After decades working in television, Caroline Ziv decided to shift gears and focus on her new clothing line, Pink Gingham. We had the chance to learn more about her new direction.
Before Pink Gingham, what did you do for a living?
I was a television producer working for Good Morning America, Dateline NBC, and, for more than a decade was a producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show. When The Oprah Show ended, I started a boutique video production company creating online videos for non-profits and companies. I still do a bit of video production work.
We’ve always been fond of the block printing Indian designs. How did Pink Gingham begin?
I love the unique qualities of hand printing, and how the ink doesn’t always fit exactly within the outlines of the pattern. That “imperfection” is part of what’s so wonderful to me, a bit like the Japanese of wabi-sabi which is the art of accepting and seeing the beauty in imperfection. Every garment made from woodblock printed fabric one-of-a-kind. It’s the opposite of mass produced. I’m a fan of natural fibers, starting from when I first slept in 100% cotton sheets as a teenager. Pink Gingham started, about two years ago. I was living on the Gulf Coast of Florida and looking for a bedspread. I wanted something cotton, colorful, and unique. I’d always loved block print and found some handmade quilts. My sister visited me, loved them, too, and I realized there might be other people who liked the bright colors, 100% cotton and uniqueness of Indian woodblock goods. So I ordered a bunch of quilts to sell at a beach market. I also ordered some robes and pajamas similar to ones I’d purchased in India 15 years ago! Gradually, I started working with the vendors in India to create other items. The line is evolving and I’m always learning.
Have you always been interested in fashion?
To be honest, no! My first job out of college was working as an assistant in the fashion department of a women’s magazine in New York City. It was the kind of job lots of people would have loved: going to fashion showrooms, picking out clothing, going on fashion shoots, and even going to fashion shows. But I realized early on I didn’t really care about fashion. I HAVE always been interested in artisan made items. Whenever I would travel anywhere, I would look for the handmade thing. I still do. And, I have always loved textiles. I love the colors, textures, even the smell of the wool woven blankets. I have to stop myself from buying textiles when I travel or I’ll need to rent a storage locker to house them!
What role do you play in the selecting of patterns, colors and designs?
Each vendor I work with does a run of prints and colors and when I’m ready to place an order, they send me their current stock of fabrics. There are dozens and dozens of patterns and color ways. The truth is I know what I like and that’s what I order. When I see a pattern I like, something just sparks in my brain. But that spark isn’t 100% right. I’ve picked some fabrics that I don’t even sell because I don’t like them once I see them in person. However, there’s a purple print that I keep re-ordering because it looks good on absolutely everyone. Every age, every skin tone, every hair color.
The ideas for the clothing styles come from everywhere. I draw designs (poorly) or send photos and work with the vendors to create different looks. There’s a lot of back and forth and things get lost in translation. Yet, some items come out even better than I hoped.
One thing that’s been a surprise to me is just how little attention I paid to the importance of color in what I wear. It makes a huge difference. Some people know what colors look good on them but many of us don’t. If someone asks my opinion, I’ll be honest. When they try on the “right” color – POW! – what a difference.
You just moved to Wash Park two years ago. What brought you here and where were you before?
My parent’s bought a small condo at the base of Aspen Mountain in the 1970s (sadly, they also sold it in the ‘70s) and all four kids would pile in the station wagon and we’d drive from Chicago twice a year. So, there’s a childhood connection to Colorado. My brother moved to Evergreen a few years ago and absolutely loved it. Then my niece came here for her medical residency. When my boyfriend and I were considering where to put down new roots, we chose Denver. The mountains were a big reason, but we also liked the fact that it was a mid-sized city, that there was lots of green space, that people were progressive, and that everyone we talked to seemed to love it. We’re still finding our way but we love our neighbors and our home. It’s from 1911. We just finished giving it a refresh – and love it.
What inspires you and your work?
I love seeing a woman try on something from Pink Gingham and tell me how good they feel in it. It’s never about making a sale – it’s about making a woman feel good. We all have things in our closets we bought for the wrong reasons, because it was on sale or it was trendy, or because of the label. I tell women if they don’t feel great in something don’t buy it. Save your money for something you LOVE. I also like that I’m supporting artisans doing a craft that dates back to before 220 AD. I love supporting people working with their hands.
Where can we find your designs?
Our products are on Shopify @pinkgingham. I’d love for people to contact me directly to try on clothes in person. We’re in the neighborhood and I’d really enjoy meeting you to see if our clothes and home goods speak to you.
Thank you, Caroline! You can reach her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.