Swede Success: A Post-NYFW Confab with Carin Rodebjer
Following Rodebjer’s Fall 2014 show during New York fashion week, I took the opportunity to ask Swede Carin Rodebjer, head designer of the brand, a few questions.
You just showed at New York fashion week. What were your first thoughts after the show?
Happiness and a certain emptiness. A special feeling always follows after a show—so many months of work are over in only ten minutes. Then I pretty quickly start missing the models and the show team.
Tell us about the big step toward the international scene. How did you feel about moving to the other side of the Atlantic? How has the reception been over there so far?
Since I moved to New York three years ago and we have done a more targeted effort in the States, showing in New York was a natural step for us. We have had warm reactions here, and the number of returning Rodebjer customers is growing constantly.
We often see elements of different cultures from different parts of the world in your design; what type of aesthetic is Rodebjer based upon, and where does the inspiration come from?
The meeting between people, and therefore also cultures, is a natural part of Rodebjer’s brand and aesthetic. Rodebjer is born out of contrasts; Gotland’s calm and sustainability against New York’s intensity. Aesthetically, I am very fond of a natural, casual luxury. I like the seventies’ sensual and soft aesthetic; it is people-friendly and allowing. It is strong and fragile at the same time. I work with Rodebjer collections the same way, so several dimensions get space and the pieces are wearable in many different ways and for several different occasions. I get inspiration from human beings, life stories, and people with integrity, but also from art, music, literature, and counterculture, feminist, and civil-rights movements.
How did the design process begin, and with what foundation was the Fall collection created?
I wanted to explore sensuality from a subjective point of view more than an objective one: feelings, irrationality, and mystique. I was inspired by the French photographer Jeanloup Sieff’s seducing photographs and Rita Mae Brown’s book Rubyfruit Jungle, which portrays sexual and human interaction in an earthy and forward manner. The collection got its name from that book.
What music played during the show?
Mariam Wallentin (Mariam the Believer) did an amazing music mix for the show—it was deeply organic, driven, and seductive. The final song was Nina Simone’s “Ain’t Got No/I’ve Got Life,” which we had looped some parts from. You had to listen really closely to hear it, but it was so strong and funny, and a very good pep song for the team before the show.
The typical “masculine” and the “typical” feminine is a common subject in fashion. How do you view norms in terms of female versus male? And how do you reason in your design regarding silhouettes and gender definition?
Norms don’t interest me that much. I don’t want to limit my structure of thinking. What is male and what is female is subjective and malleable.
Do you design with a particular woman in mind? And who do you prefer to see in a Rodebjer piece?
I always design with the Rodebjer woman in mind. For me, it is crucial to visualize women in the pieces throughout the design process; since I am a woman and design for other women, the feeling on the body wearing the pieces is central. Our woman is modern, independent, and progressive. For every collection, I put myself into who she is—where does she live? Where does she go on vacation? What does she eat and drink?
Anyone in particular that came to the show that you are extra proud of?
I am incredibly happy that Lindsey Wixson and Drake Burnette walked for us, and that they like the brand so much. And that Maya Singer from Style.com came dressed head to toe in Rodebjer without even giving it a thought. It was also nice with so many Swedes there.
Photos: BFAnyc.com/Courtesy of Christian Remröd