Interview with the designer Amanda Svart
By Gioia Gange
When and how you decided that you wanted to be a designer?
From an early interest, I made the decision in 2008 when I moved to London and just found people I met very exciting and creative. I enrolled in various courses in related subjects at Central Saint Martins and felt that devoting my career to creating clothes would keep me happy through life.
It was your dream job?
When I was a child I loved clothes and had a huge box of clothes to dress-up with. I loved to mix, match and combine and often thought of how various pieces could have been made differently in the process. During the summer when I was 16 years old I went on a summer language trip to Bournemouth in England and the company STS, which I travelled with, offered various specialisations, one of which was a fashion track. One of the things on the agenda was to spend two days as Central Saint Martins where we worked with the teachers on a mini project to design and produce a garment and present it on a small catwalk. When I enrolled for my bachelor degree in Fashion Design at University of Westminster the mother of one of my childhood friends commented that she had always know that I would become a fashion designer. I guess the desire has been there with me ever since I was a child even if I may not have been fully aware of it myself.
Which is the first thing you designed and for who (yourself,a friend…)?
At 16 years old I made my prom dress although it was more a question of make than design. At University of Westminster BA was the first really thorough design process to make a menswear shirt. The project was in form of a competition among all students in the first year and my shirt was selected the winning design which led to it being incorporated into the collection of Kristian Steinberg, our guest tutor, and was subsequently produced in Estonia and sold as part of his collection. It was a really exciting and encouraging start.
Who’s the designer you admire the most and why?
I very much admire Haider Ackermann and I really like his drapes and choice of colours and fabrics. He has a clearly distinct recognisable style, which is feminine, with more creative draping and focus on cut. His forms are also quite organic with some inspiration from Japan both features I can related to myself in my design aesthetics.
Who’s your muse, your icon, when you create a dress?
I design bearing in mind creative, strong and feminine women, and there are many muses, one example of whom is Mirolava Duma.
If you had to design an entire collection using just one colour, which is the one you’d pick and why?
Although technically not a colour, I would pick black as it is easy to make things look good in black and it is also something most people would wear and you do not grow tired of black as easily as opposed to designing an entire collection in yellow for instance.
Who’s the first person you show your sketches to?
My boyfriend and business partner.
The fabric you love the most…silk, lace, velvet and why?
I like silk as it has an elegant, luxurious feel, and has a beautiful fall whatever you decide to make with it. When draping in silk the fall is natural and there are many different types of silk as well as different weights. I also find polyester a great material, with many good polyesters with different textures from Japan. Furthermore I work a lot with bonded fabrics which is an advantage when you want to create large shapes and achieve more stability.
If your clothes had a soundtrack, which songs you’d choose?
David Wong’s solo violin interpretation of Bastille – Pompeii. It was played at the three catwalk shows of my FormFlow collection which won the Prix du Public Ville d’Hyères in April 2016.
Do you have any trick to avoid that “blank page” moment when you’re at the beginning of the designing of a new collection? Do you watch a movie, flip an old magazine…
I tell myself that there is no particular moment that I have to come up with the specific idea and in this way avoid the defining of a “blank page” moment. When there is time I go to the library, visit exhibitions and research all sorts of things and sources. This is an ongoing process and with time you build a mental and physical archive of ideas and things and prior development work which are kept on the back-burner and can be revisited when there is time to start the research work for a new collection.
If you weren’t a designer which job in the fashion world you would like to do and why?
Modelist, pattern cutter or craftsman. A role where I still would be involved in the creation process, not as a designer in such case, but still playing a part in the design realisation.
*Images’credits of the pictures in the gallery above: