A mother, a wife, a designer, a creative force in charge of the wonderful world of Kazak. Geneviève does it all and then some. While she has great clothing pieces with Kazak, we were focused in on her jewelry that in turn focuses on being both ethical and fashionable through and through. We talked about her start, what’s to come and then some.
Kendra: When did you decide to start Kazak?
Geneviève: I guess I started Kazak (the part that was for fun) in 2007 before I went on a long trip in middle Asia. I started to participate at different craft fairs, and I was making bracelets with an old leather jacket from my grandmother with old metallic pieces I would put on the train track in the morning and wait at the end of my work to gather the pieces that had been flattened by the train.
I also started a collection of winter hats (again with my grandmother’s fur coat) inspired by the eagle hunter in western Mongolia because since I was planning a long horseback riding trip through Mongolia, I was really inspired by their hats. And that was a hit! But truly, when I came back from that trip, 1 year and a half later, in 2008, looking for a job, I decided I would try. Just for the moment, before I decide what I would really do.
Kendra: Were you always in the fashion and jewelry realm or did you migrate into it from another career?
Geneviève: I studied Homeopathy for five years, therefore I have my diploma in that field. Worked with Homeopaths without borders, worked on many organic farming in the summer and around the world, but I worked for a costume store, Malabar, for five years during my studies, before I left for my trip. So I was always in the creative world.
Kendra: Kazak is all about ethical fashion. What do you think is holding back others from going a more ethical route?
Geneviève: Being ethical is really hard on a larger scale. Using organic fabric or more sustainable fabrics is one thing, but if you go recycled like I do with the leather and fur and using all leftovers for the fabric, It is really hard to have a uniformity and sell online. I need a photo of almost EVERYthing I sell because the shades of greens are different or the black fabric even if black doesn’t necessarily have the same texture.
Kendra: When it comes to your jewelry pieces, they are simple, earthy and encompass a lot of beauty. Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to their designs? Is there one place in particular that always brings out more creativity in you than others?
Geneviève: For the jewelry what I always do, is that I buy all the pieces that I love and I found beautiful and then I sit in front of them.. totally overwhelmed and I try to do something with them! And then I get into a zone where I just add more and more pieces totally inspired by them. This spring I worked with African vinyl and fair trade, handmade pieces from Ghana. It is amazing when you can feel some history, culture in the pieces you are working with.
Kendra: Which comes easier in terms of designing, jewelry or clothing?
Geneviève: Jewelry I guess is easier. Less complicated, but I love fabric. It’s also fun! It’s the production that is not fun. There is always something coming your way.
Kendra: On top of designing and running a business, you’re also a mother. I won’t ask the typical, “How do you do it all” because I have a mom. Mom’s insane have superpowers. I will ask though if giving birth awakened any new parts of your creativity you were unaware of before?
Geneviève: Hum…I don’t think so. I guess, for now, I am too tired to be aware if there is! But I like to say I loved it when I was back in my little bubble at the studio after a while.
Kendra: What is going on with Kazak in the coming months? New lines, endeavors?
Geneviève: Kazak has a whole new collection of clothing, jewelry, and bags coming out for spring; colorful and fun!
Kendra: Lastly, when you’re in work mode and have music playing, what are your top 5 songs that get you through the day?
Geneviève: You know usually what I do, I look at my husband’s playlist on Spotify. He is doing the job for me.