June 20, 2014
Only after being back in Oslo, fashion designer & illustrator Maja Stabel finds inspiration from surrounding herself with the creative community. “I think I needed to get away and nurture my adventurous side to realize what a great city this is.”
I fell in love with Oslo when I moved back here in February 2013. I knew the city because I lived here for 5 years before I moved to Copenhagen, but I came back here with a different mind and my old city changed with it.
Before I moved, I couldn’t wait to get out of here – to see and experience something else than boring Oslo. I think I needed to get away and nurture my adventurous side to realize what a great city this is.
When I got back last year I was so happy to come back – back to my friends and family and all things familiar. I had started my own business and that made all the difference in seeing Oslo with new eyes. It was good timing as well, because the entrepreneurial scene was booming and ideas were flowing. I experienced this through Mesh; one of the hottest co-working spaces in town where all kind of entrepreneurs hung out. It was a really good place to be at that time and I met a lot of inspiring people.
To go back and tell a long story short of how I started up my business; I had an investor in Copenhagen that loved my zero-waste concept and wanted to start up a new brand with me as the designer. It lasted for 3 months before he realized millions aren’t made over night, when starting up a clothing brand. I took the collection I had made and moved home to do it all myself. I quickly realized that it just was not possible to be alone without any financial help; I was stressed out of my mind. So after having a rather terrible production experience in India I decided it wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t having fun and I started to hate making clothes. But I still loved my concept, and I still wanted to make a change, and I still wanted to have my own business – now that I’d met all these wonderful people and was part of something really exciting. I mean things are really starting to happen in Oslo! So naturally I went back to my roots – to what I love the most (but have been scared to pursue in a bigger way): drawing and painting. I’m painting watercolour pictures and doing illustration, and luckily I got picked up by another up-and-coming brand called Age of Enlightenment to design zero-waste clothes. I also have another zero-waste project I’m working on so it’s all very exciting.
Oslo is a good place to be – I love the seasons, the nature and the people; it’s real, no bullshit. I also love the places and one of my favourite things to do is to hang out at Kulturhuset, or another cosy café and sketch. Even though I’m right handed, I mostly draw with my left hand, as it gives a much more interesting expression in my opinion. There is just the feeling of surrender because I can’t properly control it. And this is what I love; not thinking, just flowing and creating.
Now I’m ready to move into a new co-working space down in Storgata together with a small group of people. It’s a really old building that haven’t been in use since the 70s, but it really has its charm and we’re gonna grow veggies and herbs in the backyard. It will be a ’green’ co-working space where people who build their businesses on sustainable and environmental friendly values come together.