HILDUR YEOMAN is a self-described fashion designer/illustrator/visionary based in Iceland. Graduating from the Icelandic Academy of Arts in 2006, Hildur’s burgeoning design career has seen her enter many realms of creative expression.
She identifies herself foremost as a fashion designer and fashion illustrator. “For me it has always been tangled together. I use the illustration media to tell a story, kind of like visual poetry. It can then end up as a print on a garment, a dress, a playful accessory or a painting on a wall.”
Hildur lives and works in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. Her studio reveals a fantasy world brimming with bursts of neon colour, shimmering metallics and rich textures. The showcase of her latest collection in March last year was a personification of the futuristic fairytale quality of her design aesthetic.
“My last show was inspired by Xanadu. I wanted to make a show that was like a clip from some of my childhood favourite films, 80´s dance flicks and adventure movies. I wanted to create a big party on stage with music and dancing. I had help from a very talented choreographer called Sigga Soffía, and some amazing dancers from the Icelandic dance company.
“The show was all about making my illustrated world come to life. I wanted to entertain people, to get them to sing and dance in their seats. It was a moment of joy and happiness. You had to be a very grumpy person not to let go and just enjoy the ride.”
Hildur’s work appears to focus more on one-off pieces for shoots and performances rather than ready-to-wear, however she says this isn’t the case. “I do a bit of both, but for the last show I wanted to show the whole Hildur Yeoman universe. It was more like part of a fairytale, and maybe more was happening than for a regular runway show.”
“Clothing kind of started just for the shows, to go all the way with the idea somehow. The clothing I made was never really for sale. But my accessories are sold in several stores here and around the world. I’m expanding and I’m starting to produce clothing now as well, which is an exciting step in a more grown-up direction.”
Hildur has not gone unnoticed on the international scene, having worked on many projects ranging from photo shoots and exhibitions to artistic collaborations. Look out for more information about her upcoming work, which she comments will be quite different from her Xanadu collection.
One thing that will continue to inform and shape her work is her family and her personal experience. Hildur tells one story of her grandfather who migrated to Iceland from the United States. “His family was from New Jersey. He was quite a character. He opened a pizza place, and he wanted it to be a topless pizza place. The media got onto it. Things were different in the 80s, it was much more conservative.”
“We found out that his mother lived in New Jersey and had a horrible husband. One day she hooked up with the Hell’s Angels and toured America for three years.
“There are some dreamers and creative minds on my father’s side of the family. My grandmother never used to buy any clothing, and she made everything herself. My grandfather used to paint. My father is very creative when it comes to business. I would say that their free spirit inspired me.”
Hildur can also add the title of ‘teacher’ to her impressive list of accomplishments, having taught courses in illustration and accessory design at the Icelandic Academy of Arts since 2008. “I love teaching, mostly because I learn so much about myself and my own design in the process. There is also a very good energy in the school and the kids are great. Some of them are super talented and I’m looking forward to see what they will do after graduation.”
“The Icelandic fashion industry is young, rebellious and fun. But it needs more funding, taxes. The fact that we don’t have many resources to produce things here makes it hard to grow.”
What does Hildur want in the future? “I want more adventures, to travel, to meet more amazing people and to be happy.”
Interview: Siobhan Frost
Written by: Cleo Andrews