INTERVIEWS

5 Questions with Soizic Villanueva from Maison Frida

Brands that are the creation of one dedicated person can often offer a very personal reflection and fascinating insight into the brand’s unique collection. The stylish and colourful children’s clothing of Masion Frida clearly follows the life story of its lovely creator, Soizic Villanueva, a French mama married to a Mexican man.  Intrigued by this mix of Mexico and France, we wanted to find out more. Soizic kindly agreed to answer our 5 Questions. Find her answers here:

sonic founder maison frida

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live and about your family.

I’m 33 years old, a mum, and a designer. I live in Chicago, Illinois with my husband Alex and my 2 kids Adam (5yo) and Ines (2yo). We moved to our house 2 years ago after traveling a lot. We found the perfect home in Logan Square to settle down for the next few years. Logan Square is an amazing Chicago neighborhood with a great food and bar scene. During the summer, we enjoy walking around and shopping groceries at the local Farmers’ Market. We have a small backyard so my kids can play with water and help us cultivate the vegetable garden. They love that!

founder reads to children

girls bedroom bed rug star

plant colour coat hanger

blouse girls ss18

contrast stitching selection

2. Tell us a little bit about your brand and how you came to create your label.

I spent my childhood in a small town in Brittany, France. I have 2 brothers very close in age and I’m the youngest. I spent a lot of time with my mom. She taught me how to knit and sew. I started practicing by knitting some clothes for my dolls!

When I was 19 years old, I met my now husband, Alex, who was in Brittany studying French. It was love at first sight! We moved to Paris to finish our studies, and spent 4 years there. It was an amazing experience, but by the we graduated, Alex was feeling homesick and wanted to return to Mexico. I really wanted to go to Mexico and get to know his country and culture better.

In 2009 we moved to Guadalajara for few months, and then settled in Mexico City for a couple of years. Mexico has such a rich culture. I loved the friendly and welcoming people, and how they’re always smiling!

When I was pregnant with my first child, I wanted to learn more about sewing and pattern making. I took a few classes and found myself really passionate about it. I realised this could be something bigger and started thinking about launching my own clothing brand. In 2014, we moved to San Francisco, where we spent one year. My daughter, Ines, was born there. During this time, I was still sewing and refining my business concept.

All in all, Maison Frida is based on my personal journey. As I like to say: France is in my blood and Mexico is in my heart. So, naturally, I combined French design with Mexican colours.

It was important for me that my brand embodies my ethical and environmental values as well as my commitment to quality. I spent two years sourcing the right factory and materials and I am glad I did. I now have a collection that only uses high-quality, natural, and where possible sustainable fabrics. My factory is based in Chicago and shares my commitment to quality and ethical production. On top of that, we are limiting our environmental footprint by designing and producing in the same city.

shirt jacket maison frida s18

3. What is your current favourite product in your collection?

I personally love the Olive Green Jacket for boys because it’s my first design and it perfectly reflects the essence of Maison Frida. That said, one of the must-haves of this collection is the Leaves Print Dress. This dress is so adorable with its ruffle sleeves!

I’m particularly proud of the Leaves and Logo patterns because I designed them myself. These two patterns make for an especially original style! I attach great importance to details such using wood buttons in some pieces, using contrasting-colour ribbons in collars, and having every piece discreetly embroidered with the MF logo – just the way I like it.

boys outerwear s18

girls blouse s18

small business logistics

4. Where are you based and how is your work space set up? Do you work from home or do you have an office/studio somewhere?

I work from home. All of my inventory is downstairs in my office, but most of the time I prefer to work in my living room. I also spend a lot of time with my pattern-maker and at the factory. The close proximity is so nice, it means that I’m able to spend time with them and build a strong relationship.

mexican french brand home

soizic inspiration reading

founder creative production check

garment creation fabric cuts

boys jacket outerwear brown

5. What’s next for Maison Frida?

The Fall/Winter 2018 collection is already in production. This collection will use vibrant colours from Mexico, but it will be more focused on Brittany, where I have my roots! For this collection, I’m using some sustainable fabrics like a ridiculously soft tencel fleece and a warm organic cotton sherpa.

Hopefully people will like my brand and talk about MF as a high-quality and ethical kids clothing brand made with a lot of passion, commitment and love!

 

Maison Frida is a valued member of our shopping portal. Read more about this brand on their profile page.. Factory photography by Annkathrin Murray.


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