Interview: Icelandic Fashion Designer Sólveig Adora Hansdóttir

Sólveig Adora Hansdóttir is a newly graduated fashion designer from Iceland University of The Arts. Her work has been a combination of fresh, untraditional mediums, silhouettes, color palettes, and oh so sharp tailoring. Currently doing an internship at fashion designer Richard Malone’s studios in London, while developing her own projects and design, she shares her thoughts on her work, her ideas and what the future holds.


Icelandic Fashion Designer Sólveig Adora HansdóttirSólveig Dora backstage at Iceland University of the Arts graduation show 2018.

What is the story of Sólveig?

I grew up by rather conflicting situations – I was diagnosed pretty young with ADD [Attention Deficit Disroder], which I am actually very thankful for. When you are in the ADD zone, that’s where the magic happens for the creative process. My parents made sure I could use this to my advantage rather than as a hindrance; my mother raised me using a routine where I had a strict schedule, which was to make sure that I would get things done. My father on the other hand encouraged me to lose myself a bit in the ADD, which is where my creativity comes from. It’s kind of my signature – complete artistic freedom inside a structured framework – it’s worked wonders so far. So, in regards to this, conflict has always interested me a lot. You can see that come through in my work, conflict just makes sense to me.


Icelandic Fashion Designer Sólveig Adora HansdóttirAn extract from Sólveig’s portfolio


How did you make your ADD work for your career?

I graduated from high school with honors in fine art, and then I went to college to study language. I have always liked language, words, writing stories and poems. It’s a medium I use a lot to express myself in more than just one language. But I realised soon that I was more of a hands-on type, and that I wanted to create, design and invent according to my thoughts. As a result, I switched colleges and enrolled in a fashion design program. After I graduated, I continued to study undergraduate fashion design at Iceland University of the Arts.


Icelandic Fashion Designer Sólveig Adora Hansdóttir‘Connection Lust’ editorial shot by Olga Urbanek


How was university for you?

We had so many interesting projects! The school was chosen to participate in an exhibition at the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum in Spain, and there were two of us from the university who got to exhibit our work among other highly qualified schools from around the world. We went to the museum for the opening of the exhibition which was on the day we graduated in June 2018, and I am so thankful for that opportunity, I believe it has opened many doors for me in one way or another.

Those three difficult years at university shaped my work ethic and my professional vision developed remarkably in the process. I figured out that the fashion industry as it is today didn’t interest me that much, as it is in a very peculiar stage right now. It is the creative process, craftsmanship, expression and storytelling behind the garments and collections was what really interested me!


Icelandic Fashion Designer Sólveig Adora Hansdóttir

Icelandic Fashion Designer Sólveig Adora HansdóttirEditorial for the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum, photographed by Logi Þorvaldsson


How did that discovery affect your work after graduation?

After coming home from Spain after graduation, a new chapter of self explore began, I had to figure out where I was heading with my career. I took on a project as a stylist for a movie that was shot in Iceland, which was a fantastic experience – I worked for a month with the production company, creating costumes and styling them on set. The role included a lot of travelling around Iceland during that time, and I had to figure out how to balance my time between the job, and working on my portfolio. It was important for me to not stop in my personal pursuit for career opportunities abroad!

I wanted to work in London, so I started sending my portfolio to companies there, and at first I didn’t receive much interest. Finally in October, 4 moths after graduation, I got an interview at Richard Malone, who ended up hiring me for an internship. I couldn’t be happier with how that turned out, and I have had a great experience there. In my short time at his studio I have already had the opportunity to work on one of his exhibitions and LFW, so there are very exciting times ahead.

I am so eager to learn and work in the vibrant environment that London has to offer me. The fashion industry is in a very vulnerable state at the moment, which I look at in a positive way. It’s ready for a change or even an absolute turnaround and I want to be a part of that!


Icelandic Fashion Designer Sólveig Adora Hansdóttir

Icelandic Fashion Designer Sólveig Adora Hansdóttir‘Connection Lust’ editorial, photographed by Olga Urbanek


Any plans for the immediate/distant future?

I am going to absorb as much as possible at my current internship, and turn that experience into a broader perspective. I feel that London is right for me now, so I plan to stay here for some time to work and grow personally. Of course home is always in the back of my mind; it would be great to bring my experience from London to Iceland at some point, I think it’s important to contribute to the growing fashion industry there. I already have couple of projects lined up and some ideas that I want to develop with the resources available there [Iceland].

I want to use my education and experience in creating stories through fashion to connect people to the garments I make. My goal is for people to tell their story and share their individuality through their clothing. Some day I will launch my own brand to pursue that goal, but I do not want it to be a traditional clothing brand. At the moment I’m not sure how, but I will know when the time is right.


Icelandic Fashion Designer Sólveig Adora Hansdóttir

Icelandic Fashion Designer Sólveig Adora Hansdóttir‘Connection Lust’ editorial, photographed by Olga Urbanek


Make sure to follow Sólveig on Instagram to see her new work, projects and pop-up events!

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