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EMMA FRIDSELL ON VINTAGE CLOTHING, COLORS AND STUFF.
Drawing inspiration from four-year-olds and her grandparents’ closet, Emma is using wild colors and textures as her armour on her quest to set fashion free.
Hello Emma, what’s in the making?
Right now, I am actually hunting for apartments. I don’t know for sure where I will end up, but I have my mind set on Copenhagen.
What’s something you’re working on that you really can’t tell us about?
Where do you find inspiration
I love to observe how 80-year-olds and four-year-olds dress. They care the least about what other people think, so they’re the most free to me.
Can clothes tell stories?
Vintage clothes tell the best stories and sometimes they let you come up with a story yourself. I have a vintage wool scout jacket from England with a beautifully embroidered boy’s name on it that his mother probably spent a couple of hours making. The jacket makes me think about that boy who’s most likely a middle-aged adult at this point.
And vintage things are kinder to the planet?
It goes without saying that vintage is more sustainable. But I think the uniqueness and the stories of specific pieces of clothing adds yet another element of sustainability, because you want to hold on to personal stories for a long time. And you can because the quality back in the day was much higher than today. I regularly wear a shirt that’s 70-years-old that my great grandmother used to wear.
But do fashion people really care about the planet?
There are of course those who really don’t care. There are those who care a lot and would never put on anything new. Then there are people like me who care a lot, but act on it in a far from perfect way. I try to only shop vintage for example, but doing what I do, I sometimes feel like I’m doing more harm than good.
What got you into fashion in the first place?
I set out to become a doctor pretty early on. I went to a high school where most of the students were overachievers, including me. Everyone reached for perfection and most dressed the same somber, expensive way. Then, at some point when I was probably close to a breakdown, I ended up in my grandparents’ closet where I started, you know, excavating.
I found some hideous yet beautiful skirts and my grandpa’s mustard yellow skiing outfit from the sixties. So I put together an outfit and walked to school in it the next day. My friends thought I was deranged, but I loved the feeling of sticking out rather than trying to fit in and haven’t looked back since.
That’s all you needed to do?
Well no. I’ve worked as a stylist assistant for many years, unpaid. Then, I’ve fought myself into the scene in other ways.
At one point, I dressed up and went to The Stockholm Fashion Week uninvited. I basically stood outside the venue and pretended to be part of the scene, until a photographer came up to me and started asking questions.
Also, while working in a store I ambushed a girl called Tyra-Stina who I was only following on Instagram, and who was a huge inspiration to me at the moment. We had an impromptu Aperol and then joined forces, sneaking into fashion events together. From there my following grew bigger.
So now you’re an influencer.
Yes, but when I started out I set a very clear goal and I knew exactly what kind of influencer I didn’t want to be. I don’t love how the Swedish fashion industry works, how it’s elitist and based on who you know. I’m in it to change things around. Fashion to me is a creative language, not an industry.
Give us a piece of advice on how to master the world of vintage fashion?
Find a tailor that you like that’s not too expensive. Shoutout to Ersoy Skrädderi & Kemtvätt at Kungsholmen.
What’s that smell in vintage clothing stores?
I really don’t know what it is exactly. My mom hates it, but it makes me calm. Probably because I associate it with the me-time I spend browsing around in stores with my headphones on listening to music. It's a Pavlov's dog thing.
What color is the future?
Cobalt blue. Because thinking too much of it makes me anxious. There are so many things I want to do so I panic a bit just trying to fit it all in one lifetime.
But you’re very red today.
This is my way of keeping the blue in check. It’s all a balance act. On a serious note though, I use vibrant colors to shield myself from things, like a social armour. When I wake up not feeling well emotionally, a colorful and extravagant outfit lets me shift people’s attention away from stuff that I need to keep for myself. If that makes sense?
Do you feel sorry for color blind folks?
If you can’t fully appreciate a furry satsuma orange hat, or lime green things, or that very last part of a perfect sunset. Then yes, I feel sorry for you.
The boring ones at the party are the ones dressed in all black?
Many times yes. But there are also the super creative kind of people who seem to conserve their creative energy, for other outlets, by keeping their style as simple and colorless as possible.
What’s the least sustainable fashion pose?
I’ve seen many people pose in a bridge position lately, you know when you’re upside down with both hands and feet on the floor. Super unsustainable.
What noise do you want to cancel?
What would you like our product designers to look into next?
Please look into making headphones in vintage satsuma-colored fake fur.
What’s your end goal?
Since fashion lets me be more of who I am, and more free, I want to spread my gospel and inspire millions of people around the world who experience fashion the other way around, as a restraint and a constant headache.
It might seem insignificant that so many people, mostly girls and women, could spend a day deciding what to wear before going outside, but their anxiousness is holding them back in a very real way. So that’s one of my end goals. But I don’t strive for perfection anymore, perfection is boring.