A day through my phone
... with Sofia Ilmonen
After finishing her studies at London College of Fashion, winning Mercedes-Benz sustainability award at the Festival de Mode de Hyères last year and working at Alexander McQueen in London, Sofia Ilmonen moved back to her hometown Helsinki in Finland to accomplish her masters degree in Fashion Design.
Her focus is and always has been to celebrate the female body in a ethical and sustainable way. Sofia Ilmonen has a unique approach to her garments: they are composed from squares, put together with a button and a loop mechanism so that the pieces are easy to transform and therefor have endless potential of shapes and ways to be worn.
For this season of MBFW Sofia invited us to follow her every step for one day during the preparations for her AW22 show.
How do you start your day and how do you end it?
I love early mornings so I like to wake up at the break of dawn. The first thing I do is a cup of coffee followed by some stretching and meditation. Mornings are the best time for me to exercise so I might also go for a run or to the gym. In the evenings I try to stay away from the screens and read instead, I have so many books on my reading list! Couple times a week I warm up the sauna and relax – I get the best sleep after that.
Do you have a favorite place in the city you live in?
One of my favorite places is Mustikkamaa which is a little island in Helsinki and not far from where I live. I go there to swim in the summers, to take sunday walks around the island with friends, to exercise at the outdoor gym or gp ice skating at the rink or even see a play in the amphitheatre.
What was the inspiration for your new collection?
After a challenging couple of years, creating the collection started with feeling a peak of hope. I dove into the notion of freedom and the contrast between what it might mean now and have meant before. How modularity could similarly evolve in spirit and in form. I was inspired by the idea of being able to peel back the layers and reveal the femininity yet playfulness within. The colors of the collection reflect the sense of optimism that is so much longed for. Another source of inspiration was to create a new collection entirely by using the same modules as on the previous collection. It is super exciting to see how another story can be told through the same simple square shapes.
What is your typical creative process when designing a new collection?
The creative process starts with setting the mood and doing research to visualize that particular feeling and inspiration through pictures. Working with modules I normally only draw little squares to position them on a garment to get the idea down. Then I move on to the silhouettes which I drape on the stand. With this technique it is essential to play with the modules on a stand to see how they can be best used to reach the idea you had. Then I do a toile to see the silhouette on and also how the technical aspects work together. Luckily with this modular concept I can always reassemble the same square pieces to the next toile so no waste is created while experimenting.
What is the most important thing for you in the development of the collection?
Draping on the stand. For me it is very important to see how the idea of a garment looks on the body, how the material falls and how the module structure can be used to create the silhouettes.
Where do you find creativity and when are you most creative?
I’m the most creative in the mornings when I might have hundreds of ideas in mind. I try to write them down even if they are a little crazy or might feel impossible, as those tend to be the best ones in the end. Things that inspire me are normally little things in life. For example passer-by might excite me with their way of using colors in their outfit or I might admire the rich textures of a building or get inspired by something that I heard in a podcast.
To get more impressions from before and behind the scenes of MBFW follow @mbfw.berlin on Instagram.