At my last visit to Gothenburg, Sweden, I had the opportunity to visit my friend Mireille Matusa. Not that long ago she started her own designer brand called ‘I min Garderob‘. Which roughly translates ‘In my wardrobe’ in English.
I have been wanting to write about her and the story behind the brand for a long time now because I am very impressed by her work and am such a fan of her creations! So I was happy she had time to see me that early spring-day for a nice ‘fika‘ in the sunshine just outside her studio/ workroom.
studio ‘Atlejé Återanvänd’ at Cederbourgsgatan Gothenburg
Used and re-used
Mireille’s mother and grandmother both used to sew a lot so the passion and gift for sewing and designing runs in the family.
Something that is very close to her heart is the environment and how to be able to work towards a more green way of thinking when it comes to textiles and design. So Mireille’s main interest, and the core of her brand, is re-designing and re-using material and items.
It was however after attending and contributing to a design and art fair/exhibition in 2007 that she decided she would start and register her own brand that got the name ‘I min Garderob’.
Ateljé Återanvänd – the workspace
After some time working from home she managed to get hold of the lovely workspace that she shares with ‘Klädoteket‘ with help from ‘Studiefrämjandet‘.
It works not only as a space where she can create her own designs, but it also is a place for workshops and theme-nights for people who are interested in design and textiles. There is also several sewing machines in the studio so basically the idea is that people should look at it like a sewing café!
Rent a machine for an hour, re-design an item, create something new, get help and inspiration from others or just go there for a cup of coffee and hang out!
Sewing Café and workspace
Inspiration and Innovations
When I ask her where she gets her inspiration from she tells me that she gets it from music, films, people, shapes and forms in the nature…from everywhere basically.
- I try to observe everything. Inspiration can really come from everywhere!
Obviously she must do a lot of shopping or searching around for clothing, jewellery and items that can be used as new projects all the time. Where does she find it all?
- I have always loved going to fleamarkets and I obviously still do! she explains. I am a shopaholic, but nowadays I shop for my brand and not just for myself and for my own wardrobe.
the Queen of Hearts collection
So I guess you can say that she has turned being a flea-market shopaholic into a business. And a very good one as well. The way she does it is so cool. She blurs out the lines between clothes, jewellery and interior items by re-using, re-designing and mixing them together.
- I do love mixing things up and turning things around. Like antique furniture details or old lamp-chains can become amazing necklaces and skirts and dresses can become lamp shades! she tells me.
Challenges and goals
There really has been so much happening for Mireille and for her brand. And some things in particular is she more proud of than others.
- Definitely one of the things that I am most proud of is opening the workspace for the public, she explains. Making it work basically. It is such a small studio so I really had to practice the whole compact-living thing.
childrens dresses hanging high up under the ceiling
Since ‘Klädoteket‘ moved in in April this year it must have been a challenge sharing the limited space and time between the two businesses.
- Yes, but there are so many positive things coming out of our cooperation! she continues. We’ve had small courses in redesign and drop-in sessions for the sewing café.
During the summer I myself will be having courses in how to redesign your wardrobe and this in a workspace that I have designed myself!
I really think the sewing café is such a great idea. I have never been to one myself but I know they exists in other cities around the world. Apparently there is one in Paris that I have to go and check out for sure.
- I thought I was the the only one in Gothenburg, Mireille explains. But one day I happen to read in a blog about SewCreative which is another sewing café in Gothenburg! I contacted the owner and organiser and we were both amazed how we did not know about each other. We are both pretty new businesses and we almost opened up at the same time!
What I find so good with the sewing cafés is that not only can you go there to be creative and create new things or get inspiration and help from others. But sometimes I just need to cut a pair of jeans and sew the lining! And I never get around to it because I don’t have a machine!
- We will be working together to help people get more inspiration to come out and be creative, Mireille tells me. Me and SewCreative work in slightly different directions and do not have exactly the same focus on everything, but we will work together and have already started to plan projects and events together wich feels very exciting!
I like the idea of getting together with other people to find creativity. You can gain so much more energy and inspiration from others. I will definitely visit Mireille’s sewing café next time I get the opportunity!
To see more of Mireille’s lovely work check out the links below
and some other interesting links..