From Iceland — Designing With Some Heart

Designing With Some Heart

Published April 25, 2012

Snoop-Around visits Milla Snorrason designer Hilda Gunnarsdóttir

Designing With Some Heart
Photo by
Nanna Dís Jónsdóttir

Snoop-Around visits Milla Snorrason designer Hilda Gunnarsdóttir

With Reykjavík Fashion Festival just behind us, we decided to track down one of the most recent additions to the Icelandic fashion scene: Hilda Gunnarsdóttir. She launched the label Milla Snorrason in 2009 after her graduation collection, which consisted of wooden eyewear and striped socks. It was especially well received; the products were snatched up by fashion conscious Icelanders almost faster than she could make them available. At the Fashion Festival, she showed off her new fashion line, which is characterised by quirky modern silhouettes juxtaposed with a vintage sensibility. That, and earrings made from moss!

So how did the fashion show go?

It went really well. Everything went as planned. It’s the most amazing thing in the world to do a show like this. My adrenaline is still pumping…

Has your style changed since you put out your graduation collection? 

I think I have a strong style; I see similarities between my college work and this collection. I still like the same things that I liked back then. I’m really fascinated by classical shapes and light colours. I don’t use black at all; Goth is, well, just not me. I like geeky things. I never go for obvious sexy; I prefer a different kind of sexy. 

Ultimately, being sincere is most important. That’s so much better than trying to be cool all the time. Just be honest. That’s something I started thinking about when I was living in London. 

Was this collection a long time in the making?

It may have taken me longer than it needed to, but I’m just figuring out what the process really is. I spent quite some time designing the collection, for instance the prints. One of them is based on forms from architect Guðjón Samúelsson’s buildings. To make it, I cut out all these little pieces and stuck them back together and the whole process took close to three weeks. But the other print only took about a day to sketch up. 

Do you prefer drawing from something familiar, something you care about? 

When I was in London, I was very homesick so I decided that my line would be based on Reykjavík, and that’s where these patterns come from.

I wanted to use the city in some new way that I hadn’t seen done before. 

I look back to the 1920s. Many details came from looking at old photos, which are a constant inspiration to me. On one hand I’m inspired by nature around me today, and on the other I can look at old albums for ages and disappear into a bygone world. With my next collection I want to focus on a different place in Iceland and work from there.

What matters to you when you’re creating? Who are you designing for and what is your market?

I try to think about a group of consumers, but I also try to make sure that the group is not too narrowly defined, as the market in Iceland isn’t very big. In general my market is “smart women.” I always try to think about the body. Even though I’m slender, I try not to just make clothes that would only fit me. 

It’s really important to be sincere and to try to put yourself completely into what you’re doing. It makes everything so much more interesting.

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