Were you raised at a horse farm?
Yeah, raised at a horse farm, which comes a lot with good quality products. It’s this uniform way of dressing and approaching your life. That is the kind of approach you get in that horse world.
“When you do practical work, once you’re done with it, that project is over and you’re released from it, but I also have this kind of emptiness.” – Ellen Hodakova Larsson
Uniformity and a stringent routine. I find this a very interesting subject. In an industry that’s so demanding of everything being new, it all happens so quickly. And then the makers are looking for this routine and repetitive pattern to be able to create.
Yeah. And I think that comes with finding your schedule. When you do practical work, once you’re done with it, that project is over and you’re released from it, but I also have this kind of emptiness. I find myself always finding new things that inspire me directly after that. When I’m released from that focus, I’m like a sponge that absorbs everything around me.
When running your own business, there’s essentially nine people working on the brand, you have to handle the management of that. And you have to be the entrepreneur, the business person, and fill every position. But when you have a routine, you can leave things and trust people with doing stuff and some weight gets taken off your shoulders.
So you argue a good routine can help you delegate?
Yeah, definitely. But I’m so bad at routines.
It’s too much for one human. So can you explain to me how it works, then? Are you very pragmatic about it? Or do you delegate first and then you do your own schedule in organised chaos?
The organised chaos!
When you have the overview, you can just delegate to an extent, and then you can find your ways to handle that and do it with a free approach. It gives you an element of space to be able to focus. That needs to be there to create.
You work very intuitively, would you say that requires a lot of self-confidence?
To validate yourself is a way of believing in yourself. Being pretty sure that this is the direction and then not arguing about it. And then seeing what comes out of that.
So you don’t question until it’s finished. And when it’s finished, is this when you start doubting, or is it never space for doubt?
No, it’s never a feeling of doubt if it has potential at the beginning and in the sketching. We do a lot of sketches and the result is often this combination of all of them. I think all the items are somehow connected, because it is a wardrobe, more or less. It’s not about making one good thing and then making another good thing.
“All the items or the pieces need to communicate with each other. There needs to be a balance in the whole collection.” – Ellen Hodakova Larsson
So it’s almost like you structure it as a whole as opposed to item by item. It’s like they’re answering to each other somehow?
Yeah exactly. I think all the items or the pieces need to communicate with each other. There needs to be a balance in the whole collection. If a material feels off, you need to add a trim, or you need to have a silhouette. If it’s a narrow silhouette, you have to maybe have a contrasting silhouette elsewhere in the collection. I think that kind of dynamic, that kind of balance helps all of the looks communicate together, it needs to be a continuous story between all of them.
Do you also need the validation of the audience? You were saying you were overwhelmed by the reception in Paris.
I think that is super important, of course. However, I think the most important part is that I have been satisfied myself.
Do you live to work or work to live?
Oh my god, I think it’s about finding satisfaction in both. I live to enjoy. I live to develop myself. Because I think development is the biggest part of life, to be able to learn new stuff and be able to evolve as a person. I don’t see this as my work. I enjoy learning in this area because that leads me into other areas all the time. Fashion crosses so many areas of society.
But also running a business, it’s so complex, because it is so layered: working on the creative but also being a businesswoman, understanding business, and understanding other businesses. It’s a management of people and understanding of the industry, but also society. Fashion always shines through so many areas, which brings me to a position where I evolve very quickly because I need to be updated and have so many philosophical thoughts about all the areas that I communicate through. So I think this position of designer for me, it’s very fun.
Gives you a reason to wake up in the morning, right?
Yes! All the knowledge that you gain being a designer, or being interested in art and music and societal questions, you can express that to people around you who haven’t got into those kinds of areas through design. When they see my work, old friends are always like ‘Oh, you make such cool stuff.’ And then you start talking about it. And they get new ideas. It’s a cute communication thing.
On this, nowadays it’s more and more about the network you have and press and how a designer needs to wear all of the caps at once. Do you feel the pressure that you need be the face of your practice?
I think the clothes and my concept and the whole thing I’m presenting is the communication by itself. So I don’t think I should be trying to over-speak. I think I just want to make what I make and then be very curious about the development of that, instead of me being an icon or the face of the brand.
One last question. How does it feel to be a woman in this industry?
I have a brother. Do you have a brother?
I have a brother. Yeah.
I think that has allowed me to be very natural around men and, because you’re brought up with a brother, it feels like it’s a natural thing just being around men. So I very much enjoy having all of those guys around me because everyone is so interesting. I think my integrity is quite high.
It’s cool to hear that a woman is designing for a woman and who doesn’t feel like men are deciding for her. Which is the case a lot in this industry.
Yeah, definitely. I think we can learn so much from anyone, not depending on what sex you are. It’s more about experiences, acceptance and curiosity and I believe that it doesn’t need to be that hard if you just make it work. But then, of course, can’t take things personally.