APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Michèle Pouani: Pyromaniac by mp is a contemporary line of ladies couture: a mixture of vintage trends infused by a dashing multicultural flame, geared towards the elegantly, stylish multicultural woman. The designs are entirely created and handcrafted with passion in the finest materials at our design studio in Montreal.
APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
Michèle: My collections aren’t really about African prints but rather about designs inspired by Africa. I make the clothes that I would wear: superior quality, exquisite craftsmanship and tailoring. For the first collection “Be Wear” the choice of batik prints came naturally and it was important for me to mix them with other textures like leather and silk in an attempt to find a balance and present a collection that could appeal to any woman that loves print and bold colors.
APiF: How do you feel about the new African Prints/Fabric trend?
Michèle: I personally adore bright colors and bold prints so I find the current ethnic trend very exciting! It is also exciting to see that international designers find interest in our traditional fabric! It’s interesting to see the many ways it’s been used on the runways!
APiF: Is African Print in the fashion industry here to stay?
Michèle: Regardless of the African print trend, I believe African fashion is blossoming and I am very proud to see that a new wave of young designers is emerging. It’s very important to note that it goes way beyond that ethnic trend. Instead, it is about quality and luxury, exquisite craftsmanship and tailoring. I believe talent speaks louder than trends. So I think the ethnic trend will go eventually, but the African talent that is emerging right now is definitely here to stay!
APiF: What inspires u?
Michèle: I probably sound cliche but really everything inspires me! I had the chance to live on three continents, so part of my inspiration is drawn from my diverse travels and also from my African heritage. But my greatest inspiration of all is the woman’s body! Nothing makes my heart more full than when a real woman puts on my dress and exclaims how amazing she feels in it.
APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
Michèle: Hooo, I love each and every piece I have in my closet. I am not an impulsive buyer so every item I have was carefully picked and has a sentimental value! That’s why I have a really hard time getting rid of my clothes! That said, my favorite Pyromaniac by mp piece is the “Lacey” jacket from the “Cosmopolitan” collection! I loooove its mix of textures and colors as well as its sleek tailoring and contrasting piping details!
APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Michèle: We have had a website www.pyromaniacbymp.com ever since the brand was created, and just opened our online boutique in November for our international customers! The response has been overwhelming and I am feeling very blessed to see that many people around the globe are interested in my designs! We also have a blog www.pyromaniacbymp.blogspot.com where you can get all the updates and outs and abouts of the brand, and of course a facebook pagewww.facebook.com/pages.pyromaniacbymp!
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Michèle: It’s only been a year since I launched my first collection and yet I still consider myself as a newcomer in the industry. I wouldn’t say it’s been hard, but it’s been challenging and a great learning curve. I am actually still learning, because turning creativity and passion into a business is not an easy thing to do. So my advice would be to take each challenge one day at a time. Dare, persevere and most importantly: take the time to enjoy doing what you love!