Amanda Blake's tee time

At The Drawing Board: designer Amanda Blake in her Los Angeles studio with daughter, Calder. Below: her "Anais" tee. 

  1. AMANDA BLAKE, FOUNDER OF THE L.A.-BASED LABEL CALDER, CREATES the kind of EASYGOING TEES THAT HAVE ENDURING APPEAL. HER RECENT COLLABORATION WITH DIRECTOR, SOFIA COPPOLA, PROVES THE POINT. HERE, THE MOTHER OF TWO SHARES HER THOUGHTS ON DESIGN AND STRIKING A WORK-LIFE BALANCE

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  3. YOU'VE MADE SUCH A STRONG STATEMENT WITH A SIMPLE IDEA, HOW SO?
  1. I have found that it can be easy to make things complicated but it takes much more to let ideas be simple. I want to create pieces that are well made, fit and wear beautifully, are classic so they endure season after season yet feel unique in a subtle way. I approach my work by first considering the materials that sit together as a palette of texture. In the case of Calder, it is all about simplicity so I keep the fabric selection minimal and choose fabrics that will do a lot for me. There is no particular place that I gather my ideas; I believe in keeping my eyes and ears open to all that is happening around me for inspiration. When I begin a new collection I have no filter and surround myself with what feels right, no matter how random. 
  1. Your designs are based on simplicity and honesty, how do you approach your work?

  2. It’s such a versatile piece, similar to a great denim jean. You can dye it multitudes of ways, or wash it, deconstruct it, live in it for years and it just gets softer and better with time. The same cotton jersey tee can be amazing with diamond earrings and a beautiful evening skirt or a pair of slouchy boyfriend jeans or just as a cover up over your bikini when lounging on vacation. I think the tee doesn’t come with baggage – it becomes whatever you are feeling in that moment.

Tell us about the Sofia coppola connection – how has she influenced your collection?

Sofia is a friend and through the years she complimented me on certain prototypes of designs that I was working on. That lead to a conversation on how we were both searching for that perfect tee shirt; just the right casual fit, just the right cotton jersey, something that could be layered or stand alone as a timeless piece. I designed my first tee shirt, "The Rampling" which Sofia and all my friends are now wearing. It's exciting to see the line catching on the way it has. My goal with each collection is to create simple beautiful pieces that are made to last.
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Basic Instincts: Calder's fall/winter '14/'15 collection, photographed by Sofia Coppola at the director's New York apartment.

  1. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PARENTING MOTTO?
  2. My parenting style is a dichotomy of lots of freedom to explore mixed with just the right amount of boundaries. There is no perfect way to parent, my husband and I have organically chosen to parent to each child’s individual needs. We believe in fostering their spirit as it presents itself daily. With that being said, I am big on respect and manners as well as some good old fashioned stuff like allowing them to be children for as long as possible – getting dirty and slowing down to let yourself be in their world for a little while, it’s the most magical place to be.
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What is your secret to balancing work with the daily demands of motherhood?

  1. If there is a secret I really wish I knew it. Before I had children I could work around the clock, usually hitting my stride at 9pm and working late into the night. When I had my first child I chose to take some time off and just enjoy being a mum, then slowly I began consulting again and took on projects that allowed me to be a mum and design. When my daughter Calder was 2 ½ I began conceiving the Calder line and had to find a new way of working so that I could accommodate time with my family. In February, I had my second daughter Agnes and I have a new “balance” that I am working on. All in all, family comes first. Life and its many different demands are ever-shifting but my love for my family never changes so everything else is planned around that.
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  3. AND A TYPICAL FAMILY SUNDAY?
  4. We go to the farmers' market, the beach, dig in the garden and then end the day with a quiet dinner with a nice breeze blowing through the house.
“We believe in fostering [our children's] spirit as it presents itself daily. With that being said I am big on respect and manners, as well as some good old fashioned stuff like allowing them to be children for as long as possible.”  

–– AManda Blake on motherhood

  1. BLAKE'S STYLE CODES:
    Daytime uniform: Calder T-shirt dress or Calder tee with jeans. Favourite fragrance:  I’m a big fan of subtle natural fragrances which change with the seasons. Most days I just spray a little rosewater on but when I wear a fragrance I wear Olo – Dafne for summer, Dark Wave in winter. Manicure: YSL Beige Leger. Beauty essential: Water and sleep. Boredom busters: A pad of paper and a pen. My dad used to draw on anything and everything while we sat at the dinner table, it provided endless entertainment and the tradition has continued. Favourite restaurant: Gracias Madre. Favourite Film:  All that Jazz and Being ThereLatest read: The Flamethrowers.