Cool Collabs: Ostwald Helgason
Meet OSTWALD HELGASON, the London designers behind this year’s ALDO RISE collaboration, and a duo known for their subversive use of color and pattern, fun signature stripes and covetable sporty separates. Like their personalities, much of what they do is infused with playfulness and humor, and in fact, Susanne Ostwald and Ingvar Helgason are easy to laugh in person. But make no mistake: these guys are dead serious about what they do. Read on for their thoughts on this year’s RISE collaboration.
Can you tell us about the most memorable parts of this RISE collaboration?
Susanne Ostwald: What I remember most vividly is sitting at Aldo’s kitchen table at HQ discussing materials whilst being interviewed simultaneously by two journalists and battling a major jet lag.
Ingvar Helgason: Learning about the possibilities was such an eye-opener. We really enjoyed working alongside them and bringing our ideas to life.
Ingvar, what’s Susanne’s best quality as a designer?
IH: Susanne has a vision. She can tap into something that most people don’t seem to have access to, and she can visualize the most incredible things.
Susanne, what is Ingvar’s?
SO: Ingvar is a really good editor! And a reducer! He boils things down to the essentials.
Do you remember the first moment when you thought: “I want to be a designer?”
SO: Actually, to begin with I wanted to be an artist. I got interested in fashion because of the images. When I was a teenager I devoured all fashion-related magazines: the rich compositions, colors, and narratives of editorials and ad campaigns finally lured me away from art.
IH: I was around 14 and I saw a Jean Paul Gaultier show on TV. I was blown away and knew from that moment on that I wanted to be a designer.
What do you do in your free time? Do you have any?
SO: Free time is hard to come by. But we both love going for long walks through London, trying to discover new places. It is such a wonderful city to get lost in – the crooked alleys, hidden mews and little parks.
The SS14 collection celebrates the good stuff in life. What have been your happiest moments working on or presenting that collection?
IH: Seeing the whole thing come together at our presentation in New York at MADE. Seeing the shoes and bags together with our collection was an unforgettable experience.
You both have such good attitudes. Do you think that’s something you were born with or that you learned? What keeps you optimistic?
SO: Definitely born with! Both our families are like that, too. As for what keeps me optimistic:
Really good food!
There seems to be a real congruity between your brand and ALDO – why do you think you guys get along so well?
SO: Oh, that’s simple. We love working with nice people who have lots of talent and experience!
Photography: Richmond Lam