• When I see a design for the first time, especially if I don’t know the designer, I get butterflies and I must find everything I can about it. This is what happened to me when I saw Shany’s prints for the first time. My investigation started with her Sense Of Fashion page and the rest is history… Her color aesthetics and smart prints make me love her “Shankabanka” line even more. I like it when designers don’t treat children as children but as small adults.
    I’m so happy to share with you Shany’s behind the scenes ;)
    You can get in touch with Shany here:
    shanyharary2000 {at} yahoo {dot} com
I’d love to hear about you, your journey, how it all began.
I initially planned an academic career in literature. After the army I went to Rome to study English literature at la Sapienza University of Rome. Why Rome? Because that’s what I felt like doing at the time, and when you’re 20 you do what you feel like doing. Life as a poor student forces me (and in hindsight I am thankful for this) to ‘make do’ with second-hand items. Rummaging through markets and stores selling second-hand clothes, of which Rome is plentiful, quickly became an inseparable part of my life and with time I started altering clothes, joining parts of clothes and doing stuff, which I did not know at the time, was in fact customizing. When I received a sewing machine as a gift I started making clothes and bags from anything sewable, for myself and for friends. I started studying fashion and costume at accademia di costume e moda and at the same time my daughter was born. After two years at the academy I returned to Israel, and continued my studies at Shenkar’s Textile Design Department, where I specialized in printing and weaving. During one of the first semester breaks I participated in the T-Market and sold singlets for children and women, some of which I sewed myself and the others I bought and dyed, and added embroidery and buttons. I branded them “Shankabanka”, a name my husband came up with spontaneously when he installed Photoshop on my computer years ago. The demanding studies at Shenkar left me little spare time to develop the brand but from time to time I made a small amount of items and sold them or gave them away, mostly to friends and acquaintances. Until about six months ago I worked as a textile designer for the Carousella design house in Tel Aviv. Working there taught me a lot about quality work, smart management in the industry and guts. Since leaving Carousella, I have been dedicating myself to “Shankabanka”.
Can you describe your work process for me?
Since all my work is hand-made and each item receives “personal treatment”, I create small series of singlets, shirts, bags and accessories by topic, for example, “animals”, “space”, “circles”, “field”. For each topic I select images and print or sew them. Choosing the topics is pretty intuitive and hard to reconstruct, but I will try: It can be a photo I saw in a newspaper, a book I’m reading, a child I saw on the street, a combination of colors I noticed. The ideas mix in my head and somehow, in a way that still seems to me as wondrous, they are eventually translated to a shape and image. One of the most exciting moments at work is searching for the composition. I have been working lately a lot on pair compositions. I make sure that I enjoy working and I do not get bored, because it is clear to me that whatever bores me will also bore the client. If I notice any boredom, I stop and do something else. I dye my products myself and print them using stamps or stencils that I cut myself or have cut by laser according to my own design, using nets (silk screen printing) or objects such as sponges that can be used for printing. Sometimes, instead of printing I sew onto the products, or use a textile marker or embroidery. Sometimes the basic dye is interesting and I don’t feel like hiding it, so I don’t add anything. I try to work with materials that are “friendly” to the customer and the environment, that are not toxic (very important in baby clothes). I want the product to be pleasant and cozy for the customer. “Shankabanka” is primarily for children, but due to demand, I design small quantities for women. I think choosing to focus on children’s products comes from the biological characteristic of “cuteness”, typical of small things: they are attractive, charming and seductive (my daughter is very pleased with this!) However, it is important for me to maintain a high level of sophistication, and use designs that are not too childish or ingratiating, but rather exciting and intelligent.
Who is your ideal costumer?
My designs are intended for customers looking for quality and uniqueness, who are excited about small details and who are willing to dress their child, for example, in a gray singlet with black spots, or a baby girl with a leotard that has fighter planes printed on it. I find that my clients have a sense of humor and very inquisitive and open attitude to fashion and design.
What’s next? What is your dream?
Regarding my future plans, over the past few months I have developed work and friendship relations with several Tel Aviv boutiques that sell Shankabanka items. I plan to open a studio-store in the city where I can work on new products and meet clients. I have no interest in being present in all the possible children’s stores, but to remain exclusive and maintain a context that goes with my designs, regarding style and prices. With regards to dreams: they are many, they are vague, secret and grandiose. At this stage I prefer to keep them to myself.
I’m curious to know where does your inspiration come from?
I have many cultural sources of inspiration, not all of them are necessarily from the world of design or fashion. I think that the combination of all of them together creates my personal style: messy, refined, wild and intimate.
I’d love to hear which web sites and blogs do you visit regularly?