MELISSA ARAUJO

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What do you do and how did you got started?
I hold the title of Fashion Designer, Creative Director and model for the eponymous line I launched in November 2010. I am a true hands on person, I love being immersed in my work and making sure the direction of my brand is going in the right direction. I went to uni for Commerce (Marketing) and decided it wasn’t as creative as I had imagined. I took a leap of faith, went into Fashion Design and took set my career on a whole different path, but I incorporate all my experiences when making decisions.

What inspired you to create your Linear collection? What was the creative process like in designing this collection?
The work of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, geometric forms and my travels have inspired my past collections including Linear. My creative process is similar for every collection. I take a break from following the fashion industry or magazines, this way I don’t feel influenced by any designer or trend in particular. Instead I research about architecture, study their shapes, the philosophy and lines of a particular architect, then look at literature about geometry and trigonometric shapes.

When designing, do you always keep in mind garments that are interchangeable between seasons?
Yes I do. I embrace the fact that anyone in the world can order one of my pieces. I hope that people that buy my clothes love travelling as much as I do, clients that may be in Canada freezing one day, and the next in Brazil feeling the heat. You can dress the same piece in both temperatures as long as you know how to style it and layer it differently. I don’t believe in seasons, fashion is global now.

With so many trends in fashion, how important is it to create pieces that are functional and versatile? Do you find that one’s personal style is accentuated with a more simplistic way of dressing? 
Sometimes designers and consumers get so hooked on trends “what is in, what is out”, I have never been like this. Timeless pieces and style are what attract me, and I have always liked to look different than others. I am not much of a follower for trends I like to think that I set my own. My designs may find popular appeal, or I may look like I am following a certain trend, but if people are aware of my work, my personality or style they will know that it is not the case. I believe in the concept of less is more. I think by being minimalist in the way you dress your personality can come out more, having muted colours in the way you dress can be a way for you to paint life in all the colours you want. I personally don’t like to attract attention to myself, so minimal is the way to go. I think if one’s confident with the minimal style, you can maximize other areas of your life.

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What is it about the minimalist aesthetic that attracts you to design with clean lines?
I am attracted to the concept of simplicity, the clarity of forms and eliminating the unnecessary. In this process, there is an emphasis on clean lines regardless if they are horizontal, vertical or curved. Having a minimalist approach to fashion, art, or life is a matter of taste, a reaction against excess. I am just trying to be true to my vision for design.

With inspiration such as I.M. Pei, what can we expect for your next collection?
The first time I went to Paris I fell in love with Le Louvre triangles. I. M. Pei designed them, along with many amazing buildings. A lot of people dislike his unusual designs where I find his work to be masterpieces. I love his sharp angles, vertical lines and attention to detail. His careful precision and risk taking are an inspiration to me. I would like my clothes to be something permanent like architecture. With I.M. Pei as my inspiration, I hope to bring a collection that still feels like a continuation of my past collections but that has something new and exciting to the public’s eye.

Photos: melissaaraujo.com   Interview: Kathleen Cerrer

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