Text: Juule Kay
The world is changing, and with it, a new generation of trailblazers is taking over. In our monthly series E-MERGING, we introduce the people adding to the cultural moment with their creative minds, new ideas and unique approaches. It’s a glimpse behind the scenes, a way to dig deeper and look beyond the picture-perfect outcome we’re swamped with every day.
SF1OG is one of these mysterious brands with an even more cryptic name. What looks like a secret code one has to decipher is a location description for the fashion designer’s flat where she started her label back in 2019. “One day I received a package with these letters and numbers on it and immediately felt drawn to it,” explains founder Rosa M. Dahl, who likes things which aren’t obvious right away. “Given the fact that I have been working from my 30 m² flat in the early days, calling the brand “atelier” or ”studio” felt fake to me.” After all, it’s not about how big the space, but how big the ideas.
For some reason, deep inside of me, I feel connected and driven to old things.
From a very young age, Dahl’s family introduced her to a different way of doing things, one which paved the way for creative freedom. “Every Friday, I was working on small art projects with my dad in his studio using whatever was around like leftover wood or wool,” the now 24-year-old dwells in memories. When her mum retrieved the old sewing machine, Dahl started to create her own clothes with ready-made patterns from old magazines, and later decided to study fashion design. “In university, everyone always tells you that you won’t make it in the business,” she says. “It felt really demotivating until I realised that all you need is a sewing machine and the mindset of working hard every day,” which is exactly what Dahl and her team have been up to for the last four years.
With its deconstructed silhouettes and zeitgeisty designs, SF1OG wants to tell stories of people who lived in this world and connect them to the present. “I strongly believe the past and the present inform the person you are and the situation you’re in right now,” she tries to explain. “Both create the future in a sense.” A mentality which translates to design, trends, a way of thinking and almost everything else in life. Drawn to the old, SF1OG creates a nostalgic bond between memories and unisex garments with a focus on craftsmanship. “For some reason, deep inside of me, I feel connected and driven to old things,” she continues. “They have a certain energy I always feel touched by.”
That’s also one of the reasons why Dahl usually sources the material before the design process even starts. “Textiles tell a story on its own, they have their own way of behaving and almost speak to you what they want to be,” she says. “Right now, for example, I have a lot of linen from my grandma which is so dear to my heart that I almost don’t want to give it away.” When it comes to material choice, Dahl works as sustainable as possible and even collects leftover scraps, cuts them up into wool-like threads and weaves them into new fabric. As if she’s breathing life into something old, almost forgotten. In the end, SF1OG is more than just a fashion brand, it’s a way to dig deeper into the past, shared memories and the value of our clothes. “With every collection, I try to learn something new,” Dahl completes, “and that’s also how you keep challenging yourself and keep getting better.”
Textiles tell a story on its own, they have their own way of behaving and almost speak to you what they want to be.
Imagine you’re a lecturer at your old university. What would you tell the fashion design newbies in front of you?
If you can work everyday on the same project, you are passionate enough to take this very hard journey. Everything I learned in the business are things I taught myself. I learned to sew with YouTube videos and pattern making with books and magazines. If you really want to succeed with your own business, it’s all about how much you know and how much you’re willing to invest.
What’s something that feels underrated to you?
What’s something unusual we’d find in your atelier?
Your typical fridge photo of two people kissing each other from the 60s. For the upcoming collection, I bought a lot of photos in antique stores from people I don’t know. Some even have small notes written on the back.
What’s your pet peeve?
Talking too much.
If you look closer, what do you see?
I see details and the person who created them.