As part of our mission to continue discovering and supporting new talent, we bring you designs in living color from the mind of Montse Paüls (Barcelona, 1982).
Montse is the designer behind PinaDesign, a small accessories label based on colorful hypoallergenic plastic. Pink, lilac, yellow and green necklaces with intriguing shapes that can make any look stand out.
Before coming to fashion, the young Catalonian designer has done it all: literature, theater, mural painting to name a few. And for this self-taught and passionate “weirdo” (as she calls herself), all of this knowledge has given her a different take on the world.
We know that there is life after major labels. In fact there is a whole world of unique designs that, for us, is where true luxury lies. The true difference is marked by pieces that are made by hand, exclusive and supporting young talent.
We love her designs so we’ve decided to bring them into our online shop and they’ll be on sale soon. But beforehand, why not check out the interview she gave us here at So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins to get to know her a little better.
SC!: How did you get your start in the world of accessories design?
MONTSE PAÜLS: Just like everything else, it started out as a kind of game. I designed pieces that I felt like wearing, and it’s still like that. I continue to design and create accessories that I would, and do, wear personally in my daily life.
I’ve never paid much attention to trends, which at times has worked against me. In fact I’ve started to sell pieces from collections from two or three years ago.
I’m kind of a weirdo and I’ve never contemplated the possibility of entering the fashion world as such. The gears of the industry seem too cruel to me and make me feel a bit uncomfortable. It leaves me with a great sense of contradiction. But I do love designing and creating my own jewelry out of plastic, and making people who wear them happy.
So, almost without thinking about it, and together with three different colleagues, we created different fashion and accessories design labels like Colorín Colorado, Oslo Barcelona and others. Some of them are still active, albeit in different forms, despite how complicated it is to be an artisan and to live from your own projects and run a viable and profitable business in this country.
SC!: How did you get to where you are today?
MP: I don’t currently live exclusively from the sale of my pieces. My profession, my main source of income is from the field of hostelery: I’m a waitress in a restaurant.
It’s a profession that requires a lot of concentration, effort, patience, psychology, and you also have to be able to multitask, be nice, empathetic, and more. I’ve learned a lot from this job and I continue to learn every day, so I’m grateful that every day I have a new opportunity, together with my coworkers, to improve the experience of our guests in the restaurant.
This feeling makes me more creative and provides me with the desire to start new projects, although between work and my family I have very little time and energy, it is one of my basic needs: to create.
All these years working different, self-managed projects has given me an enormous amount of experience and made me aware that difficult does not mean impossible, and that you can live from what you do, you just have to want it and to work hard.
Most designers and artists that I know who can dedicate time to their personal projects don’t expect, nor want to be rich. They feel privileged just to be able to dedicate the majority of their time to their passion and, really, this is true wealth, being the owner of your own time, and your own life.
SC!: Where do you sell your pieces nowadays?
MP: I currently only have my pieces online in the So Catchy! Shop (coming soon) and other personal commissions that come in through my website, pinadesign.net, but the majority of my sales come from word of mouth and my contacts and friends.
Sometimes I get interesting commissions for wardrobes or photo sessions, and that’s is always fun because you have the possibility of seeing your work through someone else’s eyes, together with different types of clothing, color ranges etc. And the whole look comes to life.
I feel good when a project asks for just the right amount of time and energy, no more and no less than I have, but obviously, when I receive a commission, I’m always very excited and I seem to find extra hours, and enthusiasm from who knows where to be able to finish them.
SC!: Your pieces are colorful and use materials that are not very common for jewelry. Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?
MP: My main source of inspiration is always the materials. I use them to look for possibilities with color, light, elasticity, brightness, transparency, opacity and durability. I experiment with possible shapes and assemblies and some times accidents happen and versatile pieces appear and I see how they can work as accessories. I oftentimes feel more like a sculpture than a fashion designer. I like for the pieces to be wearable, they are almost always designed as accessories, that say something about you, and the client is always the one who makes them shine with their own touch of attitude.
SC!: What is your process like? Do you make everything completely by hand?
MP: I use different types of hypoallergenic plastic. I design and create each piece in every stage of its elaboration. I only buy the mounts, chains and clasps premade because it’s practical.
SC!: Where do you think the world of fashion accessories is heading?
MP: I think that the future of accessories will be influenced by technology and scientific advances, and it’s already happening with 3D printing. New tools and materials are coming out every day and changing the industry, while our method of consumption adjusts.
SC!: An accessory that you can’t stop wearing…
MP: Earrings, necklaces, glasses, bags, shoes, in that order.
SC!: A jewelry designer that you admire …
MP: I love the work of the jewelry Andrés González, María Ninot (you can find her pieces here), the graphic work of Leticia Rodríguez, the wearable sculptures of Aloma Lafontana and the felt and the freeze-dried flower head pieces by Ana Vivero, for example. They are artists and friends and I have had the incredible pleasure of sharing studio space and creative adventures with them. I deeply respect them all for their imagery and tenacity.
I love working with all kinds of designers and jewellers, people with a world inside them that make you vibrate with their creations, who surpass conventionalism and the rules of fashion or trends. My tastes can range from a designer of holographic jewelry to an artist who uses wild seeds and stones for their creations.
SC!: The world of fashion urgently needs …
MP: To adopt the model of Slow Fashion. To end the exploitation of people, mainly women and children, in it’s factories around the world, generating more poverty, pollution and inequality. If we want it, we can achieve it.
SC!: Have you thought about designing other types of accessories? What do you like designing?
MP: I’m working on a collaboration with the jeweller André González on a very personal project and that’s all I can say for the moment. We hope to present this new project in the upcoming months but they will be ‘real’ jewels. For me it will be a serious step forward, not just in terms of quality, but I believe that this time we have the product, and the way to be able to turn our pieces, which have been an expensive hobby until now, into a profitable business. Keep your ears open; you’ll be hearing more about ‘Melun’, our upcoming creative adventure, before too long.
All images courtesy of Montse Paüls and PinaDesign
Translation and layout by Michael Padilla