RAVISHING MAD

...going Downtown 81

Ravishing Mad is a new Swedish brand, founded in 2007 by designer Anna Österlund. The first collection was launched during Stockholm Fashion Week in January 2008 and received a lot of attention in both Swedish and international press. Anna has a Bachelor's degree in fashion design at the Swedish School of Textile in Borås and graduated in 2006. In 2005 she won the KappAhl Fashion Award during Stockholm Fashion Week for the collection Mirage. Ravishing Mad designs both a women and a men’s collection and some clothes are unisex, presenting a wide range of garments from ready-to-wear to more extreme pieces. Inspiration comes from different contemporary cultural expressions. The brand has taken part in Stockholm Fashion Week and Amsterdam Fashion Week in previous seasons and is has launched in Japan, Germany and Ireland. The collection is sold in high end stores in Sweden and at the Henrik Vibskov boutique in Copenhagen. Ravishing Mad is a proud sponsor of Swedish band, Those Dancing Days, and has also been seen worn on TV-show, Swedish Idol. The collections are produced in high quality factories in Europe and, above all, Poland.

The Autumn/Winter collection is inspired by the New Wave movement and particularly the movie *Downtown 81* where the borders between music, art and fashion are erased. This has been a focal point and has lead to denim being used as a painting canvas. The main character in the movie, Jean Michel Basquiat, has no home and is drifting through New York carrying everything he owns with him. This has inspired the oversized pockets seen on some pieces in the collection. New Wave was a reaction to the slick and uninspiring and kept the attitude of rebellion from punk thus being the aim of the brand.

The name Ravishing Mad is an allusion to the concept of the brand: playful contrasts between the sweet and the grotesque, the surreal world of fairytales and a harsh reality. Contrasts are intriguing, when you show more than one side of your personality simultaneously. It’s interesting when someone is both hard and sweet at the same time, or when someone is both serious and laissez-faire.

Nothing inspires me like...
When everything comes together in one place. Fashion is more a medium of a lifestyle or a way of making statements, in combination with music, literature, arts and politics. I use music a lot when I’m working to get in the right mood, so the choice depends on what I’m working with. Listening to music that makes me feel good allows me to enjoy my work much more. Working quietly is not for me. We were at a joint venture event in Copenhagen a few weeks ago. They had different DJs playing music and artists, painters and fashion designers exhibiting as people could walk around, dance or sit at the bar... this is the type of events we love.

I hope...
To get some vacation this year. Like many other designers, I am a workaholic and would probably benefit from working a bit less and trying to relax more.

Cultural influences…
Swedish design has taught me both what I want to be and what I don’t want to be. Quality, simplicity, functionality – yes, boring – no. I visited London recently and it is nice to see how brave people are with their clothing. It might be because it is a big city thing; you have to be more extreme in order to be different and not just a person in the crowd. Some of the clothes that I could find just anywhere in London, even in the big shopping malls, can only be found in high end shops in Sweden.

I got where I am...
By working hard when I work. And always giving my best, never leaving anything half decent. There is nothing I hate more than having to leave something that I feel I have not finished. Now, that is something I have had to learn to cope with since I started my business – there are so many things to do and you cannot achieve perfection at all of them.

Fashion can sometimes...
Be pain and agony, but oh so lovely. Sometimes I would like for people to express themselves through their clothes at all times and not always wait for the right time and place to wear something. If you like something the timing and location is always right.

Money makes…
The world go round, but is always a problem – for the world and everyone living in it.

Love now because…
You only live twice.

Faith in…
Yourself and your abilities is really important. Sometimes people need a little convincing of their own greatness.

Creativity comes from…
Hard work, a bit of luck and a mind of your own.

My dreams are…
World dominance.

I suck…
At maths. I really cannot calculate numbers and always have to use a calculator or my fingers, even for additions.

I live East…
Of the Atlantic Ocean and North of Berlin but I love Europe.

I'm a perfectionist…
And I’m proud of it, but sometimes it can be a burden that keeps me from sleeping and nagging on my soul.

My goal…
World dominance.

Incompetence...
Is always annoying, as is depending on others, and I hate not knowing or not managing things on my own.