Cecilia Hammarborg

With winter chills lurking in the autumn shadows we are beginning to seek out those old familiar friends: the winter coat.  Yet, when brought into the cold light of day (and it will be bitterly cold before too long) one is often faced with the sad reality that you’ve outgrown your much loved companion.  This is exactly where Swedish designer Cecilia Hammarborg steps in, bringing us exquisite tailored coats made locally in east London. Specialising in outdoor and knitwear, Hammarborg has become the ultimate go-to for modern design and classical finish. Cecilia feels strongly about quality, fairness as well  as contributing to local production, while bringing us endless warmth and comfort into her design. 

Cecilia has let Scandinavian heritage shine trough her AW 13 collection and managed to create a timeless assemblage with clean lines and a minimal feel in fabricates such as mohair and Italian wool.  Classical tailoring is balanced gracefully through a rich colour palette of petrol blue, mustard tweeds, burgundy and green khaki.

In her chic east London studio-cum-home Modecut had the pleasure to meet with Cecilia and to hear her story, how it is to be a London based designer and what triggers her inspiration.

 Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into fashion

I grew up in Sweden and moved to London in 1998. I blame London for sparking a real interest in fashion and design and realising the possibilities. Growing up in Sweden I never thought of becoming a designer it seamed impossible. London gives you a complete sense of freedom, there are so many talented people here that are very ambitious. It’s incredibly inspiring. After a short spring in New York in 1999 I realised that I needed to get a qualification to get a head, as I was given opportunities but didn’t have the knowledge to go further. It was during this time in my life that I realised that I wanted to work with design. I went back to the UK and applied for a Art Foundation course and moved to Bristol and followed up with a BA in Fashion Design and Marketing at East London University.

Your expertise is coats, why have you focused on outdoors clothing?

My first freelance job as a designer was to make a coat collection, through this I got in contact with a factory in East London who agreed to make small runs for me on a weekly basis. By having this great contact I could start taking orders through friends and customers at our pop-up market Swanfield just off Brick Lane. I realised how happy a great coat makes people, its a  great product that should re-inforce your personality, protect you from the winter and make you feel protected and beautiful.

Before you start a project whom or what triggers your inspiration?

Colour, selecting a few accent colours for the collection and then move forward searching for the right fabrics and textures. Aesthetics is very important but can be limiting, I’m trying to bring simplicity and functionality to my design work to create beautiful garments that can be worn on a daily basis. The actual design process is a consistent process of ideas and observations taken from the street, films or a character in a book made into drawings then transferring these to the pattern-cutting table. My muses are my friends: they are smart, savvy, sophisticated,  intellectual women who loves to have fun.

What do you feel are the pros and cons of being an independent designer in the city you live in?

London offers endless possibilities you just have to be brave enough to stand up for your work and creativity, take on the challenge and find your own way. There is plenty of people in the same situation so by collaborating and communicating your ideas makes it easier and more fun.  Being independent means that you have to work non-stop and sometimes sacrifice the good things in life such as family and relationships, you learn the hard way and the trick is to find a balance where you can enjoy working to live a better life.

Name one challenge that you like to take on in the future?

Keep on designing collections and manufacture these on a large scale in a sustainable and ethical way.

In a fast moving fashion industry, what do you think is important today to communicate as a designer?

Stay true to your brand ethos and identity.


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