FEATURED: Hege Edvardsen – “Elegant Excess”
Posted on October 12, 2011
Written by Mikael Lopez / Photos by Martin Rinman / Make-up by Liza Odish
WE ARE REPLICANTS presents a snapshot of Norwegian fashion designer Hege Edvardsen during her last weeks in her adopted home of Stockholm, before leaving for adventures in Paris, plus a short photographic retrospective of her creations, worn by dancer Bianca Traum.
Artists always seem to be in the process of creating themselves, the image that they want to project for others to see, a personal manifesto to guide them when creating their art. For some the process is continuous, changing them and their art at every moment, some eventually find an expression that they’re comfortable refining and perfecting. Hege simply defines who she imagines wearing her clothes.
“It’s a strong woman, who has the courage to be herself, doesn’t take herself too seriously, laidback but still sure of what she wants and how she wants it and who isn’t afraid of standing out, a bit edgy.”
“I’m extremely inspired by people who live their lives to the fullest, try to grab all they can, do as much as they can, learn as much as they can. That’s what I want and that’s also reflected, I hope, in what I do.”
“It’s not really important, how you label yourself, but you do have to write something on the business card, so I usually say I create clothes or creations. I fall a bit inbetween the art scene and the fashion scene and I hope I can move between them, have shows, but a bit different, work with dancers, do perfomances maybe, have my clothes in a gallery and on a catwalk.”
Hege’s collaboration with the innovative fashion/music/dance collective House of Dangerkat, a performance art showcase called Addiction, gave her a taste of the ‘inbetween fashion and art’, the kind of creative freedom that she hopes to have more of in the future. Hege wants to turn her shows into an experience, much like her biggest inspiration, the late Alexander McQueen, was (in)famous for.
“He always had an edge, he always chocked. I like it when people provoke because art is about emotions, it’s not only about the clothes, it’s about dreams, sorrow, love; big clichéd things.”
“I think what makes clothes so exciting is that everybody has a relation to it, you have to put something on when you get up in the morning, either because it’s cold or because you can’t walk around naked. People who challenge that question all of this we have, society; you can be political with clothes. You always say something with what you’re wearing.”
During her time in art school, as her interest in feminism grew, she would print articles on women’s right to dress as they wanted on underwear covered in fake blood. Later she managed to provoke feminists instead with a project inspired by the training clothes worn by ballet dancers throughout history.
“I chose one design from the 1890s, one from the 20s, one from the 80s, dressed ballet dancers in the clothes and then they did a training exhibition. I saw it as a type of woman that also has to be allowed to exist, this ultrafeminine, graceful type, living for her art, training until she’s bleeding. For me it was something very romantic, but some feminists found it very provocative, to make a woman beautiful for somebody else. But it’s better to get a lot of emotions than people just sitting there.”
Most of Hege’s clothes only exist in one copy and the concept of mass production seems far away. Sometimes she almost doesn’t want to sell the clothes, doesn’t want to be separated from her “children”, but when she knows the buyer has fallen in love with them it’s easier to let go. Hege sighs, “it’s difficult to put a price on your creations, how do you put a price on sweat and tears?”
Hege says she’s read about “a thousand interviews” with other fashion designers, but naturally they’re mostly about people who’ve already made a name for themselves and don’t reveal much about the struggle up to that point, the years when it was difficult and they didn’t have any money.
“I was very happy when I heard about Jeremy Scott. He didn’t get accepted to any of the fashion schools, so what he did was to go to Paris where he started making the craziest creations for himself and then went out to the clubs. After a while they paid him to come to the clubs in his clothes. Then he was on his way.”
Now Hege is also on her way. She’s a couple of weeks away from moving to Paris, where she hopes to get work for one of the fashion houses and develop her skills as a designer while attending shows, parties after the shows, networking, collaborating with dancers and learning French. She’s aware that her view of Paris is romantic and that the competition will be greater, but a big city also means more opportunities.
“I’m going out on an adventure, that’s the way I see it. I’ve saved enough so that I can stay for a while and later on the goal is to meet people who know economy and marketing and do Hege e, either as a fashion house or a collective like Dangerkat. Just do what I love to do and believe in myself and go hard and not give up. It should work.”
Hege’s clothes can be seen at Hege e. She currently lives in Paris, the home of haute couture and she wishes Swedish people would wear more colors during winter to liven things up a bit.