Julia Prajza is known as la petite blonde pouffe.
“In high school, I cut my blonde, curly hair short and a friend said I looked like a little blonde poof,” says Prajza, 20. “It started to spread with my friends and it’s stuck for a while.”
The nickname seemed fitting to use when Prajza began designing one of a kind headbands to add pizzazz to her hairstyles.
“People are embracing accessories as a personalized and unique way to express their mood and style, and set themselves apart from the crowd.” —Julia Prajza, third-year OCAD graphic design student
Her pieces soon sparked a following and, for the past year, the third-year university student has been designing custom headbands to wear to work, the park, or a fabulous night on the town.
Q. How did you start designing headbands?
A. Last summer I was shopping downtown and spotted this amazing feathered headband. The price tag was pretty steep ($30), so I started to think I could try to make it myself. I bought some materials and made myself a peacock headband. I got a lot of compliments, and some friends asked if I could make them headbands and also started encouraging me to sell them.
I started a Facebook group to get the word out and it took off from there. I’ve made custom pieces for people at school, friends of friends and people who have come across my page.
Q. Did you have prior design training?
A. I’ve always been the hands-on creative type, and as a kid I loved arts and crafts so it wasn’t too far-fetched. I’m also going into my third year of graphic design at OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design), so I’ve been learning a lot about how to think about design in different ways. I’ve never designed accessories before so I’m still learning as I go. So far it’s been a great venture for me, and a great way to make some money applying my creativity.
Q. Where do you get your materials?
A. I’m always looking for anything eye-catching that I could potentially use at all sorts of stores, especially in Kensington Market, or even craft stores and accessories stores. My mom used to be a designer so she has tons of vintage fabric, beads and buttons I like to use.
Q. How long do you spend on each piece?
A. Usually 45 minutes to an hour on each piece, depending on the intricacy of the design and the materials I use. I have a workshop in my basement with a huge table that houses all my goodies. Sometimes I’ll sit there for hours surrounded by beads and feathers.
Q. Where do you sell your pieces?
A. I mostly sell through my Facebook page and by word of mouth, but I’ve started setting up booths at local craft shows and fairs. I like the community events because so many new people can see my designs.
Q. What inspires your creations?
A. So many things I come across can inspire, like a piece of fabric or the colors in a feather. I also pay attention to current fashion and accessories trends to make things that can easily fit into people’s style.
Q. Why do you think headbands have become such popular accessories?
A. People are embracing accessories as a personalized and unique way to express their mood and style, and set themselves apart from the crowd. When I’m making my pieces I keep in mind the personalities of the people I make them for. Some of the headbands are loud and bold while others are edgy or more feminine, but no matter what they add flare to your hair and even the most simple outfit.
Q. What are you hoping to do with your talents?
A. I’m not sure where the future will lead me, but I know I will be the happiest doing something in design. Making headbands right now is helping me experiment and become confident with my creativity, and I love it.