Some time ago, I decided to visit the Woman Fashion Tour 2017 powered by willhaben at Donaukanal in Vienna and get some fresh inspiration for my blog. I was very curious about the event set up and the participating emerging fashion designers – as I always am. I had asked Sophie Soufflé for an interview and was happy to get to know the 27-year old lady with a heart for upcycling.
Reddish hair in a long braid on her left shoulder and dark red finger nails and a lipstick in a similar colour made Sophie stand out immediately. Her dress up wasn’t less eye-catching. She wore a turquoise shirt with a long 60s skirt. It was covered in brightly coloured oranges and green leaves with a tiny splash of turquoise to make it a perfect match to the prior mentioned shirt. Her big smile and sympathetic laugh welcomed me at her upcycling station next to the willhaben booth.
Sophie was the upcycler in chief. At her workshops people created accessories such as bracelets, flower crowns and pimped up sunglasses. I had the pleasure to change a boring second hand shirt into a used-look cut-out shirt and I also put together a lovely bracelet for my friend, so she had something tangible to remember her bachelorette party, that I was going to afterwards.
The designer’s life turned out to be a roller coaster of things – belly dancing, crazy self-portraying, dreams of french patisseries and studies of art history. Inspired by her mum, who turned her fathers shirts into baby clothes, and by her regular roams on Pinterest, Sophie turns “old” objects into nostalgic accessories.
“I always try to tell a story with my product, so that people can identify with it more easily.”
Her first upcycling project was quite self-serving. Her friend was throwing a birthday party and Sophie didn’t know what to get her. So inspired by an online post, she decided to create a bowl out of a vinyl record – the start of something exciting. It bundled up all her creative energy and led her to set up a design business.
When I asked if someone ever thought her creations were cheap clutter she denied. Especially the older generation was in love with the nostalgia she added to every piece. At the moment Sophie creates necklaces with pendants. In every pendant there is an old stamp worked into. She then finds out the story of that particular stamp and tells it to the customers.
Upcycling in her eyes is a growing trend and should go hand in hand with second hand. Many people, she explains, wouldn’t wear second hand, because they disliked the idea that it was used by someone else. But it seems that upcycling is safe. People can bring their own things and create a new statement piece out of their old loving pieces without the loss of nostalgia or memory. The stories still stay with the piece, it just changes appearances. Isn’t that a great deal?
The Woman Fashion Tour 2017 already ended some days ago. But there will be many other Austrian fairs Sophie Soufflé will be travelling to, since she is at a minimum of one fair every weekend (this sums up to at least 52 events in 2017). I’d say it’s time to pack those old-pieces we can’t get over to throw away after all and give them a second purpose in life.