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Frugi Q&A with Jeni Bolton - Best children's eco fashion brand 2014 - HIGHLY COMMENDED

We meet the designer behind the 2014 Junior Design Award highly commended entry

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What is your name and job title?

Jeni Bolton – Head of Design

What did you love to wear as a child?

Big, baggy and bright things preferably over a pair of leggings. My Mum also knitted me lots of jumpers and cardigans and she always added a little playful three dimensional element. My all-time favourite was a jumper she knitted with a picture of my favourite horse from our local stables on. She even embroidered his name underneath and he had a fluffy main that I could plait. It was so much more than just something to keep me warm.

What’s so great about children’s fashion?

The colours, characters and mix of patterns. I find it so much more uplifting and endlessly inspiring to work on than adults clothing. I can’t imagine working on anything else. I also love the challenge of design products that work for such a active little human being. There is so much more to consider during the design process than just whether it looks nice. I find myself asking questions like ‘could you climb a tree in it?’ or ‘What would happen if a baby tried to crawl whilst wearing that?’

What are the highlights of your autumn winter 2014 collection?

Our first range of recycled outwear, some super soft UK manufactured rainbow-striped knitwear, loads of amazing fun tights, reversible dresses and some really bold and striking prints. I am really proud of the range and as I am expecting my first baby in three weeks’ time I can’t wait to get shopping!

How important is it to keep up with changing fashion trends?

I think it is important to have an awareness of them but I’d like to think that we set our own trends here at Frugi. We don’t want to be marching in a line behind a trend we want to be running free with our own original ideas and we are always looking to innovate and to stay ahead of what else is already available.

What makes your brand stand out in today’s growing childrenswear market?

The fact that we keep our designs child-centric. We don’t aspire to adult trends and shrink them to fit kids we design with the child in mind and are constantly thinking about their comfort and what will spark and capture their imagination.

Where do you find design inspiration? 

All around us! Living in such a beautiful place like Cornwall means we are surrounded by inspiring landscape. All of us Frugi designers often find ideas popping in to our heads at the funniest of times like when we’re driving to work or eating beans on toast in the garden. Our heads are always open to ideas and we are always on the lookout for beautiful things that cross our paths.

Why is important to be aware of eco fashion? 

Fashion and clothing is part of our everyday lives and it is important we are aware of its impact on our planet and that we make informed decisions when purchasing. Our work also has to be sustainable so our manufacturing partners can maintain their business as well.

Why did you enter the Junior Design Awards?

It is a great opportunity to showcase our original designs whilst also increasing awareness of ethical manufacturing and how being ethical doesn’t mean product has to be compromised.

What do you predict for the future of children’s fashion? 

Here at Frugi we certainly want to remain focussed on producing innovative products that are as beautiful and useful and comfortable as they possibly can be. We also want to continue to ensure that every sourcing decision we make is ethical and makes the least impact on the planet as possible.


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