It is so nice to see a sustainable design practice that doesn’t scream sustainable. It normalises it. When did you start approaching fashion sustainably? What does sustainability mean to your practice?
The clothing industry is arguably one of the largest polluting industries in the world so, as a fashion designer, I feel that it is my duty to rethink the practices used. Therefore sustainability has long been the driving force for my designs. Before I collected more on sustainable/eco-friendly materials but for this collection, I wanted to approach sustainability more holistically. One essential thought at the beginning of the process was how the concept of sustainable fashion can be seen as contradictory. Fashion is about change and sustainability is about longevity and stability. Therefore, the motivation for the modular & transformable concepts was to offer a more sustainable alternative to meet the changing needs and tastes of the wearer over time with less materialistic means.
I believe that the future of fashion lies in systematic change, where strategic innovations create opportunities to develop completely new sustainable ways of doing business. In practice, the modular clothing concept could operate through a product-service system, where the collections are created using the same module format and the customers could have their existing module garment changed into a new season style through the service. This would aid the change towards a more circular economy from the predominant linear cycle in fashion.
“I would not want to box my design to fit only to a certain group of people but that they are for anyone who loves ruffles, frills, voluminous skirts, and feminine silhouettes.” – Sofia Ilmonen
You design womenswear; can you tell us more about your approach to the womenswear practice?
I’m drawn to designing womenswear as that is what I have studied and felt the most natural to me. However, I would not want to box my design to fit only to a certain group of people but that they are for anyone who loves ruffles, frills, voluminous skirts, and feminine silhouettes. So I guess I could say that my style is ultra-feminine which is highlighted with the colour choices. The colours also embody the positive energy and optimism that I want to express with the brand.
Your work is really textile-based and intricate, where does your design journey start?
The textile structure works both as a detail and function. The button and loop structure allows the square modules to be attached together and the drawstring channels allow the modules to be gathered for shaping. The operating base of the module concept also creates beautiful textures and details. The development of the texture and silhouette went hand-in-hand.