The third annual Reykjavik Fashion Festival (RFF) is upon us.
To get in the festival spirit we met with the lovely Hilda Gunnarsdóttir,
who is the designer behind the quirky new label, Milla Snorrason.
You studied at LHÍ (Iceland Academy of the Arts), how did you end up there?
It really just happened by accident, I´ve always been drawing, and been brought up doing that. When I was a kid I wanted to be a vet. Later I was going to play it smart and went to Versló. (The Commercial College of Iceland) I was going to study business because it was so economical. However I found it so boring that I never learned anything. After that I didn´t have a clue about what I should be doing.
Then my mum saw an ad from Myndlistarskólinn in Reykjavík, (Reykjavík school of visual arts) the foundation course there, and I got in. There a new world opened up to me. I couldn´t believe that studying could actually be this much fun. I just loved it!
What did you do after Myndlistarskólinn?
I was planning to do graphic design, but instead I started to work for Fréttablaðið (The daily newspaper) and was there for two years. I wrote mostly about life and style, and from that I started looking more into fashion and I realised that might be something I was interested in.
So where did your brand start? You got some good press for your final collection from LHÍ.
Since then I´ve been working out how to do this brand. It´s not the most economical thing to do.It´s hard to do this thing of being a fashion designer and while you´re not getting a salary. You start thinking about applying for jobs but if you want to live in Iceland that´s not necessarily something you can do. I´ve been trying to find my way through it.
You were interning abroad as well?
Yeah, I was interning at two places in London and I was thinking about if I should find a job there or what. I learned a lot but I also learned that I didn´t want to live in London either. So I had to come home and now I am working towards making things work here.
How did you like interning, did you get a lot from it?
Yeah, I learned a lot. I´m always bringing up things I learned from there. Practical things, like in this collection I´m using a lot of silks, and we´re cutting it all on paper because it makes it so much easier to cut. That was something I learned at Peter Jensen.I was also sewing 8 hours a day at Erdem, making toiles and test garments, and I learned a lot from that.Then I just learned from watching the people and hearing what they were talking about. I found it really good, there were times I asked myself if I was wasting money by being there, but as more time goes by, I realise how much I really learned there.
How has preparations for RFFbeen going?
Well, it´s going okay. It´s all has been just a little bit crazy lately and I´m doing it on my own for the first time since graduation collection. My mum hashelped me out a lot, I wouldn´t have been able to do it without her. And there has been so many things going awry.
Anything you can tell us about?
Well, just two weeks before the show the company which is printing my fabric called and said that they had ruined all of my fabric and it would take two more weeks before they could finish it. Then I just got a mild nervous breakdown and just went to my bed and cried for like a half an hour.
But when they heard how shocked I was, they just fixed it instantly. Before that we were just desperately trying to figure something out like printing on flag material.
How are you feeling about the festival?
It´s really exciting and I´m very happy to be part of it. I´m the only one that hasn´t showed a collection before. I´m grateful for the opportunity and am really looking forward to it. The execution of RFF is very good and it has become a proper Icelandic fashion week.
Hilda is showing in the second RFF show next Saturday, at Harpa, concert hall.
We wish her all the best and after our little sneak peek we can´t wait to see
what she´ll put on that runway.
Interview: Erla Björk Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís