Spotlight on Aude-Aline
Hello beautiful people, I have a brand new Friday Female for you and this week its spotlight on Aude-Aline. I’m super excited to share this powerhouse young lady with you, and I think you definitely won’t be disappointed.
Why is the Spotlight on Aude-Aline?
Aude-Aline Eugene is a young Parisian designer who moved to London in early 2017. I met this young lady a couple of months ago and was very impressed firstly with her designs, but mostly her drive and determination to follow her heart. We had a conversation about her bags and life in general, and I knew immediately that I had to feature on the blog. Her brand SMILE by AAE is a leather line with a perfect minimalist look and seamless designs. Each bag is a handmade, unique and timeless piece perfect for all seasons. She makes all her pieces in her studio in East London and they are just beautiful.
This week’s feature is purely written format, as I mentioned in my previous post that it would be a mix of either video or written depending on schedules and all that jazz. I sent Aude-Aline some questions to answer, and we also sat down for a chat about what inspires her, how she got started and what’s in store for her and her bags.
So without further ado, lets get into the juicy bits already, shall we?
I have always been passionate about fashion and literally created my first swimsuit made out of cinnamon leaves at the young age of 6. ( It’s maybe why I love to use lot of spices in my cooking ;)). In 2010 I graduated with a Masters in Architecture and soon after that I created my freelance company AAE in 2014. I opted to work as a freelancer rather that in full time architecture, so that I could have time to focus on my personal design projects. I did however work in several Parisian Studios, which I loved and I learned quite a lot. After 7 years in Paris I decided to pack up and move to London to find new challenges as well to elevate my career as a designer.
Moving to London whilst not knowing a single word of english was the most challenging thing I ever did, but it turned out to also be the most rewarding.
What was your very first paid job, and do you use any skills you acquired then in your present role?
My first paid job was in a Maternity ward in a hospital in Paris. I helped to take care of newborns and their mothers, which was so surreal and amazing. I certainly hope that one day I will use those skills in my own personal life when I become a mother.
Which person has had the biggest influence in your life so far?
I would say 100% my mother has had the biggest influence in my life. I have always had a lose relationship with my mother, and have to learn that the saying, ‘Mother knows best’ is definitely true in my case. She is my biggest inspiration and my best friend.
How would you describe your personal style?
I love black! I love beautiful material like silk, wool that kind of stuff. Stella McCartney and Isabel Marant are some of my favourite designers. Isabel Marant is a french designer that I admire a great deal and I have actually designed a coat with my own vision that was greatly inspired by her.
How do you deal with the challenges that come with pursuing your passion?
I try to trust myself and my vision and that keeps me going. Intuition plays a huge part in everything that I do. My mother has always taught me to trust my inner voice and I know life can get hard sometimes, but if you honour yourself and stay strong in your vision then you can move past the challenges and come out stronger on the other side.
What has been your biggest obstacle in life and how did you get over it?
My biggest obstacle was completing my Masters in Architecture. I had to face a jury of 7 people, along with all my peers and family to present my final project and I am not good at public speaking. I had spent a very long time preparing for this moment and to say it was nerve wracking is an understatement. For a few seconds I just stood there and completely froze, and this was the longest 3 seconds of blackout of my life. All my hours of preparation helped though because suddenly the words just started pouring out of my mouth and I finished brilliantly. This taught me that preparation is everything and I was happy it was over.
One word to describe yourself?
Creative! I feel like that describes me perfectly, as it is simply who I am.
Did you plan your career/life or have events just happened?
I was always passionate about fashion, from a young age. I wanted to be seamstress and I actually later learned from my parents that all my great grandmothers were also seamstresses. I was studying at night school, working as a babysitter and also working in a very large loft, which led me to my career as an Architect.
I used to spend a lot of my time drawing and refurbishing old stuff. One day (about 3 years ago) I decided to renovate an old folding seat from the 60’s, that belonged to my grandparents and my love affair with leather began. I love the look and feel of leather and felt inspired to intuitively work with the material. I began to think about everything I could create and the ideas just kept flowing, so I went with it and started making my bags.
What advice would you give an aspiring designer?
I would say it is important for you to listen to your own intuition, trust yourself and the ideas that you have. You have to be passionate and love what you do. Get out more and find some inspiration, it is everywhere around you and will help you in the design process. Inspiration is the streets, people you meet, materials you find and places you visit. You need to be able to visualise upcoming trends and know what people want.
This to me is connected to self love and self esteem, you really have to believe in yourself and love yourself enough to keep going. Follow your dreams and always do what makes you happy.It is important to dream, dream big and dream a lot. This helps so much in the creation process. I moved to London, not knowing a single word of english and with no idea how I was going to make things work, but my passion and determination was strong. It’s been 10 months now since I moved and I have no regrets, my english is improving everyday and I am doing what I love.
Talk us through your creative process, e.g. What does a typical day look like for you?
My day always starts with meditation to get my mind right and body ready for the day. I work essentially in sketches and in model. I draw a lot in my notebook that I carry with me everywhere because I never know what might inspire me or when. I just love to draw and need to do it just to feel happy.
I’ll typically transfer my drawings to my computer, print out any plans that I have designed so as to start making the prototypes in the workshop. Most of my day is spent making any necessary modifications until the product corresponds perfectly to what I imagined.
Where do you see your brand in 5/10 years time?
I just want to continue to create and to make people happy. It’s so strange for me when I see people carrying my stuff, it just makes me so grateful and so happy to see them enjoying their purchase. That’s really what’s at the core of what I do. Maybe in the future I would like to have my own shop and possibly expand into making clothes as well. I am currently working on a collection of leather backpacks that I cannot wait for everyone to see and then I also want to expand my business while at the same time maintaining a sustainable and ethically conscious brand.
Describe what your idea of a perfect day would be.
I love water, so if I could wake up every morning in front of the ocean to breathe the fresh air to start the day i’m sure that would be just perfect. I’d play with my cat Joky who I left in Paris with my parents and I miss so much. I’d do my meditation and Pilates before taking my notebook with me and going out to find inspiration.
Do you have any daily rituals and if so what are they?
I meditate everyday and personally I think my body needs it to relax and its a gift that I give to myself to get my day started. I started meditating 9 years ago and it has really help me to stay grounded, get focused and feel refreshed. I also do pilates regularly and try to make healthy food choices as I think a healthy mind and healthy body is very important.
Where can people find you? Online/social media.
Thats all folks!
Thank you so much to the lovely Aude-Aline for taking the time to answer my questions. I don’t know about you, but I am certainly inspired by the young lady. I’d love to know if you managed to get any golden nuggets for yourself fro this interview. Please leave me a comment below and let me know what you think.
As always beautiful people, love the life that you’re living!