Photo credits: aéthérée
I was discussing yesterday with a friend how bitter –sweet it can feel to build and grow your business, how challenging sometimes everything might look and how small you might feel in the face of life. She told me that it’s time for me to start treating myself like a queen again, which reminded me how much I’ve neglected lately myself and how many other priorities are on the top of my list. I am nowhere to be seen on that list. My question to you today is how do you treat yourself lately? Like a superstar? Like a queen, a goddess or a maverick or simply like a housemaid or a mule? There is a point into that because when people treat me like the last two I get offended, but apparently I am easily doing it to myself.
Today part of me want to get a proper regal treatment and this is talking (and shopping) about clothes made with love and passion. I love craftsmanship and artisanal work and I want to share with you this story/interview so you can feel the excitement and energy that a designer can breathe in her garments and understand why good clothes make you feel different. In fact they really can make you feel and behave differently. This is also a reminder that it’s not about the clothes, it’s about you, your emotions and your experiences. Choose how to live them. The first part of this interview you can read here.
Tsitaliya: What makes you the designer you are today? How did you evolve from the 7 year old girl at your aunt’s fashion school, through Paris, Japan, NY?
Ly-Ling: I think I understand fashion much better than before and this makes me calmer. I know what I want but I also know what I don’t want – becoming part of what’s happening in Paris, Milano and New York. It seems very sick to me. I work much more for myself and have more confidence about what I do and what I want. I feel free and that’s what have made my clothes more personal then before. I have more experiences and I understand my clients better than ever because I learned a lot about the female body since I have my own boutique, so the fitting of my patterns are better now.
Tsitaliya: Did you have a clear vision of what kind of clothes you wanted to make when you started your first company in Paris, after fashion school and your internship at David Szeto?
Ly-Ling: Yes, I never wanted to make haute couture, because I thought this kind of fashion is not useful and meant for wealthy people. I didn’t understand the art of making such pieces. I always wanted to do functional and wearable fashion.
Tsitaliya: Can you describe the creative process at Aéthérée?
Ly-Ling: For my designs I am most inspired by my daily life. It could be an interesting conversation with a friend, a theater play or a movie. When I have a picture of the garment in my head I start draping and try to make the idea becomes real. When the draping is done, I start making the patterns.
Tsitaliya: What’s success in the fashion world? Is it really about talent or knowing the right people and being at the right place and in the right time?
Ly-Ling: When you wake up with a smile in the morning, because you can do what you love – that’s what success really means to me.
Tsitaliya: What’s the best thing about being a fashion designer?
Ly-Ling: I love the freedom to design what I like and when I see women appreciate what I do and wear my pieces with pride.
Tsitaliya: What do you think women really want, in Switzerland?
Ly-Ling: The Swiss woman wants to feel comfortable, she is very practical. She wants to be able to wear her clothes and if possible more than once.
Women here like the feeling of the quality fabrics, they like to know how is the clothing made, where is the fabric coming from….But there are a lot of women who don’t know really what a good cut is, how it should fit.
Tsitaliya: If you weren’t a fashion designer what would you be doing?
Ly-Ling: There are so many other things, i would love to do. For example a carpenter, an architect, a teacher, a dancer.
Tsitaliya: What does Aéthérée stand for?
Ly-Ling: Aéthérée is the old French word for „ethereal“. And it stands for the soul that transforms every physical object into a living being.
Tsitaliya: How do you want women to feel when they wear your clothes?
Ly-Ling: I want them to feel beautiful, secure and happy.
Tsitaliya: What are your favourite fabrics to work with?
Ly-Ling: Natural fabrics like wool, silk and cotton.
Tsitaliya: When we met you told me that you want to make clothes for real people not to hang on hangers in the wardrobe. How would you describe the Aéthérée aesthetic? Non-luxurious non-seasonal and non-gender specific clothing similar to what Vetements offers?
Ly-Ling: I like the philosophy of the brand Vetements, but Aéthérée is not exactly the same. I make hoodies and parkas but no bomber jackets. Non-luxurious is so not Aéthérée, because the clothes made in Switzerland are made in the highest quality fabric and that is a luxury to me. No-seasonal is very Aéthérée but no-gender cannot apply to all the pieces. Some of them are unisex and there’s a lot of them transformable (you can wear it in different ways).
Tsitaliya: What do women like about Aéthérée aesthetics?
Ly-Ling: It’s timeless and they feel good wearing Aéthérée.
Tsitaliya: Do you consider Aéthérée part of the global fashion and how do you want to sell your pieces?
Ly-Ling: Aéthérée is just available in Switzerland in my own boutique. Before, I sold in 3 different continents to more than 20 boutiques, but it didn’t make me happy, so I stopped to sell my collection to other boutiques.
I do like the economic philosophy of Ernst Schuhmacher who said: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.“