• Dreamers + Doers: Arts Thread Shop

    Dreamers + Doers highlights emerging artists, entrepreneurs, and up-and-coming ones to watch. Whether it’s starting a new business, creating something beautiful, or just daring to do things differently, we stand behind those taking steps toward something new. 

    Introducing the winners of our UO X Arts Thread Make It competition! For the contest, we partnered with Arts Thread (an international clearing house for creatives to connect with with design industry) to give young designers from around the world the chance to have their designs produced and sold at UO!

    We're pleased to share the stories of the amazing class of winners, who hail from the UK, Guatemala, Mexico, Australia, and the U.S., and whose mediums span from yarn to leather, metal to wood. We caught up with a few of the winners to learn more about their submissions, their process, and what's next for this next class of inspiring up-and-comers. 

    Click here to shop UO X Arts Thread, or see the winners' work in-person at our NYC Fifth Avenue store starting December 1!

    Alejandra Acosta

    Ensenada, Mexico
    Crew Neck Intarsia Sweater

    Tell us more about your work and the Arts Thread Contest!
    At the moment my boyfriend and I are working in our own brand that we started this year: our garments consist of versatile, casual clothing that you can dress up or down, with the possibility of creating different looks by mixing and matching all the pieces of the collection. I've participated in different events from my hometown, but winning the Arts Thread competition has been the greatest achievement in my short career. I see it as an opportunity for people to see my work.

    What inspires your work?

    The inspiration when I'm designing sometimes comes from the most unexpected things and places, but I really get inspired by architecture, geometric things, clean simple lines, and the combination of colors in nature.

    Audrey Won
    New South Wales 
    UO Make It Tea Cup

    Can you share more about your background and how you got started? 
    I graduated from Fashion Design in 2013 but I have always had a soft spot for all kinds of design—fashion, interiors, print, graphic design, you name it! From a very young age I was always drawing Disney-inspired dresses and ball gowns and after getting a taste for textiles in high school, I decided to apply for the Bachelor of Design at the Whitehouse Institute of Design in Sydney.

    Can you share more about your current project, Nest?
    During school, I met my co-partner in design, Brigitte May. In response to a business assessment, we came up with this business idea together, called Nest the Label. We both delight in all of the little things that add a touch of beauty to our day and so the business is built upon our love for homewares, nature, illustration, and folksy prettiness. Brigitte is a talented artist and so we have collaborated together co-designing our first range of gold-edged Tea Cup and Saucer Sets that launched in June this year. They are adorned with whimsical and playful nature-inspired illustrations meant to brighten up a table and create sparkle in lieu of conventional tableware. It's our quest is to deliver lifelong pieces of functional art to be treasured and loved. 

    Estefanía De Ros
    Guatemala City
    Mirrored Gem Stash Box

    Can you share more about your background? How did you get started doing design?
I have always been a creative person, and have always been drawn to and fascinated by design. I lived in the UK for a little more than a year, where I studied photography, and it was such an amazing experience that I guess I got the design spark lit in me! When I returned to Guatemala I decided to study interior design, which has been incredible to learn about the design process, color theory, art history, and furniture history. It's given me tools to create and design, but most importantly it taught me discipline and a true passion for my what I do. Right now I mostly I design and style interior spaces, and recently I started designing objects, accessories, and furniture.

    What influences and inspires you most? 
My biggest inspiration comes from traveling. I believe that seeing and experiencing new things is the best inspiration you can get! Through living abroad I fell in love with design and my whole perspective of everything changed. Of course my beautiful country, Guatemala, inspires me also — I love the works of Guatemalan architect Alejandro Paz and Brazilian architect Guilherme Torres, and also the work of Paola Navone, Emily Henderson, and Patricia Urquiola. 

    Fleur Hobro
    Wallasey, UK
    Open Knit Tunic

    Can you please share more about your background?
    I studied textiles at Manchester school of art, where I specialized in knit. Since graduating last year, I have spent time traveling and working as a language assistant in Barcelona. Currently, I am back home designing sweater swatches on a freelance basis.

    How did you get into knitting?
    Prior to my degree I had never knitted. It was at university that I developed my interest in it. Mostly I’m inspired by knitting's endless possibilities — the many techniques and combinations mean there is always something to try out, test, and, hopefully discover.

    Kalene Lee
    Brooklyn, NY
    Wooden Pyramid Jewelry Box

    Tell us more about yourself and your work, please!
    I am a senior at Pratt Institute, a design school in Brooklyn, and am majoring in industrial design. I love working with my hands. Much like in fashion, where that perfect military jacket can finish the look, a piece of furniture or even a lamp can create a certain atmosphere in a room, I love the design process of having a vision and then designing a product that exists within it. 

    How does industrial design play into the work you make?
    Industrial design contains such a variety of possible career paths: furniture, shoes, handbag, lighting, tableware, and transportation design to name a few. Trying my hand in as many of them as I can while I’m still a student and seeing what I don’t agree with stylistically and what I seem to enjoy most has been a journey in finding myself. [With my work,] I married my love of fashion and everything chic and minimalistic to form my design style of simple with an urban twist. I am constantly inspired by Manhattan and current trends in designing products. 

    Melanie Pace-Lupi
    Surrey, UK
    Oversized Piped Bag

    Can you tell us about your work and which of your pieces will be sold at UO?
    The leather hand bag I designed for UO is derived from research I completed for my graduate collection. Called "The Geometrics of Louise Nevelson," it is a collection exploring shape and featuring details of wood texture, all based on analyzing the sculpture of Nevelson and attempting to interpret it into a wearable form. The accessories in this collection truly captured the effect of her work, and later I turned them into more wearable pieces, which I look forward to see being worn in a daily context!

    Can you share more about your background and your entry into working in design? 
    Looking back at my journey, it's been a series of happy accidents! However, the further I go along my path, the more passionate and enthusiastic I have become about belonging to this industry. I come from a very non-creative family and country so my desire to take a creative route always had to be balanced with an academic side. I've had to overcome many obstacles to come to where I am as a designer but I find this has shown me how strongly I love what I do. 

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