If like us you’ve fallen for Mr Tedi – who makes a cameo in our news pages in the latest issue – you might be interested in finding out more about the Finnish fashionista who created him…
Annika Jermyn (née Koski) is originally from Finland but studied design in Ireland, and is now happily based in Brooklyn, New York. After studying fashion design at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, she worked for John Rocha for two years. Then she decided to explore her curiosity for graphic design and illustration as a freelancer. Her interest in menswear, product design and sustainable design led her to launch her own label as Mrs Jermyn in 2011. She is particularly known for her Mr Tedi bears, made from upcycled shirts. You can either buy a pre-named bear, such as Mr Jerome or Mr Ornette, or send in a shirt that’s important to you and have your very own Mr Special made. Annika is married to an Irishman (Mr Jermyn) and they have two cats, Mr Cat and The Chicken.
How did the idea for Mr Tedi come to you? My inspiration for the tedis came from my husband’s old shirts that apparently “shrank in the wash” (OR he might have developed a small-but-cute belly since we’ve got married). Knowing how much work goes into all that detail of making these shirts, and admiring the beautiful fabrics mostly just used in menswear, I couldn’t let them go to waste. Mr Jermyn is a musician, so one of the times he went on tour I decided to entertain myself by cutting them up and turning them into tedi bears. Hey, I needed someone to cuddle!
Who were the bears initially intended for when you started making them? The first tedi I made was a birthday present for Mr Jermyn’s 30th birthday. Men need to cuddle too, so I aimed to make cool toys for adults, I suppose, but they most certainly appeal to children too –so it’s nice to create something so inclusive. And it’s interesting to see who picks what kind of a bear… They’re an accessory to match your age, status and personality.
What is your background? I am from Finland, studied design at the NCAD in Dublin and worked for the fashion designer John Rocha for two years, after which I decided to explore my interest in graphic and product design. A few years ago my NY-obsessed jazz-musician husband dragged me to Brooklyn. I was happy to be dragged. Now I work mostly from my wonderful studio in Brooklyn dividing my time between various design projects.
How long does a custom order take? Are there any special requirements in regards to the shirt clients send in? Custom orders will be processed quickly but, depending on the origin of the shirt, shipping might take a day from Manhattan or a week from California (each way). Various sizes are fine and Mrs Jermyn does not discriminate against short-sleeved shirts either. Whatever stains and rips might exist on the shirt will be included on the tedi produced, but will not lessen Mr Special’s lovability.
What is your favorite detail on the tedis? I love the inherent value of old things that have (at least in my imagination) been through a lot and have many stories to tell. We often become attached to these objects – which I suppose is the more positive side of materialism – and associate qualities such as texture or scent with people and experiences. So I believe these re-lovable materials create more experienced, loyal and wise tedi bears that give you good advice and high-quality hugs when you need them. And without burdening our planet with more waste and production, the tedis generate positive energy in every squeeze!
Interested in more designer and maker insight? Check out our Value the Process series on Instagram.
Sheenagh Green for @Image_Interiors