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A digital atelier where inspirational
women in fashion share their ideas

Ottil Songanurninvivolasas

“My thoughts are in Los Angeles right now. My former roommates just called, wondering when I’m coming ‘home’, telling me they’re about to put all my summer clothes away in the garage. I know what that means. When I moved from Los Angeles in 2012, I wasn’t able to bring all my vintage clothes at once and when I returned six months later my friend had given them away to various thrift stores. I visited every vintage store in Hollywood and found about a third of my stuff. ‘Hi, my friend had a meltdown and gave away all my clothes, this jacket/blouse/dress/shoe is mine’. I brought another friend whom, with his long Rod Stewart hair and amazing glittery clothes, helped me persuade them to sell me back the clothes for a dollar a piece.

At our house in LA the TV was always on, showing all of the Hollywood classics on TCM. I often found myself on the blue velvet couch watching Ginger Rogers dance in movie after movie. I’m glad I have the ability to relax and do ‘nothing’. To chill is an artform I wish for everyone to master. Before I commit myself to work I have a long period of research, I systematise information and explore each possibility. Then follows a period when I seemingly do ‘nothing’, but that’s when everything falls into place. I’m not always a brainstormer, who comes up with ideas on the spot, but they’ll show up eventually and I’ve learned to trust myself in that and as soon as an idea forms I’ll know right away if it’s a good one.

I visited every vintage store in Hollywood and found about a third of my stuff. ‘Hi, my friend had a meltdown and gave away all my clothes, this jacket/blouse/dress/shoe is mine’.

Los Angeles was my home during my years as design assistant and studio manager for Jeremy Scott and I moved back there last fall to start my own line of bags. I had meant to go back to Stockholm for just two weeks to do scenography/set design, for Jenny Palén’s short film Spacerabbit, but during my time back I ended up getting more and more offers. I couldn’t say no when asked to curate the first ever Memphis Group exhibition in Sweden, so I ended up staying here. I love Stockholm, this is where I want to be. I have just found a small, family run, factory in Turkey that is going to produce my bags, instead of the one in LA. Since I am used to working in a high pace it’s an invigorating experience letting my bag-label grow slowly alongside other projects.

A big source of inspiration for me are the different worlds that Los Angeles consists of, where you’re allowed to get lost for a little while. The tolerance for the quirky, different and odd is bigger there and you don’t feel the same scrutiny as in Stockholm, which is refreshing.

As a child I dreamt of becoming a documentary filmmaker, a toy designer or work in a candy store. I’m not a documentary filmmaker but I did actually work in a candy store in LA for a couple of weeks. As long as I can remember I’ve had the fascination for everyday settings and situations. People’s homes, what they cherish and the treasures they choose to surround themselves with. The discovery of Seinfeld, the TV show, also inspired me through its portraits of the everyday absurdities I’ve always had a weakness for. The toy designer in me comes to life in the clothes I wear and in many of my designs. Jeremy Scott was the perfect place for this. I sense there has been some uncertainty regarding your professionalism if you don’t follow the mainstream fashion and interior norms, but that seems to be changing – luckily for me. I’m often drawn to what’s borderline ugly, I like it when you’re not sure if something is really nice or just hideous and I love the unlikely. Humor is also important, like for Droog Design.

Who am I? Just the thought of having to define my person makes me shiver, typically me. Having trouble with this I came to the conclusion that I am a super social loner who easily feel at home almost anywhere. I love socializing, but I also love solitude. After periods of hard work I need time to recuperate. I have the benefit to have a friend who lives in a house outside of Stockholm, where I often go with the intention to stay for a couple of hours, which become days. When I’m not hiding under a bed reading dusty old books, she teaches me how to cook.

Art and design are immensely important. No, no one will die if I make a mistake, except maybe my ego if I end up in the Hall of Shame, but objects, our surroundings and the clothes we wear affect our wellbeing and so in the long run, designers actually save lives!

Finally, I would just like to say that I am convinced that I am immortal!”

Three defining moments for Ottil Songanurninvivolasas

1

“A reaction to the glossy, impersonal consumerism. The stories were creative, personal and different. I remember one where the walls were all covered with gingerbread. Swedish interior magazines are so boring, all the stories look identical: right amount contemporary design objects, some antiques, and then top it off with – like a magic instagram-filter, some stuff from Svenskt Tenn. Maybe that’s what’s going to make me a billionaire; designing the Svenskt Tenn-Instagram filter!”

Nest magazine, interior design magazine, 1997-2004.

2

“Mother and father. They have never feared obstacles, always kept their optimism, seen humor and taken interest in everything. They effortlessly socialize in all levels of society and never differentiate between people. They’re fearless in their expression and they have given me the adventure, humor and love of contrasts. Above all, they’ve stayed friends after going separate ways and we’ve always celebrated x-mas and enjoyed family dinners together – this is large and beautiful.”

3

“Emojis. How you’re able to hide yourself behind these icons, how what they’re meant to express actually no longer ‘mean’ anything. Using them you don’t have to truly phrase what you want to say and while they might make a text message more joyful, at the same time they dilute the essence of what you just said.”

Credits

Photography Henrik Nielsen Styling Nike Fröhling Felldin / Hall&Lundgren Make up Veronica Lindqvist / Mikas Looks Hair Peter Johansson / Hall&Lundgren
Retouch Anna-Maria Edvinsson

Words Jon Lax