by riley suchanek·
Instagram Handle: @anyonegirl
What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?
I wanted to be a dancer – a backup dancer, or a shoop-shoop girl, on stage with a band or pop singer.
What is the earliest memory you have?
I remember riding my trike around my Grandad’s garden, he would tell me all the different names of the flowers, he had these huge runner beans growing up stakes, and the fuchsia – he said was mine, because it looked like a ballerina.
Tell us about your career and current projects.
At the moment I am a mother to two: my daughter Emily is 4 years old, and my son James is nearly 2. I am also a freelance writer, photographer and art director. Currently, I am the Editor of ISLAND magazine, the founder of anyonegirl.com and WAIST journal. I also publish books with friends, the most recent was Men Carrying Flowers by artist Ophelia Mikkelson, which features texts by Durga Chew-Bose.
What do you look for in baby clothes?
Usually I buy secondhand clothing, or if we are lucky we have pieces handed down to us. But if I buy something special, I look for natural fabric, longevity and character. I steer away from anything too twee, because it feels a little forced and projected, I just want my kids to feel comfortable and happy.
What do you like about Yay For You?
That the fabrics are upcycled – so cool! Each piece feels special, there aren’t too many the same. The shape is easy-peasy, and comfortable to layer throughout the seasons.
How do you get inspired to create?
I usually need to do something at the other end of the spectrum to creativity. A long solo drive. A long shower. Wash the dishes. Listen to the radio. Read a book. Basically give myself time and space to let my mind breathe and roll over thoughts and ideas. I love gardening and swimming, but these are more for my own physical wellbeing, but everything is connected!
Are there things from your upbringing that you’re consciously trying to incorporate into your parenting?
Probably! The thing I feel most fondest about from my childhood is being in the garden, and both my partner and I love our little garden, and our kids do too. We have the neighbour’s chickens visit us most days, we grow our own herbs. We experiment with growing fruit trees and vegetables too – this summer we have Māori potatoes, fennel, sweet peas, orange heirloom tomatoes, butternut, cucumber and courgettes. Really the things we eat the most of. It doesn’t sustain our kitchen, but is it rewarding to see the kids respond to growing their own food.
What is one tradition you remember from your childhood?
Camping. My dad would take me on these long camp-ground adventures, where we would stay a few nights at each spot, and get to experience all the different beaches. Cooking outside was my favourite part. My dad would collect succulents from the coast and I remember coming home with a boot full of plants wrapped in damp newspaper. I did the same thing once, actually, at a party on Waiheke Island; I ripped a bulb of pear cactus off a plant and put it in my friend’s bag, forgot about it until she gave it back to me, and then planted it in our garden – we still have it, that was five years ago.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to designing your work?
Keep it real. Be kind.
How has motherhood changed you?
Everything changes, but perhaps it is getting older too, I find I am more purposeful with my time. I’m learning to better communicate my needs, ask for help – which has always been painfully difficult for me. But as well as all of the evolving and growing, I think, too, my kids bring out in me the person who I am at my core, and that is healing, in a way – it’s a vulnerable place being a parent, your strengths and weaknesses are reflected back at you through your children, and that can be confronting, but in those layers is also a freedom, to be exposed and loved, regardless, for who you are and where you are at. That has been a big learning curve for me this year, to take the pressure away from now-I’m-a-parent and I-must-know-how-to-keep-my-shit-together to “sorry, I really don’t know the answer to that, and “whoops, I made a mistake, and “will you help me figure this out?. Maybe that’s it, that motherhood has changed for me the ability to see life as a thing I do ‘together’ with others; my family and my community.