Aneta Genova is an Accessory Design Professor at Parsons The New School for Design. In 2003 she launched her own accessory label designing leather iPod cases which transitioned into a line for Target. Together with Fairchild books she has just published her first textbook, Accessory Design by Aneta Genova.
Is the textbook just for students? Who else do you think it would appeal to?
The Accessory Design book is the first and only comprehensive reference for aspiring and practicing accessory designers. It examines the design process from concept to production with equal insight into the creative and technical aspects of the accessory industry, and prepares aspiring accessory designers for a knowledgeable entry in the industry. It is a perfect book to read for anybody who is interested in entering the accessory industry or starting their own accessory business and wants to learn about the process of designing accessories.
As a professor in Accessory Design for eight years, do you feel like you had things bottled up that you had been wanting to write about?
For me the book happened quite naturally. I’ve been working in the industry and teaching for years. There was a need for an accessory design texbook, I saw the void and proposed the idea to Fairchild Books. I didn’t even realize how much I had to say until I sat down and started writing it. The most fun part for me was reaching out to various designers and design companies and collecting illustrations, sketches and photos of their work. I got to meet and befriend a lot of talented people in the design industry.
Were there any surprises along the way?
I am a designer by education and trade and it felt natural to write about the process of developing and creating accessories. What surprised me the most was how long it took to complete the whole project. I am used to designing collections 3-4 times a year, which means you start and complete a new “project” every 3-4 months. Teaching is also split into semesters, so you start fresh every 4-5 months, but writing a book took almost three years! For me that is a really long time to spend on one project.
How do you decide which designers to feature?
I was always looking for relevant current designers, who represent various design levels. I featured design work, ranging from established designers, large brands to recent fashion graduates and award winning students. I wanted to showcase different ways of designing and manufacturing, so I also featured the profiles of Elizabeth Olsen who started olsenHaus, a vegan shoe company, and Marie Havens, who works with the organization Invisible Children and their brand MEND.
You worked at Marc Jacobs, Polo Jeans and Ralph Lauren. Do you feature them in the book?
Yes, I have featured work from Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren, but I also had illustrations specifically created for the book. For example, Danilo Giordano, who is the senior director of women’s collection footwear for Ralph Lauren illustrated all shoe styles for two chapters. For this book I wanted to have a good balance of recognizable designs and original work that hasn’t been seen anywhere yet, or was created specifically for the book.
Before you began teaching at Parsons you had your own accessory collection. What did you design?
I’ve always loved technology and so my company was one of the first to start creating fashion for technology. I started with luxurious iPod cases back in 2003, when the first generation of iPods had barely hit the market. I continued developing leather cases for all kinds of gadgets for the next few years.
Where did they sell?
The first stores that took on the line were the progressive boutiques Kitson in LA, and Bond 07 by Selima in NYC, but the bulk of the sales came from my own e-commerce website. Within a year I was selling at boutiques all over the world, within three years I had a secondary line at Target all over the US.
When did you launch your blog, Bobbin Talk? Can you tell us about the name?
I launched BobbinTalk in March of 2009 as a platform to feature emerging designers and fashion students’ work. I wanted the name to be connected to the sewing process and the story telling, but at this point it is so hard to come up with a good name that hasn’t been already taken online. I kept thinking about the process of making garments and accessories and playing with words. I spotted a bobbin in my tool box and the rest is history.
Your blog features a lot of collections from young designers. Which one is your favorite?
I like the best the collections from designers I have seen grow from students into young designers. There is something very special in seeing a creative mind grow and mature and blossom into a star. The growing pains are such a huge part of the design process that most people don’t get to see. The final product in the store is just one side of the story. I feel it is more special to see the process of development and how designers grow.