Designer Sharon Paris took some time to answer questions for the Style Incorporated readers. In my interview with Sharon she shares her inspirations and gives insight to those interested in becoming an accessories designer.
Who is Sharon Paris?
Sharon Paris: New Zealand(er), minimalist, borderline OCD, non-bicycle-rider, conflict-avoider, compulsive worrier, conceptual artist, owner of particularly long arms and legs (although on whole, only exactly average in height), and designer/creator of parishouse.co.nz.
When did you know that you wanted to become a designer?
Sharon Paris: After I exhausted all other possibilities. There was a time I seriously contemplated working in a lab researching genetics
What was the very first thing you designed professionally/ personally?
Sharon Paris: My first collection of wallets, before that I was studying fine arts planning on being signed to a gallery.
Describe your personal style.
Sharon Paris: I try, I really do but there are so many things to consider that I think I constantly end up falling short of how it should be. At the moment I’m trying to be more eclectic (both in my clothes and around my home) but my clothes seem to always end up being J Crew and my home Ikea.
Who are the people behind Paris House? How did it start?
Sharon Paris: There’s me, I design & sell the collection but then there are lots of people doing small jobs behind the scenes: the office manager, my kick-arse accountant, production manager, samplers, production workers, web site developer, graphic designer, distributor, sales assistant.
To quote Marcel Broodthaers “I too wondered if I would sell something and succeed in life, the idea of inventing something insincere finally crossed my mind and I set to work at once.” This is the closest answer I know in regard to how we started.
From where do you draw your inspiration for your collections?
Sharon Paris: Everywhere, people in the street, magazines, books, movies, colour combinations I see and like, artists, my friends (my friends are always trying to give me ‘suggestions’ for quotes for artwork- some better than others.)
What set’s Paris House apart from its competition? What would you say is your trademark?
Sharon Paris: We try to make people smile: in a witty & irreverent way, with a simple, cute & clever aesthetic.
How would you describe the “Paris House” customer?
Sharon Paris: They’re someone who prefers to have an item that speaks to them personally- people choose our designs based on the artwork, the functionality is less important. Customers first want an artwork that relates to them.
How often do Paris House bags and wallets come out?
Sharon Paris: We make a brand new collection every year with new pieces and colours through out the year.
What’s your best seller right now?
Sharon Paris: The photo pocket wallet: Don’t Thank Me, Buy Me Something. It speaks to the masses.
Who are some other designers that you admire?
Sharon Paris: Marc Jacobs, Phoebe Philo, Stefan Sagmeister, Arabella Ramsay, Miranda July, Dick Frizzell, Alt Group, Martin Popplewell, Brogen Averill.
So far, what are your favorite pieces?
Sharon Paris: The Don’t be Stupid I’m a Disaster half moon, it speaks to me personally.
Will you be designing other accessories?
Sharon Paris: We do some other designs for other companies, t-shirts, bed linen, tea towels and shoes. For Paris House we’re happy to focus on our niche of the market.
What are your plans for Paris House in the future?
Sharon Paris: Just a general be better at what we’re doing- there is so much room for growth.
Do you have any advice for aspiring accessory designers?
Sharon Paris: Unless you start with a lot of money behind you, it can be a hard and slow process, be prepared for that.
Movies: Bridget Jones Diary
Pastime or hobby: Shopping
TV shows: ANTM, The Biggest Loser
Vacation spots: Tokyo
Visit http://www.parishouse.co.nz/ to see more of Sharon’s original designs.