Fashion Magazine

Indie Designer Interview: Anita Condron of Bird Apparel

By Popthreads @popthreads

I first came across independent fashion designer Anita Condron’s shop Bird Apparel looking for leggings. As anyone who follows this blog, our tumblr, or has seen my closet (!!) knows, I love leggings and have quite a collection. Not only does she do great leggings, she’s also got wonderful tanks and tees and a really great eye for vibrant prints. I also happen to really like her new rope earrings. Take a look at what she had to say during our interview.

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Hi Anita! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview. Let’s start off with a pretty simple question: Where’d you first get the ideas for the items in your line?

I’ve been interested in fashion and sewing from a young age. My grandparents (a tailor and seamstress) ran a business from their Montreal home making custom suits and dresses for years. They both honed their skills in Italy and set up shop when they immigrated to Canada. It was this first introduction to the world of clothing design that instilled in me a love for sewing and eventually led me to study Fashion Design in college. After college I did various jobs, some fashion related and some not. After my husband and I got married, bought a house and had kids (in that order and pretty fast!) I decided to work from home, so I picked up where I left off in college and created Bird Apparel in 2007. It hasn’t been easy and there have been many moments of doubt, but I stuck with it, made many mistakes and changed a lot along the way. I feel like I’ve finally hit my stride and I’m excited and hopeful about the future of my line.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned running your company + brand?

Excellent customer service is key. The relationships I have with my customers is what keeps them coming back. Also, quality. Making sure every detail is perfect.

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Can you describe your design process? How do you choose materials + get started?

I don’t think I have one particular design process that I repeat. My creative process is all over the place. Sometimes I’ll create and entire collection without any fabric samples. Other times I’ll wander around the fabric store picking out fabrics, coming home with bags that I imagine into dresses, leggings or tops. Regardless of the process there is always some trial and error involved in each collection and sometimes the fabric I choose doesn’t work well for the piece intended but better for something else.

After college I did various jobs, some fashion related and some not. After my husband and I got married, bought a house and had kids (in that order and pretty fast!) I decided to work from home, so I picked up where I left off in college and created Bird Apparel in 2007. It hasn’t been easy and there have been many moments of doubt, but I stuck with it, made many mistakes and changed a lot along the way. I feel like I’ve finally hit my stride and I’m excited and hopeful about the future of my line.

There’s a sustainable + green trend in fashion these days. What do you think about that? Political correctness, PR stunts, or is there something to it…?

I think it’s great to see sustainable fabrics in a lot of fashion/clothing these days. I don’t know that I could go entirely “green” with my line, but I try to incorporate these fabrics whenever I can. There are so many choices and varieties of eco-fabrics now that weren’t even there or accessible to independent designers even 5 years ago.

Who are some of your inspirations + other favorite designers…?
I’m inspired by music, movies (I watch a lot), old photos, warm weather, but mostly by items that I’m excited to wear myself.

I’ve always enjoyed the “famous” Proust Questionnaire. So I pulled a few of my favorites for you to answer

What is your current state of mind? Relaxed and calm. I’m usually a bit uptight, but I’m trying to be more in the moment and not worry about the little things.

What is your favorite occupation? Paid: Fashion Designer. Not Paid (does love count?): Mom, Wife.

What is your most treasured possession? Beautiful handwritten notes from my kids. I keep almost everything they write. I’m running out of space in my closet. I love looking back on all these notes and will cherish them as they get older.

What is your greatest extravagance? Vacations. I love hot and sunny beach vacations with my family. I just got back, so I’m still in post vacation bliss.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? I think this is still ahead of me.

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What is your motto? Measure twice, cut once. This applies to fabric, believe me!!!

Where would you like to live? Somewhere hotter than here (Toronto). Maybe California. I love San Diego. Mexico, Hawaii, Spain…..

What is the quality you most admire in a man? Honesty and self confidence.

What is the quality you most admire in a woman? Honesty and self confidence.

If you could choose an object to come back as, what would it be? A piano.

Measure twice, cut once. This applies to fabric, believe me!!!

Who has been the greatest influence on you? My parents and grandparents and TV.

Alright, nearly done. 2012 has just started. What are your plans for your brand this year? I want to create my own digital prints on jersey and incorporate them into my line.

Last, we love to hear about music. So, do you have a favorite soundtrack + album to work to…? I love listening to news radio when I’m sewing. I don’t always have time to read the paper or watch the news during the day and I love to be up to date on current events and learn new things. This keeps my brain going.

I also have a big appetite for music and there is so much variety in what I listen to. Right now I am listening to Lana Del Rey while writing this, but this morning while cutting fabric I was rocking The Beatles, Gotye and Bob Marley. Maybe some Elton John or The Black Keys while I make my dinner later…..


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