Behind the brand with Silje Christine Augustson
I always wanted to design my own clothing line. Growing up I watched my mother, a renowned dentist, come home and sew beautiful clothes for my brother and I. She was a hero in my eyes; coming home at night and painstakingly sewing well into the dark Norwegian nights. She made duffle coats and thick sweaters using unused rolls of fabric from my grandfather’s textile factory. His factory was located in a remote snow-capped Norwegian village called Namsos.
It was during this time the idea of creating what would later be “Esperance” came to me. However, it was not until many many years later that this idea became reality. First, I was steered towards a degree in Economics by my academic parents.
Unsurprisingly, my life turned out as what one could call “extreme corporate” balanced out with intermittent yoga retreats and yoga teacher training courses. Ergo quite a disconnect from my first passion of becoming a clothes designer, save for a few isolated jaunts: I attended a night-course in fashion design at St Martin’s Lane; London in 2003, and I often thought of clothing. Or rather, I found faults in the functionality of my own. They were either perfect for business but unsuited for everything after, or comfortable enough to do everything in but lacked the sharpness I looked for in my business apparel.
I had the ability to fit it all into my day – work, travel, friends, yoga – but my clothes were just not versatile enough. They were sources of momentary self-conscience combined with upkeep anxiety and the white noise of “Do I look good enough in this, will this still look okay at 6 pm, when can I get these pressed next, am I going to need an outfit change, do I even have time for one?”
The theme of Esperance came back to me as I lay on my yoga mat, during my yoga teacher-training, feeling the way I wanted to feel all of the time—poised, confident and comfortable in my own skin. The appeal of yoga for me is strongly tied to its incredible ability to rein in one’s focus back onto the self and what is important in life. An invaluable tool for stress management and concentration, without which, I certainly would not have been able to survive.
I wanted to create a clothing line that encompassed the teachings I have drawn from yoga – a brand inspired by yoga but actually inspiring a yogic way of life on all levels.
It was also while on my mat that I made the second connection between a woman’s garment and its effect on her self confidence. Not only in her outward appearance but in her ability to think clearly, act with conviction and take on the world like the emboldened Amazon she is capable of being. There was a cycle present, which began with wearing clothes tailored for self-expression and empowerment. Confident also, that what she is wearing does not harm her or the environment – and has been ethically produced.
I left the mat with the realisation that I needed to make clothes, which were relaxed yet refined, but above all free of the skin-deep and psychological whispers I had grown accustomed to living with. And not just for myself, but for all women.
And suddenly all the seemingly random acts I had done and experienced in my life hitherto, clicked into place. I made plans to leave the corporate world, and armed with my convictions and knowledge of clothes design began sketching my Esperance collection showcasing the latest era of elegant, yoga inspired clothing.