Everyday Pioneers... Petya Hristova
What made you want to launch a children’s clothing brand and how did you get started?
When I was shopping for my son (who loves animals and cuddly toys!) I realised that I couldn’t find anything adorable for him that wasn’t sort of babyish. As the parent of a daughter and a younger son, I said to myself, “If I were to design clothes with cute animal prints, I’d make them unisex, so that they could be enjoyed by both boys and girls, and - even better - they could be passed on from one sibling to another.”
And so I did that! I started designing, and when I launched the QT in 2021, my aim was to address the stereotype in kidswear where “cute” animal prints were made only for babies and girls. So that’s where The QT comes in - “cute” that is perfect for all kids, no matter their gender or age, and can be passed on from a sister to a brother and vice versa.
Where did the name come from?
I use the words ‘cutie’ and ‘cuties’ quite a lot, so for a brand dedicated to spreading cuteness, I really liked the way The QT sounds. It ticks all the boxes, as it's quite simple and intuitive. Also I love the way that in our logo, QT is used in the snout of QT Bear - our teddy bear character. It was meant to be and couldn't have been any other name.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I have a strong idea about the aesthetic of the garments so the design is an expression of my vision. For me it’s important that the The QT garments are easy to match with one another and with other brands in a child’s wardrobe, so the items can be worn (and loved!) as much as possible. I love simplicity in design and I like to use colour in a minimal way - where it looks quite stylish, timeless and seasonless.
As a parent, a lot of my design inspiration also comes from kids. I think of what are my dream wardrobe essentials that I’d love my kids to wear - super stylish, comfy, versatile and functional. My favourite part is coming up with the ideas for the cute animal prints and selecting the colour palette for a particular collection. I always share my creations with my kids - I ask if they’d wear them and which one is their favourite design. Mostly they want everything, which is the most rewarding feedback!
What's important to The QT when considering design and production?
I want to ensure the products are as harmless as possible in the way they are made, so for The QT, that means our garments being ethically made, as well as fully recyclable, biodegradable and compostable. A big thing for us is that we’re not contributing towards plastic and micro plastic pollution or towards exploitation of any living beings.
When you look at the fashion industry, it’s important to remember that clothing is all hand-made, and you have to stop to consider who made it, and in what conditions. For The QT, we support creating clothing that has positive karma - by being organic, free from hazardous chemicals and made in an ethical factory, so that nobody will have suffered to bring it to life.
Kids put their clothes through a lot, and as parents we want our kids' clothing to last as long as it can, before they inevitably outgrow it. The thing with “making clothes that last'' is that often clothing (fast fashion is especially guilty) is made up of lots of plastic and synthetic fibres, to make it last as long as possible - but in fact it will last for centuries in the environment, causing all sorts of toxic pollution, because it cannot biodegrade naturally.
The QT is designed to last for as long as it’s needed and for as long as it’s useful. Being made from plants - not plastic - means it could be turned into new fabric or biodegrade and go back to nature!