The journey unveiled
Welcome to the journey of Daniela Paradeis, a journey spanning more than a decade in the intricate world of lingerie and swimwear. It's a story of fast fashion, price wars, and the less-than-ideal conditions that have shaped my resolve to create something truly extraordinary. It is a story of resilience, passion, and a relentless pursuit of excellence, all wrapped up in an environmentally conscious, one-woman show.
The fashion industry often dances to the tune of (super) fast fashion, relentless price competition, and questionable work environments. It was these very challenges that ignited a fire within me, propelling me to forge a path of my own. I decided to design, manufacture, and personally package each and every piece of lingerie and swimwear. It's a labor of love from start to finish, from the sewing machine to the tissue paper, and right to the post office.
From dream to reality
I always knew I wanted to work in fashion; design things that are used by people day to day, night to night and things that aren't only pretty but functional as well. "Fashion designer" was the longed for profession I even wrote in every friendship book back in the days.
Coming from a family with a bunch of DIY-ers and hobby sewers, I wanted to learn everything, but in the right way. I went to an art & design high school with a focus on textile design and did my A-levels not in maths but weaving and printing technology. I designed curtains and rugs for a fictional house in Sanaa and got to knit my own scarves. A creative heaven for a 14-19 year old where I didn't only learn how to draw, paint and design but to find inspiration everywhere I go.
I later attended fashion college to learn how to use those textiles and actually make clothes by (and for) myself. Clothes that fit perfectly *and* are practical. My last collection was inspired by airline uniforms and the thought of some sort of everyday uniforms got me so inspired that I was longing for a niche that brings me closer to that.
The journey brought me to the theatre where I felt that it's like a really fancy alteration shop. I helped a brand make bags out of used bicycle tubes, handstitched evening gowns and got to experience Paris Fashion Week with a menswear designer I worked for. I was sure that fashion was so right for me but I wasn't sure what niche I should work in. I didn't care a lot about fashion for myself but I spent a fortune on really really nice lingerie. And then one day at a "history of lingerie" lecture while studying art history as a side hustle it hit me. Lingerie was my niche!
I started as an intern at a small Austrian company that developed patterns and samples for really big brands and I knew I've found The One! Lingerie and swimwear made my heart sing.
Lingerie is the One!
What they didn't teach you at fashion college back in the days was how to make underwear from the very first idea to *all* the different sizes and how to work with the stretchiest materials. After a couple of years as junior, then senior designer I became pattern cutter and was able to create a product from the first sketch to the final inspection in the factory. I learned how to alter and grade patterns, how to write sewing instructions for sample machinists and seamstresses and how to make markers to use the fabrics in the most economic way.
Lingerie and Swimwear is the ultimate symbol of the famous definition of "design": form follows function. It is a beautiful combination of aesthetics and the needs of the wearer. It has to be pretty but also give support. The more I worked with patterns the more I loved it but the more I used my hand clicking with my computer mouse and not drawing. I lost my sketch hand. I was in need of some fresh creative input to inspire my right side of the brain again.
Crafting creativity abroad
Being in love with Italy helped me chose the right place to do just that and in the Master of fashion design advanced course at Polimoda right in the heart of Florence I found my creative side again. Is pursuing happiness like chasing rainbows? With the inspiration of 3 contemporary muses, Olafur Eliasson's art, the 30s era, German woodcuts from the 15th century and the knot of a trench coat I designed my final collection "Chasing rainbows" with a silhouette made of foam and wadding underwear (shoulder *and* hip pads is all I'm saying) covered by flowy (coat) dresses and faux leather jackets.
The story continues with a studio placement at a prestigious luxury lingerie label in London, when I knew I just can't simply go back to my old (corporate) life.
The entrepreneurial leap
Picture this: the hustle and bustle of offices, warehouses and productions in Europe and Asia, where I've spent countless hours in pursuit of the perfect bras, panties and bikinis (also night and lounge wear btw) – that one piece that makes the customer's heart skip a beat. Always searching for the extraordinary. Always hustling for someone else's why. I found myself not only in the most beautfiul studios with the most inspiring people but also in dodgy factories with the worst working conditions. As the companies I worked for got bigger and more famous and I got to see more of the incredibly awesome (business trips that felt like vacation) but also more of the horribly frightening side (like the insane amount of waste) of the industry, I knew I have to use all my knowledge, experience and expertise to work on something smaller, something more exclusive, something that is more "me".
In 2015, I embarked on a journey to launch my own label, dedicated to creating time (and season) less pieces under the fairest conditions. I wanted to use production surplus and resurrecting dead stock, proving that materials don't need to collect dust in a warehouse or should be thrown away; and that they *can* shine brilliantly in new, awe-inspiring creations.
A small business with a big impact
With my very own brand *and* the opportunity to help others bring their ideas to reality really is a dream come true. I get to design, manufacture and pack my very own pieces that are made to order which means every item you purchase has been made for you. There is no warehouse, nor storage, no sweat-shop, nor production lines and when the fabric or other materials are gone, so is the collection. But I also get to work with other really small or very big companies that just started or have been famous for decades already. I design and make tech specs and markers for productions, I grade patterns with CAD or manually and support the brands with fitting suggestions. I consult start-ups and help redefine the handwriting of renowed brands and get to develop products for a variety of customers.
Having a small, independent business, means that I am always in search of top-notch quality in the tiniest of quantities (which is not always an easy task considering the fact that the minimum order quantities are either way to high for a small brand or a smaller order quantity wouldn't be as sustainable). It's a testament to the dedication and unwavering commitment that I put into each piece.
Sustainable practices and transparency
The connection with partners and suppliers has been extraordinary. Some not only sold but also, at times, generously gifted materials that didn't quite fit into their own production. Together, we’ve strived to utilize materials that might not have fit their production line but were perfect for my vision.
Where do the fabrics and materials come from? How do we ensure they align with our sustainable lifestyle? Being a vegetarian for 25 years now I make sure that no animals were harmed in the making of my undies. Yes, I use Polyurethan as a leather alternative, but a) I find it better than using real animal's skin and b) it is made of deadstock that otherwise would have gone to waste. There's no judgment, and absolutely no greenwashing here, just a sincere belief that even small efforts can make our world a greener place.
Daniela Paradeis - One woman with a mission
The brand Daniela Paradeis is a tribute to all that I've learned. It's a testament to the idea that one individual, a one-woman business, can indeed make a significant difference in the world. For you, for me, and for our beloved planet.
Do you have any questions concerning the materials I use for my collection or find a piece interesting but would love to have it in a different fabric or color? Want to know more about the mission and my why? Head over here to read more. Drop me a line in the chatbox down below or send me an email at email@example.com