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An interview with fashion designer Fam Irvoll

We talk flamingos, fashion, flowers and fancy cakes with knitwear designer Fam Irvoll…

Written by Florence Massey

Illustration by Dee Andrews

Fam irvoll is is a Central Saint Martins graduate with a star studded following including Lady Gaga and Marina Diamandis (remember that pink flamingo dress?). Her cupcake headbands were an instant hit, nurse her Alice in Wonderland style collections and adverts create a sense of accessible fantasy and she is just about to launch her floral themed S/S 2011 collection. It features exaggerated flowers alongside pop-art influenced speech bubbles, graphic print makeup and big bold red lips. Not one to shy away from brights, she is known for creating fun, quirky designs in glaringly bold colours, and fresh shapes.

From reviews and images of your shows, it seems that you like to entertain people, is that important to your designs?
Yes! It’s a huge part of what I do, as my clothes are not really commercial pieces I just want to go all the way and make it as anti-commercial during the show as I possibly can. I love crazy and that’s what I’m trying to portray with my work and with the entertainment. I always have either a film, dancers, singers or burlesque acts to entertain the people and to supplement the red tread throughout the catwalk show. People seem to really like it.

Illustration by Jenny Costello

They certainly do, a lot of high profile people have worn your designs, who has flattered you the most by wearing your clothes?
Lots of amazing people; off the top of my head, the lovely Marina (Diamandis), Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Mika, Katy Perry, Paloma Faith and a lot of Norwegian singers.

?Who is your ultimate muse?
I would have to say Marina from Marina and the Diamonds. She is just really lovely and I know she genuinely likes my stuff; at the same time she’s an amazing singer and a beautiful woman that you really can put anything on and it would look amazing. I really do love her style in general; it’s quirky and fun, just like me!

?The collections you design are always so fun and full of energy, where do you find your inspiration?
Usually from art, toys, films, food and just by going to London and going out clubbing and watching people. I love the London gay tranny scene; there are so many amazing people so it’s extremely easy to get inspired. We don’t really have a scene like that back home in Norway, so I feel really fortunate to have so many crazy looking friends in London that I can go and visit…I must say I really miss the good old times with Boombox every Sunday in Hoxton Square.

Illustration by Farzeen Jabbar

So, do you miss living in London?
I absolutely loved London and CSM, those must have been my best years so far. I love love, love, love London and everything you can do there. London is the city that never sleeps, with all the cool freaks. I made so many amazing friends during that time and did so many crazy things. CSM was also a really good experience; I love all the creativity that goes on behind all those doors. It’s amazing and I’m so happy I got in there.

Onto the collections…There are flamingos, tea cups and croquet resonant in your work, where did the fascination with Alice in Wonderland begin?
?It started in my final year of fashion school in Norway, in 2005. The year Gwen Stefani’s ‘What You Waiting For?’ video came out. I think I died for a second the first time I saw that amazing Alice in Wonderland video. It made me rethink my whole final collection. I’ve always loved the film and the book but it never really came into place before that video came out.

As well as an abundance of flowers for this collection, candy and cupcakes feature in a lot of your designs, do you like sweet things? Do you like cake?
I actually don’t really like cake, only cheesecakes. But I love looking at sweet things and I do get inspired by candy and pastry, but I’m more of a Scandi-salty-liquorish-kind of gal!

Roy Lichtenstein appears to be a huge influence on your most recent collection, and carried through to the makeup on the models. How did you arrive at the concept?
I have a massively huge Lichtenstein picture in my living room and that’s where the makeup came from. I called the make up artist that does fashion week and asked if it would be possible to do it in the amount of time that we had before the show and she was really positive to the idea of trying it out. My whole collection was inspired by Pop Art and by Salvador Dali; I have always been a huge fan of the movement and I have collected art books from this era for ages – so I finallt got to do a tiny tribute.

Illustration by Avril Kelly

A lot of your clothes and accessories requires some good knitting skills to create, do you knit?
Well, I have a BA in womenswear from ESMOD in Oslo and then I have a Fashion Knitwear BA from CSM in London, so yes I do knit. But usually I only do the samples and then someone else will do the rest, because I don’t have time to do it all. My mum actually started to knit and did lots of different courses so that she could help me! ?

It’s a floral theme so finally, what’s your favourite flower?
?The rose, because of all the different beautiful colours you can get them in.


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6 Responses to “An interview with fashion designer Fam Irvoll”

  1. [...] Check out the interview (With illustrations by Farzeen Jabbar and Avril Kelly too) [...]

  2. Luciana Leal says:

    I´m a huge fan of Fam’s work.
    Nice interview

  3. Effie says:

    Great designer, great interview! :)

  4. Florence says:

    Love the illustrations girls!

  5. Florence says:

    Love the illustrations girls! xxx

  6. Emily says:

    Love this interview! What an inspiring lady too! So cool when fashion has fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously! XX

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