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Industry Happenings, Designer Voice

Designer Voices: Gender, Community, and Collaboration with Brit Kleinman


Brit Kleinman is the founder, artist, and designer of Avo.  Avo is a creative studio specializing in woven and leather textile goods.  Using traditional and unconventional methods, their pieces are made to last and get better with age. 

Brit recently joined us for an important panel conversation, which Fuigo and the Female Design Council co-hosted on Community, Collaboration and the Creative Process.  While she was in the Fuigo Studio, we had the chance to sit down with her and learn more about some of the important women who inspire her work and how community and collaboration enhance her creative output.  Watch the video of our interview and read more of our conversation with her below.




I have to say my mom is my number one most important influence.  She is also a textile artist so I think that textiles are in my blood.  She is where I got the textile gene.  To this day, we have an ongoing text chain where, everyday, we are going back and forth - from a design perspective, a business perspective, and a life perspective - and she’s definitely the number one influence on what has inspired me to start the business and keep it going on a daily basis.

At this point in your career, can you tell us about some female ARTISANS You're excited to collaborate with?

Right now we are working with some women weavers for our new woven leather collection and it is so incredible.  I love working with women who have a really defined skill set that they have been doing for decades.  I love being able to work with women that have been doing the same thing [for such a long time] and being able to combine my skill set and their skill set to create something that is better because we’re both a part of it.

How DO YOU Specifically define community and what does that ethos mean to you?

Community is one of those funny things, especially in New York, where there are so many design communities.  I think what starts to filter down is that you surround yourself with people you respect.  That doesn't mean that everyone is the same, or that they have the same interests or that they do the same thing.  I think that [community] is about being on the same page of respect and sharing the same mindsets about the world, and it can be even better when you do different things.  I think that’s the best part of community.

Can you give an example of how community has really defined your work?

Because I do surround myself with a lot of parts of the community that don’t do the same thing that I do, I am constantly finding new directions that I may not have.  So many of the products  that we release are [created] because I met someone that did a certain thing or had a different design idea that I had never thought about before.  Because of that community, I am constantly challenged to think about where I want to take my business.

Can you tell us about an example of a recent collaboration, or one that's in flight, that you are particularly proud of?

Especially when it pertains to women, I am really lucky.  My whole studio team is women. The two women I collaborate with daily have different skill sets than I have.  I am firm believer that it takes a village and if we all have the same skill sets it wouldn’t be fun or productive.  I think that just that day-to-day collaboration with the two of them really is what makes AVO stronger.


*Small copy edits were made to support readability and clarity 


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