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Central Saint Martins 2011: Ellinor Malmgren

The Swedish-born CSM graduate here showcases her futuristic and masculine collection through Anna Sundström's robotic film

Growing up in Sweden, Ellinor Malmgren was subject to a design custom which chose simplicity over excess. But despite this, the St Martins graduate has developed a series of silhouettes more akin to high-end fashion, opting for extravagant, deconstructed shapes - an element of her work the designer attributes to a father and grandfather who were both trained engineers and passionate about craftsmanship.

Captured on video by Anna Sundström, Malmgren’s futuristic designs are perfectly showcased by a model stomping robotically around an abandoned warehouse – and whilst masculine boxy jackets and structured bottom halves set the gloomy mood for her collection, gold neckpieces  - which maintain an industrial feel - offer a hint of colour.

Dazed Digital: What inspired you to turn to design in the first place?
Ellinor Malmgren: I have no idea. Somewhere along the line I just couldn’t see myself working with anything else.

DD: Can you describe your work process for your graduate collection?
Ellinor Malmgren: At St Martin’s the work process is pretty set; you do your research, put it in a sketchbook with development drawings and images of your draping and 3D work. However, I’ve never been a fan of enclosing my work in a sketchbook. So for this collection, I pasted all my research and 3D work images all over my room, surrounded myself with the inspiration and then I drew. The day we had to show the sketchbook for marking, I started to rip it all off my walls about an hour before I had to leave and tried to stick it down in a book. The sketchbook ended up not very successful, but everything went great.

DD: What is your favourite piece from the collection and why?
Ellinor Malmgren: I would have to say the blue jumpsuit because it is the most ‘me’. Comfortable, wearable and I have always liked the idea of only putting on one piece of clothing and then you are ready to go. I don’t know if it is to do with simplicity or laziness.

DD: Do you think your Swedish heritage has any input into your design?
Ellinor Malmgren: Definitely. I don’t believe that any designer can really avoid their heritage. For me I think it’s the fact that we don’t have high fashion in Sweden in the same sense as abroad because people don’t spend money on extravagant clothing here. It results in a more functional and minimal design language. Crispness, simplicity and function are definitely part of my design concept and also strong Swedish fashion influences in general. In fact, I love Swedish fashion when I am abroad, as you always get to be the most Swedish when you are not in Sweden. However I can get a bit sick of it when I am in Sweden or particularly in Stockholm.  

DD: Which designers do you admire? Is there anyone’s career you’d like to follow?
Ellinor Malmgren: I admire many designers, from Coco Chanel to Martin Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto, Raf Simons, Ann-Sofie Back, Hussein Chalayan and also many of the smaller Swedish and Danish brands. But there is no specific one I would like to follow.

DD: What are your plans now you’ve graduated?
Ellinor Malmgren: To catch up with life around me. Then, I don’t know yet. I am weighing my options and trying to figure out where I want ‘home’ to be.

Film by Anna Sundström
Photographs by Mikael Johansson