Sophia Schneider-Esleben

Good in Fashion Design.

About Sophia Schneider-Esleben

Sophias eco design has a delicate sense for colors, design, craft, style and smart cuts in neoclassical forms. This composition makes her work unique. She has a huge knowledge about kids fashion holding kids fashion lectures on fairs and universities. The designer is very political about sustainability and uses only eco fabrics, obtain green energy in her studio in Kassel, where she produces her collections in small series and on demand. The eco philosophy of the designer is to consume small and fine! Carry responsibility for what you wear! Her innovative approach means:  Sustainability through high quality, organic fabrics that do not run, and eco colors that do not fade. Nursing ease by material choice. Durable by cogrowing cuts: baby dresses turns to children's tops, the skirts are long and stretchy, the pants are reversed.
Her eco fashion is dreamy, romantic and cheerful, with good proportions, which is portable and timeless, neither old-fashioned nor lifeless.

  • Winner of Fashion Design Award.
  • Specialized in Fashion Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Fashion
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Interview with Sophia Schneider-Esleben

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
My family exists of four generations from well-known freelance architects, musicians and designers. These influences have inspired and guided me from the beginning.  Being surrounded of interesting, successful people gave me the inspiration and the courage to become a designer. After a long journey to graphic design studios, goldsmiths and photographers, I met fashion at age seventeen by an internship with Maria Mahlmann, fashion designer, Hamburg, who showed me the world of the draping and I have fallen in love with it. I identify myself with design, its beauty and chances, to express my talents to change the world …
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
I love family, fashion and sustainability, so I combined these interests and started my own Eco Fashion & Fairtrade abel for "Mommy and Me". This is my tribute to our planet. I only use organic fabrics and I obtain green energy. My collections are produced in small series and on demand in my studio in Kassel.
What is "design" for you?
My Design is a composition of classical beauty, poetry and commitment for slow fashion.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
I love dresses! There are so many ways to express and create a mood. There is no better way to look fabulous!
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
There is a variety of designs that I like. I love Art Nouveau and Bauhaus. I feel home with Provençal Details, Architecture & TechnoStyle. I love the mix of all. My fashion idols are Coco Chanel and Vivienne Westwood.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
At my internship by Anja Gockel, Mainz, 2011 I designed a knitted pullover for her winter collection "Signs".
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
I love all natural, sustainable and vegan fabrics like cotton, linen and bamboo. I always have my eyes on new concepts, for instance like outdoor fabrics made of recycled plastic bottles or new vegan fabrics made from ananas or mushrooms.
When do you feel the most creative?
When I start new projects. I always feel the high energy of a new beginning. But there is no day without a creative and new idea!
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
Fashion is about fun, that´s one important issue, that sets the design. Of course as an eco fashion designer the design needs to be timeless, an evergreen. More important, still a hidden aspect is the sustainability. The comfort for a pregnant or breastfeeding woman is also an important aspect, but you will not think my design is specially made for pregnancy.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
I always feel satisfied. There is nothing better than having a finished product after a long way of  creative process and production.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
I am very critical and factual, I always look for colours, shapes, finishing and simplicity.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
We all need to design sustainable products! The pollution of fashion industry is enormous, I can´t believe that you can see the trend colour of the next season in the Ganges. Or Indian women who sort textile garbage from the west, think we have a big problem with water scarcity, since washing is more expensive than buying new clothes ..!
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
In addition to the desire that all fashion labels produce fair & eco. I believe in a decline of black by the fear of islamophoby. In menacing situations fashion has always been extravagant. The first signs today are the pompous sleeves. I am happy about the digitalization of the fashion and hope to have someday an own 3D Printer. Now I am very pleased about the plastic bottled recycled 3D printed Adidas sneakers.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
