Thursday, 3 May 2012

Interview with Merrimaking

Known for their distinctive animal hoods worn by festival goers and people alike, who are the masterminds behind Merrimaking?

I've interviewed the two people we have to thank, Meg and Harri, for creating their imaginative ideas and allowing us, the public to commission just about any animal we want. I've got my cheetah cub hood (see below), what will you choose? To get yours click here.

Where did you get the name Merrimaking?
M: I love explaining this. My name's Meg and Harriet goes by 'Harri', which when you merge the two is 'Merri'. And we make stuff...

What was the first hood you ever made, and why did you make it?
M: It was a Panda hood for a party, and then some Tigers and Leopards from some cycles. Together with another really good friend from uni we used to make and wear them all the time, I used mine to keep my pet rat in. It's funny though, the hoods are so different now. I guess 3 years of constantly doing one thing (in our case, sewing) really does make you better at it! We even use the right coloured threads to match now.

What's your favourite hood?
M: The bear that I wear. Our friend and seamstress at the time, Kelly, embroidered into the side of it, it's got a funny lining and it's so scruffy, I love it!

H: I always seem to swap my hoods at festivals so my favourites come and go. The one we just can't part with for love nor money is the stag we made over a year ago for a catwalk, we've pranced around in it at so many events since then. It's pretty battered but still wonderfully grand!

What's the strangest hood you've been asked to make?
M: I had to make a jelly fish hood once, that was like no other

H: A pair of pterodactyls, I never did get to see a photo of them being worn out and about! Must have been a memorable sight...

What process do you go through when making each hood?
M: If it's a commissioned hood then we need to talk to whoever's commissioning it to work out how they'd like it to be, sometimes using photos to match colouring and markings. And then we need to choose the right fur fabric to suit, the right lining, design a new pattern for the ears if they're unusual and really it's a case of cutting all the pieces (getting very fluffy in the process) and sewing it together.

I saw Selfridges sell your hoods, how did you managed to get them interested in your work?
M: It was one of those knock-on things. Gabby Young and her brand wore the hoods, and because of that we came to have our pieces on sale as part of the Supermarket Sarah concession in Selfridges. The buyers must have seen the hoods there and got in touch. It was very bizarre really.

Selfridges Window Display

I see you also sell jumpers/tshirts - are you planning on expanding any further to make other products?
M: The bigger picture is to keep on designing and making new pieces, 'a wardrobe of playful ideas' ... we want to keep Merrimaking interesting for the customer and also, we want to keep ourselves inspired. It's boring making the same thing all the time.

H: Yeah it's great to keep brainstorming and creating new pieces. I love it, we want lots more products!

Is it just you two that make/design the hoods and clothing, or do you have a team?
M: It's just us two. For the past year or so we had friends working as seamstresses's, which was a LOT of fun. We've just moved to Brighton and have had to leave that side of things behind, so it's us two again for the time being and we're working mostly on new designs before the 2012 festivals get started.

Where to you hope to take this in the future?
H: I like where we're at right now. I'm hoping to build on what we're already got into something bigger. It'll always be a festival/art based fashion brand run by friends, and the dream is to expand so that we can work in a bigger team of friends and bringing out new products all the time. I'm really looking forward to it.

M: If Merrimaking can remain a platform for Harri and I to earn a living doing something creative and we enjoy it then I'm happy. I'd like to employ some friends back in too.

Is your website the only place currently where you sell your hoods?
M: Also festivals and Secret Emporium events. We stock through a couple of independent shops too.