Tao&friends was created by Mimmi Musiala and Selina Pattyranie – two best friends with a passion for kidswear.
They run the brand together with their business partners, their kids Tao and Indie (Mimmi’s) and Selina’s Elsa, (who has a baby sister on the way!). Tao&friends is a conscious sustainable kidswear brand, working with non-harmful certified organic GOTS cotton within a factory subscribing to fair trade, ensuring permanent employment with compensation above minimum wage. They also donate €1 to charity for each item sold. For the SS17 collection, the donations go to the Winnicott foundation and the World Childhood foundation.
We caught up with Mimmi and Selina to find out more about the SS17 collection, what they love most about working together and more. Read our interview below.
HOW DID TAO&FRIENDS FIRST COME TO LIFE?
Our story started in Paris many years ago, where we were working and studying. We have always dreamed of doing something together but never found the perfect idea. That was until a historical dinner, before Christmas 2014. We were having a BFF catch-up in Stockholm over a glass of wine. Selina was on maternity leave as she had had her first daughter Elsa earlier that year. Elsa, who is also Mimmi’s goddaughter, had a very tough start in life and spent her first days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where she received amazing care from the hospital. We wanted to be able to give back and help other children. That very evening we decided that we would launch a kidswear brand together, and for every item sold we would be giving €1 to charity to help other children in need. We came up with the name Tao&friends that very night and the following day set up our Instagram account. It was just meant to be.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME AND WHAT IS THE IDEA BEHIND IT?
Tao is Mimmi’s eldest son and also Selina’s godson, we think it’s a cool name! We added ‘friends’ as we wanted a name that was inclusive and could capture our values, that everyone can be part of the Tao squad.
WHERE DOES THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR COLLECTION COME FROM?
Definitely our kids! They are our management committee and a tough crowd to please. We love bouncing ideas with them. They come to our meetings and fittings and act as our models. They tell us what they like or don’t like and what they think is fun! We also take inspiration from our personal styles and what we like to wear. One of the pieces we will introduce in autumn is a skirt inspired by a piece we both loved and wore while roaming around in Paris as students.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO DO A KIDS LINE?
It came naturally. We both have kids and we wanted to create a cool brand that has a charity aspect to it.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Not all best friends can work together, but it’s amazing for us because we really complement each other, it’s so much fun. We build on each other’s ideas and it evolves into something we never dreamed of.
WHAT DOES YOUR WORKSPACE LOOK LIKE?
We are still in start-up mode and work mostly from home or at our production company. Hopefully, we will soon have a glamorous picture-worthy space to share with Alex and Alexa!
WHAT IS THE SS17 COLLECTION INSPIRED BY?
This is our second collection so we wanted to ensure there was continuity from our first, so people could recognise our ‘look’. We feature a lot of animals, this time it’s Gorillan, Flamingon and Lemuren (the animal names in Swedish). We love creating playful and cool prints that inspire kids and tells a message about embracing your individuality and unique differences. Each of the prints has one animal doing something different, we want to let kids know that it’s cool to be different, let’s embrace it!
WHAT IS THE DESIGN PROCESS AND HOW ARE THE COLLECTIONS MADE?
The design process is quite long from the initial idea stage to prints, samples etc. We are both mumpreneurs and quite good at multitasking. For the collection we are currently producing, we had our brainstorming session in the cab on our way to the airport!
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONE KEY STYLE FROM THE SS17 COLLECTION WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
We love the Flamingo bomber jacket, it’s a little taster from our ‘cool collection’. We are excited to add more trend pieces to our collection.
AND FINALLY, IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND IN THREE WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
Sustainable, cool and inclusive.
With thanks to Mimmi and Selina X