Hatched by husband and wife team Michael Ryan and Sophie Demenge in 2002, Oeuf NYC is now a leading force in sustainable kids’ fashion, working with eco-friendly materials and mindful production to produce irresistibly cute designs. Based in New York, the brand’s founders transfer their family values to the label, resulting in practical clothes that inspire curiosity, laughter and freedom of movement. We spoke with Demenge to get the lowdown…
What inspired you to launch a kids’ line?When I became a mother, I realised it was hard to find a simple, modern crib that was also high-quality. I knew I couldn’t possibly be the only parent looking for such a crib, so since my husband and I were designers, it was natural for us to simply design one! We started with the Classic Crib, and branched out to clothing when we realised that there weren’t many companies with natural, well-designed pieces for babies and children.
What’s the story behind the brand name?The name seemed obvious at the time when I was pregnant! An egg is delicate yet very strong, like all of us.
Can you tell us about your creative backgrounds?We had both trained as furniture designers – Michael brought an engineer’s perspective along with his preference for minimalist pieces, while I brought the playful aspect to keep things interesting. It’s our firsthand experiences as parents, though, that’s perhaps the most important part of our backgrounds.
What do you consider most important when designing children's clothes?Functionality paired with quality materials that are made to last...and practicality! Of course, it’s also important to incorporate a bit of whimsy and humor. We wouldn’t want to make our products any other way!
You’re based in New York, does this influence your designs?Yes, absolutely. I am inspired all the time by what I see in the city. It may be the museum, or the park…or wherever I am, whatever I’m doing.
Can you tell us about your production process?Everything is designed in Brooklyn, where we live and work. Our pieces are then produced in Bolivia, Peru and Latvia – close to where the materials are sourced. This allows us the opportunity to use the highest quality materials but we’re also able to work with exceptionally talented people who understand how to work with those materials. We currently work with over 400 knitters.
"Oeuf is really successful in showing people the charm and humor in everyday life."
How many people work in the Oeuf team today?We currently have 10 people working in our Brooklyn office.
What are your primary sources of inspiration?I’m actually inspired most by everyday life. What I see around me in Brooklyn, whether it’s at the food co-op or a visit to the museum or the park, or just my daily walk to the office. We’ve done some great items such as handmade baby alpaca stuffed apple-shaped pillows, or a knit taxi cab. Oeuf is really successful in showing people the charm and humor in everyday life.
How do you spark your own children's imagination?They really don’t need sparking… it’s natural for kids. The only thing we do is to create an emotional and physical environment where they feel safe to experiment and feel their feelings. Emotionally they feel supported because we are interested in them, who they are, what’s going on in their lives and what they are becoming - and physically as nothing is precious or off limit at home. We have an open house and table at all times for their friends.
Describe your perfect day out with the family…I like lazy days at home when everyone is here and we do things together and alone. From picnic and movie night to working on a project to cooking to chatting, playing cards. Thankfully they still like spending time with us.
Sustainability: what does this mean for you?It’s a mindset. I grew up like that in Paris without having a label on it. For me it’s not a trend - it’s really common sense.