My last presentation was at the design fair „Blickfang“ in Stuttgart, now I'm heading to the Fashion Week, Berlin, this summer, presenting my new collection at Playtime Berlin, Ethical Fashion Show, Berlin and Kleine Fabriek, Amsterdam.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
The ease, fantasy and inquiring mind of children inspires me. I get feeded about happiness, inner freedom, nature and culture. Lots of inspirations also come from the interesting conversations, politics, movies, music, art and travelling.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
Since fashon is the second skin my design is made of organic fabrics and colors without pesticides produced fair trade. But despite of the normal eco design my design is slow, smart and eco, neoclassical with a romantic flair.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live in Kassel, known for the international art exhibition Documenta. As a half German and half Italian I connect design and function. Germans only want to have function, I miss the sense and celebration of fashion and beauty. Specially for kids fashion, they only ask for drier function, while in the south of Europe they dress kids like a prince and a princess and celebrate the beauty of fashion. I really love that.
How do you work with companies?
I’m always open and free for cooperations!m I love the beginning of something new.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
Companies often tend to stop designers from their creativity, as they only think of profit and sale. Nothing new is created, since only that is produced the customer purchases safely it is a reproduction of bestsellers. The retail store is yawning dull. If a company engages a designer please take over the expertise and the ideas!
Can you talk a little about your design process?
I don’t need more than one day and a sleepless night to imagine the new collection. Very quick after designing I start to create prototypes by draping on a tailoring doll. I don’t think to long about a design I finish very quick. Either there is a result after a day or not. Love it, change it or leave it.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
The Art Nouveau Chaiselongue of my Grandgrandmother, Ursula van Diemen, Concertsinger. The SputnikChair "PSE 58", designed by my Grandfather Paul Schneider-Esleben, Architect, for which he gained also a Silver Award from Triennale di Milano in 1960. The bookshelf "SH05 Arie" by Arik Levy produced by E15, Frankfurt. A few side tables, vases, metal pictures and accessories which I brought along at the flea market in France A barrock armchair I have restored with red velvet & goldapplications.
Can you describe a day in your life?
Very early I go running for an hour every day in the central park in front of my studio to plan my day, thats a great kick start. After that I enjoy my cappuccino and self-made muesli on my balcony. Charged for the day I start drawing for an hour. After that I work on my daily projects. 
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Never stop dreaming, never despair, believe in you. Good stuff take time. Stay tuned, the planet needs you.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
The best thing being a designer is the never ending creativity, to always have the chance to create something new. Holding a self designed product in my hands is awesome!
What is your "golden rule" in design?
Love what you do. If you don't feel good about it, leave it.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
My pencil, sketchbook, watercolors, all Adobe programs, my tailoring doll, sewing machine and the internet.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I work in blocks and projects. There are days I only do one subject.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
It depends on the object. It can take one week for design and three months for developing.
What was your most important job experience?
At Anja Gockel. There I learned, that I want to work sustainable, and fair-trade, because she doesn't.
Who are some of your clients?
Consumers, Retail shops, Families, Mums, young open people, who love good design. Eco committed Clients.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I enjoy every single step creating design, especially drawing, watercolorig & Darling. Because I like working with my eyes and hands.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
To establish my eco label more, getting successful in the market, opening my own shop, networking internationally …
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
A a one woman show, I design and develop all on my own! But I am supported by a huge network of fantastic professionals.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
I am very excited about our children's book project which my boyfriend, he as the author and me the illustrator.

