and I sew the pieces onto the garment. It’s a lot of back-and-forth. It was also worth doing in the way that we both shared the common insight of adding educational meanings to childrenswear that the wearer could interact with the garments, feel the narrative and the touch from the nature.
This collection has the ability to remind you of the innocence, the wild imagination you have as a child. However the subtle, yet strong message of bravery. Of encouraging the child to think about what could be, is powerful. Tell us about how the story within the collection came to be?
Teasy & Friszi: We started the collection with pulling a bunch of mood images that we found relevant to our heart and telling each other the reasons we chose and loved the images. We then realised as we grew up, both of us had a hard time embracing the true nature in ourselves and were constantly questioning who we were and who were really wanted to be. We believe “finding the true self” is something every child needs to go through in their life. Thus, we created two characters: a child and a bunny and wrote the narrative based on the collection concept— finding the true self.
“The child is sitting in the middle of a glass house. Sunlight streams onto their head. Through the glass, they see the flowers, the grass, the trees and the entire world. The child feels safe being inside the glass house. One day, a bunny shows up in front of the glass door and smiles at the child. Every day after that, the bunny visits them and the two form a friendship. The child starts picturing life outside the glass house but hesitates about leaving such a comfortable place. One day, the child finally decides to open the door. The bunny and the child run hand in hand into the unfamiliar, natural world with a joyful sense of peace. At that moment, the child discovers running with the bunny is the true self.”
Designed by Teasy and Friszi, the collection, “Nice To Meet You” is indeed a reflection of ourselves.
The interactive elements in your designs are so original, so fun and playful, Is this something you wish to continue through to future collections? Continue the story?
Teasy: Yes absolutely. When I design for children, I always think about the kind of experience I would love to have with my clothes if I were a child. Growing up as the only child, I spent a lot time playing alone and I was really drawn into anything interactive and playful. My only child playing experience has definitely shaped my design aesthetics and brought a lot of inspirations to me when it comes to interactive designs. Storytelling through children’s wear is also something big to me. I think narrative is the soul of a collection and it gives clothes meaning. In my future designs, I am excited to see how I can take further steps on both of them! :)
In a climate within the fashion industry where sustainability of the fabrics and the processes used to bring the collection to production are a big factor in consumers buying decisions. Here at little flea we love that our independent brands take this very seriously. Your use of natural fabrics within your collection is evident. How important is it to you to ensure your pieces contribute to a more sustainable industry?
Friszi: In this collection, we are using natural fibres only in terms of choice of materials, and all the colours you see are from nature materials like madder roots, cochineal, natural indigo, and turmeric. It always links to the original reason of what kind of children swear design I want to create. For me, I want to make clothes that children can feel closer to the earth when they are told the colour of certain parts on the garment is from certain tree barks or flowers. That feels amazing to me. Since we apply natural dye for all the fabrics and yarns natural fibres, it’s a must that we could only use natural fibres. However, natural fibres are safer and better choice of materials for kids’ sensitive skin. Honestly, I’m really careful to link the word “sustainable” to my works because it’s still controversial to determine whether the use of natural fibres or natural dyeing is truly “sustainable”, so it might be something that I will keep exploring with.
Thank you so much to Teasy and Friszi for talking to us. The collection is truly incredible. To explore the collection fully, click here.