CHAJINIZED and loving it

20130210-161852.jpg Whilst London is playing host to three of Panama's hottest design talents over London Fashion Week, I manage to catch Annie Chajin at her new Studio in Casco Viejo over a glass of wine.

As usual she is super busy doing 3 to 4 things at once: last touches to a logo, finishing an order to Felix B Maduro (the best department store in Panama) and decorating her new space (all the furniture is designed by her and up-cycled).

A multi-talented multi-tasker and she sells!

Annie, how long have you been designing accessories? All the girls I know in Panama seem to own one.

Since 2006 - approximately nine years, and I've been designing clothing since 2008. It hasn't been easy though. I have worked very hard on it.

Recycling I noticed is a long-term passion for you. Why is that?

I love recycling. I think your junk is my treasure. I try to recycle as much as I can. I love making things out of recycled magazines, using them as material for items such as purses and earrings. Now I am starting to make some elephant dolls by utilising bits of materials in a patchwork design and stuffing them with cut offs and other recycled pieces. They are a cute piece that you could put on a table and they symbolise Chajin Design.

Why is the elephant your logo?

When I first started this brand I wanted to find something that resembled what I was doing. Since I was working with the eco-friendly Tagua nut, which is called the natural ivory, I chose the elephant.

Then of course the elephant symbolises strength, honor, stability, patience and good luck, not just in the Hindu culture, but it goes as far back as the Greeks.

What made you move your workshop from your home to this studio?

I wanted to get the workshop out of my house. It was about time. Now I wake up in the morning, I feel happy and I come to the studio. Also for my employees, I leave the positive and negative vibes here and I have the most incredible view. I really can't ask for more.

Where do you go from here? You've got Panama semi-sewn up!

I am working at trying to get into the States. I have a couple of clients up that way and it would be a natural progression. I would like to get into Europe before then though. Also I have a couple of things I need to sort out: my logo, my terrible website (I need to get it updated as well as changing a couple of things). I have several projects here in Panama: La Ruta del Casco and Hogar San Roque, which is the dog foundation, helping people to adopt the pets on the streets as well as looking after the ones not adopted so that they don't have to get killed off. I am organising a fundraising event on the 4th of March with a photographers exhibition and a fashion show, which will be huge.

If you were allowed one thing, and Annie you can only take one thing on the motorbike, there is no space for more, what would it be?

I would need to take a Panorama hat and sew all my pieces on the inside and on the outside that way I would always be fashionable anywhere I went on the bike!

Gosh how typical. How come I didn't think of this? Then of course I don't have Annie's huge creative MEMOIR.

I am lucky to have two bracelets for our next prize. So hurry up and email for a chance to win one!

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