Hildur Yeoman

Snoop-Around interviews Hildur Yeoman – for the Reykjavík Grapevine,
issue #5 4.5.2012
Part of this interview originally appeared in The Reykjavík Grapevine

Hildur Yeoman is a Reykjavík-based fashion designer and illustrator. We were taken by her show at this year’s Reykjavík Fashion Festival (RFF) where she created a fantasy world from illustrative works that were colourful, adventurous and playful. We visited Hildur at her studio to learn a little bit more.

You create your own worlds in fashion, when did this start?

I have always considered myself to be a visual poet, I create my own worlds and stories. My designs are not only clothes, I also design accessories and create fashion illustrations ultimately leading to my own creative world. As a child I drew a lot, both clothes and figures, without even realizing what I was creating. I created a whole concept of a world with my drawings, I loved the fantasy from the beginning.

What can you tell me about your childhood, what inspired you back then?

I started to be inspired by the concept of fashion quite early, but didn’t of course understand the meaning of it. Firstly I watched music videos from the likes of George Michael and Madonna. Then I watched Fashion TV with Jenny Baker on RÚV (National broadcasting), where I saw fashion shows from the late ´80s and early ´90s where the super-models walked the catwalk. I feel like the models had a better chance of embracing their characteristics at that time, which I love.

As for creatives in the family that inspired me, I would say they come from my father’s side. My aunt Elsa and her mother, my grandmother, are both fashion divas that didn’t care about classical behaviour if you can call it that. Elsa has a free spirit; she has never hesitated singing and dancing on the streets, which was super inspiring to a prude like myself.

How did you like the RFF festival this year?

I was very happy with my show. I had an amazing team working with me, like choreographer Sigga Soffía, singer Daníel Ágúst and great models that brought my whole illustrated world to life, with singing, dancing and a great party atmosphere! We wanted to show the audience the fun side of fashion, and I believe we accomplished that. Fashion is more then just a product meant for mass production, it’s  an art form and a way of life.

Coco Chanel said it best:
Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.

What was your inspiration for this years show?

Last year, my collection was very dark and Goth- like so this year I wanted to do something totally different. This year I wanted to display fun, happiness and disco. The inspiration for the show came from the film Xanadu from the 80’s, and then it evolved further with the help of materials such as Christmas tinsel, hand painted silk, roller skates, and glitter. I wanted to knit the tinsel to take it out of the Christmas context. I really like working with alternative materials, and taking them out of their original context.

“a little girl in my show, is wearing a punk-outfit with a Barbie- logo”

For example there was a little girl in my show, wearing a punk-outfit with the Barbie- logo. She’s a little punker at heart and has pink colored hair, so this was kind of an ironic blend.

Alternative materials, can you tell us more about it?

Like for example for this years show, I made a lot of printed plastic ensembles. It´s from a plastic material I bought when part taking in the Nordic Fashion Biennale in Seattle. I took clothes from my old Barbie dolls with me to Seattle, and started searching for this plastic material. This material has often been connected with low- culture, but I like printing on it or hand drawing illustrations on it to turn it into something different.

Do you feel that the designers are in a consensus mode, for example on RFF?

Yes, definitely. I think its normal though, because we are so few here in Iceland. It would be ridiculous if we would not stick together. It’s like the Icelandic music industry, is a good side- example of this consensus atmosphere here, people help each other when needed, and are willing to participate in various projects and play with one another and such. This is the way it should be, if people are just in their own corners, nothing happens.

Did you form many connections on the festival?

Yes I did. I think it is very important and great to meet various people from the industry. And it is very rewarding to meet people from all over the world.

To turn to something else, let’s talk about your studio. How do you like it and what can you tell me about working hours?

I really like it and I also have great neighbors, for example KronKron is in the next space beside me on this floor. Prior to the studio, I was working at home. I think it is very important to divide those spaces, the home and the studio and it had to happen.

Actually I feel like I´m always at work, always getting ideas from the things I do for example from watching movies, researching online or just living life. I´m a multi-tasker by nature. My boyfriend says that I am this manic type at times, but I think you´ll have to be like that in this business.

How can you describe your designs in few words?

It’s hard to answer this kind of questions, because you are always changing I think. I’m on the other hand very experimental, colourful, and I´m more inspired from different kinds of things, not necessarily fashion.

People are always asking me do be definite about who I am, they ask me questions: are you a fashion designer? Or are you an artist? What I work with is fashion, and on the other hand fashion is also an artform. I think it’s healthy to approach things differently and I think it’s necessary.

“black and white is not just black and white, you know”

You as a colourful designer, what are your thoughts on things being in black and white only?

I enjoy taking black and white photographs of my colourful designs, because of the texture and such. I mean, black and white

What about colours, do you have a favourite one?

Well, I think all colours can work in the right composition. If you blend them together in a way that works, that’s the key.

What do you like doing the most, as a designer?

I like the versatility, the fashion illustrative works, designing and working towards making a collection. Then there is styling and working on the concept for a show or for a photo shoot.

What can you tell me about your design, where can we find it?

I make the clothing on special request basis, usually for performers of some sort or for people who can afford to buy a piece that is one of a kind. I’m not into restricting myself to making clothing that works for mass manufacturing. But on the other hand I create prints and illustrations for brands that are in the manufacturing business.
And you can buy my accessories at kronkron.com and at labouroflove.co.uk.

I couldn’t resist touching the materials she spoke of. The Barbie material was just like I remembered it, a very strange and oddly coloured thing. I could see that her world creation was on a full steam somewhere else, in interesting directions. We left the studio inspired. We wish Hildur the best in the future with her worlds, both here and abroad.

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Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís