saona collection illustration

If nothing actually predestined her to become fashion designer, Delphine Jeannel always had a head full of ideas and creativity at the tip of her fingers – constantly drawing from her personal travels, her weaknesses and childhood memories for further compelling accessorization. It is in the year 2008 that the young Parisian woman decided to settle in Koh Samui in Thailand, where she gave birth to her daughter, Noa. More so, it is also at this time that she took her first steps in the world of fashion. First, by opening a “multi-brand” women’s ready-to-wear boutique and then, very quickly moving forward as creator of her own collections. Here’s a little history on her itinerary and her inspirations!

Hello Delphine, tell us a little about your background: what were you doing in Paris before living in Thailand, you worked in the fashion industry?
Not really, in fact I was responsible for a payroll service in Paris, so nothing to do with fashion.

Self-taught! So, from where did you get such ease?
From my childhood I think, my grandparents worked in the world of fashion accessories and that’s something that inspired me a lot throughout my work, because I admit to having a soft spot for accessorization, I place a strong focus on this.

In other words, they practiced what type of work exactly?
My grandparents on the paternal side had 2 Trimming Plants: they sewed lace, ribbons, embroideries … and on the maternal side, my grandfather was a hatter and had a factory of artificial flowers to decorate buttonholes, costumes and hats of course …

Tell us a little about Thailand, about Koh Samui, how you came up with the idea to settle down there. Did you have a specific project at the time?
No, I did not have a project in particular, just the desire to change atmospheres – I needed to escape and I liked the simplicity, the sweetness of living in Thailand. There were already a lot of French people settled in Koh Samui with whom we sympathized, so, my spouse and I figured the adventure was worth a shot.

saona collection illustration

So, you finally settled in 2008 on the island of Koh Samui, the move was easy? What were you doing to keep you busy during this period?
Yes, our move went well and I continued my work as a freelancer. Although it lasted for about two and a half years, I began to get a little bored of my job. I began to have more and more aspirations towards working somewhere in aesthetics and “lifestyle”. I hesitated between opening an interior decoration store or ready-to-wear boutique.

You finally chose to open a ready-to-wear boutique, for what reason?
Generally, it was a universe that corresponded more to my passions and I was also pushed a little by my girlfriends, who encouraged me to do open the boutique. At the time, there were very few fashion shops that offered original products in Koh Samui, so it was common for expats to go shopping in Bangkok to dress themselves and my friends liked my tastes and my style.

How did you manage to create your own collections?
Well, I first started out by reselling clothes in my own boutique in Koh Samui, that I bought in Bangkok or Bali, but many other people began doing the same and I could find elsewhere the same items that I was selling. This did not really correspond to my aspirations, I wanted a boutique that reflected me –  that did not resemble that of my neighbor, so it became obvious to me that I had to create my own collections!

What was your approach in creating your collections, did you already have connections with manufacturers, specific ideas of what you wanted?
For the ideas in fact, I had already a lot in mind and I had already spotted a few “craft” workshops in Bali that used manual techniques for fabricating and dyeing, that suited my feel and my vision of work creation. I decided to pay them a visit with my creations in tow and things went really well, the feeling came right away and we began to work together. That is when my first collection was born!

So what is fashion to you?
Fashion for me is, above all, a search for style that corresponds to the self. A garment must be a reflection of one’s own personality and therefore, fashion is not created by following a particular trend or fashion, simply because everyone has a different personality. I create things that correspond to a certain type of personality, or type of person only. I’ll admit to a certain form of infidelity, in order to find one’s own style it is necessary to try out different universes and mix different genres.

Where do you find your inspiration for your creative works?
I spend a lot of time on Pinterest, every day I discover new “pins” and besides, I can spend whole days there, not only for the world of clothes but because I also like decorational objects, it inspires me … Of course, travelling as well, from the moment I begin my travels, my mind turns “on” and I become very attentive to what is happening around me, to perfumes, noises, colours, people, I absorb everything – I’m like a real sponge (laughs). In Bali, it is good that there are many creators. I have a creative friend who comes from Peru for example, another from New York. In short, Bali is a real incubator for creation …

Thank you Delphine, this interview is over. I wish you good luck in your continuation and thank you for giving me a little of your time.

Thanks you too.

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