Seattle by-way-of Moldova designer Masha Osoianu crafts delicate, sinuous womenswear hand-knit from all-natural fabrics and yarns imported from her home country. Her collections are sexy in a subtle way, and constructed with an Old World mastery that looks almost like an antique, or piece of art (see: this knot dress).
Most recently, Osoianu translated her apparel techniques into a statement-making jewelry collection featuring collars and cuffs made from the same flowing yarns and bold metal beading.
Meet her here, and in person this weekend, April 25 and 26, as she brings her line to Clementine Shoes in West Seattle.
Shop Talk: What neighborhood is your studio in?
Osoianu: I'm on top of Queen Anne. This area is really what Seattle is about—friendly neighbors, amazing views and a lot of independently employed individuals with distinctive personal style.
What is your earliest memory of designing?
My mother is also a designer, so creating new things from fabric swatches was always a way to entertain myself as a child. But what is most memorable to me is when I learned to knit; I felt like I'd discovered a new dimension of apparel design. The first collection I presented at a national competition in Moldova combined knitted sportswear with grungy hand-knit elements and woven dresses and tops. I was 13 when I created it.
What do you do to get yourself in a creative or productive headspace when you're feeling stuck?
I listen to music. Go for a run. But in my experience when I'm stuck, no matter how frustrating it is, I just keep on sketching, working, and playing with shapes until inspiration hits me.
Your most recent ah ha moment:
I was in Los Angeles shopping for jewelry clasps and ran into these simple, curved tubular beads. I'd never seen them before. I didn’t know what would come out of it at the time, but I created one cuff which then inspired me to launch a whole jewelry line, Fluid Metals Jewelry.
Five things you can't work without:
No interruptions: I am not one of those creative types who can be sketching and work on email at the same time. I need focus so I can visualize my process.
A huge sketchpad and an HB pencil
My mom’s feedback: She may be my harshest critic at times, but I know her level of expertise, so I suck it up and listen.
Calendar: If not for production calendar, I would stay in creative stage forever!
What is your favorite thing about your studio?
Basically I can work anywhere, just give me sewing machine and needles, but my studio has amazing views and big windows with a lot of sunlight. Keeps me happy.
Where can we find your designs, and where would you like us to be able to find them in the future?
Currently The Finerie carries some of my pieces, and I have my online store. Mainly I work directly with private clientele, who contact me to set up a private consultations to go over sketches, colors and whatever ideas they have.