Meet Melissa Wang, Founder and Creative Director of Eden & Zoe! Melissa, a former lawyer turned designer and mother of three beautiful girls, has lead nothing short of a dynamic and international life, and we have got the scoop right here!! Living the dream, Melissa has settled down in California’s cosmopolitan San Francisco and the Mini-Maven family is impressed by this designer’s ability to keep it real! Introducing Eden & Zoe, stunning cashmere based collections mixed with attention to detail! Inspiration for the brand “is all about your child feeling comfortable and confident in what she or he is wearing” and has exciting plans to expand with a baby Line!!!
Kymberly Marciano: Now that you have a few collections in place, does Eden & Zoe continue to inspire your collections? And brand?
Melissa Wang: Absolutely, the brand is named after my two daughters after all! Eden and Zoe inspired me to start my brand of cashmere knitwear because they decided that regular wool knitwear was too “itchy” and they continue to be my motivation and inspiration.
KM: What little things do you do in your everyday life that inspire each collection?
MW: I’m always on the lookout for ideas and themes for upcoming collections. Just spending time with Eden and Zoe and seeing how they view the world is one of my favorite ways of getting inspired.
KM: Prior to having children, did you ever think you would be a kids fashion designer?
MW: No, definitely not! I used to be a corporate lawyer, which is about as far as you can get from being a kids’ clothing designer.
KM: Do your daughters like to be involved in the design process? If so, how are they involved?
MW: When it comes to designing my collections, I always have my daughters in mind. Luckily, Eden and Zoe have loved the clothes that I’ve designed for them so far. They can’t wait to see each new collection and try on all the different styles. I get constant feedback from them about the clothes: how it feels to wear them, what they like or dislike about them, favorite pieces, colors, wish list etc.! Plus I also get to experience the clothes from the consumer side, like how the clothes wear and tear, and how well they clean.
KM: We love your affection for Cashmere! What is your favorite thing about working with the fabric?
MW: I absolutely love cashmere! I wear cashmere year round and am thrilled to be able to share this experience with my daughters and other children through my collections. I love cashmere for its softness and comfort. It is a versatile material that lends itself to endless design possibilities.
KM: Can you give us some insight into the design process, from start to finish?
MW: I love designing each new collection. I especially like designing unisex pieces and having fun with those. It’s great to see my designs come alive when Eden and Zoe are wearing them – particularly during the photo shoots (they are chaotic but a lot of fun!).
KM: We adore the inspiration of nature for the SS15 collection. Will nature continue to play a role in future collections? Tell us about the FW15 collection? What can we expect to see?
MW: Eden and Zoe love nature, so it plays a big part in our lives. We’ve had ocean as well as nature inspired collections, so we’ll see what future collections bring! I am excited about our upcoming FW15 collection; it is playful and stylish with color as a main theme. Look out for color blocking and geometric patterns. Plus I’m thrilled to announce that we’ll be launching a baby collection as well.
KM: Are you inspired by travel as well? If so, what places do you gravitate towards? Certainly you get some creative ideas while exploring the globe?
MW: I love to travel. My designs are influenced by the different places that I’ve lived in and visited. I grew up between Hong Kong and London, lived in New York, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai before moving to San Francisco. Eden & Zoe is aimed at an international audience, so I hope the designs speak out to consumers wherever they may be.
KM: What does sustainable fashion mean to you?
MW: Cashmere is a renewable source, which is important to me. The cashmere that we use is sourced from the native goats of the Mongolian highlands. The cashmere yarns are made from the fine undercoat fibers of the cashmere goats. These fibers are collected by combing or shearing the goat during each molting season. After collection, the long fibers are carefully hand picked and washed before being spun into yarns to produce high quality knitwear. Cashmere is a long lasting material and actually gets softer with age, so cashmere garments make perfect heirloom pieces.
KM: You mention it’s all in the details, tell us about that?
MW: When I’m designing, I like to think about the details that make a garment unique yet still classic and timeless. A lot of thought and craftsmanship goes into each piece we create. If you take the time to look, I believe that you can always find beauty in the details.
KM: What have you found to be some of the obstacles in working with cashmere knitwear? Do you use silks? Cottons?
MW: I don’t have any complaints about working with cashmere! For the spring/summer collections, many of our pieces are made from 100% cotton for comfort and versatility. Plus they are machine washable. We also have pieces that are made from 55% pure cashmere and 45% silk yarns. In addition to being ultra soft, light and comfortable, this luxurious blend is perfect for year round wear.
KM: Walk us through a normal day in your shoes:
MW: Kids before school, Work, Kids after school, Work, Sleep, REPEAT!
KM: Describe your personal style:
MW: Classic and understated. The details and craftsmanship of what I wear are important to me – be it clothes, shoes or accessories. I also love intricate patterns and textiles. Having said that, most of the time I’m dressed in a black or gray top with a pair of dark blue skinny jeans and flats!
KM: Describe your daughter’s style (Eden & Zoe). Are they different from each other or do they like to dress alike? What is the age difference? Anymore to come? Did you ever want a boy?
MW: Even though Eden and Zoe are just two years apart in age, they have different personalities and styles. Eden is sporty whereas Zoe is artistic, which shows through in what they like to wear. On the topic of more kids… with my third daughter Elise born last November, I definitely have my hands full for now!
KM: How do you juggle being a mom and designer?
MW: I think the hardest part is finding the right balance between family and work. There are only so many hours in the day, so I try to make maximum use of it. I think it’s important to be flexible with the balancing act. In the long run, what matters is how you spent the time and that you enjoyed it.
KM: Do you have any tips for other moms out there who are wanting to get involved in kids fashion? Time management?
MW: It took me some time before I decided to take the plunge but I’m glad I did! It’s great being able to combine fashion with my daughters on a daily basis. For me, every day is different and I love the variety and freedom that my lifestyle brings. My advice would be to go for it: it’s only through trying that you find out whether it’s really for you.
KM: What can we expect to see from your brand in 2016?
MW: I hope to stay true to my brand philosophy: that it’s about your child feeling comfortable and confident in what she/he is wearing. As always, Eden & Zoe knitwear is made to be worn, enjoyed and shared. I look forward to designing and launching our collections next year!
Just for Fun:
KM: Favorite Color?
MW: Black, black and black!
KM: What would the Melissa today say to Melissa at 10 years old?
MW: “Stop giving your Mom a hard time!” Now that I’m a mom, the tables have definitely turned!
KM: Your favorite quote that has inspired you:
MW: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” A well-known saying, and it is one that I try to remind myself of.
Even though I’m busy planning the future, I try to enjoy and appreciate each day as it comes.
KM: If you could sail away into the sunset, where would it be and who with?
MW: With Keanu Reeves. Doesn’t matter where, just tell me when!
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