This time we'll go outside the realm of beauty and talk about a very interesting job: the life of a young designer. The job where trendiness meets your all-time favourite pieces and ideas. The job where every single piece is carefully picked and made just for you.
My interest in the subject came about quite simply: I'm a huge fan of a young brand called One Tough Cookie. Of course you need at least one talented person to make it all happen and in our case that's lovely Jasna, who is the brain behind the brand. How do you create a brand? How do you decide which idea to follow? How do you develop your image, the name, the colours? The awesome Jasna answered all my questions.
How did you get into fashion and become a young designer in-the-making?
I was growing up to a big fashion lover - my sister Valentina, so I guess the fashion world was inevitable for me. I also always had an urge to express myself in some arty-kind of way and, with the combination of curiosity and the internet, it soon became evident that I'll spend a lot of my time online looking at stuff, researching and designing. My first step towards designing was actually a Yahoo based profile page about myself that I put up at age of 13. Very narcissistic of me, I know. After that, the designer in me had a big high school and university break. And here I am now. Pouring myself onto different social platforms and expressing myself through One Tough Cookie brand.
How did you come to start your own line?
Usually I'm very bad at making decisions, but with the textile designs I'm designing there was no doubt what I want: good quality, freshness, and plain & simple designs. When I buy things, I get attached and that seems to be a problem since it's very hard to find quality and normal pricing combined today. So ... I found this great textile provider that has its white line of organic textiles and I loved it immediately. For my first summerish line of 2012 I picked just a few M sized white tees and these cool and simple prints to put on them. Now I'm very pleased to own a very cute Lolita tee that looks great even after a few washings.
Where do you go for inspiration and how does that inspiration turn into reality?
I'm inspired by everything I do, everything that surrounds me. Love, travelling, dreams, books, movies, fashion, blogs, childhood memories, my friends, even my cat. My list of blogs and portals I check on daily basis is very long and looking at things is quite an obsession of mine. I love, love, looooove my morning coffee and a bit of browsing and brainstorming.
I'm always upon an idea or two, so for me the part of getting the idea comes very naturally. The other part - the turning into reality part - is tougher tho. I'm easily inspired, but the thing that helps realizing my wishes the most is time and determination. Basically, every single product is a project itself and I put a lot of thoughts into what I want and what other people want. I'm also trying to concentrate on uniqueness, this way I'm trying to make my products all by myself, from scratch to finish.
What obstacles did you face in trying to become a young designer with a new brand?
Firstly, there was a small market obstacle. Since there's a sea of big corporations like Zara and H&M, I knew it's almost impossible to develop a globally recognizable brand. That was never my intention. I'm more into small lovable business that gives local people a taste of their imaginative mind. What I like the most about OTC is the romantic idea about it all - the soulful products that give me a chance to offer Slovenian people what I think is very cool and trendy.
There was also the self confidence obstacle, the "what will people think" obstacle. I can say I got through that phase with the help of my friends and kind responses from people like you, Gita :).
Who do you think are the ideal One Tough Cookie peeps?
Whoever likes simple and cool design, who can appreciate hand made products, and who simply likes what OTC can offer.
How do you handle criticism?
I'm happy to say I didn't get a lot of bad criticism yet. There were some minor complaints, but I think that's normal. I just try to stay positive and put my energy into developing and providing new and unique products that OTC peeps will like.
Why do you love what you do?
I know it's such a cliché, but it gives me a chance to express myself in a way that other things in life don't. I love the excitement of getting the things I sell ready; there's a lot of work involved in this process and I love every part of it. From the ordering and making the products, to photo shootings and different ways to communicate with people through social sites. It's just so much fun!
What are you doing when not designing, any hobbies or interests?
I'm thinking about designing, haha. Well ... when I don't feel inspired I just chill with my family and friends ... I just finished my bachelor degree and I'm thinking about studying some more. Otherwise travelling has been my passion since I can remember.
What is your advice to young designers who are trying to make a name for themselves?
I'm not sure I'm the right address to give advice and be all smart about designing, since I'm not a pro. My only real advice for all of you guys who want to do something and don't know how or when, or you're just afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone: just go for it. Do it. As simple as that. Remember that there is no re-do in life.
I want to thank Jasna for the interview, for her time, and I wish her only the best in the future. My Slovenian readers can find the One Tough Cookie products on her web page or in Babuška Boutique (Gosposvetska 8, Ljubljana).
She sure inspired me to follow my dreams. What about you, feeling inspired too?