Fashion dolls come in all shapes and sizes and from all over the world - but just a while ago we had the very first coming from Romania! Luna Doll is the project of Andrei Teican, better known to fashion doll collectors as Andymy Designs, his fashion doll clothing brand. Luna is a 13" doll with an articulated hard vinyl body and she comes in two editions for now, one with a casual outfit (Emely) and one in a gown (Amelie). They have hand painted faces,rooted hair and come with matching accessories and a stand. You can shop for them here. I had the pleasure of having him answer my questions about his doll, his doll clothes and himself, so here is the interview:
FDC: First give us a little background information about you, who are you, where do you live and what were you doing before fashion dolls came into the picture?
My full name is Andrei Teican, known in the doll industry by Andymy. I live in Romania, and before the fashion dolls I was an aspiring teenager looking to work in the fashion industry. I worked as a graphic designer before finding the current job as a designer at a clothing production company in Romania.
FDC: How did you discover fashion dolls?
Since I was a little kid I loved the dolls. I asked my mother to buy me one, and Santa was kind with me that year. I always had an attraction for the small things that look like humans, and this attraction is still valid. Collecting I only started 5 years ago when browsing through the internet I discovered that there are other dolls than Barbie. SURPRISE! And I managed to buy my first doll by selling some pictures that I took.
FDC: When did you decide to start making clothes for your dolls?
After I had to drop off college, due to family problems, I had a year in which I thought: well, what do I want to do for a living. My first dream to become a fashion designer was still there, but I didn't have the budget or knowledge to make patterns and sew. At one point it clicked! “I want to make fashion for dolls, or how do you call it.” And from there the road got paved little by little. Started to learn via internet pattern, started sewing, started a small blog. This passion took a break when I started to work as a graphic designer. But I knew that I needed to follow my dream. So I took my drawings, some pictures of my poor clothing, and went to a fashion factory in my city to present what I want to do, using their leftover fabrics. And everything started. I was taken in and during 2 years I learned the process of making a garment, I understood why there is a straight grain on a fabric, why you need to fuse a product, how a pattern is build, I learned how you sew a fully lined coat and all kinds of inside work that is done in a clothing factory.
The first design I sold was 3 years ago, when I started working at the factory, and I did my first pieces. To be honest even now I can’t believe it that my designs are still selling. That means, I guess that I am doing something right. I know that a collector wants a good design, a good quality product, and I am doing my best to deliver. As a collector I understand and I want to deliver.
This is interesting. I guess I wanted to have a doll of my own, as a designer you want to evolve in the industry, become better, become greater. Make yourself known through your work. And Luna Doll is a project that started in a second. I had to go to China with work at a fashion fair. And when my boss told me this I said “ I want to make my own doll” and she approved. I sent some emails to unknown factories in China that could help me develop Luna Doll, but only one kept its interest and desire to work with me. So during my work travel to China, I had the opportunity to visit the factory that has produced my doll. And we signed the contract.
I was afraid, and I still am afraid, but I am keeping myself positive with my dolls. I took a risk with the size of Luna Doll, but I wanted to be different, I wanted to make something that had not been done yet. And I do hope this is not a one time project, because I have big plans with this doll.
What I can say is that I am happy that I made this step in the doll world. And I do not regret it.
FDC: How is living in your country affecting your passion for fashion dolls?
Romania, is a country as all the others. We all have bullies, we all have people that support you and your work, we all have people being jealous of our work.
The most known Romanian doll collector is probably Ada from www.papusilemele.com that is supporting me with all her love and good words of encouragement. We have a small doll community, and maybe there are more doll collectors out there that we are not aware of, or maybe they are hiding it. As I mentioned we all have bullies and there are people with closed mentality that are very judging. “You are a grown man and you play with doll… ha ha ha”
I am not affected by these comments, I know that my work is appreciated and will be appreciated by open minded people, by collectors. My country is not a barrier. The infinitum is a barrier.
