Did you ever ride a horse? If so, you probably experienced a kind of kinship with the animal. Swedish designer Emma Wahlin grew up next to a paddock which made her develop a special connection to the majestic mammal. In her latest collection she explores the relationship between horse and human and what we can learn from each other. Trying to breakthrough facades and incorporate emotions into physical shapes, the designers presents a collection with an interesting clash of the inside-out.
Hi Emma! How did your fashion journey start?
The fashion part has been rather clear from the beginning, always thriving to express myself through clothes. I find it powerful how we interact with each other in a non-verbal way. Nowadays, I’m constantly searching for a deeper meaning and purpose in fashion, not sure if there is but I’m still optimistic. I’m kind of bored with fashion being described with single words like beautiful or cool.
Your collection shows references to horse riding. Where did this fascination come from?
It started out by re-interpreting an equestrian brand called Equestrian Stockholm, even if the fascination goes far beyond that. I’ve always felt calm around horses, they are highly emotional and smart creatures. Growing up next to a paddock, I constantly felt connected to them and I tried reading the horses in different situations. It gave me glimpses of that emotional high the collection is visualising. Trying to look beyond the facade and into the psyche totally fascinates me.
In your collection presentation you talk about the concept of “Co-Being”, can you elaborate on what this means to your work?
It’s a matter of evolving together with the horse, becoming better as a duo. You can see it in every look, the characteristics of different horse breeds and personalities projected. There is an ongoing discussion regarding the co-being like for example the concept of mirrors, that the horse acts like a reflection of the human. I think larger of horses than that, In my experience the horse is often in control of the human. Here, I wish to highlight the horse and therefore project it on the human. The clothes show different functions the horse possess naturally.
To what sources of inspiration do you find yourself moving back to?
Currently, I feel drawn to the tension between dream and realism, projecting emotions on the body materialised. Filming sequences of movement, shape searching on the body in a poetic sense. These shapes meeting the body in a possibly weird way, this could question perception of both wearing and receiving.
Who are those you make clothes for?
In real life, basically anyone who feels eager to wear it but I guess playful personalities.
Talking industry, what is your opinion on our current fashion climate? What would you like to change?
I would like to change elitists behaviours and careless approaches towards things that deserve our attention. I find the fashion industry a paradox, just looking at my own situation as a graduate in Stockholm there are already destructive rules and ways of presenting fashion. Constantly feeling overwhelmed with judgements and ”looking the other way” I wish to use fashion as a catalyst for social change for a happier and somewhat greener surrounding.
If you could pick one person to dress fully in your designs , who would it be and why?
There is a scene in Harry Potter where he transforms in to a man in the ministry of magic, i’m obsessed with the vibe on that person.
Prospecting about the future, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Perhaps I’ll have a job that provides creative freedom, *goals*. I love crafts, sculpting shapes in relation to the body and reflecting upon my surroundings, that will be my focus for the nearest future.
courtesy EMMA WAHLIN
interview ANIEK STROEKEN
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