This month we're shining the spotlight on Saana Bourne of Cissy & Flo Designs, a self-taught artist from Melbourne, with a life-long passion for being creative.
Over the years Saana has done china painting, hand-painted ceramics and acrylic painting - but it was only in 2017 when she started dabbling in digital art on her iPad, which would lead her down her fashion design journey.
Through learning more about digital art and finding it to be quite exciting, Saana learned more about surface pattern designs for repeat prints. From there, our designer went off to learn about textile prints and did a course in fashion design.
In early 2020 she launched her first capsule collection for her fashion label of which she has designed both the textile print and the garments.
With Covid-19 hitting not long after her business launch, Saana decided to pivot the business to make it more about Fashion & Art, so now she also sells her artwork, which includes original paintings and digital art prints.
WHY DID YOU START CISSY & FLO DESIGNS?
"I've worked in commercial property management for nearly 25 years and still do, and I absolutely needed to find a new direction in life to do something new and exciting for myself. I always wanted to start my own business, but just wasn’t sure what it would look like and had only ever made art for myself or for gifts.
So, when I discovered repeat pattern print design and learnt about garment design, I took a leap of faith and decided to have a go at doing something completely new and different by launching a fashion label!"
Since introducing the artwork component to the website, Cissy & Flo Designs is now about Art & Fashion, with the emphasis on creating something distinctively different.
The fashion label is a slow-fashion brand, advocating femininity & a striking style using quality fabrics and bold original prints that appeal to women who dress to stand out and be remembered. The garments reflect a classic style for flattering silhouettes and the designs are cut and suited to a petite sizing starting at size 6 and up to 14.
Everything in the process is exclusively designed by Cissy & Flo, from the print design to the garment design.
Saana’s painting style is based on ‘Intuitive Art’ which can often start without a plan, but with time and numerous layers of colour and markings on the canvas, the painting begins to emerge.
Digital prints are also created from the original paintings which are then taken on a new direction and given a whole new look. So, it is not simply a photo of the original painting, it is another whole piece of artwork again, which can take days to complete.
The brand Cissy & Flo is a tribute to 2 great aunts. Cissy was sweet and always made people smile, whilst Flo was stylish and elegant. Both were incredibly strong and independent but sincere. Their values and styles reflect the brand.
THE BEST PARTS
"The best parts are being creative and creating something that someone else loves.
I can spend hours creating print designs or painting and love spending time in the studio. I can easily lose hours being so indulged in the artwork. And the absolute best part is when a happy customer enjoys and delights in what you have spent time creating."
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES
"Being a one-woman business whilst also holding down a busy day job, I find it challenging to keep up with all the tasks required and finding the balance in running my own business. And especially being a newbie to running a side hustle there is so much to learn and do."
ANY PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
"My goal is to grow the business and create a brand that is focused on my art and print designs and have a diverse business that offers both fashion and homewares.
I'm currently working on fabric prints and new garments for the next collection. I have also been sampling stationery, tea towels and aprons and cannot wait to share these."
WHAT MAKES YOUR BRAND EVEN MORE SPECIAL?
"Cissy & Flo has trademarked the statement ‘Be Your Own Woman’. Not only does this statement reflect the Cissy & Flo brand, but it underpins the brand’s intention of ensuring women are supported and nurtured. A percentage of sales relating to the ‘Be Your Own Woman’ campaigns or products will be given to specifically selected groups and charities that are exclusively designed to support women in need, and more particularly for prevention against domestic violence.
I have recently created a beautiful design that is being sampled now, which will be on T-shirts, tea towels and aprons. I am excited about these new products and am so passionate about this project and truly hope that it gets all the support to achieve the target. I have a mission to make Be Your Own Woman ® known for this purpose and continue to introduce new designs."
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