On designing for people—and with a purpose
Are you curious about 'design' and 'aesthetics' and the nature of things?
Maria Rathsach, one of our designers, has dedicated most of her working life to designing.
In this candid interview, she talks about 'good design', which trousers she likes the most—and how it is for her to work in a purpose-driven clothing company—a different, and at times challenging, way of working in which she finds deep meaning.
Tony: Who are you, and what do you do?
Maria: That's a big question. For one, I'm a person who's had a long working life dedicated to design. When I travel, I love to see architecture and museums, and I get a lot of nourishment from looking at art. I like things that push me and expand my boundaries, and, of course, I really like beauty. And it's not always the same.
Maria: So, sometimes, if I see something that might shock or surprise me, I like to come to understand it and see its beauty.
Tony: What's 'good design' for you?
Maria: Well, it can be different things for different people, but as long as it's useful or beautiful to someone, it's good design.
I remember attending the School of Applied Arts and being driven by making something people genuinely wanted to wear. I was profoundly interested in merging materials, shapes and colours to make clothes people would love wearing—it fascinated me.
Back then, before the internet, things were more hands-on. I'm incredibly happy I have that experience because it's given me a vast understanding of materials.
Tony: What does 'good design' do for people?
Maria: It makes people feel good, safe and connected to each other, whether it's the design of cities or things.
Good design is essential to living a good life if people satisfy their basic needs, such as food, shelter, and water.
And as a maker, it's incredibly satisfying to be able to do good design.
But no one can, by sheer will, make a bestseller or design a garment that stays relevant for the next five years. After all, intuition, creativity, experience and persistence create good design.
Tony: What does good clothing design do for people?
Maria: It makes people bloom and feel beautiful—and I love seeing it happen!
Tony: How do you feel about working in a purpose-driven company?
Maria: That's quite an interesting question. I haven't worked with design anywhere else like I work with design here.
For me, reading trends is about movements in people and not simply about 'newness'. Being here has let me work with trends differently and take people's needs closer to heart.
As words and intentions become real-life actions, aligning everyone inside and outside the company is hard. At times it can be challenging. However, working in a purpose-driven company creates a strong foundation for a designer.
And I'm thrilled with our design philosophy, making trousers people love wearing, which I think should be framed and hung in our office. It really encapsulates everything the entire product team is working towards.
Tony: Are there any of our designs you'd like to highlight?
Maria: I've always found it incredibly difficult to buy trousers. I've sewn many trousers for myself, and it's gone well. But going into a shop and buying a pair of trousers it's almost like finding a needle in a haystack.
I'm tall and not standard at all, and I'm also picky about quality and the finer details. But after working here, I open my closet, and have plenty of trousers to choose from, so it's never a problem to find a pair of trousers in the morning.
I've discovered I like 'Dena', a pair of trousers I might have been a bit afraid of back in the day.
Because I'm also quite conservative at heart and don't spend much time styling my clothes. I wish I had that interest, but I really don't.
In that way, I'm a bit like a man. When I put on my clothes I have to feel good in them; that's it—it's not something I spend much time on. So, opening my closet every morning and putting on a pair of trousers feels SO amazing.
I especially like 'Julia', 'Daphne' and 'Dena'. These three silhouettes seem different, even though 'Daphne' and 'Julia' has some similarities with their 'cropped' length. 'Julia' is narrower at the bottom and have a 'build-up waistband', and 'Daphne' have a more straight leg and an elasticated waistband. Then there's 'Dena', which I've learned to like.
Tony: What do your three favourite trousers do for you?
Maria: I feel cool in them, and they're comfortable. And then they go with... everything. To me, that's an essential part of trousers, because it makes them so easy to wear and use.
Maria's favourite shapes in designs for every season
Julia 555 Dark Grey Melange
Tapered-fit trousers crafted from soft twill-weave fabric in a melange design.
Daphne 285 Biscuit Melange
Straight-fit trousers crafted from elegant plain-weave fabric in a classic design.