Behind the Collection: An Interview With Teija Eilola

With only a matter of days before the London Fashion Week show, Teija talks through her Fashion Fringe collection, from it’s challenges, right to it’s heart.

What inspired the collection?

Teija EilolaWhen I started with the idea of having my own label, I loved having great clothes. So rather than starting from a conceptual perspective, I wanted to fill the collection with great wardrobe pieces using really specialist fabrics. Making things feel hand-crafted, properly executed and high end. I love the way a Finnish girl dresses, which is slightly differently to a typical London girl. How she’d bring spare shoes, have a romantic dress on which is wrapped in really protective and heavy outerwear. I like the balance of having simple outerwear pieces and underneath having an escapist feel of dress and that’s the feeling of the collection.

How has your background and upbringing influenced your designs?

I think it’s good to look at where I come from and use that personal inspiration but really I just wanted a really fresh, international collection that doesn’t limit the customer.

Do you design with someone in mind?

There are people I have in mind. It’s definitely someone who cares enough about the clothes to go out and buy something special, someone who values the hand-crafted element. Someone who wants to have clothes that are cut beautifully to create an interesting wardrobe.

Was there anything you found really challenging in the creation of the collection?

When you start a collection, you have to start thinking with an open-mind. You’re taking the risk of some of your ideas not working though, and that is the challenge. Knowing there is a short time limit and that in two months, you have to come up with a piece for a catwalk collection. There’s huge risk but it’s come together and that’s great! It’s good to have that element of uncertainty.

Is that not the hardest bit though, starting that inspiration?

Teija Eilola Fashion FringeIt is I think. I get quite nervous and stressed in the beginning when I don’t know what I’m doing. To start though, I like to look for new techniques that I want to apply and explore, I start reading books. I try to get to the heart of how to make the garments and what they’re about. There are different elements that feed into that starting pool of inspiration. Finding the techniques, materials, trends and letting them inspire you is one,  another is when you start draping on a stand and seeing if something interesting comes out of that. Then I’ll start drawing the designs using those materials and images, refining it into a sketch and start working on it.

Did you always want to be in fashion?

I always loved drawing, painting and making stuff but it’s only when I applied to study for university in England I realised how passionate I was. I studied BA European Fashion Design at Kent and an MA in Womenswear at the Royal College of Art. I had a year in between, where I won the Royal Society of Arts student design award and worked as a junior designer. My MA was a really small course. It was all about trying to find your voice as a designer, and it absolutely did that. I’ve made clothes since I was a kid though, I’ve always really loved that moment where you put everything together and it becomes something.

What does the future hold?

After the collection, I’m going to keep doing what we’re doing at the moment. Just keep working on it.

About Author:

Josh Walker, our Fashion Fringe guest blogger for summer 2012, is studying Fashion Journalism at the London College of Fashion. His most recent internship was with fashion magazine DASH and he is a Vauxhall Fashion Scout contributor. With a passion for contemporary and avant-garde design, Josh is committed to seeking out and revealing stand-out, upcoming talent (just like us). @josh_walker_

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