In the May issue of Viking magazine, we interviewed Norwegian fashion designer Elisabeth Stray Pedersen. She runs two fashion lines: her own label called ESP and Lillunn, a legacy brand in Norway. Pedersen specializes in high-quality apparel made from pure Norwegian wool with an innovative twist. Within every garment is her passion for sustainable and ethical fashion. Here’s more from the interview.
Did you enjoy fashion as a young girl?
I remember being creative and making stuff, but I did not have a classical taste. When I was 13, I started reading my older sister’s magazines and realized fashion was a world where difference was more accepted, so I secretly started drawing fashion sketches and sewing my first garments.
What inspired you to pursue fashion design as a career?
My parents inspired me a lot. My mother used to sew all her clothes and always inspired me to evolve my creative side. My dad is a classic handyman, always building something, so I learned to be pragmatic from him. Apart from that, I have always loved solving problems, and there are a lot of issues to solve in the fashion industry.
How did you break into the design industry?
I started out studying fashion at Oslo National Academy. I seized every opportunity. I worked for other designers and made custom pieces for artists and customers. Most importantly, I participated in different projects and competitions, including UP design, which showcased and supported up-and-coming designers.
What do you enjoy most about designing clothes?
The most rewarding part is the happy costumers! It’s also exciting when my garments are showcased at important arenas for design, or when influencers want to wear my garments. That is when I feel like I succeed.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I like to be outside. I love cross-country skiing in the lovely forests around Oslo during winter or go swimming during the summer in the fjords. I love going to concerts and exhibitions. It’s very inspiring to exchange experiences and ideas with other creative people.