FDC: Did you encounter any obstacles before selling/marketing your dolls/clothes?
The doll community is very supportive, especially when you win their trust by presenting a good product. They will come for more. Maybe the only obstacles that I have is regarding the deliveries. I want to maintain a good price for the deliveries, but also be sure that the product arrives at its destination. So from time to time I am sending a message to those who brought from me: “have you got the package?! Is everything OK? Do you like it?”
Knowing that the collector is satisfied by it’s purchase, that’s my goal. And when he is not I am satisfied because I know and I can improve.
FDC: Where do you usually sell your dolls and fashion doll clothing?
I am happy to present to you www.andymydesigns.com
My own website (YES!) that got officially launched in January. Yet I must mention that the promotion announcements are done via newsletters ( for those subscribed), and also through Facebook, Flickr and Instagram.
FDC: What inspires you? Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
My workplace is my inspiration, and also the internet. Usually for me the fabric speaks, and when it doesn't I use the internet for inspiration. if this is not working either, I keep the fabric in a corner and come back to it later. Usually when I get home the idea pops and the next day I have the drawing ready
FDC: How long does it usually take from conception to completion for any doll/outfit?
It depends on the time that I have. At work I am involved in almost 15 projects, including my designs. And each and every project requires my time, so the concept is done in 30 minutes. the rest when I get the time to meet with my team. I took me one year for the first “collection” , another year for the second “collection” , another year for the third “collection”. And when I say collection I mean a few pieces here and there.But this year I plan on releasing at least 1 design every 2 weeks, maybe less, maybe more.
FDC: Who is your fashion icon?
Is it OK to say I do not have one? Because I really don’t. I love fashion generally. My style of designing, for example can change in a second so I will never have an icon.Maybe Fashion is my icon.
FDC: What is your favourite doll to design for? Apart from yours of course!
I really really love to design for the IT dolls. FR2, Nu.face. I collect them and I LOVE them.
This is easy. My Holy Grail is: IT’s Eden – Style Mantra. I do not own her, but I love love love her. She’s absolute gorgeous. The make-up, the style, her hair. Maybe when I become a billionaire I can afford it. ( If that will ever happen.)
FDC: What is your most favourite fabric/material to work with and what is your least favourite fabric/material to work with?
I have no favourite I have no least favourite. I can say that I have fabrics that are giving me and my team a hard work because of the easy unravelling. But they look so good I cannot give up on them.To be more specific, whatever I get my hands on I’m trying to make it work.
FDC: What has been the most rewarding part of making dolls and fashions for them?
Seeing collectors taking pictures of my fashions on their dolls this is the best reward a designer can dream. And the latest reward was to have a tiny small appearance in a Romanian Fashion Magazine. That made my week.
FDC: What is the difficult part of making dolls and making doll-size clothes?
The most difficult part is to find locally tiny accessories for the dolls. You will never find them in Romania. The best solution is to get them from China, but you need to order like tons. So having supplies for the next 10 years is not an option.
The second one is having a complex pattern, and details that only a full size garment can have. Lucky for me I am more of a minimalist in fashion, so simple lines are working just fine. I might try some more complex designs, but if they do not succeed they will never be revealed.
FDC: What kind of details do you make sure to always incorporate into your clothes?
My designs will always be fully lined. Except when I have a good looking fabric that is not allowing it. This is an element that makes a good quality product.
FDC: What has been your favourite outfit/piece so far and why?
My favourite outfit is the one that I will make tomorrow.
FDC: Are there any tips or advice for all the doll-clothing makers out there you'd like to share?
YES! Keep on dreaming, follow that dream of yours, work hard for it and at the end of the day the satisfaction will be immense. Without sweat there is nothing. I know this because I am living it.
FDC: Is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself, your dolls or your clothing?
I think that www.andymydesigns.com has all the information about my dolls and my clothing. This interview shows a part of me that is not visible through my website. And dear Stratos I thank you so much for it.
All photos by Andymy Designs.