Online shop is hereby launched!
I never ever believed when I started my fashion blog Despite Color back in 2010 that I would have the opportunity to start my own brand in 2019. It’s been a wonderful and exciting road, but also a tough one! I wanted to take the time to talk about how I got here, and thank the people who helped me along the way.
I didn’t have the stereotypical childhood of a designer, making clothes for my sister and my dolls. I remember I found my grandmother very inspiring though. She always dressed up for events, and she had a wonderful wardrobe with all sorts of colors and luxurious furs. I tried to make aprons in the arts and crafts class at school – but it was so frustrating that I just wanted to set the whole thing on fire! Moving on to high school I started exploring different styles, and through college I realized that the way clothes can change your appearance was very interesting.
In 2010 I attended media science at the university of Bergen. I started my fashion blog Despite color to further explore colors and style, and had my own consulting business where I provided different customers with content marketing.
Passion for vintage
Throughout university my love of vintage simply grew and grew. I realized that my favorite activity was to flip through thousands of pages on Ebay and Etsy looking for that perfect dress or blouse. The 60’s is my favorite decade, with it’s naivety and playfulness. Designers like Courreges, Balenciaga, Pierre Cardin and Pucci were very inspirational to me.
Learning to sew
Towards the end of my bachelor degree in marketing communication at BI Bergen, I started sewing my first patterns. Initially I tried simple Burda skirts and such, and when I got more advanced I bought vintage patterns of Etsy from my favorite designers Pierre Cardin, Teal Traina, Bill Blass and Chuck Howard. I started out sewing on my moms Bernina from 1972 (can you believe I can still Google my way to the how to guide!) which sounded like a construction site. In 2013 I went to Paris for my first fabric trade show, and purchased some amazing wool from a fabric shop. I returned home and started to cut and sew a Pierre Cardin dress pattern from it. But the Bernina couldn’t handle the thickness of the fabric! Without me knowing my man bought me a brand new sewing machine for my 25th birthday – so I was able to finish it.
My mother has always taught me to look for quality materials, and I was able to expand this knowledge sewing all the vintage patterns. Polyester didn’t exist when most of these patterns where made, neither did fusible interfacing.
My first design project
Back in 2015 I founded FARIKAL, a design awareness project aimed at using almost extinct Norwegian craft techniques and incorporate them in modern fashion. I worked alongside the wonderful designer Viktoria Aksnes and amazing graphic designer Stine Berg. Together we made magic, and by the help of Viktorias father and my friend Mathilde we built a pallet catwalk and Mathilde designed our pop up shop at Isotop Fellesatelier. Not to mention the help of my man, all the other boyfriends and amazing friends who made it possible.
We even made AURORA a stage jacket woven with the shearling from my friend Berits white sheep Perlemor. The wool was then woven on a oppstad loom at Osterøy Museum, and the rest of the fabric was from Gudbrandsdalen Ullvarefabrikk. We travelled to see the amazing Elisabeth Stray over at Lillunn and learn from her. The goal of FARIKAL was to test whether we were able to source Norwegian materials and make clothing in Norway at a suitable pricepoint. Unfortunately, the pricepoint ended up being very high, and we needed to look abroad for production.
The start of Color Vision
I’d been working on this idea for a while revolving around color. I remember thinking that I missed solid color dresses and garments in high quality materials. I thought about all the amazing vintage clothes I’d worn over the years, and how uncomfortable they really were – since most of them were made in polyester. What if I could take my favourite vintage cuts and make them in quality materials?
I’d also been thinking about how women who would like to wear more color could be able to do that. I found that basing my collections on color theory would make it easier. I applied for funding to Innovation Norway, and couldn’t believe it when I got the confirmation! I got a startup-scholarship in 2017 and started working on Color Vision full time alongside working as a consultant.
During 2016-2018 I got to do many fun things to work on my design identity. First I attended a digital weaving course at KMD. Then I went to Central Saint Martins and did patternmaking, before I flew to the Faroe Islands to participate in the Blue Design Challenge. The designs were exhibited at Copenhagen Fashion Week. I also did a course in screen printing.
Sourcing fabrics and finding a manufacturer
I’d been to fabric trade shows a few times, but I’d never really went there with a specific task in mind. Finding the right fabric suppliers took me close to a year, and I think I received 100 packets with fabric samples to find the right ones. Then there are buttons (which you can also find at the trade show) which I was lucky enough to find immediately – from a small Italian company who had been around since the 1950’s. Also, zippers, fasteners and lining are important – and fell into place as I went.
My manufacturer I found on my own, and they are located in Lodz, Poland. My patternmaker Sasha reads my mind and totally understands my technical drawings – she creates my garments exactly as I envision. I’ve visited them several times to get to know the factory and the people who work there.
At the moment we are working on a super cool piece of tech which will match garments in the online shop using color theory. It’s not done just yet, but you can sign up for the newsletter to get alerted when it is.
I want to thank,
They say it takes a city to raise a child, and this is true also for a brand! First and foremost I want to thank my man Martin who has listened to hours and hours of talk about Color Vision. Then my brother in law Andreas who is the technical genius together with Martin. Then I want to thank my mentor T-Michael. People who have given me helpful advice are Siv Støldal, Karoline Bakken Lund, John Vinnem, Marianne Mørck, Lise Finne, Hege at Visindi, Elin at Norwegian Fashion Hub and my accountant Helge. I also want to thank my super talented graphic designer Anki, amazing photographer Martin Høye, models Lea Sangolt and Tonje Indrehus and my other model friends.
Made possible by funding from Innovation Norway and DOGA/UD.