Norwegian label, SØSTER Studio launches it's debut collection today, we caught up with Creative Director and founder Pernille Nadine about the brands eco credentials and what makes good design.
Interview: Grace Alexander
Images: Camilla Sverdrup-Thygeson
Grace Alexander: There is a message behind what you have created in this debut collection - how would you communicate it?
Pernille Nadine: I started SØSTER because I felt like most brands weren't really evolving with us and didn't reflect the reality we live in. I don't believe in the beauty standards, rules and fleeting tendencies of the fashion industry, SØSTER is an independent label and aims to make a positive difference. We celebrate individuality rather than perfection.
The world is overflowing with things already, so I also think its important to create and manufacture in as small amounts as possible. With SØSTER I want to highlight the importance of being socially and environmentally responsible while not compromising the aesthetics. Its also about celebrating women, and supporting women-owned businesses.
GA: Do you feel the industry is lacking in its inclusion of an 'eco' philosophy?
PN: Definitely. Most of the big brands mass produce their clothing in sweatshops and have no consideration for the environment, only for the sake of higher profit. There is ridiculously amount of collections produced every year.. Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, and we have a responsibility. Its easy to forget that human hands have made every single piece of clothing we buy, I think we need to remind ourselves of that. Also about 80% of the people working in sweatshop conditions are women. So it's a feminist issue too.
For me is just about doing what I think is right and working towards an enlightened and sustainable future. But it's definitely a challenge, all I can do is be responsible and strive to learn and do better. However, it's very encouraging to see a slight shift in the industry happening. There are a lot of small labels and ethical brands emerging and a lot of inspiring women starting their own businesses. I love that. Hopefully the big brands will take notice and follow in a positive direction.
GA: What do you think makes good design?
PN: What attracts me is design that is able to move me and inspire me. Good design is also thoughtful design, it shouldn't cause a lot of damage to our environment or to anyone in the supply chain.
GA: How did you decide on the curation of the pieces? Were you designing for a particular season or person for example?
PN: The collection is non-seasonal and consists of elevated basics that you can interpret in your own way. Everything from delicate hand dyed slip dresses to oversized tailored shirts with extra wide sleeves to silky soft bamboo underwear. The kind of person I had in mind was a powerful young girl or woman, who is confident in her sexuality and has something to say. She is also environmentally and politically concerned. I aim to create pieces that you can pass down in generations and not something that ends up in a landfill next season.
GA: Looking forward how would you like SØSTER to grow?
PN: It's a personal and intimate process for me so I want to continue to collaborate with friends, my partner and people that I admire. I want to learn more and evolve into being more sustainable. And I would love to be able to live of something I really care about.
GA: What are you doing tomorrow?
PN: I just moved back to Oslo after 4 years away. Previously I couldn't wait to get out of this place, but now I´m starting to appreciate it and falling in love with the city for the first time. Its that time of year when everyone goes away on holiday and the streets are empty. It's the best time to be here. I'm waking up early to swim at the harbour outside, then I´ll go to an exhibition at Astrup Fearnley and eat ice-cream barefoot in the grass. Also setting up a little studio where I'm staying, getting ready for the launch and planning a SØSTER shoot.
GA: Having worked with you previously I, like others, may know you as a makeup artist. What inspired the change in direction?
PN: I have always been in love with designing clothes and creating something out of the ideas I have in my head. I loved making clothes and going through second hand shops to find treasures I could create something of when I was younger. The world of fashion and art was where I used to escaped to when things wasn't so easy. I started out studying textile and design, but dropped out of school. I later went into makeup school as I wanted to do something creative with my hands. I fell in love with it and the process of creating an image as well as all the inspiring people I got to meet and work with (like you!;)).
After I graduated I was supposed to study fashion design in London but I dropped out because my life was too chaotic to commit to something for years at that time. Instead, I moved to London and began freelancing as a makeup artist. I also started painting more often which helped me a lot mentally. As I got older I could finally create this positive and calm environment for myself, which has given me the space and time to be able to create. The change in direction now has been very organic and natural. I'm lucky to have so many outlets in which I can express myself, heal and process emotions. Everything I create is very personal and sensitive in that way. I think most creative people have different talents and passions, its interesting to explore them all and to always challenge yourself.