Tailor Frida Fredricson realised her passion for sewing while watching her then housemate (of which Wax’s Steffy is also a former) create garments in their shared home. Instantly in awe of the art of creating something from scratch, Frida has a true love for the bespoke and the handmade.
We sat down with her to discuss finding her niche, the importance of a personal connection with the customer, sustainable fashion and the key differences between men’s and women’s tailoring.
Can you tell me a bit about how you got to where you are?
I grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden. When I finished school at 18, some girlfriends and I moved to London, where I’d never been before. We all squeezed into a small flat in East London and jumped between different jobs.
During my last year in London I lived with a German guy who was a tailor. I remember him sitting in his small room sewing the final collection of a student from Central Saint Martins. I found the way he would put a piece together so inspiring. As a child I loved to sew, but I hadn’t done it for years. A few weeks later I bought a sewing machine, and later that year I decided to become a tailor.
I moved from London to a small town in the Swedish countryside, where I studied pattern cutting and sewing techniques. After a year spent there I was qualified to apply for a tailoring school outside of Gothenburg.
Now I live in Copenhagen with my boyfriend, who I first got to know in London.
Were you always interested in menswear?
I initially decided to study women’s tailoring, I think because it seemed more multifaceted. I quickly realised though, that dressmaking and working with lightweight fabrics wasn’t for me, so I started in women’s suits.
The thing is, women’s suit jackets may look very similar to men’s, but there are still certain rules in traditional tailoring, for example when it comes to how the garment should be pressed and how many pockets are considered appropriate. I have to say, the stereotype of the soft feminine look, never really appealed to me. I tended to break the rules and was often told by my teachers that I’d pressed the garment too heavily.
After my graduation I did some freelancing in theatre costume and I also had a job in a men’s shop altering suits. My interest for suits grew and I was longing to create them from scratch, so I resigned from my job and made the move.
How long have you worked at your current?
I got a scholarship and an apprenticeship with a tailor in Copenhagen that I really admired. After six months as his apprentice, about a year ago, he offered me a full time job. I was thrilled.
What appeals to you about bespoke handmade clothing?
I think it’s the fact that you’re making a garment for one unique person – the opposite of the clothing industry in general. I really appreciate the process; the first meeting with the customer to discuss fabric and the style of the garment, the fittings, the actual handcraft and of course the delivery of the garment.
We don’t use any fusible canvases or anything with glue on. This way the fabric will preserve its natural elasticity and look more natural, and also last for a very long time. And you’re always welcome back to have the garment altered if your body changes over time.
What is important to consider when creating men’s tailoring?
The fit! We all look different so you need to “find the body” to be able to make a garment that suits the individual well. I’d say it’s very important to understand how to get there by constructing a well-balanced pattern and by shaping the canvases and cloths. We also preserve fabric quality; feel, structure and elasticity, by doing a lot of hand stitching.
How does it differ to women’s tailoring?
I’d say that menswear and womenswear don’t necessarily have to differ much if you ignore the traditional rules and ideas. But of course the old tradition of how we dress and what’s appropriate for who holds us back and still plays a big part in the choices we make.
Do you think working mainly in men’s tailoring influences the way you dress yourself?
I have actually never thought of the way I dress in relation to my work. I’d say I dress pretty simple, in dark colours and usually in trousers. My goal is definitely to tailor my own clothes. If ever there’s time for that.
What else do you take from your work?
I’ve become much more aware of quality and sustainability, which has made me more critical of excessive consumption and a flippant wear and tear mentality.
How much are you able to influence the process?
The dialogue with the customer is very important; his or her expectations and wishes always come first. But I’d definitely say I’m able to influence the process, as most customers are interested in the tailor’s expertise. We’re a small team working in the studio, which gives us the opportunity to discuss the work we do on a daily basis and offer one another advise.
What are your sources of inspiration?
They change constantly, depending on what I’m doing. At the moment my sources of inspiration are quite technical. I find it very inspiring to learn and try both old and new tailoring techniques. Sten Martin Jonsson, the tailor I work for, also shares lot of his knowledge with me.
How do you think fashion differs between London and Copenhagen?
London has much more diversity and is one step a head. Lots of people stand out and look far more eccentric. I’d describe the fashion in Copenhagen as partly typical Scandinavian, but more relaxed and functional.
It seems like everyone has a nice pair of sneakers, fancy raincoat and a practical backpack. Including myself. The fact that the majority of the Copenhagians cycle everywhere probably influences the fashion a lot. That’s something I really love about the city!
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