An array of homemade pieces at Norwegian Wood
Angie Johnson is a clothing and accessories designer based in Montreal, Canada, and is the founder of Norwegian Wood, which was started in 2008. All of the pieces are designed and created by Johnson in her studio, with the help of her assistant Lissa and intern Sheena, and she often collaborates with various other artists to produce bags, jewellery and more.
Where did you study and what did you get from the experience?
Angie Johnson: I studied Human Ecology at the University of Manitoba. Being that it was a very small faculty I enjoyed the small class sizes, but also liked the fact that that degree focused on all aspects of the industry, not just design.
Do you have a favourite era for design and why?
I would have to say the 60s or 70s due to the amazing use of pattern and colour.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
What are your favourite things about your job? Any negatives?
Favourite: being my own boss, which means every day is a little different.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Starting my own business.
What was the inspiration behind the brand?
The inspiration for the name came from the Beatles song Norwegian Wood (which I’ve always loved) combined with the fact that I am part Norwegian (via my paternal grandfather)
Do you prefer working with clothing or accessories?
That can change from week to week. In general though, I like how one complements the other, and I’m so happy I’ve had some success with both categories.
Would you say your work is directed at a particular trend or group of people?
Not necessarily. I’m constantly surprised by the variety of people who buy my work. In general, I guess the unifying factor is that they are all looking for something unique that cannot easily be found on the high street.
Which of your current designs is your favourite and why?
I’m currently in love with my “Yen” bra design. It’s so perfect for layering under breezy pieces for summer.
I love your lingerie, would you consider doing a more extensive range? Why did you settle on the harness design?
I actually created quite a few more pieces for my spring collection, but have only recently had the time to start listing them. The first full collection I made was back in fall 2012; it included about ten pieces, many of which are now sold out. Unfortunately lingerie is quite time consuming to make, so I can’t often add full collections. I love doing it though! The Triad and Yen bras came about due to the success of my elastic harnesses, it just seemed to make sense to take that idea and translate it into a bra.
Please tell me about the creative process that went into your current collections. What techniques were used?
The fall 2013 collection was inspired by the 1980s movie The Dark Crystal. I collaborated with three different artists on the collection: Elaine Ho for silver jewellery, Evan Melnyk for graphics (we will be doing printed Ts, in addition to the digitally printed items Evan created graphics for) and Kimberly Fletcher created three amazing bags for the collection. Metallic elements were also incorporated into the fabrics and I mixed multiple metals in the jewellery.
Have you any plans for the future? When can we expect your next collection and where do you hope to be in five years?
I’m hoping to develop my own web store in the near future, which I’m really excited about. My next collection (fall 2013) will launch late August/early September. In five years…well, I’ve given up on five year plans. I just try to check in with myself every once in a while, make sure I’m happy and proud of what I’m doing, and make sure I’m going in the right direction.
For further information on the collections, visit the Norwegian Wood Etsy store here.
Sign up for her mailing list here.
And definitely check out her online vintage branch here.