• The Design Interview: Vincent Laine

    Written by Yasmine M

    For the design enthusiasts within photography and lifestyle, you may have come across this designer's work. Vincent Laine is the award-winning designer, behind products such as the Leica Q and Q2, Hasselblad CFV-50c and lately the Db Ramverk Pro Luggage collection. Today, as the creative director at Db, he still is focused on his minimalistic yet powerful designs. Odalisque Magazine, got a sit down with the designer to talk about his journey, aspirations for his upcoming work and thoughts on Japanese Kansei Design.

    Y: When did your passion for design start? Tell us a bit about your journey within design.
    V:  Most of my family members had a medium for creative output whether it was painting, garments or woodwork. With that said I do not believe that this kind of upbringing validates your creative capabilities by any means, or is a prerequisite in order to pursue a creative career - it is just my story and thinking about about makes me feel grateful. When thinking about the range of creative mediums that I work with from product design, photography, physical installations, video, copy and so on - I can certainly reference the openness to any medium or creative field through my childhood.

    You have designed everything from Leica cameras to luggage. How did that happen and what has been most fun and inspiring?
    As a teenager I started searching for “my” creative field, and later ended up in design school. During studies me and some classmates won a local design contest and I bought a camera for the money - only to end up extremely dissatisfied with the product because of how poor the user experience was, of crafting an image with that camera was. I was already 3-4 years into design school and so I decided to design my own camera (as a fake 3D concept) to provoke and channel my frustration, but I wanted this to feel and look real, so I picked Leica as the brand for this concept and studied their design language and brand assets to include that into my work. A couple of weeks later I received a phone call from the director of product management at the time, the call started with a firm explanation of how I had vialated the right to use their brand in my work - but towards the end of the call the tone shifted ending up with an internship at Leica. A year later (2014) I had dropped out of the university and landed my dream job as product designer at Leica.

    ''I was already 3-4 years into design school and so I decided to design my own camera…''

    How was it to start at Leica?
    The first project on my table was the Leica Q. Over the following years I got the opportunity to also design the Leica Q2, before leaving Germany and going back home to Sweden, more precisely Gothenburg where the camera brand Hasselblad is located. A great brand dedicating their craft to design and photographic excellence - but I wouldn’t help but noticing a pattern of repetition. Not just by designing camera bodies and lenses but also through celebration of historical brand milestones. Leica had celebrated their 100 year anniversary when I joined and at Hasselblad the celebration was 50 years on the moon and it got me thinking “Id like to be a part of making those milestones instead looking back.

    Tell me a bit more about your design journey for DB? How did you start out at DB?
    As a camera designer I traveled to see the world through my viewfinder and ultimately improve them - but instead something else caught my attention. Luggage. Hard case luggage in particular. I had a hard time finding a brand that spoke to me as a young creative. When I looked at the market I saw many luggage companies producing luggage - but very few brands with a belief and a perspective on the world. So, I started looking for up and coming brands and came across Db - contacted them and pitched hard case the same way as I did a few years back at Leica. A couple months later (October 2019) I moved to Oslo to design the hard case collection today known as the Ramverk Pro. Everything originated from the Ramverk Front Access Carry-on which was designed to host a professional camera insert if you are a photographer. The only way to create this spacious carry-on hard case was to connect the shells together somehow and our solution to that was the aluminum frame. The frame was then carried over to the other sizes of the collection - but instead of connecting the shells together - it works as a closure mechanism replacing the weakest component of conventional luggage, the zipper.

    As the appointed Creative Director, what are your aspirations and hopes for the brand, especially the travel pieces? What is important for you to focus on?
    My hope is that Db as a brand continues to push the envelope of creative thinking, through both design and marketing at the intersection of our subcultures where we enable these journeys and stories to happen all over the world. I genuinely believe that mixing genres of creativity is the future. Look at music 100 years ago, “featuring XYZ” between artists was unheard of, mixing genres even more so - now it’s the norm and new subcategories are created every day. That’s the vibe and spirit that I see for Db in the future just through product and culture. Db has an inherent duality that speaks evolution to me, designing so-called “spearhead” products in core communities and subcultures like skate, snow surf and photo. But instead of trying adapt to each activity or community, we believe in a more holistic approach where our perspective on design is the constant - essentially what it comes down to is the juxtaposition of two components - Rugged and Refined. A layering that we call Capable Elegance. Capable enough to be thrown in back of a safari, elegant enough be a part of your furniture when you get home.

    How did you choose the fabrics and designs for the latest Ramverk Pro? What makes it special for you, and is there something you are especially proud of with the latest design?
    The fabrics of the Ramverk Pro were carefully selected in terms of touch and feel but even more so since we were in a phase at Db while we were shifting all our main fabrics to 100% recycled. In this case 100% recycled Polyester.