Extended Interview with Sophia Schneider-Esleben

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I come from a family of designers, musicians and architects, the creativity accompanies me all my life. Fashion has always fascinated me, so I studied fashion design, made a tailor's apprenticeship at Fahmoda, Akademie für Mode & Design, Hannover, and completed a further education to the cut managaress, at AMD, Akademie für Mode & Design, Hamburg, 2014 I founded my Eco Label, Sophia Schneider-Esleben, Kassel.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
I am fascinated by the process of development, from the idea to the prototype to the finished product and the satisfied customer. To hold something in my hand, that first was an idea.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
Neither nore, I believe you can´t either get become or get forced to be a designer. Either you are a designer or not.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I really love to design eco kid´s fashion in combination with womens wear. I hope to do this my whole life! I create a fashionable „Mini-me-world“ in a family image, which means I dress children and adults in a related combination of „parent-sibling-concept“. For the future I plan also to design fashion for boys & men.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
I really dislike the word „Young Designer“ this means for me the designer has no experience. Every designer is different and that´s wonderful, every designer needs to go his way, there is no better way.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
A good designer has good visions with a short term commercial mind, a great designer combines commercial & cultural thinking in a holistic way, with quality & innovation.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
For me good design is fair trade produced, material & coulors are eco certified, GOTS & OekoTex 100, exciting prints & Patterns, interesting cuts. I think there is no rule of good design. But I think when it catches up to lifestyle of the Zeitgeist, and the attention to the costumer to always desiring the design in his everyday life. Good Design establishes into classic.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Sustainability is one of the most important values in fashion design. I wish the customer invests into the designer and not into the design. This support is more important and will last longer.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I would like to work together with Vivienne Westwood and Karl Lagerfeld. A cooperation in kids fashion would be fun.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
At first my dream is to establish my label, after that I’m open to everything!
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
While there is no golden rule, everybody would have the same success. I think it’s the passion and love to be different and innovative.
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
There is no one more to get inspired by Karl Lagerfeld or Vivienne Westwood. For now there is nearly no kids label I feel in love to but mine …
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
In fashion I love the connection between fun, intelligence and politics as by Vivienne Westwood.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
My Bestsellers are my collection of illustrated animals finished with my special watercolor technic, which are printed on organic BabyBodies & T-Shirts as well on postcards & posters. Here people discovered my experimental illustration talent …
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
I would have become a seeker out of a dissatisfaction. Well, maybe an illustrator ..?
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Design is art, lifestyle, a way to communicate, functionality, fun, everyday life. A good composition of material, construction & vision. Everything is design, which is not grown naturally.
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
To have a  real loyal fanbase, regular costumers a life long and to promote Eco consume.
How does design help create a better society?
Fashion is the second largest environmental pollution, we must start to produce sustainable, fair and local. To recycle and to avoid textile waste. To communicate to customers to live & consume Eco. There is no time to waste!
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
I am very excited about a children's book project which my boyfriend and we would probably create it together. He the writer and me the illustrator.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
I’m satisfied by all of my projects. I would never release a design, if I’m not happy with.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
I hope for a major political change and laws in sustainability, my heart hurts by all the pollution.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
3D printing is a great and positive change and chance to make awesome new and sustainable products!
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
I don’t need more than one day and a sleepless night to imagine the new collection. Very quick after designing I start to create prototypes by draping on a tailoring doll. I don’t think to long about a design I finish very quick. Either there is a result after a day or not. Love it, change it or leave it.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
I don’t need more than one day and a sleepless night to imagine the new collection. Very quick after designing I start Depends on the project, but most by imagination & drawing.
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
This goes hand in hand. It is also a social and political aspect that incorporates. This also determines what the society needs to develop accordingly.
What is the role of technology when you design?
I love all natural and classic vegan fabrics like cotton, linen and bamboo. I always have my eyes on new concepts like outdoor fabrics made of recycled plastic bottles or new vegan fabrics made from ananas or mushrooms.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
My pencil, sketchbook, watercolors, all Adobe programs, my tailoring doll, sewing machine and the internet.
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
Astonishment and pleasure, I really appreciate when a designer has a god concept and a great idea.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I believe in cooperation, when I have found the perfect match I won´t let go.
Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
I like to read biographies and interviews of great designer and people, I think its always nice to know how, how others have gone their way.
Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
I would love to work with Coco Chanel as real inspirational revolutionary. 
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
I really feel excited and honored! Its unbelievable to win silver at the first try!
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
I love pink and copper, I regenerate in nature, I enjoy the taste of strawberries, in summer my balcony is full of them. I like all seasons the same. I like the design of Scotch and Soda, Cop Copine and Adidas. 
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
Very early I go running for an hour every day in the central park in front of my studio to plan my day. Thats a great kick start. After that I enjoy my cappuccino and self-made muesli on my balcony. Charged for the day I start drawing for an hour. After that I work on my daily projects.
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
I live absolutely in presence, its even hard to say whats going on in 5 years.

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