• We like to create new ideas and

    see the results. The results and

    responses drive us the most.”

    photo copyright © 2013 ALTEWAISAOME 

    An interview with AltewaiSaome

    Written by Mari Florer

    The two Swedish designers Natalia Altewai and Randa Saome have created something unique together. With an eye for detail they mix embroidered and printed fabrics while experimenting with shapes and volumes. The AltewaiSaome style is more international than Scandinavian specifically and the couple has managed to carve out a unique niche on the Swedish fashion scene.

    Natalia and Randa had talked about starting a brand together for several years. In 2009 they fulfilled their dream and AltewaiSaome was born. Everything came naturally when setting up the studio because they knew exactly what they wanted to accomplish.

    Coming from two different backgrounds the partnership created a style that no one could have envisioned, although it was what everybody had been waiting for. And the timing was impeccable.

    Natalia had been working with design and production of bags and accessories while Randa’s specialty was textile embroidery. 

    Today they’re busy working on their collection for S/S 2014 and leading the production for A/W 2013. These days the couple has seen their different abilities seriously intertwined. “Somehow we have grown together after all these years. We have learned each other’s skills and we share the same vision.”

    Why did you both want to be designers?

    It was something that seemed natural for both of us. It was the only thing we knew we wanted to do.

    What was it that made you become friends and partners? 

    It all started while studying at Instituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy and we were in the same class. We ended up living together for almost four years and realized that we could create something great together, even though we were very different at that time.

    Do you have different backgrounds?

    Randa: I’m Syriac but, I was born and raised in Stockholm.

    Natalia: I’m from Poland and Yemen but, I was raised in Malmö.

    What is unique with ALTEWAISAOME and what is the driving force behind it?

    Today it is very difficult to say that one is or does something that´s unique because there is so much of everything, but we hope that’s what makes us a little different is our sense of style and our passion for details. We like to create new ideas and see the results. The results and responses drive us the most.

    What inspiration, knowledge or experience did you bring home from studying and working in Italy?

    Many things: Everything from how to build up a collection; how to use different techniques in textile design to drawing for embroidery and printing. We also got experience from dealing with many stressful situations where a lot went wrong. We learned how to find solutions and compromise. Another important aspect we learned was that there is a concept called “work for a set amount of hours per day” but, in reality you work until the job is completed, with or without pay; if necessary, all night long for several days, straight simply hard work.

    Where do you produce your clothes and is it under fair conditions? 

    We produce in Poland and Portugal. We visit the factories every season to oversee the facilities and working conditions. 

    What do you think about the environmental impacts in terms of your production?

    We make sure that the fabric manufacturers use their own machines to color and that no toxic substances are used. We try to minimize transportation and make sure that we do not produce too much fabric or make too many pieces that will not be sold.

    What are your favorite materials and colors?

    Usually we prefer to work with stiffer materials to get the volumes we're looking for. We have no absolute favorite color. We use the colors that feel right for the season.

    How do you dress yourself? 

    We dress up the most in ALTEWAISAOME. Right now our favorite garment is the Triangle Jacket – it works like a sweater but also as a jacket.

    You have mentioned that those who wear your clothes are strong women. How do you define your male consumer who buy from your men's collection?

    The men who buy our clothes are usually more familiar with fashion and are very fashion conscious. He both dares and wants to stand out.

    A lot of bloggers praised your SS13 sunglasses. Where can you buy these?

    They will be sold by most of our buyers around the world. For example: Baerck Store in Berlin, International Playground in New York and Vein in Hong Kong.

    In Sweden, they will be sold on our web shop and at Nitty Gritty in Stockholm.

    About the future. Besides Malmö, Sweden, do you plan to open more stores in Sweden or abroad? Or are there any new collaborations ahead?

    We have no plans to open more stores right now. We’re just focusing more on our sales to retailers internationally. Nor do we have any planned collaborations.

    Are you doing anything fun this summer?

    We are going to a wedding in Istanbul in May. It’s the only thing that is planned right now.

  • artwork & statement by PAT PERRY

    An Artist's Statement

    Written by Pat Perry by Michaela Widergren

    The aim of my artwork has always felt more to me like the aim of a writer. Making artwork has always been a push to make sense of this whole thing and to share a conversation with others about the short time I’ve been alive, through imagery. Each piece plays a role as a particular slice of a larger story, and is made in an effort to share the beauties and tragedies that everyday life brings. The past is how we put the present into context, especially with our own personal memories, and I’ve found this motif useful in my pictures. Even memories fail us over time though, and we can only hope to use them to stitch sense together in the realm of our tiny blip on a timeline: a timeline that stretches in both directions indefinitely.

