In honour of International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate talented women all over the world like the artisans who craft our beautiful garments. Today is all about empowering women and empowered women.
So we’ve teamed up with the amazing illustrator and feminist Viktorija Semjonova from andsmilestudio, who created beautiful illustrations of women wearing People Tree for this occasion in order to promote female power and equality.
Get to know Viktorija and her work and make sure to have a look at her colourful, inspiring blog and Instagram.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a London based illustrator, Russian and originally from Latvia. I work mainly with gouache and love colour and pattern. I sometimes think of my work as being visually pleasing and semantically light, I hope it makes people feel happy and brings a bit of positivity into people’s days. This is also why my business is called andsmilestudio, because that’s how I want people to react when looking at my work.
How does a typical day look for you?
I start the day with a cup of coffee when I get to the studio, sort out my working space and double check my to do list for that day before I start work.
Some days are full of painting and drawing and fun things and others are admin and business side of things. I’m lucky to be working from Kindred Studios, a shared art studios in West London so at midday I go to the studio cafe for lunch, talk to studio neighbours and just have some time off before going back to work. In my free-time, I love going on bicycle rides, drink coffee and go on adventures.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I find inspiration everywhere: in films, walks, visits to galleries, fashion, my friends, stories I hear and adventures I go on.
I love subjects which seem insignificant at first sight but feel so so special to us when we live through them. Like slowing down, grabbing a coffee and looking at the world passing by. Or meeting friends you haven’t seen in a while and then feel the connection so strong and so deep the same where you left it. Or visiting a gallery or a museum on your own and really noticing every single detail and people around you. I also enjoy drawing mundane daily musings of women.
What is your favourite thing to draw?
Women in funky outfits and dogs! If I had my way I would draw dogs and women going around their business all the time! Women are central to my work, which is unapologetically feminine.
Which women inspire you?
Many; my mother, my grandmother, my sister, my friends, women I meet through work or in my free time. Women who are independent and strong and brave enough to go against the grain, also women who are kind and open and soft and gentle and choose to live their lives the way they want.
When I think about names of women who inspire me there is a list so long I can spend days researching and sharing. What unites them all is that they show their true self and support other women moving us all closer to equality, be it by big things or small feminist acts like promoting self-love.
What advice would you give other women who dream of founding their own business?
Find your support network, people and friends who are there to listen and lift you up, with whom you can share your ideas and ask for advice. Be brave, be bold, trust your instinct and have fun!
What are your favourite picks from our current collection?
My favourite picks are: Martina Floral Dress, it looks like the most fun dress to flounce around! And the colour and pattern is so beautiful. And the Rima Abstract Jumpsuit looks absolutely amazing and is my new freelance uniform.
Viktorija’s illustrations and our work together is meant to represent all the different People Tree women out there, wearing and crafting our garments.
Every piece of clothing supports female producers in improving their livelihood. The continuous work with People Tree helps gradually increasing their skills, education and earnings to empower them socially and economically.
This focus on positive changes is what keeps us going at the People Tree HQ, knowing that we’re continuously contributing to strengthen female power and equality. Thank you Viktorija for helping us to do so in celebration of International Women’s Day!
If you want to read more about a couple of the amazing women creating our collections, click here.
On the road to equality we need all our combined force, so join us in supporting sisterhood by getting one of our slogan tees to spread the word. As our present to you, get the cute Love Tee for £25 in celebration of International Women’s Day.