Creator: Solange Yepez
MERAKI: How did you start your business ?
Its still a side project, but I started by realizing that I really love designing prints. Then I just started devoting all my spare time to creating prints that I hope to start selling.
MERAKI: What was your journey like in order to be where you are today?
My journey has been both challenging and rewarding and has forced me to do a lot of things that are outside of my comfort zone. For example, one thing that has been very challenging is finding work in my field. The Toronto fashion industry is small and I have had to create opportunities on my own by seeking out connections outside of my network. I attended a 3-day entrepreneurial workshop a couple of years ago where I had to pitch and sell my surface art business to a bunch of strangers. Although speaking confidently about what I do doesn’t come naturally to me, the outcome of that was I managed to meet somebody who contracted me to develop a bra style for her active intimates brand.
MERAKI: When did you know that you had a passion for it ?
I knew I had a passion for art and fashion from a very young age. The best story my parents tell is when I was a kid I was so stubborn and insistent on wearing a pair of ballet flats to Kindergarten class (even though it was winter) that they had no choice but to let me. One bad fashion decision later, I slipped and fell on the playground and cracked my head open so I guess that’s as far as my passion goes.
I took art all throughout high school and in university, fashion illustration was always my favourite class. Shortly after graduating from university, I had some exposure to designing prints at my first job. At that time I didn’t even know that there are people out there who do this for a living, but then I started working for a swimsuit company and that’s when I realized that I want to make print design my specialization.
MERAKI: What schooling did you do ?
I went to Ryerson University and graduated with a degree in Fashion Design. I later took continuing education courses for Digital Illustration and Typography at George Brown followed by a short-term program in Surface Design at the Rhode Island School of Design.
MERAKI: One experience that was a game changer?
Going to Rhode Island School of Design for a surface design program was a game changer for me. I was very uneasy about making this decision at first, It was a pretty big investment and it required me to live in the US for a short amount of time. However, the experience and people I met there made it all worthwhile. I learned techniques for creating prints that I hadn’t been exposed to in University and it was nice to have creative critiques. I also ended up meeting someone who is launching their own wallpaper collection and she ended up contracting me to develop prints for her.
MERAKI: Where do you see your company/career in the future?
It’s hard to say, I have many interests. If I were to start a business sometime in the future I would love to either start a textile design studio or potentially start my own fashion line. Some categories I have always been interested in are: active wear and leisurewear. My fashion line would explore creating stylish performance basics/transitional pieces that are conscious of the environment and move away from “fast fashion”.
MERAKI: One advice that was given to you to push you?
Talent will only get you so far, the rest of it is hard work and dedication.
MERAKI: Advice that you would pass on for someone going in the same field?
Advice I would pass on to anyone going into this field is to grow a thick skin and find someone who can act as a mentor to you. This field is very challenging and competitive and you won’t always encounter the nicest people. However, when you do find someone that genuinely appreciates what you do, its nice to have someone that can provide advice and vice versa.
MERAKI: Where do you get your Inspirations?
Most of my inspiration comes from nature. Nature has an infinite amount of patterns happening and when you sit down and actually observe something closely you will discover things that you might not have seen previously. Nature allows you to interpret things from your own point of view.
MERAKI: When you’re not working, what are some of your favourite things to do?
My favourite thing to do when I’m not working is go for a jog. Jogging helps me relieve stress and clear my mind.