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New S/S 2013 Season Interview: Michelle Urvall Nyrén of Ever Rêve

Michelle Urvall Nyrén talks us through her gorgeous debut collection, which features watercolour prints inspired by fashion illustrations she created for my second book ACOFI.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Ever Reve by Sine Skau
Ever Reve by Sine Skau.

Readers of my second book Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration will recognise the name Michelle Urvall Nyrén: in those pages you can find wonderful examples of her beautiful watercolour fashion illustrations. In the years since the book was published Michelle has been busy designing and launching her very first fashion collection, inspired by both her love of watercolour design and her ethical education. Not surprisingly, the Ever Rêve S/S 2013 collection is a beautiful first outing for this talented lady.

ever rêve
Your beautiful inaugural collection was put together in collaboration with Swedish writer Hanna Ricksten. What was the process of meeting and deciding to work together?
At the beginning of my working process there is always a persona. I always use characters and fictional stories as an inspiration to build up a collection as it helps me to create an ambience and gives me a set to work in. My choices of colours, patterns and cuts can be traced in this story or in the character.
Hanna and I have known each other for a long time and she has been writing stories for as long as I have been working with textiles. When I started working with Ever Rêve I talked a lot to Hanna and realised that we share many ideals and dreams, which is why we decided to create a story together. I sent Hanna all of my inspiration work; notes, photos, colour samples and sketches and she based the story on that. It was a very stimulating process of reciprocal creativity.  
ever rêve
The model in your look book has a very unique look: how did you come to cast her?
I cast Aleksandra at a distance from photos sent by friends we have in common. She lives in Poland where we took the photos and I didn’t get to actually meet her until the day of the photo shoot. I love her look; she expresses both strength and vulnerability at the same time. I am always looking for something unique in models; Aleksandra was perfect for this collection. She is also very hard working. On the day of the shoot, it was about 35 degrees. We decided to take photos of the knitwear in the late afternoon, but the temperature remained really high. Once I asked her to put the knitted jumper on I could see a look of terror on her face, but she quickly covered it up with a smile. She is a great girl and a very professional model.
ever rêve
What inspired the patterns you have used?
There is a strong yet rough expression in some Polish graphic designs that have inspired me a lot, working with straight lines and simple shapes. I found it challenging to work with strong graphics in combination with the water colours, as the technique automatically softens it up a bit. I have also been strongly inspired by textiles that my grandmother made in the sixties.
 Ever Reve by Sandra Contreras
Ever Reve by Sandra Contreras.

Can you tell us a bit more about your family’s textile history?
My grandmother was a textile artist and designer and she worked a lot with traditional wax batik in the early sixties. She used this technique to make bright and colourful graphic patterns on pieces of clothing. I have never met my grandmother as she died when my mother was born, but I have been told my whole life that I am like her. I found it very hard to relate to this when I was younger but then I was given a box full of clothes made by her a couple of years ago and I clearly saw the connection.  
 ever rêve
How did your fashion illustrations inform the creation of this collection?
I was intentionally looking to link my illustration and textile work together with Ever Rêve. I have been working with water colours for as long as I can remember and it is a technique I feel confident with. A couple of years ago I experimented with silk dyes and found that the effect I was searching for was similar to silk painting. I think this has been a quite natural progress: coming out of experiments and a need to explore new materials and surfaces.
 ever rêve
How have your ethics affected the making of this collection?
Ethics, environment and sustainability were a big part of my education and are still something I pay a lot of attention to. I looked at every part of the production process and asked myself how I can improve. For example, the parts of the collection that are hand painted are made on an organic silk (a production without insecticides or pesticides) and the knitted garments are made out of recycled silk/viscose yarn. The only tricky part is to find someone who does digital printing on organic fabrics, something that I am still searching for. I was also very careful selecting the printers and the seamstress – they are both small family run businesses which care about their employees. I am still concerned about all the travelling the fabrics need to do before they get a final steam on the hanger, but I have spoken to some charities who advised me on how to reduce and offset our carbon footprint. There is always room to improve!
Ever Reve by Grace Nikobari
Ever Reve by Grace Nikobari.

Where are the garments made and by whom?
The Ever Rêve garments are made in Łódź, Poland. My partner has got contacts in the textile industry and they recommended a seamstress and her team. They are very skilled and experienced and they have worked with many international designers before.
ever rêve
Who do you hope will wear these clothes. What will she do in them?
I hope that Ever Rêve appeals to women in many different ages, doing many different things. Because some of the garments are hand painted and very luxurious I don’t expect them to be worn every day; however my friend who has a six month old baby wears her stripy silk shirt for most things, washes it in water with some shampoo and irons it dry. The clothes are made to be worn, living life with their wearers; at work, on holiday, at parties or celebrations.
ever rêve
Who are your dream stockists?
I would love to see the clothes in Liberty, because of their long tradition and history of fabrics and prints. Browns is another dream stockist.
ever rêve
What are your next plans for Ever Rêve?
I am currently working on the A/W 2013 collection. With this collection I am hoping to participate in more events for young designers, competitions and shows during London Fashion Week. I am trying to make a solid ground for Ever Rêve to stand on and to build it up from there, little by little and with patience. Big dreams and fantasies trigger you to work hard, but only when they are mixed with a sensible attitude and realistic goals can they actually come into fulfilment. 

All look book photography and film by Sejin Ahn. I can’t wait to see how Ever Rêve develops.


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