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Photography by Rafael Stahelin. Styling by Justine
Photography by Rafael Stahelin. Styling by Justine Josephs.

Emma Lundgren (London, UK)

Originally hailing from Sweden, the masters student at the RCA is trying to redefine folkloric textiles.

Emma Lundgren isn't afraid to shirk away from educating herself as she is about to embark on an MA Textile Design course at the RCA having already studied at Central Saint Martins and Beckman's School of Design in Stockholm. Despite gaining experience in various commercial textile and print projects as well as winning a few awards along the way, this designer is still keen to learn and hone in on her particular type of reconfigured folkloric aesthetic.

Where do you live?


Where are you from?
I am originally from Sweden but have been studying and working in London for four years.

How old are you?

Why did you become interested in fashion?
I’ve had an attraction for clothes since I can remember. My mum saved her clothes, and her mother's clothes, over the years in a room in our house in Sweden. It was always such a treat to go into that room. The history, the material, the luxury and the function of the clothes my mum saved fascinated me. They ranged from masquerade attire to everyday gear. A big difference came however, when I grew out of my tomboy teenager style, and I began accessorising with my mum's old clothes. The compliments for my style began to grow enormously and so did my interest in fashion.

Tell us about your collection?
I have created a hand-crafted folklore collection for the future, by combining time-honoured Swedish tradition, with contemporary East London flavour. I appropriate classic Scandinavian design symbols and motifs such as lego, cross-stitch and dalahorses. I redesign them by mixing old wall hangings and tablecloths with shiny plastic materials, strong colours and oversized accessories, so the feeling of past and future works together. My challenge has been to build up different layers allowing people to add, subtract, mix and match the different pieces according to their own personal taste. ‘More is More’- it is a game between old and new the customary and the extraordinary. It is a new generation fashion puzzle!

Where do you seek for inspiration?
I love to go through my mother's and aunt's old saved clothes for crazy patterns, embroidery and accessories. A lot of my influences also come from old traditional dress codes such as Eskimos and Laplanders, where decoration and function come together. At the moment the growing bike community influences me. I like the obsession and the way people decorate and express themselves through their bikes. My curiosity always leads me into subjects I do not have much knowledge about and then I reinterpret it into my own ’More is More style’.

What are the difficulties faced being a designer today?
The main issue and the constant worry is the funding situation. Without money it is really hard to produce products and collections, as material, facilities and studio costs are not cheap.

What are your plans for the future?
I have got a lot of ideas and creative energy to give, but right now I am doing my MA at Royal College of Art. I’m exploring more about myself, and my techniques, and I’m gaining experience with a variety of collaborations.
Of course, my plan is to develop my own label. One of my ambitions is to work across disciplines with my style and individuality. I’d like to collaborate with companies further away from the textile design field to bring fresh approaches to brands we encounter everyday. My work should make people think, and at the same time bring a smile to their face.

Who is your favorite designer and why?
I interned at John Galliano a few years ago, and I love his amazing catwalks shows. I appreciate the way he combines print, knit, crochet, embroidery and beading to create dreamy feminine outfits with attitude. I'm also really interested in Hussein Chalayan for the way he pushes fashion to a different level with hand-craftedness and technology.

What makes you happy?
Colour. The countryside. People. Odd objects. Big bold architecture. Typography.

With whom you would like to collaborate?
I’d like to collaborate with Hussein Chalayan because we both push the boundaries using materials and technology. I'd really like to collaborate with musicians such as Björk because she expresses such a large amount of individualism and creativity. She can wear contemporary fashion pieces as any daily garment without looking weird. That would be an amazing experience. I like Lady Gaga for similar reasons.
Where can we see your work?
You can see my work on, and in February 2010 where the collection will be shown at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm.

When and why did you start designing?
As a kid I spent a lot of time with my grandparents in the countryside, they taught me knit, embroidery, and crochet to keep me pacified. I was always building things on a daily schedule so the creative part has always been big part of me.
It took me a few years to realise that I could get a degree in Design. I started off by studying and working with graphic design in Sweden, but during that time I figured out that my real love was in the textile design. That led me to London and Central Saint Martins and now RCA to push myself to another level and truly express myself through colour, materials and shapes.I have found my passion!