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Interview: Fam Irvoll

As February’s London Fashion Week unfolds, there are always overheard whispers and under-the-radar murmurs of the show of the season. There’s always something over in the off-schedule Vauxhall Fashion Scout that really grabs everyone’s imagination; those that were present rave about it, and those that weren’t lament their timetables, Editors and traffic jams. This season, it was FAM IRVOLL. Her crazy, multicoloured world has exploded over the last few seasons, and her monsters charmed the fashionisti, with their goofy faces, candy colours and Wonderland-inspirations. We caught up with the Norwegian designer and asked her what she loves about showing in London. 

Planet Notion: We hope you enjoyed your time in London. Following your stay, were there any really vivid memories of your experiences?

Fam Irvoll: Probably when I saw my very good friend and old roommate again. I moved back to Norway a few years ago – and even had a child – so I don’t get to see all my London friends as much as I want to anymore. Seeing him was super nice.

PN: What’s the weirdest thing you came across?

FI: Probably the fact that 5 million people actually want to go to Topshop on a Saturday. That used to be my biggest nightmare while living in London, being hungover and having someone try to make me go to Topshop on Oxford Street, with thousands of tourists walking around all over each other like little ants.

PN: Now you’ve done both capitals, how did London’s Fashion Week compare to Oslo’s?

FI: London is so much more alive. All the people attending the shows and the staff and organisers are much more professional. What surprised me the most was how little time everything took. In Oslo, my show usually runs at 8PM and we arrive at noon, so we’re there for 8 hours. In London, it was ‘SWOOSH’ and we’re finished! I quite liked that.

PN: If you were to personify a borough of London, which one would you be and why?

FI: I would be Hackney, so that I could be surrounded by colourful, creative people and by my friends. But I think I would want to be Hackney circa 2006, so that AYCE, Family and BoomBox would still be running.

PN: Have you discovered any new music or artists in London that you will take with you?

FI: This visit I didn’t have time to do anything except for carrying lots of stuff around everywhere and trying desperately to stay awake to fix everything.

PN: What’s your favourite musical genre? Has it influenced your designing at all?

FI: It would be electro, but also jazz as that runs in my family. My Grandma is constantly doing Jazz hands and Ella Fitzgerald is constantly on her CD player. I’m always inspired by music when I design. The way I usually work is to put together songs I think should be in the show that season and from that, I design the collection while playing those songs over and over in the studio. It’s probably super annoying for everyone else.

PN: What were the last 5 things on your iPod?

FI: Let’s have a look…#5 is ‘Look Back’ by the Norwegian singer Nils Beck; I’ve been listening to that song for years. #4 is Samsaya ‘Superhero’. #3 is from last years collection, ‘Breathe’ by Telepopmusik. #2 is…[laughs] it’s ‘Pretty in Pink’ by the Psychedelic Furs and #1, the most played on Fam Irvoll’s iPod in 2012, is ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ by Nouvelle Vague. I love that song, it makes me happy!

PN: Who was the most memorable person you encountered during your stay in London and why?

FI: That would be my super good friend Tom Berry. He is one of the most amazing and weird people I know.

PN: Do you have a burning desire to do, undergo or achieve anything on your next visit?

FI: On my next visit to London my goal is to drink beer and listen to Grace Jones at Lovebox Festival. That, see all my friends and get inspired by all that London has to offer in terms of fun people to look at, galleries, street art, shops etc.

PN: What do you think it is that makes your work resonate so much with Londoners?

FI: I’m not sure, but probably because London has a lot of fun, colourful and individual people who are not afraid to stand out.

PN: What are your plans for the rest of 2012?

FI: At the moment, I’m writing a sewing book, making illustrations for another book, making wellies with a Norwegian company, children’s teacups with Glascompany and making my next kids and womenswear collections, so this will be a super-exciting year.

Interview by Alix Blankson

Photographer / Elliott Morgan

Styling / Alexis Knox

Hair & Make up / Katherine Gould using Chanel S 2012, Hydra Beauty Serum and Bumble & Bumble

Styling Assistant / Allie Robertson



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