Emelie Svensson is a Swedish designer, who works and lives in two countries: Denmark and Sweden. After being asked to tell a little bit about herself, she humbly answers that she’s a fashion designer graduated with diploma from ESMOD International (l’Ecole Supérieure des Arts et techniques de la Mode) in Paris and Berlin. “34 years old and feeling younger but wiser every day”, she adds with a smile.
Designers career is generally perceived to be extremely creative, yet very hard and fierce, especially thinking about competition in the industry. How did your career path as a designer started?
My path took it’s own sort of way when trying to get my parents to choose it for me when time came to choose direction for upper secondary education. I didn’t dare to make it myself. They refused of course. My choice was art as topic and Textile & Fashion my second choice. I made it to my second choice due to less accommodation traffic which made me realize after a week that this was it. I belonged here among scissors, threads and pins.
Career path… Why designer? Who inspires you most and how did you decide that design is your path? Did you have any doubts about your choice?
Designer is a profession that includes struggle. The path is not set for you even if you’re considered to be a talent. Your talent is viewed by those who like you but fashion is a matter of taste. You can be loved today and hated tomorrow, all depending on who’s judging you. Therefore it’s very important to trust in what you do and not get confused in making a great success or fame. Then it can easily become failure. Doubts lie within this thin line. I don’t believe in balance in life so I call it to keep sanity. Fashion is madness. Sometimes you feel like a one man band trying to keep all instruments playing in harmony at one time.
I have doubts every day but that’s why I love what I’m doing because I keep doing it.
Inspiration usually comes from people I meet or things I read. My last collections ”Neon in Black” and ”Luminous in Black” where both about light and colors in different aspects from one to another. I’m very interested in shades as a subtle ”reading in between the lines” kind of approach when it comes to transparent materials.
We make decisions all the time everyday that leads us to the next choice and we like to believe that destiny has much to do with how our paths will be but I think we see the connections afterwards. I’ve found a bunch of drawings from me as a child showing my own store with lovely clothing inside. I just didn’t realize it’s been there from the beginning. My grandmother was a seamstress and my mother used to draw clothes for her to make. I guess I took that decision before I even knew it.
Can you please give some insights on the industry? How fierce is it?
The industry in itself is harsh for young people, especially aspiring models. We have to start taking a greater action into responsibility for them since it’s all about their looks. Who takes care of their inner self at a young age? It can destroy anyone starting destructible habits. When it comes to production level the industry is too harsh for workers. I don’t believe the industry can stay the same after having accidents like the recent one in Bangladesh. We can’t have workers making our clothes in unsafe buildings for a minimal production cost. It need to change.
You currently happen to be living in Denmark… How did it happen? Do you like living here, how is that different from Sweden?
I work and live on both sides. Copenhagen is a very spectacular city when it comes to fashion. Street fashion in Copenhagen always gets my attention and a spin to my mind. Little details that stays with me forever.
How are Danes different compared to Swedes?
My father was a Dane but we never spoke danish at home so I had to learn the language working with them. I knew as a child already that other grown ups reacted differently in the way my father told jokes that there’s a cultural essence which is not the same although it seems very particular. By learning to twist my tongue in order to speak the language I also know now the finest but very important differences.
Danes are generally more up front with strangers than swedes. In Sweden we’re known for being very polite and we don’t say for example ”How does my ass (røv) look in these pants?” to a sales person. I like that. They talk a lot about their asses.
What is your concept? How do you differ from other designers?
Every designer differ from one another depending on your own quirkiness. Unless you’re a copycat which can of course be a successful story. I believe in my own story revealing insights from where I stand in the world. I guess most designers do but for me fashion is more vivid than creating great looks. Fashion is everywhere dressing everybody into appearances. That’s interesting.
I agree with Vivienne Westwood when she says:
”I never look at fashion magazines. I find them incredibly boring. To me, reading a fashion magazine is the last thing I need to do. I’ve got books I need to read. More people should read books”
How does your usual day look like?
It seems I have no usual days. It’s all depending what’s yet to be done from yesterday or the day before. I always work even if I’m not actually having my hands on it at the moment.
Your values in life?
I reconsidered my values in life after the death of my father in 2008. He had been sick in Parkinson disease for 12 years so it was expected to come somewhere soon that year as he became very weak. Before I thought of my career to be most important but realized that people you care about and love are the ones to put first on your list before everything else. I’m happy I was done with my fashion education the last years of his life to be with him every day. My mum was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 so I’ve learned to cherish life and be happy in the moments of joy. She was given a clean bill of health in 2011.
An advice for women, who want to have a designers career?
Be strong but humble to those who want to give you a hand on the way up.