    The things that seem important right now, for reasons of survival, or for pleasure, are absurd to put an imbalanced focus on, and imply that these things are important indefinitely. To focus on endeavors with short-term rewards, would be shortsighted. Thus, the ephemeral ideal places all things on an equal plane. Each person must struggle to categorize and organize these things into something that informs the way they’d like to look at, and carry out living the rest of their life. My artwork works as a survey. It acts as a book of short stories. It acts as a list. I am collecting the end product of the rigorous filtration process that this awareness of impermanence has informed and created.

    Through making art, I aim to pull an audience the same way I strive to pull myself. Pull them out of normality and transport them to an unfamiliar place in which they can experience wonder on a small scale. A place where memories can be an activator. I record and survey my perceptions through many different places and situations. More than any specific line-work or paint application, my artwork is defined by the lengths I’ve gone to constantly keep myself uncomfortable; to exist in unordinary situations so that I can come at this from the side, and gather a strong set of primary and diverse situations that teach me where to place value and how to be empathetic with others. I then share these recordings with others in hopes that they find these recordings eye opening and will be encouraged to revisit their own assumptions pertaining to how they measure importance. The work depicts people, places, and subjects that have texture and retain their character despite our divulging decent into a clean, safe, blank, globalized social order.

    Words escape us during the very moments we feel most alive, the moments that remind us of our humanity. This is not to say that these moments are incommunicable. They come at different times for everyone. We have to listen and be ready for them. As a person, I meticulously strive to increase my emotional capacity and stay ready. As an artist, I’m scratching and scrambling for anyway to communicate it, and to open a line for correspondence. Artwork is just a vehicle; one that I am constantly trying to rebuild and improve so that it safely transports as much core content as possible, without letting too much fly out of the back of the pickup truck on the way home.

    It is important that we acknowledge the futility of hoping to totally recreate the moments themselves. The real beauty is in the experience, but artwork can acknowledge that idea, fortify that idea, and celebrate that experience. Wherever the particular place may be, and whatever the survey is focused on with each new body of work, the search goes on. My process starts out with lots of sketching, writing and photographing. These three activities are the main ways I can collect data during times that would be inconvenient to create a full, completed artwork. I can then work from that data to combine these fragments of place or object with an allegorical vocabulary and patterns from my imagination. Whether using paint, graphite, film, or ink as a medium, I combine imaginative subject matter and patterns with scenes and objects from everyday life to instill a balance of familiarity without the fallacy of assumption.

    Ordinary or extraordinary, insignificant or significant, these decisions are for each of us to make on our own. Too long we have apathetically let societal foundations overbearingly decide these for us. In deciding for myself and making it apparent in my artwork, I am promoting to restart the conversation. All is on an equal, inescapable path to completion, and we are all just ants, alive for a day. We don’t need this to be a dreadful notion; it’s a liberating notion. People can and must interpret and decide individually, for themselves. With that being said, it’s irrelevant what one might take out of one specific piece or image I’ve created. What is relevant and most important is that a viewer looks at it and sees the beauty in a decent, critical, ethical, and honest look at what it means to be here; what it means to be here.

  • an interview with BETONY VERNON
    photography by ELODIE CHAPUIS
    styling SIEGFRIED CAPDEVILLE
    make up EVA RONÇAY
    hair KANAMU KUSAKAE

    An Interview with Betony Vernon

    Written by Eva-Jo Hancock by Carolin Fleischer

    Ground breaking designer Betony Vernon explores new paths with her erotic jewelry. A self-described “sexual anthropologist”, she delights in dismantling the pleasure taboos of our time – through design, lectures and writing. Many, including EL James, have come to her salon to listen to her. Her latest book, “The Boudoir Bible – The Uninhibited Sex Guide for Today” has just been launched with signings in LA, New York and London. In the book she aims to liberate our sexual joy and let go our sense of guilt and shame.

    Betony divides her time between Paris and Milan. Her Paris apartment, situated in bohemian chic Saint Paul, is calm and serene in shades of dark green and protected from from the city throbbing right next door. Betony serves green tea in the petit salon. Tall, striking and crimson haired, she has the combined movie presence of Julianne Moore and a black panther.

    Betony, are we really, still in 2013, inhibited enough to need the gospel of The Boudoir Bible?

