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IFD Designer Spotlight: Mingaile Simenatie; AKA Soap Stealer!

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

Photo by Tom Lupton

IFD: First of all, what is Soap Stealer?

I was born and raised in Vilnius, Lithuania and moved to the USA 6 years ago when the opportunity came in. I was sewing and creating things since I was 6-7 years old. Before that I was stealing and hiding dry soap pieces (hence my name) that my mother and aunts that sew used to make marks on the fabric. Something like tailors chalk. Actually, I started using tailors chalk only when I moved to the USA. And bought some sewing designing books and couple rulers only after moving here. Before that I was just making and learning during the process. No internet. no books, just the idea to create something new, something different. Mostly for myself and my friends as I thought that all I do is maybe just a hobby and I wouldn't be able to afford living from fashion.

IFD: How did you learn to design?

I got sewing basics from my mother and couple aunts that sew and everything else I learned myself just by making things or watching how they are made by women in my family. Growing up surrounded by ladies constantly sewing or refashioning something (because it was more affordable at that time) I got to play with fabric scraps and remnants and was creating things for dolls and later for myself and friends. I wish I paid more attention when my aunt, who is professional tailor, would sew garments for clients. But I was a teenager at that time and other things were on priority list ;)

IFD: Tell us a bit about your design process:

There is this documentary on Netflix about Franca Sozzani 'Chaos and Creation'. So I'd use this title to describe my process. It starts as an idea and then it becomes something else because I'm not good at sketching, I'm self-taught and don't have all the skills to make something I imagine and I don't make patterns... I think this "not making patterns" thing is turning against me, especially with this collection making process. By the way it is my first collection. Lots of pressure, lots of stress. And I have never been in fashion show backstage, so have no idea how things are done there.

IFD: How have you turned this into an advantage for you?

I love making clothes from fabric scraps and remnants (dead stock fabrics, reclaimed fabrics, second hand fabrics) not only because I grew up like this, but also because I like to use existing textiles and try to create less waste while creating something new. One of the reasons I barely make garment toiles is that I don't want to add more waste to the world that fashion industry already does.

IFD: What inspires you're creations?

Most of the time the idea comes with the fabric. I'm inspired by the shapes, colors, textures. Sometimes ideas come first and then I can't find right textiles to make it happen. Or I don't have money to afford them.

Usually, the less you have, the more creative you get to #makeitwork and I like this part of creative process.

IFD: Tell us about preparing for FashioNXT fashion show:

This is my first fashion show so everything is new for me. I was always for hands-on experience even in school- when I wanted to find out what it feels like to be a new student in the class I changed schools :). So I am learning with every step here.

IFD: What are your future plans? What was your plan when you moved to USA?

I wasn't sure if I pass the audition for Fashionxt so I didn't have any particular plans for the possible collection. But when I found out that I'm one of the finalists there was not much time to dream about the collection and so I went with what I have first. It means first using fabrics that I already own, that were gifted, thrifted, bought for some occasion. I wanted to combine these fabrics and the idea to make a versatile garment that could be worn in couple different ways. Create more with less.

I was always a believer that the actions speak louder than the words and that dreams should not be told but shown. I hope it’s the beginning of the future full of new experiences, personal and professional growth.’
Thank You Mingaile for sharing your story!
To Reach Mingaile for inquiries, you may email her here:


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