    In social media you talked about Kansei design, a Japanese term that refers to the thought that objects evoke feelings. Tell me a bit more about that.
    I believe that objects and products evoke emotions within all of us, some people are more sensitive than others. But at the end we are vastly affected by the products and objects around us and I believe we speak too little about it, even in design. Maybe because it is a bit abstract, maybe because it’s personal or maybe because there is vulnerability in the statement. Nevertheless I designed the hard case collection to radiate confidence, through its features, precision, center of gravity, haptics, materials - why? Because my conviction was that confidence is the number one emotion you want to feel when going to that photo shoot, design pitch, interview, show or whatever is happening in your life. The last thing you want is to not be able to trust your gear.

    As someone who design luggage, what are some important things you do when traveling? Any travel advice? Going places usually gives you the opportunity to observe human behaviour filtered through different cultures or sometimes even raw instinct. I find this inspiring. At the end of the day, as designers we are forming the future and it is important to connect with a collective present - travel can provide that vantage point and render it from a distance where things align into a pattern. The best souvenir one can bring back home if you ask me. Working for a journey brand I do travel for both work and personal reasons. For work it’s mostly about coming together as a group, whether it is with the team or our customers/community. When I travel outside of work it’s usually to trigger new emotions, to grow and get the time to reflect in an environment where I dont know the names of the streets if the place even offers such luxury.

    As a designer and visionary, where do you hope your next travel destination is and why?
    As a designer Japan has a special place in my heart. It triggers curiosity, hope for the future and naturally surrounds you with genuine passion for creation.

  • Image by Sylwia Dziobon

    An interview with Felicia Halén Fredell, the founder of The Reverence Project

    Written by Ulrika Lindqvist

    Fashion designer Felicia Halén Fredell launched The Reverence Project in April 2024. TRP takes it’s inspiration from their muses, their first collection being inspired by activist and poet Nattalie Ström Bunpuckdee. We had a chat with Felicia about her inspirations and the future of The Reverence Project.

    Please tell me a bit of your backstory, what did you do before launching The Reverence Project and what was the idea behind it?

    Like so many others the pandemic really affected me mentally. As a freshly graduated fashion designer I felt chewed up and spat back out, close to a burnout. My field completely lost its appeal and I was really stuck in a mindset of counting the fashion industry’s faults - the list goes on and on. It made me feel really powerless and at times even apathetic. I had too much time on my hands to think about what really matters. I realize this differs from person to person but for me, I concluded that meaningful and challenging conversations are what makes my life worth living. More than one person in my life said I was a good listener and I took that to heart and ran with it, that’s all I’d ever like to be. This idea kept on growing and brewing for years, and when you can’t seem to let go you know you have to realize it somehow. I wanted to create designs centered around other people’s perspectives. I wanted the privilege of getting to know people and zoom past small talk to where we talk about what matters most to them and why. I kind of found The Reverence Project to be a hack of sorts. It’s essentially about hope and how sharing experiences and stories with others make you feel less alone. It’s really empowering to be the trailblazer who first talks about their experiences, but it’s also really empowering to hear someone put your experiences into words for the first time as well.
    What is your inspiration behind your designs?

    The potential of fashion is endless because it’s a fine-tuned language, stories can be weaved into garments in so many ways. By now I’ve developed this standard form based on my first muses that basically is a template for an interview. I ask them about their relationship to their body, does clothes usually serve as a uniform, armor or creative expression? And then we talk about the relationship to the self. Are there recurring life themes that have shaped them as a person? Is there anything they wish someone would ask them? These conversations usually lead to really beautiful, vulnerable and fulfilling places, and I try to share some bits and pieces of myself so it doesn’t feel exploitative for the muse. When they word something in a hard-hitting way it usually becomes a visual metaphor that I can use in my design. It often ends up becoming prints or draping that is meant to represent the muse’s story. Whether it translates is a completely different thing, but how my design is received and further interpreted is just as interesting.

    Please tell us more about your muses?

    Anyone could be a muse, because everyone has a story to tell. But I sometimes describe my muses as unintentional activists. They’re the type of person who can’t help but to speak their mind in the eye of injustice. Maybe the mood at the dinner table becomes a little uncomfortable, but they sleep well at night knowing that they stood up for something they believe in. At first my muses were close friends who became my patient testing guinea pigs. I slowly developed the questions that I figured led to those radically vulnerable conversations. At its core The Reverence Project aims to be unapologetically intersectional feminist and so the muses often reflect that. Voices that are seldom heard should be amplified. And it’s my pride and joy to weave their stories into garments.
    What would you say are the 3 core values for The Reverence Project?

    Radical vulnerability - because it takes great strength to be soft.
    Authenticity - depicting my muses in a respectful and empowering way is something I take very seriously.
    Existential sustainability - it basically means hope, giving people hope through our shared stories.

