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The Fashion Inside Scoop: Tootsa MacGinty

We caught up with Tootsa MacGinty founder and designer, Kate Pietrasik, to hear all about her gender neutral inspiration for her unisex childrenswear label

Posted: 26 June 2013
by Catherine Hudson

tootsa macginty
Tootsa MacGinty founder and designer, Kate Pietrasik - now, and as a child
Tootsa MacGinty designs
Tootsa MacGinty, Surfers Against Sewage, T-shirts
Tootsa MacGinty

Kate Pietrasik, Tootsa MacGinty founder and designer:

Why did you decide to work in childrenswear?

I was working as a womenswear designer for various street and sportswear labels and, after becoming a mother, I was horrified at how segregated the aisles of children’s toy and clothing departments were.

In my opinion, many of the products encouraged girls to focus on vanity and domesticity, and boys to be active but aggressive and tough. So, I set about to create a label, Tootsa MacGinty, that offered an alternative.

What are your earliest fashion memories – what did you wear?

My brother and I grew up in the '70s and '80s. We were dressed in a lot of Mothercare and Marks & Spencers clothing and other British high street classics. According to my parents, they were of 'good design and great quality'. But my first personal fashion memory is of a set of 'days of the week' knickers I received for my fifth birthday.

When you think of your childrenswear label, what words spring to mind?

Stylish, colourful, fun, childlike, quality, comfortable and gender neutral.

What were your inspirations for the childrenswear SS13 collection?

The collection is inspired by the long summer holidays of childhood. With 'fun in the sun' graphics: ice lollies, kites, deck chair stripes, ice creams, donkey rides and bunting. Everything that is synonymous with the British seaside.

What are your top three tips for dressing children this Spring-Summer?

Colour: Don’t be afraid of colour; avoid boring and, in my opinion, unflattering pale pastels for girls and sludgy colours for boys. Lovely bright colours look even better when the sun is shining!

Comfort: Boys and girls should be able to run, jump, scoot, climb, roll... And whatever they’re wearing, make sure that they are able to move freely. It will give them confidence.

Style: Choose age appropriate childrenswear. Children are children for such a short period of time and ought to enjoy looking like children. Avoid fussy styling and go for classic pieces rather than over designed miniature adult fashions.

Do you have any set style rules when designing for children?

That the garments be childlike, colourful and gender neutral. Tootsa MacGinty prides itself on producing clothes built for children to enjoy wearing so they are always colourful, comfortable, machine washable and childlike: never overly designed or fussy and not miniature versions of adult fashions.

What are your top three must have pieces from your SS13 collection?

- Our super soft pre washed Bude Harem Pants.

- The Hayling Island cotton knit jumper in bright sun-yellow.

- Our graphic organic cotton T-shirts with proceeds going towards the environmental campaign group, Surfers Against Sewage.

Can you give us your hot tip for autumn winter 2013 childrenswear?

Layering for the British climate! Brushed cotton check shirts always look great over a T-shirt and under knitwear.

Do you have a muse when you design your collections?

My 3-year-old daughter, Ruby. All children have great imaginations and love pretending and Ruby is no exception. I don’t intend to limit Ruby’s imagination by putting her in a sea of pink or pastels. Like most children she is also very active. I like to encourage her confidence in clothing that gives her freedom of movement, and yet still look great!

How does it feel when you see a child in one of your designs?

Absolutely fabulous and extremely happy. Although, just yesterday I approached a parent to ask where he had purchased his son’s cardigan, as it was Tootsa MacGinty and I was curious as to which stockist he had used. His reply: “Next, I think!" We managed to have a good laugh about it!


Don't miss... The Junior Meets hub of exclusive interviews, inside scoop interviews and quirky Q&As, with exciting interviewees including: Tommy HilfigerSir Paul SmithStella McCartney and lots of other influential fashion designers, authors and illustrators including Quentin Blake and Jeff Kinney, great business minds including Lord Alan Sugar and, everyone's favourite fashionable frog, Kermit.

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