ARTIS INTERVIEW: Melanie Kain of Roux

The soft cotton, cheeky prints, artful tie dyes and sophisticated color stories of kids’ clothing line Roux take their cue from modern living, with a little nostalgic magic. We spoke to founder Melanie Kain about her creative inspirations.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now. Did you take any big risks to get where you are?
I’ve been a designer for a women’s contemporary brand for 9 years. After having my daughter, Isla, I began shifting my focus towards children’s wear. I was feeling nostalgic for all my clothes from when I was a kid, particularly an 1980’s brand called Cotton Rainbow. Their focus was hand dyed, hand batik, one of a kind separates that could all be mixed and matched. I was inspired to create a modern take with sophisticated color combination, tie dyes and cheeky prints – something I felt was lacking in the children’s market.
What are your most important artistic tools?
Dyes! I try to spend as many Sundays as I can playing around with tie dyes and color stories. It’s a very therapeutic and rewarding process for me. The beauty of tie dye and hand dyeing is the absolute unknown! Often just experimenting produces unexpected colors or effects that become my favorite.

What do you do, or where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?
I love participating in workshops. Its been a great way for me to step out of my comfort zone and meet other creative artists in different fields. I recently just did a workshop in Ojai with Kristin Morrison of KAM Textiles that focused on using botanicals to naturally dye fabrics. I went in thinking I was going to learn about how to dye with plants and left with a new outlook on slow textiles and incorporating eco friendly processes into our designs.
How are you inspired by the environment around you, how does home/city/nature you live in, affect your work?
Being born and raised in Los Angeles, I’m inspired by the easy living, abundance of sunshine, and taking the time to notice and process nature, I try not to just walk by thinking about the next thing I need to do.

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