Category: Behind the Design

The Maramures

Maramures is an old county in Northwestern Romania. Largely rural and agricultural, Maramures has held onto traditional farming and lifestyle methods, choosing to use manual labor to plow their fields and harvest their crops. Fine detailed handiwork is valued – and results in stunning embroidered fabrics, beadwork, carpet weaving and wood carvings. The cultural traditions of the Maramures region date back to before the Renaissance era, and have been carefully nurtured and preserved, and handed down through generations.

This season our designers were greatly influenced by a common item of traditional dress worn by Maramurian women and girls – a traditional red and black striped dress or skirt.


Honored as traditional garb for girls and women of all ages, you will still find variations on this style and pattern across the region.


This season our designers took a modern approach to this inspiration, and created our Maramures Dress:



With its bold black and red stripes, and its ability to be layered with warm leggings and cozy mocknecks, this dress is perfect for the winter and holiday season.


A Horse is a Horse (Unless It’s a Rooster)

One of the most exciting parts of my job is when Laura and her traveling buddies come back from an inspiration trip.   She brings us all kinds of goodies to enjoy – photographs, books, fabrics, toys.   It’s so inspiring getting our first glimpse of a new culture and imagining what designs we’ll create after seeing them.


After Laura’s inspiration trip for “Old World Hungary” I was admiring these stuffed, applique and embroidered ornaments.   I shared my excitement with the design team by saying, “These are so cute!  I really love that awesome horse head one.”


Instead of the shared enthusiasm I would have expected from my teammates, I got blank stares.   When I went over and picked up the ‘horse head’ ornament to show it to them, they broke out in laughter, and explained that my ‘horse head’ was actually a rooster and that I was holding it upside down.


To prove to the rest of my team that I wasn’t a complete fool, I designed this adorable “Paisley Pony” graphic inspired by… a rooster.


Here’s a detail shot.  You can see it, right?


Owls Owls Everywhere

Owl was my first word.  Or at least that’s what my parents tell me.  I am sure I was just making ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ noises and someone thought it sounded like ‘owl’.   Either way, I’ve received many owl presents throughout the years. So it was very exciting when owls started showing up in the fashion, home and craft scenes a few years back.  I thought it was a trend that would die out, but instead it seems to be stronger than ever.   An Etsy search for owl gives you over 30,000 results.  There is even an entire blog – a pretty amazing blog, actually – dedicated to owl design and art:  My Owl Barn.

I was little worried about creating a owl graphic for Old World Hungary.  It seemed relevant because it showed up in the craft of all three countries we visited, it was even on the Romanian postage stamp.  But how would I compete with all the amazing owl designs that were already out there?  Many other clothing lines already had owl graphic tees.  How could I make one that was more special?


top row:  Marc by Marc, Misha Lulu, POL Clothing

2nd row: , Kate Garey, Alice Melvin, Soft Gallery

3rd row:  Delias, Lucky Wang, Babylon Baby

After our inspiration trip to the library, I had a photocopy of this one embroidery that I loved.  Every which way I looked at it I kept seeing an owl in it.  Not a entire owl, just an owl wing or eye, and all I could think was what a cute owl graphic it would make.   Since it came to me instead of me creating it – I figured it was a sign that I had to go ahead and make the owl graphic.   I hope you like it!


For the final graphic I put him in a little tree that was inspired by traditional wood carving of the region.