Virginia Arrisueño, the pretty, pint-sized dynamo behind the DeNada accessories line, is one of those women who makes you stop and wonder, “How does she do it?” When I first met her in her lovely studio, her laid-back, soft spoken manner and quick smile made it all look so easy – you know, to just start up a fashion business in Washington DC and be killing it, be happily married to a fellow artist who also happens to be the love of your life, and to have an adorable son who is your spitting image. But the fact is that under that cool exterior is a woman who is laser focused on her vision, and who works tirelessly to bring it to life.
That vision is best described as one that combines contemporary design with references to her Peruvian heritage. Her collection includes knit scarves, shirts, shawls, shrugs, hats and gloves based on designs and prototypes that she creates with her knitting needles or loom in her Washington DC studio, and then takes to Peru to be handcrafted by local artisans. Her designs incorporate ethnic patterns and/or traditional techniques, and are made with an alpaca blend in the fall and winter, and a lightweight cotton blend for summer. The results are eye-catching, high-quality statement pieces that are both stylish and functional.
Here’s a glimpse of what makes her tick (and also what ticks her off).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being able to support my family and provide the best life for my son.
What is your greatest fear? Not becoming the woman that I strive to become.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? My obsessive compulsive behaviors.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Ignorance.
Which living person do you most admire? My parents.
What is your greatest extravagance? My computer and knitting machine.
What is your current state of mind? Stressed out.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Patience.
On what occasion do you lie? When my mom asks me if I am okay.
What do you most dislike about your appearance? My posture.
Which living person do you most despise? Mean people.
What is the quality you most like in a man? Honesty.
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Humor.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? No.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband.
When and where were you happiest? In Tokyo, with my husband and my son.
Which talent would you most like to have? Photogenic memory.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Being introvert.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My family.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Myself.
Where would you most like to live? San Sebastian – Spain.
What is your most treasured possession? My family.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Not doing what I love to do.
What is your favorite occupation? Designer.
What is your most marked characteristic? Passionate.
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty.
Who are your favorite writers? Not a big reader
Who is your hero of fiction? Rocky Balboa.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Tough question
Who are your heroes in real life? Doctors.
What are your favorite names? Atticus, Mia, and Kobi.
What is it that you most dislike? The dentist.
What is your greatest regret? Not enjoying my twenties more.
How would you like to die? In my sleep.
What is your motto? Treat others the way that you would like to be treated.