    How would you describe your customer?

    I think my customer in many cases are very similar to my muses. They often stand for something, and in doing so stand out. Since their identity is a bit of a statement, blending in was never an option. They might as well dress expressively as well in colors, prints and silhouettes that can be exaggerated. It’s all a springboard towards expressing personal thoughts and ideas. I think my customers often consume a lot of culture in all its shapes and forms, fashion is just another of many interests and they happen to like something quite feminine even if they don’t necessarily always identify as a woman. But they’re daring in their softness and relate to specific stories and therefore garments from The Reverence Project as well.

    What have been the most challenging aspects of launching The Reverence Project?

    I think the fact that I’m alone in my business thus far. I’m surrounded by a lot of great creators and creatives that I’ve collaborated with while developing the brand. But as of now I don’t have a team and it’s probably the big thing up ahead of TRP.

    What can we expect from The Reverence Project in the near future?

    Expect more interviews with muses who wear their heart on their sleeves. And with them looks developed specifically after their stories that are jam-packed with meaning. But don’t expect them in the tempo of a fashion brand that shows collections several times per year during fashion weeks. When you least expect it, we might drop a beautiful story for you to enjoy!

    Image by Joanna Kelly
  • photography Amir Golzari

    fashion Daniel Darko

    all clothing by Julia Weström

    Looking Forward, An Interview with Julia Weström

    Written by Sandra Myhrberg

    Julia Wiström, 31, currently works as a bag designer at a Swedish bag company in Stockholm. She also runs her own brand, where she creates and sews mini-collections, showpieces, and sells on commission. She has just completed a spring collection called “Kitchenmaid,” inspired by classic housemaids, checkered kitchen towels, and humor. We sat down with Julia to discuss her upcoming collection, her career as a designer, and sustainability in fashion. 

    Your upcoming collection “Kitchenmaid” sounds intriguing. Can you share more about the inspiration behind it and what we can expect from this collection?
    It's also a ready-to-wear mini-collection. Lots of checks, lots of lace. The materials are a mix of new and old. I got the idea last year when I was in Paris. In a restaurant, there were kitchen towels hanging all over the ceiling, and I was super inspired. I realized I had to create a collection based on kitchen towels. From there, it evolved into a little story about housewives, which in turn led to 'Kitchenmaid'.”

    Are there any new techniques or materials you are looking forward to experimenting with in your upcoming designs?
    Looking ahead, I'm eager to explore knitwear further. I spent quite a bit of time on it at Beckmans, and I feel there's more to explore and develop in terms of fun knitted pieces.

    How important is sustainability in your design process, especially considering the use of leftover materials from your original collection?
    Sustainability is a cornerstone of my design philosophy. Incorporating leftover materials from previous collections not only minimizes waste but also challenges me creatively to transform discarded resources into unique and desirable pieces. It's a practice that aligns with my values of responsible craftsmanship and environmental stewardship.

    What trends do you see emerging in fashion design, especially in the context of sustainable fashion?
    I've noticed some exciting trends emerging in fashion design lately, especially with a strong emphasis on sustainability. Many designers are embracing recycled materials, which is crucial for reducing our environmental impact. There's also a growing focus on social sustainability within the industry, which resonates deeply with me. Consumers are increasingly curious about the origins of their clothes, and it's encouraging to see more transparency from brands. I'm also excited about the shift towards timeless and sustainable designs that promote longer garment use—a practical approach to reducing overconsumption. These trends reflect a positive direction in fashion, where both people and the planet are being prioritized—an area I'm genuinely passionate about.

    Can you share a memorable moment from your design career so far?
    My foremost memory was when I sold my first garment. It was enjoyable and a validation that people are willing to pay for what I create. There are so many creators in the fashion industry, and standing out is challenging. That's why I'm always particularly happy when people purchase products and place orders with me. I'm very humble about it.

    What do you enjoy doing in your free time when you’re not designing?
    When I'm not working on design, I love hanging out with friends and my boyfriend – I'm very social and enjoy being around people. Food is a big passion of mine; not to cook, just to eat, haha! I enjoy dining out, savoring wine, traveling, and being in the sun. I probably like most things that most people enjoy. I also enjoy organizing parties, something I used to do as a job and still cherish as a hobby. Actually, this summer I'll be DJing on Gotland, which should be really fun! I love having a good time and laughing. At the same time, I also enjoy relaxing and listening to true crime podcasts.

    photography & AD Amir Golzari

    fashion Daniel Darko

    makeup & hair Sandy Alfares

    model Ebba D / Stockholms Gruppen

    post production Thomas Wilke & Amir Golzari

    makeup assistant Karin Hanser

    photography assistant Fredrik Edling

    all clothing by Julia Weström