A leading force in sustainable kids’ fashion, Mini Rodini’s planet-friendly ethos comes courtesy of Swedish illustrator Cassandra Rhodin, who launched the print-tastic childrenswer label in 2006. Taking inspiration from her great grandfather, a circus king known as Brazil Jack, Rhodin’s spirited collections are sported by teeny trendsetters the world over. We caught up with the mum-of-three to talk fun-filled inspiration, family life, and creating with a conscience.
You’re a recognised Swedish illustrator. Have you always been creative?I grew up in a family where all adults were painters, filmmakers or artists and I drew and wrote stories from an early age. My father used to smoke cigarettes a lot so on all my drawings from that time the figures had a fat cigar in their mouth.
What prompted you to launch Mini Rodini?When my first son was born, 15 years ago, I couldn´t find inspiring or fun clothes for him and everything was too stereotyped for my taste. I wanted something else and decided to do it myself, without compromising on sustainability.
What’s in the name?My great grandfather was a circus King, famous as Brazil Jack. He was an important part of my childhood and I loved to hear stories about him. One day, about the same time as I founded the brand, I found an old photo of him in an antic shop in the Old Town in Stockholm. On the back of the photo he had written “Rodini”, the name he used when travelling with romaine in the romantic 1890’s. The name came to me there and then. The circus is still in the family.
"For me making kids clothes without compromising on social and environmental aspects of the production is super important and part of the Mini Rodini’s DNA."
What do you consider most important when creating children's clothes?For me making kids clothes without compromising on social and environmental aspects of the production is super important and part of the Mini Rodini’s DNA. Our SS 18 collection is made from 100% sustainable materials and me and my team have worked hard for this. We also put in a lot of work into rigid controls of chemical use and tracking.
Your brand is renowned for its unique prints. Where does the inspiration come from?It comes from everywhere, I always have a theme for each collection.
How do you spark your own children's imagination?By reading and listening to them. I also think being in the nature is an important part of a free spirit childhood.
Your clothes are mostly made from Organic Cotton or Recycled materials. Why are ethical values and sustainability important to you?It has always been like that. I don’t want to compromise with ethics. I became a vegetarian when I was a kid and nature have always been my greatest inspiration.
"Everybody needs to buy less in better quality and more second hand. The high-street chains are selling designed garbage, that’s not a sustainable way forward at all."
Where do you see the future of kids’ fashion?We as consumers have to be more aware! It’s not enough to only buy organic cotton, if it’s not certified it could mean the cotton is organic but the production is conventional, so we could still have hazardous chemicals in the production. And we should start buying other fibres, it is dangerous for our eco systems to produce so much of one kind of crop, Tencel and Linen for example are great alternatives to cotton. Everybody needs to buy less in better quality and more second hand. The high-street chains are selling designed garbage, that’s not a sustainable way forward at all.
Describe your typical day…I´m a slow starter and need to start the day with a long breakfast with a minimum of 3 cups of coffee in our house. Then I come in to office and have meetings, lots of meetings. As founder and Creative Director, I work both with design, communication and the business side of the brand. Around 4 PM I get home and spend time with my family. In the evenings, when my kids are asleep I work another few hours.
And a perfect day out with the family…I have a big family and a perfect day for me is to just hang around with them and eat good food.
Do you have any tips for juggling life as a mother and successful businesswoman?I have always worked a lot, but I have never compromised being with my kids. I work a lot home or when they sleep in order to have time to be with them. I don´t spend a lot of time cleaning or making food. My husband do all the cooking and our house is always a mess.
Which Liberty London children’s fabrics would you love to work with – and what would you do with them?I love William Morris print, the strawberry thief. I think more is more and it would be so beautiful to do a whole kids bedroom with curtains, canopy, bed cover, cushions and headboard in the same print.
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