The Heroine’s Journey of Maria Voth Velasco

What is the best thing that I love about my work? I love to be creative in my work and be able to express myself through the language of fashion and make ‘artivism’ in a way, addressing actual social issues that surround us and bringing it to people’s attention. The best part is being creative and able to express myself freely.

Photo credits: Waltraud Brüsseler

What is my idea of happiness? Happiness is about having an adecuate balance. If I have a good work-life balance I feel happy. I also see happiness in the eyes of a customer, if they got what they wished, or people being happy at a Turtlehorn Party, or happy kids during my workshops, or even my interns being happy with what they do when they find their right path. Happiness is also a certain life quality. If I am surrounded with supportive, trusted, and kind people or living my passions to the fullest at places where I feel welcome and recovered, I am happy too.

What is my greatest fear? My greatest fear is not to be able to work in my profession.
I have a certain fear to fail and be unprofessional in some situations. For example, if I don’t reach the customer’s needs and get something back that is not perfectly sewn.
Moreover, I am also afraid of failing in public shows or fashion presentations. But normally I am good at improvising.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? To be more patient and wait for the perfect moment, instead of taking too quick decisions, because it always happens when it should be happening.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? I admire good professionals and all-around artists that also inspired me in a certain way regarding my profession. It could be in first place Miriam Ponsa, the first fashion designer I started to work with as an intern and felt connected with, because of we had a similar manner of work, lifestyle and way of thinking.

As second, I could mention Alice Trautmane-Uzuner, who is the founder of DOORS NYC, where I am part of with my brand Turtlehorn, and co-founder of the streetwear brand Juun.J, that always has been on some mood-boards since my fashion studies.

What is my greatest extravagance? For some people it is my style and for others my imagination and ways of thinking, and I would agree on the all around package.

On what occasion would I lie? I would only modify the truth if it’s really necessary for coming out of trouble quickly.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Definitely paper work, calculations, and incompetent people.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? I am the happiest in my work when I am either about to create and sew my new ideas or being on an adventurous business trips.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I would like to set more direct and clear limits and also level certain emotional weirdness and cringeness.

What is my greatest achievement in work? My greatest achievement is not clear to define, but there are some examples where I feel satisfied with a good approach. For example, in developing an innovative knitting technique and setting up a thought-out circular fashion business. On another had, I feel good about having created a big growing community with of local skater girls. It is called the ‘Girlsskate’ project and was one of my greatest achievements in terms of creating a huge community where you can find your safe space as a non cis-male person.

Where would I most like to live? In a society open for progressive ideas and peace. It could be everywhere, but as for now, I choose Barcelona. A big city with avant-garde character, full of art, design, fashion, skate and everything I love, and of course where I have a supportive family.

What is my most treasured possession? It could be everything what surrounds me or nothing. But my work equipment I would treasure as most important.

What is my most marked characteristic? Perseverance and vehemence.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? It is definitely my rooftop, when I take a break from work on a sunny day. Otherwise it could be any street skate spot in the city or a random happening on the street or building.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city? There are several artsy cafés where I love to drink and eat, passing a good time with friends or other meet-ups. Café Kittel is one of my favorites for friends or dates, and the following are Café Egmont, Last Exit, Sowieso, Lola Paroli and die Raststätte Aachen.

What books influenced my life and how? On first place, I am not a good book-reader, because I am more a ‘visual’ kind of person, but I do have some books that marked my life. For example the biography of Jane Goodall, the Spanish history of “El Cid Campeador”, “Das Mädchen aus dem Song”, which deals about explaining iconic song lyrics; the feministic comic series of “Moderna de Pueblo”, “This is a Good Guide” from Marieke Eyskoot dealing with sustainability, or the fascinating biography of Alexander McQueen. These books are all totally different from each other, but they all have something inspirational in common: it enriches my cultural background for certain parts of my work.

You Only Die Once. What music would you listen on your last day? I’m not sure if I want to listen a special song or any music on my last day or hand it over to the uncertain destiny. Usually, the coincidence gives you the right signs, opportunities or in this case a song, for the right fitting moment. Since I have a quite large range of music taste and listen to songs depending on the mood, I would choose for the most fitting songs for that very moment, or maybe just go for a self-recorded song.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? I had less heroes or heroines in my childhood, but many favorite characters, such as the Bee Maja or later, Pipi Langstrumpf. Later on, I also loved Kim Possible, Pocahontas, and Katniss Everdeen at the Hunger Games. They have all something in common: a peculiar and emancipated character-type with adventurous free spirit.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? On one hand, Vivienne Westwood, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Iris Apfel and Yolandi Visser were my favorite (heroic) fashion icons. On another hand, there are more heroes or heroines in real life significant because of their activistic actions, such as Pussy Riot, Alok Venon or maybe Greta Thunberg.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? In my teenage times I would have said my favorite, artsy, french, movie Amélie, and now I would say Inception, because it is a very extensive plot with a broad range of diverse deep content to analyze.

