Call me fickle but it takes a lot to impress me these days where fashion is concerned. I see new designers, often great designers, frequently trying to breakthrough in the already over populated industry, but few leave me feeling they are bringing anything different to the table. So the fact that I am really excited about Teija Eilola says to me she is pretty special, and most definitely a designer most likely to succeed in the often cut throat world. Teija has already proved she has what it takes, after becoming a finalist at Fashion Fringe 2012, and you do not get bigger than being mentored by Fashion Fringe Chair, and Chief Creative Officer for Burberry, Christopher Bailey. I’m personally really excited to see what the future holds next for Teija Eiola and her new label TEIJA. TEIJA which is a marriage of Finnish roots combined with British contemporary designs was launched at the final of ‘Fashion Fringe 2012’ for London Fashion Week.
Teija took the time out of her hectic schedule to answer a few questions for Public Description:
Elle: Congratulations on being a finalist at Fashion Fringe. An incredible achievement. What does it feel like to be involved in such a prestigious competition that has nurtured the talent of past winners such as Erdem, Basso & Brooke for instance?
Teija: Thank you! Fashion Fringe has taught me a lot. It has been an amazing summer of exploring your own design voice and also doing it together with such creative people like Haizchen and Vita. It has been a great platform for setting up my new label.
Elle: Can I ask what it was like to be mentored by a legend like Christopher Bailey?
Teija: Christopher is a mixture of businessman and visionary. So we were really lucky to be on this year’s Fashion Fringe. When i went to see him for one-to-one chat at his office, I was pretty nervous, but in the first minutes we just got wrapped in a conversation about brands, and knowing your own label well.
He showed that he really cares about being true to your brand ethos, and i think that is what makes the biggest difference in succeeding as a fashion label.
Elle: So tell me, how did you first start out in the fashion industry?
Teija: My first job as a designer was with Michiko Koshino. They found my work at RCA exhibition and got in touch. It felt like a meeting of minds when we started working together.
Elle: You launched your new fashion label, Teija on the last night of London Fashion week, can you describe what the labels signature style is?
Teija: Teija SS13 collection mixes delicate dresses with structured outerwear. The key looks from us is a crop macintosh worn over a dress that can be dressed up and down with fine lamb nappa leather applique.
Elle: How long does it usually take you to construct a piece?
Teija:All the pieces start from a sketch and draping on a stand. The final piece would go through two or three iterations before it’s ready to be shown.
Elle: Are there any contemporary designers who particularly inspire you?
Teija:I love what Phoebe Philo does with brands. She will go in and make collections look fresh and contemporary. She has a clear vision which is important.
Elle: What does it take to prepare for a show so iconic like London Fashion Week?
Teija: London Fashion Week is great for new designers. I think most buyers expect something different from it. I wanted to create a very blush, a little preppy collection with some lux leather work. So you have to then try to find models, shoes, make-up and hair styles that create that one united look. Working with professional teams through Fashion Fringe was really exciting.
Elle: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Teija: I research usually new techniques that I can then explore. I go to Paris for fabric fairs and I go to vintage markets. Sometimes it can be just something from a book or a conversation that sparks an idea.
Elle: What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
Teija: Stay true to yourself, keep on doing what you are good at an make friends on the way!
Elle: Lastly, whats next in store for Teija?
Teija: We are starting to research next season at the moment. I love the process of making a collection so really looking forward to it. If you liked the last one, you will love the next one definitely!
Link to Fashion Fringe show on Style.com