"You like the smell of toilet, is it?" people would ask Melody, the co-designer for our recent capsule collection: Leave UV. To produce the UV collection, we had to move the working table into the toilet as it was the most convenient place to work on the prints and wash the silkscreens. Melody didn't let the smell or the fact that she is working in a toilet bother her one bit.
It wasn't the first time Melody braved through the mad scramble of fashion production with Elisa. Both ladies met when they were studying in LASALLE College of the Arts and Melody was the junior who would come to Elisa's aid in her last-minute rushes for submissions, working away on the sewing machine in school to save her from an impending deadline.
Naturally, this beloved junior came to mind again when Elisa realised that she needed help with the upcoming UV collection. We wanted to produce it in time for the Lunar New Year, but Elisa had to be away in Cambridge, England, to take on her Master's degree in Social Innovation.
Since every piece in the UV collection is hand-crafted in the silkscreen process, production was quite a crunch and not meant to be a one-person job. So, Melody called in two of her friends from LASALLE to join her in the final sprint. The three of them worked so late into the night that they caught the attention of the security guards! Elisa had to call in from London to assure the guards that they were not silkscreen-crazed intruders (oops).
It was the first time Elisa had a co-designer to work with for a Will & Well collection since its incorporation, and it was comforting to have someone on the team who understood the process, pains and joys. A few years had passed since Melody last designed as she has been looking for something more stable than what a career in design can promise. But for this collection, she jumped back in as a fish takes to water. With an iPad and Apple Pencil in hand, Melody got right to work. It was simply amazing to see the spark in her light up – the stubborn spark of a designer that would always be a part of her.
Our Leave UV collection is still available, but only on a made-to-order basis as we continue to hand-craft every silkscreen print. Elisa and Melody believe that it's essential for designers to be close to the production process so that in a world of mass-produced fast fashion, and there is still room for intimate hand-made pieces touched by its designers.