I was recently interviewed for www.ISpyMontreal.com, a website for parents with activities and events for children in different areas of the city.
So, how does your career fit since having kids? That pre-baby schedule typically feels tight and tough to coordinate. Tailoring and alterations are often needed, so it’s interesting to talk to local fashion designerEugenia Leavitt about her own career adjustments since becoming a mom.
Recently, Eugenia started working on a new line of children’s products – including aprons and leg warmers – called Doozy. The Montreal designer is known for her line of cocktail wear, and her custom wedding dresses. Several months after having her first baby, she was one of the contestants in the reality show La Collection – Quebec’s answer to Project Runway – which aired last September.
I Spy: Hi Eugenia, please introduce yourself.
Eugenia: I’m from Montreal and now live and have my studio in the Mile End. My husband and I have a 19-month-old boy and are expecting our second child this summer! I studied fine arts and fashion design and am now working as a fashion designer. I have a label called “eugenia” which focuses on organic cocktailwear for women. I also do custom work (bridal, formal wear) and even alterations! Recently, my husband and I started a new line of children’s products called Doozy. He is a graphic designer and does all the marketing and I take care of the product side (designing, patternmaking etc.)
I Spy: If your blog is any indication, it seems like you’ve continued working since becoming a mom, without much of a maternity leave. How do you juggle your career as a fashion designer with having a young child?
Eugenia: The balance between work and family has been a major juggling act. When my son was very young I was lucky to have my sister and mum help me so much while I worked part-time. When he was around one, he started at day care, which luckily he seems to enjoy! We usually pick him up by 4 p.m. so it’s not a terribly long day for him and we get to hang out with him before he goes to bed and then we have the precious weekends together. I’ve had to cut back on some projects, but I’m learning to accept that I can’t have it all at once. For the next baby, I’m happy to be able to take maternity leave. I’m sure I’ll have my hands in a few projects, but when I’m ready!
I Spy: When did you decide to start Doozy and where are your children’s products being sold?
Eugenia: It was in 2010 that I was approached by my friend Lindsay Davis who, with her partner, Jackson, have opened an “urban general store” called Fait Ici (2519 Notre-Dame St. W.). She has a large array of eco-friendly products, including a section of children’s items. She wanted some aprons and leg warmers for kids that were made locally in an eco-friendly way and I thought, “why not?” It’s a very fun project for me. My husband and I decided to name the line Doozy (one of our son’s nicknames). We either use organic fabrics or recycled fabrics. Right now, we sell at Fait Ici and have started anonline shop. We are hoping to expand and gradually have our products at more stores across the country.
I Spy: What’s more fun: working on kids’ aprons or custom wedding dresses?
Eugenia: Hard to answer that one! Both projects are so different. The aprons are fun and quick and I love making things with little kids in mind. On the other hand, wedding dresses are one of a kind, made with luxurious fabric and usually you can take the time to really focus on details (embellishments and hand work which I love doing). It’s great to have variety in the work I do.
I Spy: Can you share any child-friendly activities or destinations in your area?
Eugenia: In the summer we hit the parks (there’s a fun water park on St. Urbain St. by Van Horne) but in the winter it’s still nice to get out of the house and do an activity. I’ve really enjoyed La Tasse Gamine on Parc Ave. It’s fun to go with friends and their kids. The adults can have a coffee and chat and the kids can run around and play with all the toys there. The food is great and there’s a very friendly atmosphere.
Great to meet you, Eugenia!
Doozy is at Fait Ici, 2519 Notre Dame St. W.