We chat with Christine Smith-Egeland, a name to watch…

Christine Smith Egeland is an up and coming designer. She has created the name ‘Stina Smith’ for her brand.
She was born and raised in Stavanger, Norway and it wasn’t until she received a sewing machine as a gift at 20 years old she realised her true passion lie in the designing and creation of clothing.

Tell us a bit about your final collection…

 My final collection, ‘Unquiet mind’, is a conceptual collection, which is showcasing commercial pieces with avant-garde shapes, elements and ideas. This collection portrays the human psyche and the emotional aspect of anxiety as one tries to find a place in the world. It represents the idea of restriction forced upon us. One is often made to fit into a preconceived idea of how to be and how to live, in order to be perfect on all aspects of life. I have created a visual representation of these ideas as a way of observing a person’s personality characteristics and emotional functioning as well as discover fundamental thought disorders. As I have developed into a conceptual designer rather than a designer who simply wants to create beautiful pieces for the red carpet, I try to depict a thought-provoking concept, which I hope will trigger deeper thinking within the viewer. The individual pieces in my collection are varied in shape and size, including textile print and 3D elements to further portray my concept. The collection starts off with an all black outfit, and then changes throughout with an emphasis on colours, texture and prints. I also studied the human body and its interaction with the clothing, and I see the models as yet another source of inspiration to depict the idea of what fashion is, and the interpretation people make of one another when they first meet.

How would you describe your style?

Defining my design philosophy has helped me to better understand myself, and I appreciate how I always see everything through to the end. I am very technical, and I pay attention to detail. My work is always well made and refined with perfect finishing. I have a very clear and distinct style that is often dark, romantic and feminine while revealing the female silhouette. I am drawn to drama, textures and vintage styles from the 40’s and 50’s, and a bit of rockabilly and gothic elements. My signature style is a mix of vintage, rockabilly and gothic elements. Black is a dominant colour for me, but with splashes of bright colours in pink, red, purple and green.

Design process:

My collection shows most elements of my design philosophy, through colour, texture, showing off the feminine figure, vintage silhouettes, attitude and attention to detail and finishing. I often start my design process with a word or a visual idea that I develop in to a concept. Research is incredibly important in my process, but I do a lot of work in my head before I start researching deeper. The ideas that come to mind will often have emotional connotations to it, which tells me if it is something I wish to pursue further. Throughout my degree, I might have been given certain themes set by the university, and as I developed conceptually I discovered that I enjoy testing social boundaries, and like with my final collection, ‘Unquiet mind’, I began my research with a variety of thoughts and ideas about being able to convey emotion as well as visual aspects that I hope will trigger emotions and deeper thinking within the viewer. Once I have gathered enough images and research, I begin collaging to set the mood for my concept, and design ideas start to form. I do a lot of visualization in my mind, and often skip the step of sketching, as I rather prefer to work on the stand in order to create shapes I would not necessarily have been able to sketch. So a combination of collaging and draping on the stand are very essential to my process. Once I have achieved enough design ideas to work from, I begin the next step of editing and playing with scale and silhouette.

Who’s your fashion icon and why?

I absolutely adore Dita Von Teese, and she is often my muse when I design. I find that she is an enigmatic, strong and independent woman, and Von Teese has a modern and glamorous vintage aesthetic, yet mixed with a darker and rougher side of her, which resonates with my own design aesthetic. A dream would be to have Dita Von Teese wear my designs.

Where would you like to be in five years?

 Ideally, I will have established my brand ‘Stina Smith’, but up until then I wish to gain experience from different fashion houses while I get to travel. I want to have a photo-shoot of my collection and hopefully get that published in a magazine. I already have an idea for a next collection, so I will concentrate on some conceptual projects, which will be something between art and fashion that pushes the boundaries and challenges the ideals of the traditional fashion establishment. It will be quality over quantity, and people should not be discarding my clothes after a couple of seasons.

Where is your favourite place to go in London and why? 

Although I come from Norway, I consider myself a Londoner now after living in London for four years. I adore the atmosphere anywhere I go in this fabulous city, and my favourite place to go would be to take a stroll along the south bank of the River Thames. It’s always filled with cheerful people and has a beautiful view I will never get tired of seeing.

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