Bienvenue! I am so excited to introduce this new series to the blog. Since becoming a mother myself, I have become both fascinated and frustrated in finding my new creative process in between diaper changes, feedings and loads of laundry. I have a new respect for mothers pursuing their creative visions amidst the beauty and chaos of motherhood. As I began to search for my own space to create, I started to ask women I admire how they find the time, the energy, the inspiration, and the passion to keep creating after they have children. In the process, I have learned so much about these women and their hearts. I am so pleased to share my first interview with Amy Voloshin, creator of the thoughtfully created, Philadelphia-based fashion line, Voloshin.
I was fortunate enough to wear the beautiful Maja dress for a sunset shoot with Dee and Bo Photography. My own creative process included interviewing Amy, planning this shoot, making this shoot happen during the baby’s bedtime, writing this piece and publishing it on social media. It’s amazing to me how much goes into a blog post now that I have to plan around the baby! It is my hope that this series will inspire you to pursue your creative goals while feeling validated in the sometimes challenging reality of trying to do so while being a mother.
How would you describe Voloshin’s aesthetic?
The Voloshin collection is all about comfort and subtle luxury. Once I became a mom, I found that my fashion needs and taste started to change. I started wearing garments that were more relaxed, made from natural fibers, and were easy to launder at home. These pillars have really informed the way that I design. Every piece in my line has a certain feeling of ease to it.
How did you incorporate a Provençal aesthetic into this season’s line?
I travelled to Aix-en-Provence when I was in my early 20s and fell in love with that part of the world. The South of France has the most wonderful mix of chic and rustic aesthetics, and I wanted to bring that feeling to my collection. The white linen of the orchid patterned dresses and tops, the stripe (faintly reminiscent of a Breton stripe) and the embroideries inspired by antique embellishments all have the charm that I remember from Provence. And to tied it all together, we styled the looks with straw hats and straw market bags to give it that look of strolling around a flea market looking for your next treasure.
What about Provence and the South of France inspired you?
I love the relaxed atmosphere, the outdoor cafes, the gorgeous old doors and ancient stone walls. I love the work that Cezanne created when living in Aix en Provence, and I was incredibly inspired when I visited his studio there. It was so simple, but yet it had this warm charming look to it. Provence has all the things I love about France. Paris can be very chic and inspiring, but I feel more myself in the slower pace of the Southern region!
Do you have a favorite place in France?
I love the Musée d’Orsay. They have a large collection of one of my favorite painters Edouard Vuillard – his use of pattern and colors is beautiful. I also always visit the Palais de Tokyo for modern contemporary art, Merci and Isabel Marant for shopping, and of course the flea markets at Puces de Vanves.
Envisioning a woman in one of the beautiful pieces from your line, what would her perfect day in Provence be?
Oooohhh, I think she would head to St. Remy and go to Jeanne Bayol (which is a boutique I’d love to visit someday), shop at Libellule for homewears, then pop over to the Alpilles Museum which houses lots of local history and very simple rustic objects which look fascinating. She’d dine at Hotel De Tourrel, and then stay at the Mas de la Roubine Residence – it looks amazing! Ok…I think I just planned my next vacation!
I adore the Maja wrap dress. Can you tell me a bit about the inspiration behind the embroidery?
I was actually inspired by a Guatemalan embroidery that I saw on a huipil, a traditional tunic worn by women in Mexico and Central America. I imagined my muse browsing through a flea market in Provence and stumbling upon a beautiful tunic with a similar embroidery. I pictured her stitching it onto her favorite dress, giving it an unexpected element that you only get from a one of a kind garment.
I love that you are so conscious about ethically producing your line. Can you tell me more about the workshops you use and what that process was like?
These days many shoppers want clothing to be very inexpensive. Unfortunately that comes at a severe ethical cost. Low priced garments often create incredible waste, and inflict a long list of ethical violations. We work in very small batches – usually just 100 pieces per style. By not working in high quantities we are able to make just what we need for our orders and website, by producing in small batches we lower our environmental impact and create less waste. I’m very dedicated to keeping hand printing techniques alive and I have a deep love of handicrafts – working in India has been an amazing experience to learn more about these artisinal processes and to be a small part of bringing exposure to the amazing craftsmanship of the textile workers. We work with a small block printing shop where the blocks are hand carved and stamped. It’s a slow process, and because of the hand work all the prints have a very unique and hand-done appearance. I just got back from India – and it was amazing to have the chance to work in the factories, and work alongside the women and men who create our clothing. My designs start with a sketch, and then I put together what we call a tech pack, which has all the details and measurements that the patternmaking team needs to create the first design. We work through emails, phone + video calls, and traveling to India to work on the products to finalize the designs so that they are ready to wear!
As a copywriter, I am always curious about the story behind how the pieces are named. How did you come up with the women’s names you use for the collection?
I love that you asked this question! I had just gotten back from a trip to Amsterdam and Paris when I was designing the collection. I was inspired to go with Dutch female names for the garments, imagining the name of muse behind each piece.
If you were going to Provence what are three items you couldn’t travel without?
As a mother, do you have any tips for other creatives balancing motherhood and pursuing their creative goals?
My advice would be to really think about what each of those things means to you. What does being a good mom look like to you? What does being creative mean to you? It’s different for everyone. For me being a great mom means: I cook dinner almost every night, I read tons of books with them, I make sure we always make a fun list of what everyone wants to do each weekend, and I try really hard not to use my phone or electronics around the kids and I try to stay very present. In terms of pursing those creative goals – forcing myself into being a morning person has helped – I try to do the creative thing I feel like is the hardest or I feel the most ‘held back’ by and do that first thing before anyone is awake. I have so much more willpower first thing – so it’s easier to tackle those things that might get pushed to the side. For a while I kept feeling like I didn’t have time to be creative the way that I was before kids – but doing things first thing or signing up for a weeknight creative class in something I want to learn or practice more (like most recently bookbinding) has really helped set that time aside and I’ve been so much more fulfilled because of that creative time.
What would your advice be for a new mom trying to find her aesthetic in this new chapter?
Finding your inner mom-style can be a challenge. I think that you have to think about what kind of activities you like to do with your children. Some moms don’t change their activities that much – but for me, it was pretty substantial. I went from spending most of my time in cute restaurants, boutiques, and bars, to crawling around at the playground and going to every kid friendly museum Philly has to offer. So, I needed to change my style from dresses to more sitting/crawling around/wrestling friendly clothes! Especially with limited time for shopping I think it’s great to do an overhaul of your clothes. Going through your closet and doing a strong edit can be a good starting place, and then shopping for a capsule wardrobe of the types of clothes you think you will wear most in your climate and for your activity level can help you start to define your new mom-style. After being pregnant, and then having my body change so much over the next year – it took a while to find my clothing groove again. I think focusing on natural fibers that are easily washable, and items that are loose fitting or have features like adjustable drawstrings help you adjust the clothing as your body and needs change. A lot of our dresses have these features as I’ve found these are the clothes that I was missing in my wardrobe.