Did you know that at Soft Surroundings we design and develop most of our clothing? People often don’t believe we are really working when we tell them how we get our inspiration. We travel often and all around the world.
In Paris, while we search all the tiny shops and attend the amazing flea markets, we also sit in sidewalk cafes and drink endless cups of coffee, while watching the immaculately turned out French women pass by and we sketch what she’s wearing. Sometimes we even ask her where she bought what she’s wearing. My French is iffy – but women have a language all their own about clothes.
St. Tropez and Cannes, just before the Film Festival are usually packed with goodies and lend a chic casual elegance.
We often stay at a private house in the Provence and go everyday to a different Brocante or market – the antiquities of France and their magnificent attention to detail have inspired many of our bestsellers, both in clothing and bedding. We walk and walk and eat and eat and never gain weight there!
Istanbul is a favorite destination – to explore the Grand Bazaar and purchase artwork to turn into beautiful jackets and coats. We crouch in tiny little
rooms with walls, stacked high on every side with antique rugs and prayer weavings – drinking hot tea and wishing for air conditioning. The inspiration of the ancient Ottoman Empire has a romance all its own. The Turkish people are lovely and really enjoy Americans. Istanbul is a surprisingly young and vibrant city and boy – do they love disco!
London gives us our first peek at the latest trends. We go twice a year and walk for hours – rain or shine. We find beautiful details and more constructed clothing there, as you might imagine.
The majority of our time is spent in the US, visiting vintage shops, and the most creative small shops and new designers we can find. If you know of any, we’d love to have your suggestions. Of course, we watch the runways and try to put a casual, Soft Surroundings spin on them just for you.
We study fabrics and even have some created for us exclusively, to achieve the softness you have come to expect. We buy beautiful pieces of artwork and create product around them – sometimes we recolor them or use just a border or a flower, sometimes we use them just as they are. Often art will suggest the product and we instantly know that it will be a tunic or skirt. Of course, when we buy the document, we own the rights to the art.
We find inspiration everywhere we go – just sitting in the airport, waiting for the next flight can be enlightening. A true designer never turns off the vision that makes them great. We love what we do and we hope you do too!