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THE DESIGNER CHAT: EMELIE JANRELL

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Where does your inspiration come from?
“I am inspired by the women’s movement from the 20th century, and the issues of presenting femininity ever since.”

Do you have any personal memories reflected in this collection?
“For this collection I have used shells that I have collected from all the different trips since my childhood. Drilling tiny holes and embroidering them on garments reminds me of these trips.”

What do you want your clothes to say about the wearer?
“This is me! I’m not afraid, or shy! By working with made-to measure, I meet my “costumers” and every garment has it’s own personal pattern that is done to enhance the wearer.”

Do you have any muses who inspires your work?
“I haven’t had any muses as such for this collection, I would say “power bitches” in general always inspire me.”

If you were to anchor your fashion in one defining moment, which would that be?
“I am not sure I could pick one moment. Time is an interesting aspect in fashion, for me it is important to strive for longevity.”

You have previously said that you love creating clothes for strong women. How can clothes provide strength?
“I never want to cover anything up. I aim to create clothes that improves the wearer’s confidence and make them feel powerful. A special garment can boost your confidence but ultimately it is an interaction between the person wearing it and the clothes itself.”

You recently gained a lot of publicity for the uterus dress that you created for Tove Lo, how was the process of creating the dress?
“Originally, I made the graphical symbol of the uterus as a comment on the undermining and oppression of women throughout history. Women were seen as different to men, and categorised as ‘lesser than men’, even hysterical. It was said that the uterus caused ‘female hysteria’, so I wanted to reclaim the uterus, use the shape of it as a symbol of female empowerment and independence. When the stylist Christopher Insulander was asked to dress Tove Lo, he immediately thought of this symbol, contacted me and we designed the dress together.”

Why do you think people reacted so strongly to the dress?
“Because we live in a patriarchal society, where people have gotten used to the idea that the female sex should remain hidden, almost a secret. It makes people uncomfortable.”

Who would you love to create an outfit for?
“Sara Danius! Her bold and fabulous way of dressing inspires me. To create something with her would be amazing. Being part of such a masculine and conservative institution as the Swedish Academy, and still be so feminine, colourful and daring is truly powerful.”

You are not planning on designing ready-to-wear anytime soon. Does that relate to your point of view of the fashion industry and consumerism?
“I believe it is important to make clothes that will last for generations, both in terms of design and in quality. As I mentioned earlier, I strive for longevity in fashion, rather than being trendy for the moment.”