Evvia Gonzales is the crochet designer crafting unique pieces, all from the comfort of her sofa. Her designs are all handmade and freehanded, resulting in one-of-a-kind crochet pieces that have gained lots of attention online.
From looped tops, to bespoke hats and mohair lace jumpers, Evvia’s lockdown-project-turned-business has seen her pieces make it all the way over to New York and LA. We caught up with her at the beginning of her career, to talk all things crochet, designing, juggling jobs and the challenges of creating.
How did you get started in knitting / crocheting and designing and when did it transition to selling?
I’d say I first picked up a crochet hook when I was about 8, when my Grandma taught me how to crochet a very dubiously shaped square. I got back into it at the end of high school, when I made endless weirdly-shaped and coloured bralettes. After another long break, my sister gave me hooks and leftover acrylic yarn while I was stranded at home in lockdown earlier this year. I started off making loads of little accessories that I would trial run on my daily walks – way too much teal and neon orange. Soon, I discovered that you can get ridiculously high quality vintage yarn on eBay, and have been falling down that slippery slope ever since.
So, I created @loupystudio at the end of April to try to justify my weekly eBay wool hauls. I was posting my little makes pretty much daily, and the account started popping off with my more ‘free form’ pieces. People started messaging me about buying pieces, so I ended up doing a few super casual story sales. Maybe at some point I’ll make a website, but really I’m most excited about designing and don’t have the drive to create a more professional brand image.
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A lockdown project turned good! I love the variation in your designs – do you have a favourite piece you’ve made? Or perhaps a favourite style to make or material to use?
Thanks! It would probably be my underwire crop design. This was actually one of the first tops I ever made and the first time I worked with cotton. I freehanded it (as always – I don’t use patterns at all) without really trying it on and I could not believe the fit when I finished. And it was made with a single continuous thread! I hate tying in loose ends or covering up knots, so this was a dream come true. I haven’t made another top like this as I’d be so worried I could never achieve this level again.
Besides that, I adore working with vintage chunky mohair. The fluff is unbelievable and it’s so warm. Such a cool texture to experiment with. I’ve had a few eBay mohair hauls recently and I’m making loads of scarves and sleeves for winter!
We saw that you were recently featured on @upnextdesigner! That’s really exciting – were you taken by surprise or was this a collaboration?
Totally taken by surprise and very flattered to be up there on the feed with serious designers! I definitely need to start making more swirly freehand tops – the demand has been mad, even before the feature.
From that, do you have a dream collaborator or brand? Or are you focused on developing your brand as your own?
Not really – I’d say I’m leaning towards building my skills and style individually. My favourite part of all of this is sitting down with a hook and some beautiful yarn and creating something totally new. I’m not actively creating a brand identity and am just happy that people seem interested in the things I make. I’m always open to loaning my pieces though, I’ve got quite a few floating around LA and NYC at the moment!
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Outside of Loupy Studio, what do you enjoy doing?
I’m a full-time support worker for young women with learning disabilities, so that’s taking up most of my time at the moment! I graduated from the University of Cambridge a few years ago and had been working in research abroad, but the pandemic made me realise that I’d much rather be creating and chilling (as stereotypical as that sounds). Since, I’ve prioritised having an energising job and using all of my downtime to focus on things I love. Currently, it’s crochet, sitting at the pub, and live music. In the past I’ve been really into portraiture – you can see some bits on @evvia_art.
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Can you talk us through your process, and have there been any particular challenges you’ve faced so far?
My process is super chaotic. The starting point is always scrolling through the depths of eBay to find vintage or deadstock yarn. I’d love to have the money to support local hand-spinners and other sustainable yarn makers, but as this is just a very experimental hobby for me I have to stick with secondhand. I also love trying out new techniques with new yarns to figure out what works and what doesn’t. When I get the yarn, I’ll tend to just jump into a full project and see how it turns out. I crochet without a pattern and base shapes loosely on clothes I own and my body.
I also have raging ADHD, and really struggle to work on projects that I’m not 110% dedicated to. This has meant that I have almost never successfully finished a commission (the only success stories are the ‘surprise me’ style customs), and that my website has been indefinitely in development.
I’ve also got to mention the design copycats! I feel like this is part and parcel of fashion on social media, but it hurts every time that I see it. My photos (with my face) are all over AliExpress and Shoppee. I try not to draw attention to it, but I get at least a DM a week with a new stolen piece on their sites. It also sucks to see other creators directly mimicking my designs, or those that DM me to ask if they can copy my work. Obviously my style has been influenced by loads of other creators, but I take pride in having a few original ideas that have come from hundreds of hours of messing around with wool. There are so many free and paid tutorials for crochet available online that I don’t think it’s acceptable to copy designs from creators that only do one-off pieces.