A graduate of Central St Martins in 1999 with an MA in menswear, Siv Støldal has been showing her collections at London and Paris Fashion Weeks ever since, along the way collaborating with Fred Perry, Topman and Kickers. Add to that a nomination for a British Fashion Award and a win at the +46 Awards in Stockholm and you have one very ambitious Norwegian.
But Siv is also highly passionate about her work, making a point of embracing other artistic disciplines. She’s collaborating with Guy Weizman and Norway’s National Contemporary Dance Company on an experimental piece currently running at the Oslo Opera, while also working on Project White T-Shirt, a charity project launching this month with 33 other avant-garde designers from 15 countries.
I recently trekked to Norway to visit Siv and take a walk in the dreamlike landscape of Tyssøy, the village where she lives and works.
Jacy Varisha: Hey, Siv. So good to be here in your paradise. We first met a couple of years ago when you lived in London, which couldn’t be further from this idyllic village. What’s been the biggest difference?
The biggest difference is the scale of the fashion scene, of course. But there are some really good people here to collaborate with, so work-wise it has not been that different from London.
What’s the best and worst thing about Tyssøy?
Tyssøy is amazing, beautiful, quiet, strong and green. The worst thing is that if [my husband] David has the car, I feel trapped!
There’s always something interesting happening around you. Tell us more about your contribution to Project White T-Shirt.
I made three T-shirts, one in classic white, one in ecru and one that’s more of a polo shirt in navy, with silver snaps all around the edge. The snaps can be removed and the three shirts can be snapped together to make a tent. I made a short film about the process with [filmmaker] Bent Rene Synnevaag, [director] Alexey Layfurov and [model/actor] Daniel Karlsen. We shot it last weekend. It’ll be shown in L.A later this month to benefit the charity Designers Against Aids.
If Siv Støldal were a musical composition, what would it sound like?
Hmmm, I love all the sounds you get in very strong wind. I also like the sound of clothes rubbing together, like denim trousers and nylon coats.
Do you have any catchphrases?
“Oh, come on!” I don’t know if this is a catchphrase but I do tend to say it all the time, when something is ridiculous.
What inspires you to create?
Random meetings and suddenly realizing how things are related. And stories about clothes from people who don’t work in or follow fashion.
How important is fashion, really?
Fashion in its purest form expresses something very important.
When do you feel the most satisfied during the creative process?
I like the start of research, slowly discovering what the project will be while feeling the uncertainty of the unknown. But I guess I feel most satisfied when the main pieces of a collection are done and I can see exactly where I’m going. But then I really enjoy trusting the project to an artist, stylist, photographer, filmmaker or choreographer that will take it down a completely new road.