You know it when you see it.
Some words do not exist in your vocabulary until you encounter an image or experience that is only described by this exact word or concept. This was the case when I defined “Techno Couture” to myself for the very first time.
With the commercial and cost-conscious eye that a fashion brand needs to have on its collections in order to survive in today’s retail landscape, the “ahhs” and “oohs” are increasingly rare outbursts when being introduced to new brands and new collections. This is why it was such a pleasant surprise when some years ago I stumbled upon Swedish newcomers, ALTEWAISAOME. The Swedish design duo caught my eye with a collection of styles adorned with the most intricate embroidery and beading in an unusual in-your-face colour palette. Their mix of plastic and rubber with wool and silk and the craftsmanship that went into the styles made me use the word “techno-couture” for the first time. Old techniques in technically new materials quickly caught the eyes of the Swedish fashion industry catapulting ALTEWAISAOME into the elite of Swedish fashion.
Today Natalia Altewai and Randa Saome continue their exploration and communication of their brand, walking the fine line of experimenting and playing with techniques and detailing without it seeming too forced or like a design school graduation project. Aware that a brand is nothing without sales, ALTEWAISAOME continuously offers easy-to-wear styles with hard-to-look-away details that match yet challenge the “classical wardrobe”.
What is the philosophy behind ALTEWAISAOME?
ALTEWAISAOME combines clean lines and monochrome colours with unique details and mixed fabrics in a stylistic and international character.
How is ALTEAISAOME contributing to Scandinavian fashion?
We consider ourselves a fashion brand that offers an eclectic mix of Scandinavian simplicity and international high fashion. This gives a good mix to the mostly very similar and minimalistic fashion scene in Scandinavia.
Which collection do you consider your break-through collection? Why?
We consider our AW11 collection as our breakthrough. It was the first collection that we showed during fashion week when we were very much unknown. After the show it was a super hit in all media and blogs on the Internet. Nobody knew us but everyone was talking about "that brand" that just had a show and was wondering who we were. So it all went from there to where we are today.
What does ALTEWAISAOME define an ideal collection?
For now we still haven't had the opportunity to make an ideal collection. That is only possible if you have a whole team working around the clock and a handful of people that can create custom textiles for each collection.
We unfortunately are too small of a company for that so that is something that won't be possible until we reach a certain goal financially. But to be able to create everything from our own textiles, to prints, to jewellery, to accessories would really make an ideal collection.
How do you believe Scandinavian fashion and style differs from the rest of Europe?
We think it has a lot to do with the climate, mentality and culture. People up north think more practically and always prefer the easy and minimalistic in a way. It has started to change because of the breakthrough of Internet-media but still people here are more practical. We think that affects how one dresses and creates fashion.
What ALTEWAISAOME campaign do you love the most? And why?
The aw15 because it is says everything about where we are heading. It is simple, raw and direct and the woman as a character is in focus. This is exactly what we want our women to feel when they wear our clothes. After many years you start to understand better what you are doing and why so we think that campaign reflects that very much for us. We are older now and the brand grows with us as women. We feel that the last campaign is on the exact same page as us.