Straying from the cut path, interweaving the timelessness of the classic with an innate passion for the modern, unmasking the uncanny in the midst of a refined conformism – Lina Zedig.
We sat down with Lina to discuss her company, how she got started and what keeps her inspired.
How did you get into fashion design?
I would say I am a very aesthetic orientated. I have always had a very strong sense of color and composition. And that of course made me have very strong opinion about clothes at an early age. And coming from the punk scene I have always looked at clothes as being statements and political.
I still believe what you wear tells a story and for me, that of course in the context of living in this western world, fashion can be very democratic.
It can be an equalizer. This may sound very trivial but clothes has always been a marker for what social position you came from, and in a way it still is. It’s never been easier to travel within these and people have never been as tolerant as they are now. What I am saying is that not everybody is born devilishly handsome but everybody can dress devilishly handsome.
So when I started Via Snella I felt that the menswear scene in Sweden lacked fashionable, functional, no logo, distinguishing clothes that didn’t cost a fortune. And that weren’t black!
Where does the name Via Snella come from?
A friend of mine used to live really close to this street Via Snella in the city of Perugia in Italy. It means slim street in Italian and the street is this really tiny and beautiful old street. I like the sound and meaning of it and I the thought of it being an address, a place you can actually visit.
We know you have a love for vintage items, how come?
I used to work as a vintage fashion and textile evaluator and i have always had a love for vintage! When I was 12 I started shopping for clothes at small vintage stores. I guess it escalated from there! Right now my apartment has too much stuff in it. But when I see something that gets my mind going, I usually just cave in and take it home.
Menswear generally tends to be either too simple or too embellished. Sometimes I feel it’s harder to do menswear because there are more limits and “unwritten” rules. So in one way I could say, for me, it is a bigger challenge and I have to work very creatively to see how to obey and break the rules in just the right amounts. Maybe I am also very spoilt, surrounded by women that dress interesting, the amount of men that make me look twice is less. So I felt by looking at my friends that there was a need for Via Snella. And I would say that that scene has changed a bit now – when I started it looked a bit different.
What did you do before you started Via Snella?
I worked for an independent lifestyle magazine here in Sweden. I was a part of the editorial staff for 3 years. And as mentioned earlier, I worked a couple of years as a vintage fashion evaluator. When handling both high quality and low quality textiles you get a good feel for different material characteristics. I have also been doing a lot of freelance graphic design and interior decoration, i really love the merge of graphics and textiles, I would say Via Snella grew naturally out of that 3 years ago.
What do you do on a normal workday?
Running basically everything myself there is a lot of administrational stuff to take care of everyday. The creative process is fun and it goes in cycles. So I guess in a way everyday is different. Right now I am focusing on finishing the designs of spring/summer 2011.
Business and Fashion don’t always mix, have there been challenges when being cost effective?
Yes, I always have to take into consideration production cost and limitations in dyes and material. But I try to see that as a way of getting things made. If I had all the possibilities in the world, it would be such a long decision making process! There is also the issue of having retailers that don’t wanna take any risks and therefore you end up producing the more safe garments rather than the more adventures.
What were your main inspirations at a young age?
I have always looked at the music scene for inspiration and it has always affected my own dress sense. As a young kid I had my own punk fanzine and hung out with that crowd. I made a lot of my own clothes and definitely made an effort to stand out in that scene, not the easiest thing to do ha-ha! On the contrary though, I was born in a small town in the Swedish woods, definitely a place where clothes where nothing more than something to keep you warm. Maybe my interest for fashion came out of the lack of fashion, it’s hard to say.
Getting myself out of the everyday loop and seeing new ways of thinking, new ideas and new perspectives. And I get a lot of kicks from my friends.
What is your design process for a normal season?
I usually start with a specific style or detailing or just a graphic pattern. Sometimes it’s an era or a scene but more often it’s just this one infatuation. A cut, a color or a shirt. And from there I take it as far as I can, within the Via Snella realm.
How did you get into cut and sew?
A couple of years ago I got in contact with a factory that’s working a lot with social responsibility and that made me see the possibility of starting Via Snella. But I got into making my own clothes, maybe when I was around nine. And later I got into the punk and then the grunge movement. And that’s a good place to start practicing you sewing skills I guess, very forgiving fashion.
What skills do you need to be a fashion designer?
You need to have a strong sense for colors, composition and quality. But if you are running it your self you need to master the business side. I am basically self-thought. I studied textile history and some pattern making.
How do you find time to do everything?
If you are really passionate about something you make time I guess. But it is a stretch, that’s all I can say.
For any up and coming clothing designers, what advice would you give?
I think if you desperately want it, try it and see if the world is ready. That’s all you can do really.