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Celia Ingesson on Unifying the Scandinavian Fashion Industry
Freitag, Nov. 26, 2010, 13:52 / Sweden
Celia Ingesson has been at the forefront of Scandinavian fashion for nearly 20 years. Having spent 16 years as a designer and buyer for H&M, she is also a stylist, fashion editor, trend forecaster, and designer for the leather accessories label Imoni. In 2007, brought this wealth of experience to her latest enterprise, The Scandinavian Press Room. Together with her partner, Olof Erlandsson (whose credentials are as diverse and impressive as her own), Ms. Ingesson has been working to unify the Scandinavian fashion scene from the bottom up.
TribaSpace: How did you get into the business?
Celia Ingesson: I started as a stylist and then I went on to be a buyer and designer for H&M, where I worked for 16 years. I also did studies at Parsons School of Design.
When did you discover your passion for clothes?
I have always had a fantastic passion for clothes. I started doing my own clothes—finding special pieces and styles-for as long as I can remember. I think I’ve been making my own clothes since I was practically a baby!
Tell us about the origins of The Scandinavian Press Room.
Olof and I started the press agency about three years ago. I wanted to do something really creative and hands-on with designers. Normally, when you get to a certain stage in the fashion business, you go to work as an executive on the business side, but I wanted to stay on the creative side. Our goal is to get high-end Scandinavian brands into international fashion markets. We also work with established international brands like Damir Doma and Repetto. We either get brands out of Scandinavia, or we bring them in.
Do you receive funding from the government or other investors? We’ve noticed that this is happening in Belgium and the UK—especially in terms of support for young designers getting to Paris.
Our company is completely independent. There isn’t much public support for the industry in Sweden, at least in terms of getting designers recognised outside of the country. The Danish Fashion Institute is great, but they don’t work with any of our brands. There is a bit of a feud going on in Scandinavia, and everything is a bit disorganised. For example, there is now a separate Fashion Week in Norway, which splits things up even more. Scandinavia is small and the market must be as accessible as possible in order to sell. It complicates things when buyers have to travel all over the place!
You’ve also been doing a showroom at Tranoï for the past several seasons…
Paris is essential for designers. New York and London are also important, but Paris is where collections are sold. And Tranoï is the biggest trade show for high-end fashion. I have known Michel and Armand Hadida for years, and they have been incredibly supportive in getting us to their show. Tranoï wanted to communicate Scandinavian fashion to a wider audience, so we created a showroom and press lounge to give a taste of Scandinavian style. We brought more established brands with us like Blank, Bllack Noir and Stine Goya– brands that have the structure in place to meet the larger orders that come in during Paris. It’s very important that we are able to be responsible to our buyers.
Tell us more about mentoring new designers.
We occasionally work with new designers– we work with them in terms of building their business structure, we edit their collections, bring them to the next level. The problem with bringing some of the less established designers to events like Tranoï is that they are often not ready to meet buyers’ demands. You might have a great collection, but you have no way to fill so many orders. This is not the responsible way to start a relationship with a buyer.
Finally, any reflections on how Social Media have affected the industry?
We in Sweden have always been very early adaptors in terms of internet communication– we are hungry for information up here. But these days, the blogging has become a bit overdone. A couple of years ago, it was all very hip and new, but now it’s mostly like moms talking about their favourite outfits. I think it’s the magazine blogs like Elle or Style.com that are the most useful. There is one blog that is part of Rodeo Magazine here in Sweden– the writer is Agnes Braunerhielm. She’s a young fashion editor with great style. Definitely one to watch.
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Scandinavian Press Room
Catherine Levy | TribaSpace
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