The production company is still setting up the event as I walk into the Ottod’Ame boutique mid afternoon for my interview with Frida Wannerberger.
The warm colors of the store and sweet scent in the air give me a cozy feeling. This place reminds me of my mother. The velvet rose accents and soft hues of the prints hanging on the racks enclose the soul of the brand.
Today they are showing the brand’s SS19 but also previewing “DAYDREAMERS” a special collaboration with London based-Swedish Illustrator Frida Wannerberger.
Frida is expectedly fair skinned and her face has extremely delicate features, her ginger shoulder-length hair immediately remind me of a Nordic fairy. Those that you read about in Hans Andersen’s tales.
The tartan suit she’s sporting says the opposite. It yells POWERWOMAN.
Frida’s work goes hand in hand with Ottod’Ame’s creative director’s philosophy of empowering women and giving back to those who might not be as privileged as the rest of us. In fact, Silvia Mazzoli, after discovering the artist on social media, felt an instant connection to her work and reached out in order to make the capsule collection happen.
Part of the revenue from the sales will be given to The Circle Italia, Annie Lennox’s ONLUS charity that aims for all women’s equality.
The rest of the story is a beautiful dream.
Naomi. When did you start illustrating?
Frida. I have always been drawing since I was a little child. I studied fashion design and then graphic design with a focus on illustration, but I really have been drawing all my life.
Naomi. Why did you choose watercolor as your main mean of expression?
Frida. I started out with ink and pencil drawings. Then Instagram came about and I felt the need to express myself more colorfully and quickly. Although nowadays it’s not as quick. I add a lot of details which take a long time.
Naomi. Your subjects are almost always women that are dressed up in dreamy outfits, what inspired you to dedicate your work to this world?
Frida. I have always been inspired by what it means to be a girl and how society labels us into different roles and when I was younger it used to make me very angry. Now I feel like there’s a shift happening in the world, and my anger is gone. And as I let go of this anger, I find myself being more feminine and ready to express my womanhood.
It’s something that comes from a place of passion, portraying women and their femininity. I am curious to see how this will affect my work as well.
Naomi. When did you first get close to fashion?
Frida. I was always interested in cliché things like reading fashion magazines and really loving it but it became clearer to me as a fashion student that I was not so much into the cutting and draping but more interested in the image and how you communicate the soul of a dress through visuals. I feel very lucky to be able to work on so many projects through my illustrations that are able to merge creation and communication.
Naomi. What is your main source of inspiration?
Frida. Being out and about, looking at things.
Naomi. How did this collaboration come about?
Frida. The brand contacted me with the specific interest of having me create special graphics for the capsule. The communication was really fluid. The idea behind the collaboration was clear from the beginning. It was very fun to be able to go through the collection and get inspired to draw.
Naomi. You love middle parts and ponytails. Are your subjects a self portrait?
Frida. There’s definitely a bit of a self portrait. I think it’s a common trait in all illustrators. I see this also in my friends works, they all look like their pictures!
I also try to channel my thoughts and feelings into my drawings.
Naomi. Have you ever thought about starting your own brand, seen you strong inspiration in fashion illustration?
Frida. No not really.
Naomi. What do you have to say to those who say illustration is dead?
Frida.Well it isn’t! There’s so much happening right now!. Brands are waking up to the fact that illustration is a great mean of expression and they are incorporating it more and more into their plans.
Naomi. Your favorite part of collaborating with fashion brands?
Frida. I love it because it gives me a new perspective on my work. It brings it to life in 3D instead of being on a flat piece of paper. It literally gives it a body.
Naomi. What is your main goal out of this project?
Frida. I suppose it was to mix my aesthetic and the brands aesthetic.
Naomi. Would you like to collaborate with a fashion brand print wise?
Frida. Yes yes definitely.
Frida Wannerberger interviewed by Naomi Accardi.