Inkerviews features the work of tattoo artists and collectors, as well as fine artists, in a series of interviews. With an exciting lineup already in place and endless more to come, I hope you will check back often to read about these incredible people and enjoy their visually stunning talents.
What do you get when you blend delightful designs, lusciously sweet patterns, flirtatious fashion and high doses of hard work? Why, that would be Purrfect Pineapples, the cruelty-free lingerie line by one fantastic fashion designer named Erika Shuhendler.
Purrfect Pineapples began when Erika took her fashion design education, fused it with her love for all-things-cute, and added in her passion for veganism and living compassionately. The result is a brilliant line of lingerie that will make you smile whether you wear it or admire it.
Not only is Shuhendler one incredibly hard-working artist, she also has quite an eye for marketing and is highly involved in the photo shoots and merchandising of her wares. Though it’s hard not to be captivated by the enchanting models who don the Purrfect Pineapples pretties, Erika’s beautiful seamstress work holds its own and will WOW you just like the girls wearing it will.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to this talented artisan and business owner, and hope you enjoy a romp through the alluring world of Purrfect Pineapples.
Were you interested in designing and sewing when you were young? Are you a formally-trained seamstress?
I have always been interested in designing and sewing in some way. When I was younger, I was more into crafting, making pillows and accessories. After high school I decided to go to George Brown College (in Toronto, ON) for Fashion Design. I honestly didn't think they would accept me into the program with a portfolio full of accessories and no actual clothing.
I learned a lot from school, like how to sew more precisely, quality control, how to pick out top quality fabrics, and to draft my own patterns from scratch to the exact fit I desired. I specifically took a lingerie course so I could learn the best techniques to work with thin stretch fabrics and different elastics. When it comes to sewing lingerie, practice makes perfect.
Where did the Purrfect Pineapples idea originate? What was the first item you offered for sale?
I have always loved lingerie and never been satisfied with the fit or styles offered in the mall (i.e. not enough ruffles, bows were too small, bras didn't fit right, the rise of certain panties were awkward, etc.). I just always wanted to have a pair of panties where I chose the color, cut, style, etc. Plus, lingerie is way more fun to sew than clothing. You can make it so over the top that it's adorable, rather than tacky.
The first three items I offered for sale were diamond print, silk screened camisoles; matching booty short panties; and crazy printed garter belts with giant neon bows - all of which were fun, but I definitely like the direction I have been taking recently.
What does the Purrfect Pineapples clothing line entail and offer for sale?
We offer a wide range of cutesy cruelty-free lingerie that includes:
- halter bras
- printed bras with adjustable straps
- basic style garter belts
- fancy garter belts with loads of ruffles and bows
- basic bikini style panties
- bikini style panties with bum ruffles
- booty short style panties with bum ruffles and big bow accents
- frilly steel boned corsets
- complete custom sets to suit your personal style
- hair accessories to top off you outfit!
Purrfect Pineapples is a cruelty-free fashion label. Can you explain what that means and why this is important to you?
Cruelty-free means that all of our products are sweatshop free and animal friendly. All of our items are handmade by me, and all fabrics are hand picked by me. None of our products contain animal-derived fibers or textiles such as: leather, fur, wool, silk, etc.
Cruelty-free products are important to me because I feel as though the fashion industry can function without the use of animal products and I'm out to prove it. We don't even use leather shoes in our photo shoots. It can be done!
Since many textiles do contain animal products, how tricky is it to find the necessary products to produce your clothing?
I am used to sourcing specific fabrics at this point, so I find it pretty easy to avoid textiles containing animal products. I generally know what I'm looking for and what to avoid.
The patterns you use, the fabrics, and special attention paid to detail really make your work stand out. What captures your attention when looking for the materials you use in your designs?
I have been on a “treats” fabric spree lately. I find it hard to avoid buying fabric with cats and cupcakes on it. Luckily, I haven't made cat print lingerie.. yet! I love anything colorful, fun and shiny. I have grown to dislike black fabric/lingerie; it just seems so boring.
I know that your commitment to living a vegan lifestyle is very important to you. How long have you been a vegan? What caused you to become a vegan and how has it changed your life?
I have been vegan for 5 years, meat-free for 10 years. I always thought of veganism as "the next step" after becoming vegetarian. It just happened gradually - first I cut out milk, then eggs, then cheese, ice cream was last on the list.
Eventually you just learn to live without animal products in your diet, especially with all the new amazing vegan products available on the market right now. Daiya Cheese and Temptation Ice cream are all I need (haha!). Being vegan has definitely changed my life for the better.
Where do you draw inspiration from for the items you create?
This is always the hardest question to answer because I really just love fabric shopping. I love to just pick out a bunch of great fabrics, trims and elastics, and then mix and match them to make cutesy lingerie. It does help having great models to work with. It's really fun to make lingerie to suit certain models based on their hair color or tattoos.
Not only are your products absolutely beautiful, you also have quite an eye for the marketing angle of the business. Can you tell us about the time and care you put into photographing your line, the models you use, and the themes you employ to advertise Purrfect Pineapples clothing?
It basically just comes down to being picky as hell. Which isn't always positive, but it seems to benefit the company. I handpick all my photographers and models based on their portfolios. I also try to switch up my styling and models; not to be too pin-up, or too "fake" looking. I enjoy working with real women who have curves and positive body image.
For those lucky enough to live close enough to them, can you give us a run-down of where Purrfect Pineapples can be found?
Hells Belles in Toronto, ON (Canada) is the only recent store we do consignment with. Our new line is exclusive to our web store and Etsy right now. I am working on getting more stores to carry the new line.
Can you tell us about your fantastic website and the ordering process?
We have a fully-functioning web store at: www.purrfectpineapples.com
You can place orders directly through the site or email me for custom orders/inquiries at:
I also put up sample sales frequently at: purrfectpineapples.etsy.com
What are your goals for Purrfect Pineapples in 2010?
This year is all about contacts. I want to work with as many models and photographers as I can while keeping our photo shoot quality top-notch. I have had an imaginary list of "I would love to work with one day" people. So far, I have gotten a pretty decent chunk of it crossed off, which I am thankful for. This Spring/Summer should be quite successful for photo shoots as well.
Another goal for Purrfect Pineapples in 2010 is to get recognized outside of Toronto and get our new line in stores outside of Canada; as well as doing events in the United States.
Our first time having a booth in the U.S. will be at this year’s Ink-N-Iron Tattoo Convention in Long Beach, CA. It should be a fun time, plus our booth will be equipped with tattooed babes in lingerie. ;)
Be sure to check out the Purrfect Pineapples website and order a luscious creation for yourself, or the lucky lady in your life.
Last updated on January 7, 2011 by Jinxi Boo