Welcome to new series, dedicated to amazing, strong, creative and successful women. I have so many girl bosses on my you-should-definitely-interview list, from clothing designers, furniture designers, artists, company owners, photographers,… you get my point. They inspire, they amaze and they rule. Today I present you an amazing designer and apparel creator Tjaša Križnar or
• Hey Tjaša, please tell me a little bit about your brand
It’s called Pirate Piška and it’s an independent one girl brand. I make hand screen printed unisex apparel (t-shirts, pullovers, tote bags and socks) and handmade (vegan) backpacks since 2012. My drive is to make everything myself, I’m very passionate about handmade. For me, that’s not just a hashtag you put on social media, but it’s really about hand work and knowledge how to make a specific product. Randomly I even make stickers, badges/pins and even more randomly I make fanzines.
• What led you to start the brand?
It was the passion to make things. Like every story about any kind of creators mine also started at the young age when I was making things from every material I could think of. The desire to create was always in me even if it wasn’t appreciated by mine surroundings. I was born to create and no matter how many times a felt during this five years of PPx brand, I still want to continue to the point when I’ll felt I made and said everything I needed to and I’ll stay true to my plan to make handmade products no matter what. I’ll stay true to this statement forever.
• What inspires you?
Life! I know that sounds so cliche but sometimes it’s the absurdity of it, sometimes the funny part of it, sometimes the sadness, always this different layers of our existing. Most of the things I do are very personal. Even thou it may not look like that, but they usually have a greater story behind it. That mostly goes for illustrations and of course t-shirts.
Also nature is my biggest inspiration! It’s the place where I can meditate and re charge my batteries.
• All your products are hand made, from illustrations to screen printing. How important it is for you that people respect and value hand made products. Especially in today’s fast fashion times.
Very important! I really wish people would understand how much work it goes to, let say, one t-shirt. First I make illustrating, first with the pencil, then I have to do some final touches on the computer. Then follows screen printing process. I have to make a screen with the image I will later on print. I love screen printing but there are few thing that can go wrong so you need to also calculate that in this working proses. After I print all the t-shirts I need to iron them so the image is insured and it will not fade away with washing. Then everything must be organized by colors, sizes, etc. and every t-shirt gets it own label with washing instructions and other important messages. The last phase is to put t-shirts in the web shop, ohh yes, that’s actually not the last phase, after that it’s all about promotion. Uff.
So much work, labor, and love goes to one handmade product that I get sometimes frustrated when I hear or read comments from people who just don’t get from where the price come from or when they compare handmade stuff with fast fashion. That’s the worst! I know handmade or sustainable products are not for every wallet but believe me, they make sense in the long run.
• If you could say one thing to consumers what would it be?
Do your research!
• Your latest collection Platonik is made from organic cotton (Sol T-shirts) and packed in plastic-free packaging. What kind of impact on the world do you think fashion today has? How important is it to create fair and good products?
We can see some changes are being made, more and more (even bigger) fashion brands are choosing organic and fair materials, they stopped using real fur or start using recycled materials to make snickers. All these changes are hella good, but the fashion industry is one of the biggest and changes are coming too slow. I think the best solution is to educate people ‘coz what people demand they will get it in the end. On the other hand, when people don’t care than fast fashion companies can sell them anything but remember: Fast fashion isn’t free, someone is paying for it.
It’s very important to create fair and good products! It’s important for variate of reasons, it’s good for industry workers and for the environment and in the end of the day it not about being perfect it’s about knowing what you’re creating, buying and consuming (from clothes to food, to cosmetic and cleaning products, etc.) and make one step at a time towards better future.
• Fast fashion brands are still sending a message to young girls that the most important thing is to look good in your pink T-shirt with their wanna-be-feminist print on it, sitting on a bed (possibly with no pants) with a perfect coffee and a book they will probably never read. I think this generation has so much power and we need to invest in young girls, to use their intelligence and mind as tools and resources to achieve their goals and dreams and start a brand like yours.
I totally agree! We need to educate girls from the early age that beauty is something that really comes from inside. All this social media nonsense is not making them a better person but it’s making them fake. We also need to teach girls that our roles in society must not be divided according to gender! All kids and teenagers are very open to everything that is going around them so we really have to make a positive example.
• When it comes to your Girls Gang collection, spreading the feminist message and building a strong girl community. What would be your message to young females out there? There is also a fanzine project in progress, right?
Yes, I’m collecting photos of strong, free thinking, opinionated women from all over the world that can inspire others so we can make positive girls gang community! I’m encouraging people to contribute with photos of them wearing Girls Gang t-shirt, but don’t get me wrong, it’s not obligatory to buy Pirate Piška GG t-shirt to participate. People can send photos of any kind that inspire them in girls gang spirit. On my web page I even encourage them to make their own t-shirt with girls gang sign and send me a photo of the creative process, diy approach is always very welcome. I don’t own this title so it would be stupid of me not to invite them to make t-shirts them self. It’s all about helping build fellow sistas up not tear them down! and that’s also my message to young girls.
• Where would you like to take your brand, any exciting new projects, and plans?
I’m not very good at planning my future years ahead, usually I plan 6 months ahead, and for now I’m planning a little celebration with limited edition drawstring backpacks for my first Pirate Piška 5 years. I started making drawstring backpacks back in 2012 and they were one of the first products I made. So now, after five years, I think it’s time to leave that story behind and start fresh with new and improved waterproof canvas backpack. The release of new backpacks will be at the beginning of October and in the end of the month I will be participating Biennial of the Slovenian Independent Illustration and in November I’m having a solo exhibition in Layerjeva hiša, Kranj (Slovenia). So that’s my plan for this year and I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring. I hope it will be merciful, hehe.
Check out www.piratepiska.com and use CHICKITAXPPX for 15% discount valid till 15th of Septemeber.