I truly appreciate and admire good design. It could be someone’s website, the architecture of a building, a handmade card, and even someone’s haircut. You get the idea. I love the details. I am almost too detailed-oriented (and do not confuse that with a neat freak, as I assure you, I am not). After seeing Anine’s clothing designs and eclectic pieces, I knew I had wanted to interview her. She’s intriguing to me because she thinks outside of the box and isn’t afraid to try different styles and use different materials.
To me, she represents boldness, creativity and hard work. Paulsen seems to always challenge herself. She reminds me of my mother, who isn’t a fashion designer professionally, but has had extensive experience in tailoring and creating pieces. Throughout my youth, my mom had knitted my sister and me sweaters (with alternating colors in zig-zags or rows), sewed and designed our bathing suits, made curtains and recently, summer shorts. It feels special to wear a handmade original piece. I have always had this tiny part of me who wishes I could sew and create my clothing, too. Maybe one day. I am inspired by these women because there is so much thought, time and patience that goes into good designing and creating and really, any dream worth making. I am so happy to welcome Anine Paulsen to this interviewing series.
Connie: Your style pieces are so unique and creative. How do you come up with your designs?
Anine: I get very inspired by the fabrics I use, and they usually “talk to me” (sounds cliché, I know) and tell me what to do with it. If I have an idea of what to make before going to the fabric store, I usually can’t find exactly what I’m looking for, so I like to have an open mind when shopping for fabrics. I always design something based on the mood I’m in that day, which means my designs can very fun and quirky one day, and more laid back and classic the next. No matter what I always have a vision in mind when designing, where I know how the final project is going to look like.
How did you first learn how to sew and what do you love most about it?
I’ve always enjoyed sewing growing up, but I didn’t really learn all the proper techniques until a couple years ago. I spent a lot of my time at my Grandma’s house, and she taught me everything I know today. She’s been sewing her whole life, and I definitely think I inherited my passion and drive from her.
What I love most about sewing is the ability to take a piece of fabric and transform it into something totally unique and one of a kind. After working on a piece for a long time, the feeling when it’s all done is indescribable. When I’m sewing I’m totally in my own zone, and I can go at it for hours without even realizing it.
Photograph from http://aninepaulsen.com/
You are originally from Norway, but you currently live in Arizona. What are some differences that you have noticed regarding fashion or style?
There are definitely a lot of differences when it comes to style and everyday fashion you see on the streets. Norwegian style is very minimalistic and “clean”, while people here definitely use more colors and prints, often mixed together. You also see a lot more dresses and looser fitted garments, not surprisingly because of the all-year-summer-weather here in Tucson.
Do you have any fashion icons you are inspired by?
I get very inspired by street style in general, and especially people who dares to dress a little different. I really love the girls behind the blog “http://howtwolive.com/” they just have a lot of fun when getting dressed, and I love how they combine sweet, funny and cool all in the same outfit. I’ve also always loved Audrey Rogers, Julie Sarinana and Mira Duma.
Can you tell us the moment in which you decided that you wanted to become a fashion designer?
It’s always been a big dream of mine, and I used to sketch outfits all the time when I was younger. I think the moment I realized it could actually be my future for real was when I started the blog and started sewing regularly a couple years ago. I got completely hooked, and haven’t stopped since. I don’t think I will ever find something I’m so passionate about, and I’m going to work hard to make fashion design a serious part of my life, and hopefully my career.
How would you describe your personal style and the fashion pieces you create?
My personal style is very similar to everything I make, as I’m always designing what I would want to wear myself. I would describe it as fun and playful ready-to-wear with a twist. I always strive to make something that isn’t already out there, and I like clothes that stands out a little in the crowd. I like making classic pieces, but use a bright fabric or interesting details to make it different.
Fashion seems to change often with many different perspectives and influences. What do you hope to see in the future of fashion?
I hope to see more of the 90’s style that is coming back in fashion right now. I love the colors, textiles and cuts that 90’s fashion is all about. I also want to see people have more fun with their outfits in the future, and not settle for a “uniform” – similar to what everyone else is wearing. We have to take more risks, especially in Norway where I’m from, and dare to stand out a little.
In one of your entries, you wrote, “After I started sewing regularly, I’ve barely bought a single garment and I’d rather make something I know will last and that feels more personal.” How has your life changed since making your own clothes? Do you DIY in other aspects of your life?
My life has definitely changed, especially when it comes to shopping. I value quality a lot more, and I always study how a garment is made before buying it. There is a lot of clothes out there that are really poorly made, something I never thought about before sewing myself. I also have a bigger appreciation for vintage, both when it comes to fashion and furniture. Just about everything in our apartment is bought at a thrift store, and we’ve spent a lot of time sanding down tables and repainting furniture. It’s so much more fun than to just buy a piece of generic furniture at IKEA.
Photographs from http://aninepaulsen.com/
What qualities does one need to have to pursue a career in fashion?
You need to have a serious interest in a specific part of the fashion industry, like photography, styling, writing, graphic design, researching and so on. There’s a lot more to fashion than just designing clothes, and there’s plenty of opportunities if you really have the drive to work hard. It’s a tough industry, and I think it’s important to be patient and optimistic, and never giving up.
Do we define our clothes or do our clothes define us?
I think both. What we choose to wear says something about how you want to be perceived by the world. But I also think what we wear sets the tone for how we feel during the day. If I wear something I feel comfortable in it can make my day so much better than if I don’t really like what I’m wearing. I’m sure not everybody has the same view, and many people will just grab whatever is at the top in their closet, but personally I think it makes a big difference.
Photograph from http://aninepaulsen.com/
After reading a few entries on your blog, I learned that you enjoy playing music when you sew. Which artists do you listen to?
I listen to a lot of different artist, but now my playlist mostly consists of Meghan Trainor, Miike Snow, Låpslei, Aurora, M83 and Sia just to name a few.
Do you have any future projects you are looking forward to next year?
I have one project that might happen, but it’s definitely not set in stone yet. It’s a secret though, so you’ll have to keep reading my blog to find out what it is ;)
Thank you so much, Anine! It was such a pleasure to hear your stories on sewing, the quality of fashion and all the aspects of your exciting adventure. I am looking forward to seeing more of your work in the future and wish you much success on your future projects.
If you’d like to check out more of Anine’s work, check out her website.