What role play stories in my life and work? Storytelling has a great importance in my life, work, and presentation of my art. It also has to do with imagination and creation of the next collection or the next textile work piece, song text, sound, performance or illustration. Behind each piece, whatever it is, is a story behind that is worth to know and intriguing for many to find out. Sometimes the story is packed inside the work in a way to be discovered and with certain grace, embraced and thought further through the spectator, coming to the consumers consciousness and thereafter, action.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me? These words are telling me that I also could be the author of my own life packed in a book, most probably in a shape of many work-related anecdotes, rather than a diary. From another perspective, these words could mean for me, to always tell passages of my life-story to anyone as I were an open book.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My partners in crime would be my best friends who are going through thick and thin with me since many years. They are also kind of supportive ‘fans’, but I would define my ‘greatest fans’ as people who admire my work or life from a different angle without knowing me to the ground. As I found out, ‘fans’ are hardly visible and I meet them by coincidence in different places or events. Due to that reason I couldn’t say who is my greatest fan – Maybe my supportive aunt and cousin? My greatest sponsor is in my dreams, since I don’t have a sponsor yet. Since I do skateboarding besides my work as a fashion designer, I got sponsored by Puma and Nike and small local brands once for specific projects. Nevertheless, I would love to get a great sponsor for my streetwear brand and be able to push my ideas, creative work and its implementation with it.

Which people or companies would I like to work with? It would be interesting to work with the following people: Vivienne Westwood, Iris Van Herpen, Bas Kosters, Alexander Wang, Vera Ellen Wang, Jil Sander, Arturo Obegero, Andrea Crews, and many others I believe.

Photo credits: Waltraud Brüsseler

As with fashion brands, I always wanted to work together with Desigual or Custo. The Ragged Priest, Brain and the Beast, Armed Angels, Craig Green, Juun.J, JW Anderson, Y/Project, and many others who deal with upcycling and sustainability in fashion would also be a good option.
Additionally, it would be also a good experience to collaborate with some fast fashion brands like Nike, Adidas, Vans, or similar brands, supporting them to develop sustainability goals and approach good principles who lead to a positive development in the fashion industry.

Alice Trautmane-Uzuner

Miriam Ponsa
Claudia Sahuquillo
Mathilde Vedove

Marta Dávila Mateu
Empar Juanes Sanchis
Floor Klaassen

Leonie Reißmann
La Flaca

Katha, aka DJ Durstlöscher

What project am I looking forward to work on? At the moment I am in an upheaval moment of rounding up a work-lifestyle that I don’t want to continue anymore, by refreshing new working ways into a more work-life-balanced manner, with doing more what I want and what my profession actually requires, and do less of what could bring me more money and less satisfaction, as for example working with kids at schools. For now, I am focussing on a new streetwear – gorpcore inspired upcycle collection, which is easier in its implementation, as the previous collection LESS. It should have simpler shapes and be more understood and ‘catchier’ to wear. At the same time, I am also planning to reconstruct my base at a more inspirational place to be able to be more creative by my new surrounding.

Where can you see me or my work? ‘Catch me if you can!’, would I say if you want to meet me somewhere, because I am in constant moving from one event or action to another and people end up in not knowing where I actually am. Most of the time I spend in my Turtlehorn studio or on the way to my next destiny. You can see my work physically at Fashionsquare Aachen, at DOORS NYC, and at diverse pop-up stores or temporal exhibitions. If you follow me on social media you will be always up to date for the next events.

Seeing my work online might be easier, if you find me on the socials: Instagram: @turtlehorn_

Facebook, YouTube and Soundcloud: Turtlehorn
TikTok: turtlehorn_clothing
Pinterest: Turtlehorn Fashion
Linkedin: María Voth Velasco

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? That I always will hold on to my passion for fashion.

Which creative professionals should Peter invite to tell their story?
Alice Trautmane-Uzuner

Miriam Ponsa
Claudia Sahuquillo
Mathilde Vedove

Marta Dávila Mateu
Empar Juanes Sanchis
Floor Klaassen

Leonie Reißmann
La Flaca

Katha, aka DJ Durstlöscher

How can you contact me? You can contact me through my website: www.turtlehorn.com, by e-mail at info@turtlehorn.com or via social media, preferably through Instagram (@turtlehorn_).

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