HANDS OF INDIGO: CHAMPION OF THE SLOW DESIGN MOVEMENT

Hands of Indigo is part of a slow design movement that creates innovative solutions for traditional craft techniques. Founded in 2014 we caught up with founder, fine artist and printmaker, Yanna Soares.

What makes this project so special to you? It’s a very personal project as it derives from the work I make as a fine artist, which involves exploring cultural identity, geometry and symbolism. I find a lot of the concepts that I investigate in printmaking easily cross over into the brand. Not only because of the choice of name, but also with the material and formal elements. The intense cultural research is something that goes beyond selling handbags. I believe taking a slower and more considered look at things can be very healthy to the mind and soul, and that is our brand ethos.

You recently made a big lifestyle change moving from London to Portugal, how hard was that decision? The decision came naturally to me. I have been a nomad my entire life and I usually find that lifestyle changes have to be done boldly. Otherwise, you will always talk about the grass being greener on the other side and feel incomplete. I moved to Lisbon in July of last year, but I still go to London every month, it’s only a two hour flight. I love the fact that I experience both worlds, all the excitement that I get in London is balanced out by the slow-pace in Lisbon. Plus, being a pattern designer, I cannot think of another European city that offers so much architectural and decorative visual stimulus.

How do you think you’re environment affects your creativity? I think making time to be creative and to be idle can be very positive as it means you are in tune with the natural progression of things. Embracing a level of groundlessness is vital in any creative work. Slow is really just the way things are if you think about it carefully, so nothing has really changed, just our attitude towards time. Living in an environment where people are not desperately competing is very refreshing. I enjoy very simple pleasures here, like watching my neighbor water her plants every morning while the bells of the church ring. It sounds overly romantic, but it is my reality here.

Have you been surprised about people’s reactions towards the brand? Yes and no. Yes, because I was completely overwhelmed when I launched Hands of Indigo. I had no idea how people would react. We were able to develop a waiting list very fast, even before the product was entirely launched. That was completely daunting to me, honestly. It took me a few months to find a team of partners. Plus, coming from a fine art background and having no experience with fashion production has certainly taught me great lessons. There is no doubt that there is an underlying desire these days from the customer for more authenticity in products, which I believe has a direct correlation to the social media boom. Being able to translate that quest for virtual individualism into a tangible product is what I love.

What are you currently working on now? We are relaunching the brand this year after an hiatus. There were so many things to work on after the launch, which include an expanded collection. I spent most of last year researching techniques and have now achieved the look that I was after. It took so much trial and error, making things that absolutely did not work and then having to laugh about them. — HandsofIndigo.com