Meet Gina Rockenwagner, the founder of Soft Haus 👋✨ We recently collaborated with Soft Haus to create deadstock socks, and we thought you might like to learn more about the founder the company.
Gina started knitting at age 10 and hasn't put down the needles since! 🧶 After studying fashion design at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in knit design, finally settling in Los Angeles, California in 2018, where she now lives and works. Gina founded Soft Haus in 2015 as an ethical, sustainable fashion line.
With so many shared values, we know our collaboration with Soft Haus was meant to be! Shop The Endery X Soft Haus deadstock socks on both of our e-shops. ❤️
Get to know Gina in our Q + A session below!
Q: Tell us about yourself and the how you started your brand.
A: I am a Los Angeles based designer and artist. I am married with two cats (I heard someone described that way on NPR once and I have identified with it ever since!). I started my brand in 2015 after many years working in the fashion and knitting industry.
Q: How did you learn to knit?
A: I had Ulcerative Colitis as a kid and was in hospital a lot during my treatment. My mom would always give me little craft projects to do to pass the boring hours stuck inside. I really enjoyed the distraction of making things with my hands
Later, when I was 9 years old, we had an embroidery class at school as part of the curriculum. My teacher, Abbie Pertula, noticed I took an affinity to embroidery instantly. She asked me if I wanted to learn to knit and I said yes. She taught me my first knitting stitches at recess one day. I haven't stopped knitting since then!
Q: Tell us about why you wanted to explore working with deadstock and your experience of working with The Endery.
A: We had worked a bit with deadstock yarn in Peru and LA before we got the opportunity to work with you all at The Endery. My priority with Soft Haus has always been to make things as sustainably as possible. I love the challenge of designing for leftovers because it really brings out my creativity! Working with The Endery felt totally natural. I trust you all implicitly because I know you share my values!
Q: How did you come to work in Peru and what’s your impression of the culture?
A: I first came to Peru in 2012 to help another designer with their knitwear line. I instantly bonded with everyone I worked with on that first trip. I could speak Spanish well enough to have a conversation, and the ladies knitting in the factory were shocked that I could both speak Spanish AND knit! I love working with the talented knitters in Peru, they teach me so much. The culture has also taught me a lot. Peruvians, in my experience, really value personal relationships, family, and sharing experiences. The contrast to life in the US, which can feel like a race, felt instantly familial and comfortable to me. I also love Peruvian cuisine and the obsession with food. Everyone wants to share their favorite dishes and local spots with me, which I super appreciate. I always eat well when I go to Peru!
Q: Tell us something interesting about yourself that most people don’t know.
A: I had my entire large intestine removed at the age of 4! I'm a highly sensitive person, and I have PTSD. Because of this I am extremely particular about clothing! Everything that touches my body has to be comfortable, made from natural materials, and made ethically. I started my line because I couldn't find clothing that met all my specifications.
Q: What is the main inspiration behind the brand and the collections you design?
A: I'm inspired by materials, music, art, and really my own desire to cheer myself up at all times. I make things that make me happy, and I hope they make others happy too.
Q: Do you have any final tips for any budding female entrepreneurs, or knitters?
A: Always stay true to yourself and your values!
Q. What’s next for Soft Haus?
A: More knitting and sewing patterns! More instructional content. And more sustainable and ethical clothing, of course. I also want to pursue speaking and writing about my PTSD to help diminish shame surrounding mental illness.