    I didn’t think it was an issue either. But in 1998 I showed my first erotic jewelry collection in Milan to a client from a noted American luxury department store. The client went:
    “That?! No way.” She was offended by the erotic connotations. And I thought “How interesting!” I heard people in the fashion business say to me “Oh my god, what are you doing? We could never sell that in the shop.” I realized they were right. They were saying things like “Oohh, we didn't know that you were that kinky or into S&M”.
    I have never really categorized myself like that. If I am a openminded, playful individual, whether it is in the bedroom or not – I never put myself in the category saying I am one of THOSE

    Betony Vernon had a steady flow of regulars buying her classical jewelry. When she presented the erotic collection in 1998, she lost them all.

    Have we – the market – changed since then? Could for instance 50 Shades of Grey have appeared back then, and has that book helped us to dig deeper or – on the contrary – made the concept of sex exploration more shallow?

    Oh, that? That is just romance! There is no danger in it. Unless of course people start to reenact scenes without knowledge. I learned last week that EL James has been taking my salon in London, so she knows my work very well.
    I think 5o Shades of Grey has taken a language that used to be underground and thrown it to the supermarket. Nothing wrong with that, it is mass culture but I think … I prefer to read “The story of O” or the great French erotica. I mean, phallocentric vanilla sex gets boring after a while.

    Why did you write your book?

    Because it was missing! The only thing I can do in this world is actually to help spread more love, more understanding, more sexual wellbeing. My book is a initiator to expand your horizons. It was really early when the concept of sexual wellbeing was pretty foreign, and I thought “I’ve got to take this risk and go for it.”
    I didn’t expect the book would cross the Western borders, but we just signed with Taiwan. And soon it will come out in French. Exciting!

    How does your jewelry intertwine with your visions?

    The use of the jewelry is both esthetic, fun and allows us to provide sensations we couldn’t provide with our hands alone, to stimulate your whole body, head to toes. To take the time and charge the body with sexual energy and uncover a world from within.
    I have designed prostate stimulators for both men and women. The Petting ring is another example. It reinforces mental focus, and it designed specifically for male masturbation.
    The body is our temple and should be adorned with noble materials. This is a market with a lot of plastics.
    I work in gold and silver. Silver has an antibacterial quality, is and both metals are body safe – plastics we are not sure about. I don’t particularly want to put plastics into my vagina. And I suggest if you use flexible plastics, that you dress it with a condom.

    If you would get 10 minutes global air on how to make the sex life better, what would you say:

    We have to learn how to focus our attention. Our society is so distracted. And a distracted lover is a lousy lover. It is about being ready in that moment to fly out of here … great sex has nothing to do with reality … taking a moment to do what I call erotic meditation. When we are one with our lover. Going places that we can’t go otherwise.
    When we are one on one with someone in the sexual union everything else disappears.
    You as a woman are multi orgasmic.
    A man is also able to ride the orgasmic wave for hours, in the book I teach men how to do it.
    You can ride that orgasmic wave. You hit a peak, I did it all day yesterday with my lover. The endorphins can get pumped into the blood stream so that you experience the sexual high. The chemical make up of beta-endorphins is very similar to that of opiates. You get high.
    Last night when we walked out of here eventually to have dinner we were high – floating, and connected. J’adore!

    One thing I have encountered a lot in my consulting is the fear of intimacy. Hook-ups and fast consumer sex – that white sugar sex – fills you up in that moment but leaves you empty.

    Fast sex leaves you with no understanding with where your body can take you, It does not prompt the flow of the bodies natural love drugs like endorphins and oxytocin, that promotes bonding.
    And it doesn’t promote female , or male pleasure either for that matter.

    If you have to have to choose between quick sex and no sex?

    – Oh, I would have quick sex! (Laughs.)
    It is a question of prioritizing the time with your lover.
    The word “libertine” to me signifies seeking a partner.
    When I hear “I am single”, I answer: “then why are you not multiple? There’s no one holding you back.”
    Some women say “I can’t make love unless I am in love with him or her.”
    But isn’t it through making love that you find love?
    It does, it creates a bond. Thats why fast sex with multiple partners with that “I’ll never see you again” – it can be quite emptying and leave a bit of a void – and be quite dangerous.
    Thats why I encourage people to take care of themselves.
    Make love to yourself, so that you are attractive. Masturbate, keep the sexual energy on the surface!

    The time is up, life outside our green velvet cave is calling. Betony says, with the lightness of someone asking for a cigarette: “Could you unzip me?”

    If feels like just the thing to do in a salon like this. I help her with the zipper, feeling secretly enlightened and chosen, thus assisting her in getting out of the black pencil dress to go to the bathroom.

    A small thing to say. Still a symbol of her strong appearance: Betony Vernon´s combination of integrity and disarming directness – always with a mission to share her knowledge and strong beliefs to make a difference, both aesthetically and for life.

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