In her own words
When I was as a child, I was surrounded by an atmosphere of art and politics, it was an odd mix but my father was both a painter and a politician. I use to re-shape his paintings, not by painting over his canvases but by creating forms using pieces of old fabrics and broken clocks. A combination of pain, the feeling of suffocation and mind set due to our family background, experiences of war, our escape and loss of many family members. Despite our family background, I found myself free to take myself to the fashion world and the creativity I found there. My first step was to buy vintage clothes, repurposing pants into skirts and sewing my accessories on dresses and skirts.
I also found an outlet for expressing myself by writing philosophical poetry when I was very young, creating garments and other odd forms for each poem which was mostly about the human condition and its "darker" side. The shadowy territory of the mind, where I think not too many dare to step in to, but I do… out of simple curiosity. These elements are infused in my work even today...
In 2008, I left Sweden to study fashion and styling in Milan, Italy. I was very busy adapting to a new life, city and fashion culture. Taking the necessary progressive steps in Milan, I grew to an even more creative and business oriented creature. Having teamed up with various professionals, creating new concepts and working on imaginative projects, I have reached many of the results, creatively and professional I had set out to achieve. Since then I’ve worked my way up into becoming an established fashion stylist.
I have always been interested in the dark aspects of the world, about the feelings people are afraid to talk about or even think about, these thoughts are surrounded by “evil spirits,” our personal demons, the difference is that I work closely with these thoughts in creating and it seems to permeate my work. In the realms of the industrial and alternative scenes, I am free to express myself without judgment. In order for us to understand the world of fashion and its power we need first to understand society… the world and our place in it. I prefer to set no boundaries.
My goal is to create trends, styling using a complete set of aesthetic structures, textures and shapes. Combining graphic elements - using location to connect the perfect feeling for each image. We are in a futuristic era where nothing is right or wrong and I am trying to take advantage of that and this is what really interests me - knowing more about life and its inner treasures. The best way for me to do that is my passion for styling and the thoughts behind what I trend out. My personal expression has taken shape in these trends, styles. They continue with my love of the written word.
Blackletters of Opium
I am currently working on an art photography fashion book and text called "Blackletters of Opium", which is again about the mind, our humanity and pushing the boundaries of artistic methods in photography. You can learn more about it HERE
Jonathan: As a stylist, could you explain a bit of your creative process when starting something new? Any routines or little rituals that help you get in the flow?
Darwina: For me the first important thing which leads me to the practical step is inspiration. My inspirations are always nicely expressed in my graphical moodboards- collaborating with the photographer. I focus a lot on the trend inspirations, the outfits, hair and makeup, location and poses, photography and light, as the main prospects. I make sure that I have everything organized regarding time and preparation. To make everything even more flexible I always bring my stylist kit with me and my positive energy to inspire the team as also to get inspired while doing a fun and good thing.
Jonathan: Who are your biggest heroes or influences in your work? Personally, I'd love to see what you'd do working with someone like say...Gareth Pugh or Thom Browne.
Darwina: It's funny you mention Gareth Pugh since he has been my huge fashion source lately. I am not fond with heroes if we arent talking about any super hero like Batman. No but, I mostly get inspired when listening to music, photography, quotes and atmospheres in a gloomy and myserious connection. one musician which has inspired me alot with his beats of oddness is the young echo artist Kahn. Kahn´s music has put a spell on me to never stop spinning my innerself into creation, as also the legend Gil Scott-Heron´s talkactive "me and the devil". Designers such as Rei Kawakubo, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh or Yohji Yamamoto will never stop being admired.
Jonathan: Darwina, what would you say was the biggest obstacle or challenge you had to face and overcome to reach the level you've reached?
I am still in this challenge trying to survive as a very new and established stylist. Everyday is a struggle for me to reach a higher level where I feel satisfied with what has become a development for me, thinking that I have put myself in to two different work positions as a flexible person, regarding DM-RL and the styling. But everyday is a positive fight and the winner is the one that never stops learning or giving up. My goals mean everything to me.
Jonathan: If you could, please share one of your favorite moments in your career so far?
Darwina: I still don´t have a favorite moment to be honest, but the greatest memories are always the ones where I get to travel, like the time when I shoot an Editorial in Lecco, Milan or London. I love being international.
Jonathan: What advice would you offer someone with a dream of being a stylist working in fashion?
Darwina: Working in fashion is not all wine and roses especially in the beginning. Hard work is needed in order to become better and stronger. I believe that the person that wants something very bad gets even more, but you need to love hard work because if not, someone else does, and that means your spot. Be clever and assist as much as possible or study fashion styling, that would be the ultimate freedom to start your career faster.
Jonathan: If you could have a superpower, what would it be? :)
Darwina: To be able to read your mind.
Photographers: Denny di Silvestre, Enrico Lunardi, Paolo Consaga and Rasmus Wallin
You can contact Darwina through her...