Designer Spotlight: COCO and GINGER

It’s true that Coco and Ginger clothes cost more than their mass-produced counterparts. But then Coco and Ginger clothes are made by real people in real time (consider changing “real time” as I have no idea what the opposite of “real time” is, maybe use artisan or handmade or something else).

“Our business started small,” says Bali-based founder Saffron Pugh-Blaby, who started making her tropically-inspired clothes for girls when friends had asked what her own daughters, Coco and Ginger, were wearing.

“We approached skilled artisans to create our clothes and as we’ve grown, instead of moving into factories, we’ve expanded our network of mostly home-based seamstresses, tailors, and artisans across the island.”

The story behind a Coco and Ginger piece begins with an idea, inspired perhaps by a vintage blouse her daughter Coco unearths at a local market. The design process is playful and low-tech, says Saffron, who finalizes her pieces using actual mock-ups rather than a computer. “I play and pick exact hues and trimmings. It’s organic, creative, dynamic.”

Working on the rice paddy set in the sunshine-filled Coco and Ginger studio, Pak Wayan, the main tailor, oversees the drafting of patterns and samples. “Then Ginger will try on the samples in white and give us feedback,” Saffron says. “How does it fall, swing, and twirl?”

Coco and Ginger’s signature fabrics- featuring the label’s iconic vivid vermilions, tangerines, lemons, jades, turquoises, and indigos- are hand-printed using old-fashioned screen-printing techniques in a Denpasar workshop while embroidered pieces are chalk screen-printed before being whisked off to Ibu Annie’s home in Denpasar. A collective of women hand-stitch the items in an island-wide network of homes. “The women can manage their households while also earning money to help, for instance, keep their kids in school.” Saffron says.

Meanwhile, tailors visit the studio and cut the fabrics before taking the pieces back to their own workspaces to sew until completion. The final pieces go through quality control and the pieces are hand-washed, sun-dried, and ironed; swing tags are attached and then finally packed.

Overseeing it all is Saffron’s production director, Ibu Komang, who has been part of the team since Coco and Ginger debuted in 2008. Saffron’s business partner, office manager, and accountant Pak Putu keeps it all humming smoothly behind the scenes. Putu and Dewi help customers make their selections in the Coco and Ginger Bali store.

It’s a long process each season but one marked each step of the way by an integrity not found so often in the fashion world, and a philosophy that sees workers and the environment respected.

Posh Kids Magazine got a chance to interview Coco and Ginger, so sit back, enjoy, and learn more about them.

What spurred the creation of Coco and Ginger?
I had already lived in Bali for a number of years before our second daughter, Ginger, was born. I did not want to return to my job in a Bali based clothing company, but instead wanted to follow my passion for children’s design and have an altogether more family-friendly business. I had connected with some amazingly talented women, and from there we developed a very old-style hand stitch/embroidery based collective. Things continued to grow slowly from there on out.

What inspires the rich color palette?
The Balinese have an amazing color palette that they reference. Every day I drive past a ceremonial clothing shop where the girls and I marvel at the combinations on display, playing a game picking out our favorite. Soft pink with leaf green or vermillion with an azure blue… life is very colorful in Indonesia. This is very inspirational and contributes to my creations.

Coco and Ginger is unique in many ways, such as its handcrafted -rather than factory-made- fabrics. What encourages you guys to keep from making the switch? In the beginning the company were so small, we could not do our own prints. It is a switch we have made slowly. We can have a complete vision and idea and follow it through. We partner with a work shop in Denpasar that uses a very simple screen-printing process and I just adore the wabi-sabi nature of working this way.

In what countries is Coco and Ginger currently available?
Are you planning to branch out in the future? Currently we are in Australia, USA, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, and the UAE. We also have an online store on our website to reach those other countries not represented. We are always open to other countries but it’s very important to connect with the right people to represent us.

How has the exponential growth in Coco and Ginger’s popularity affected you guys? Did you start doing any-thing differently?
We have always been very careful about growth because we do not work with any factories. All of our collections are sewn by the same five families at their homes. It has been very important to us to maintain quality but also to pay a true living wage. The plan is to slowly add to our network as we grow organically and ethically. What fabrics do you usually incorporate in your pieces? We are very fond of a fine lightweight cotton- we love its drape and coolness. We also use silk in our collections; a favorite memory from my childhood was the feel and sway of a few beautiful silk dresses.

Your collections have a very vivid, warm-weather vibe to them. Seeing that you sell in cooler places than Indonesia, would you ever consider making clothing for the fall season, or this is a strictly summer-wear company?
We have done a small fall season in the past and have been inspired to design one for next fall. It will be about pro-viding some key layering pieces and special embroidered tunics that can be worn under coats and over tights. But yes, summer is our passion.

How many collections does Coco and Ginger currently have? What inspired the most recent one?
At the moment, we have one summer and one high summer per year. The most recent collection, Folk Song, was inspired by a Joni Mitchell song, a trip to France trawling vintage shops in Paris with my 16 year old, and hidden antique lace ateliers in Aix en Provence… I was channeling bougainvillea terraces, straw hats, stone swimming pools warmed by the sun, and long driveways leading to hidden gardens.

What’s the age range that Coco and Ginger designs clothing for?
We do 3 ranges: baby, children 2-10 years, and a tween/teen that goes up to age 15.

Where can people purchase Coco and Ginger?
We are online at and check out our stock list there.

What would you like our readers to know more about your brand?
We hope that your girls enjoy dancing and twirling in it and that it brings joy.