During my stay in Sweden, I had the pleasure to meet Angela Alexandersson, a Swedish emerging fashion designer. Angela is the head designer and responsible for the brand Carrasco, a fashion label that started a few years ago in Halmstad, Sweden. This outgoing and enthusiastic girl gave me the possibility to have an interview with her, as she showed me her office and place where all the "magic" occurs-the place were she designs and makes the prototypes for her collection. During the interview I found out very interesting things that made me become even more eager to study and work in the fashion field, and made me understand what the key for success is: Follow your dream without any boundaries or fear of being different from the rest.
Angela Carrasco was born in Colombia, but lived her whole life in Sweden. She lived and studied in Hylte Bruk until high school, when she moved with her family to Halmstad in order to attend a performing arts school where she specialized in the dance area. Although she wasn't exposed to the fashion field until she went to university in Gothenburg and Copenhagem, she was raised by her very creative mother who always enjoyed sewing and the art of clothes-making. She argued that she´s been interested in fashion ever since she can remember: she would make her own clothes in her younger years and design prom dresses. My friend (who put us in touch) who grew up with Angela remembered that the current owner of Carrasco would never let her leave the house without making sure that she looked good-she would always take care of her make-up, hair, clothes...she always had a Stylist inside.
After she graduated from high school Angela decided to study fashion design, where she met most of her current friends who would share the same passion as her. She warned me (laughing) that "when you study fashion, you stop having a life", but also mentioned that all her friends were in the same situation, so they would support each other. So since she had company and was doing what she loved she managed to balance her studies with working: her friend encouraged her to create her own fashion label after buying a very good and expensive sewing machine. She started up by making prom dresses for friends, relatives or friends of friends...and through the word of mouth she became more and more popular.
As she obtained her European diploma in Fashion Design, she decided that if she wanted to start up a business she would have to know how a business works. Therefore, she immediately went into the University of Halmstad in order to study a degree in Business and Management and Entrepreneurship. Once she felt she had a greater insight on how to manage a company and she felt she could be in control, she hired people to start working with her and started up a company called "Attractive and adorable". With this new label in her pocket, she went out and tried to find Swedish stores that were willing to sell her products. Due to her enthusiasm, passion and interest to move fast in a very competitive field, she managed to obtain different awards (such as Best New Business in Sweden where the state gave her 5000 Euros) and capture the interest of potential investors.
Recently, Angela decided to take a more professional and serious approach and change her brand name to Carrasco (http://www.ruleofrr.com). She currently designs the brand´s collections but works with factories that mass produce her products and relies on agents that are spread around Sweden and Finland. Although she´s already working on expanding into other European countries, her dream is to have Carrasco in Asia.
The brand revolves around the theme of the "good angel and evil devil" we all have inside and is characteristic of having very colorful and eye catching items, but that can be easily adapted to different people´s styles and preferences. This year is the first time that the Swedish fashion label has very set and specific collections that target particular audiences: she has three main lines for everyday occasions-Roses Shore, Coral Explosion and Rebelic Wave; parallel with a more sophisticated high fashion line. When I asked her about where she gets inspiration from, Angela couldn´t limit her answer to just one source, she said that she bases her designs on a mixture of sources, such as magazines and things that surround her. For example, one of her latest collections is based on the sea (the colours, patterns, textures, etc). Her roots and background also play a big role in her work: her collections are mainly influenced by Colombia together with Africa, Italy and Asia.
Angela described her style as feminine and sexy. "I don´t like wearing unreavealing clothes, I like wearing things that emphasize my curves" she said as she smiled. Her style takes a "dress to impress" approach, which is apparently completely the opposite of the regular Swedish style. The creator of Carrasco explains that women's look in Sweden is very urban, plain and easy going. Boyfriend style and oversized clothes and Converses are a MUST in this Scandinavian country. However, men are becoming more and more concerned with their looks, and therefore tend to wear colorful, patterned clothes; checked shirts and rolled up jeans...and let´s not forget about their typical sleek back hair styles.
The atmosphere by the end of the interview was very relaxed and informal where I took the chance to ask Angela what her tips would be for someone studying or working on the fashion field, to what she responded: "Do not be afraid to talk to a lot of people, they will help you build up your contacts network, and those will be the people that help you when you need it. Don´t ever stay stationary, the fashion field moves very fast and is very competitive, always go after your dream with enthusiasm and you´ll be very likely to succeed".
I take the opportunity to thank Angela very much for this interview, and wish her the best of luck with her projects. Hopefully we´ll be seeing her innovative designs all around Europe very soon!