After studying MA Fashion Design and Technology at London College of Fashion, Annette focused her career on sustainable fashion. She is now Director of Design, Production and Innovative Sustainability at VYAYAMA.
Did you always know you wanted to work in sustainability?
Sustainability is so personal and embedded within me to live and work in symbiosis with nature because I grew up on Gotland, a pristine Baltic island in Sweden, and that beautiful environment continues to inspire and influence my design. Then, ever since I was an apprentice at House of Dagmar in Sweden in the early 2000’s, sustainability has always had a natural part in my work.
Why did you choose to study at LCF?
One, it was in the heart of London, which was exciting because growing up on that small island I was always dreaming and searching for the unknown.
Two, LCF was the school that focused the most on materials, innovation and construction technology: All three are key ingredients for smart and responsible design.
What key skills did you learn during the course that you still use as a director and designer?
Independent thinking, taking and making the most of constructive criticism, refining my eye for detail as well as the industry experience part where we travelled to Paris to visit Premiere Vision textile trade show. The critic meetings with top leaders in the fashion industry was instructive, and it all ended beautifully with a press show at the V&A museum!
Since graduating, which of the projects you've worked on are you most proud of?
After LCF, I had the incredible opportunity to work with Stella McCartney and see how an environmentally conscious company thrives within the luxury sector on a daily basis.
In 2011, I co-founded a brand - LÆNE - with innovative and responsibly sourced botanical-based alternatives to the current oil-derived activewear which makes up most of the market.
And currently, VYAYAMA, an activewear-lifestyle label, which has entrusted me with being the director of design, sustainability, innovation and ethical production with the mission of making fashion both beautiful and more sustainable.
Between design and innovation, where do you enjoy working the most?
For me there is no in between design and innovation, I am always seeking the smart convergence. What drives me are innovative designs made with ethical and environmental responsibility built-in from the start of the process.
What is the biggest highlight of your career so far?
In 2017, Selfridges selected our VYAYAMA designs as one of the eight brands for the Material World campaign and filled an entire window with VYAYAMA on Oxford Street. It was a truly surreal but of course a wonderful moment after walking down that same street years ago on my way to LCF classes!
What do you love most about your profession?
Problem solving! I get the opportunity to create more sustainable and ethical products.. When I’m told it’s not possible, that’s when I get most awakened and roll up my sleeves. At the end of the day, what we produce and wear has a critical role to play in the health of our planet.
Any exciting upcoming projects you can tell us about? A
At the moment, I’m working on a product project in Italy for VYAYAMA with recycled cashmere for knitwear and insulated outerwear. I hope it will challenge people’s ideas about the quality of recycled natural fabrics as well as ease some of the pressure and impact of the cashmere industry.
Which plans do you have for your career?
Continue to be curious and to keep searching for answers to things in my ongoing search for the smarter, better and more responsible solutions.
What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in sustainability?
Never stop asking questions. Think convergently, outside the traditional lanes and partitions of the industry. Break some rules and never be afraid to go your own way.