Agla’s Master Project is practice-led research, an internal analysis of her own design process. Stripping the process of themes and stories she relies on her own impressions and curiosity within the process to lead the way. This requires her to seek for a meditative state and bring the subconscious design knowledge to the forefront. The journey is guided by intuition, hidden intentions, reflections and serendipity with the aim to allow the design process itself to lead her to create something unpredictable.
Glamour et cetera interviewed, filmed and photographed the newly graduated designer, enjoy!
What is your connection to Iceland?
I was born and brought up in the East until the age of 19. Most of my family still lives in Iceland and some very dear friends. I think towards home daily and all the fantastic music constantly deriving from there helps to bring me back mentally.
Where is the future of Icelandic Design?
It’s bright. The mentality is optimistic and daring which is an important quality for creativity to blossom. Synergy is obvious everywhere, so few inhabitants but many talented people with big intentions. It’s quite intense. I believe the keyword to be cooperation. People have to work together, use each others brains and skills to achieve better results. When we are so few it is important to support and stand by each other despite the inevitable competition that comes with the profession. It’s better for everybody if many are “making it” than if only few are.
With a strong geographical position in the Atlantic between Europe and America, I see good opportunities for both production and exportation. For me it is evident that the Icelandic culture, while of course being it’s own, is also a funny mix between the two continents and it makes me happy to see how it shows in the design. Being humoristically bold and edgy combined with the handicraftsmen tradition and scandinavian minimalism.
Compared to Denmark Icelandic design is still young and we have yet to find our place, but we are very soon there. We have a beautiful and rich old tradition for hand-craftsmanship and natural sustainable materials and we could incorporate this aspect even more into our design. Doing so while breaking grounds with the natural curiosity for new expressions that so many Icelandic designers seem to have.
Icelandic Fashion is definitely not boring and that should be celebrated. Though it seems to me that we are more focused on the surface than the actual form and that we could still work on and develop our own way of tailoring and bring the edginess into the actual form of the garment.
Please create a question and answer it. What is your next project?
In August I go back home to the East to work on a project called North East 10. It is an initiative of the Innovation Center Iceland (NSI) and Thorpid (The Village) in Egilsstadir, a place where creative people come together and work on their ideas and projects. The aim of the project is to support product development and design in the East in cooperation with local designers and production. I look forward to work with other designers and discover possibilities for local production and raw materials from the area.
The crisis can be a good thing at least for design and history shows that many of the best design appears in those times because people are facing real problems and have to find real solutions to them.
Why are you who you are?
This is a tough question. I guess it’s because of my upbringing, education and a little bit of genes. I come from a hard working family, my father lives on a horse farm on a land that has been ours for at least 300 years. Farming is a tough occupation in Iceland with the ever changing weather conditions, just to mention one thing. You have to take life somewhat lightly and that is something I am still learning. But it is satisfying to work in so close cooperation with nature. It requires good adjustment qualities, optimism and courage to find new solutions for what ever comes along. Good qualities for a designer to possess as well. Concerning “who am I” I believe and hope I am always changing and developing, how boring would it be to be always the same.
The process is built of four phases which repeat through the process; Defining, Intersecting, Reflecting and Recomposing. At first Agla defines a utopian situation of geometric shapes. Secondly she disrupts the over-comforting state with the exaggerated gesture of cutting. Then comes the reflection before reaction; A contemplation while merged in the aesthetic moment. The last act is an unforced recomposing of the fragmented parts exposing a cubist-like multi-faceted image of the previously defined forms.
“Visually an initiation of geometric shapes is dominant throughout the garment but in folds or cuts they disappear as suddenly as they appear. The movement of the body underlines this quality and the garments often remind me of a Kaleidoscope where the body is the motive, sliding in and out of layers of forms, joining them and disjointing them. The memory of the geometric shapes is a visual and conceptual backdrop and acts as a platform to fall back on while the madness of the product of the intersection and the human body keep an exciting flow of unpredictable forms.”
From Attention & Intention in My Design Process, Master of Fashion Design Thesis by Agla Stefánsdóttir.
Designer: Agla Stefánsdóttir
Images & Video: Glamour • Et cetera
Music: Rory Harnden