In Conversation with Diemonde's Angelo da Silveira

In Conversation with Diemonde's Angelo da Silveira

In Conversation with Diemonde's Angelo da Silveira

A regular favorite for those attending Stockholm Fashion Week, the designer and entrepreneur breaks down his ambitions and success.

A regular favorite for those attending Stockholm Fashion Week, the designer and entrepreneur breaks down his ambitions and success.

There are those in fashion who brag about using clothes as a medium for change, and then there are people like Angelo de Silveira who actually do it.

The designer and brain behind the brand Diemonde, da Silveira has garnered international attention over the past few years after becoming an MVP of Stockholm Fashion Week, where his streetwear-meets-Swedish-minimalist-design aesthetic has allowed him to successfully progress the country's take on clothes to better match an increasingly diverse population with diverse interests.

But da Silveira isn't just changing the ways clothes look in Sweden; he's also changing how they're made. By enlisting the help of refugees with craftsmanship skills to create the garments, he's become a go-to figure for Swedish sustainability and ways of incorporating heart and ethics into fashion.

V connected with da Silveira to discuss these micro factories, growing up with Swedish design that didn't reflect him, and his proudest moments.

V Magazine: Let's start with your background. How did you get into fashion?

Angelo de Silveira: Since I was maybe 15 years old, I had a great interest in fashion and tried to figure out how I could find my own way into the industry and be able to create something that I saw was missing in Swedish fashion. So I just started creating my own stuff, like printing t-shirts. I tried to sell it to people and that showed them I had a vision. At the same time, I was a big fan of some big Swedish brands, but I always felt the way they communicated their brand and the way that the brand spoke about the garments wasn't necessary for me.

I'm a black person in Sweden, and I feel like a lot of those brands were made from a minimalistic point of view. And when I was someone about to start my own brand, I was just thinking, "Well, what do I need to create?" To show the people that I was growing up with and my peers and the new generation that the Swedish aesthetic and the Swedish design is more than the simplistic part.

And the Swedish heritage is amazing when it comes to sustainability. I feel like that on the global fashion scene is something that’s missing.

A new perspective was this fashion with a more intercultural perspective. To be able to merge the minimalistic part with the street culture as a brand is what I thought was missing in the fashion scene in Sweden, but also was missing in the global fashion scene.

Now we are creating something new with fashion and that's like something that we are missing in Sweden as well, but I see more and more brands that want to take their perspective and their heritage and mix that up with the traditional Swedish heritage to create something new that is more multicultural and that speaks to a broader generation as well.

V Magazine: Do you feel that this change you've wanted to see in Sweden is really happening now to the degree you want it to?

Angelo de Silveira: I believe that is changing, but you need to have patience and give people the chance to change as well. I see change. And I mean, the things that we have been able to do now wouldn’t be possible just like three or five years ago. So yeah, changes have happened in the last couple of years but we have a long way to go still. We’ll keep pushing for it and to see more diverse designers and brand directors and diverse people in Swedish fashion. I believe that their perspective of Swedish fashion is super important to take the fashion industry further and to innovate the fashion industry, or else will see the same kind of garments, the same kind of brands and the same kind of perspective.

Obviously if you want to see something new and you want to see some kind of development, that's something that needs to come from a different perspective, a new way to create clothes and a new way to communicate clothes as well. 

V Magazine: Can you tell me, in general, what the sort of pluses and minuses of operating out of Stockholm in general have been?

Angelo de Silveira: I mean, because we are creating fashion and garments from the perspective we are, it has made it easier for us to stand out here. So that's something that has made us gain a lot of exposure and interest from the global press and buyers and stuff like that. But also, the negative side of being based in Stockholm is that lack of connection to culture, or fashion. It's not much so you need to do a lot by your own. And if you don't have the network and know the inner circle, it will be really, really, really hard for you to break through.

So that's something that's still challenging for us three years in. I feel we have done a lot over these couple of years, but also the micro factories that we created, all our connections. Something that has pushed us like further is the fact that a lot of brands need to work more with sustainability and they turn to us for help. And that's something that made us important in the fashion industry.

We have had a lot of help from the industry. Some of the people in the industry have helped a lot because they’ve seen the potential in what we are creating for the development of Swedish fashion, culture and art as well.

V Magazine: Can you tell us more about these micro factories?

Angelo de Silveira: Yeah, definitely. We have taken to working a lot with refugees in Sweden that have a lot of craftsmanship skills. We have worked to validate that experience and to develop it, and to employ them at our factories because in Sweden it can take 8 to 11 years for newly arrived refugees to get into society and get a job. 

And at the same time, the fashion industry has a great need for this kind of competency to bring the industry back to our local society. So we team up with a partner to be able to find this kind of competency in refugees in Sweden. And then at our own factory, we've been able to harvest their skills and make them employable if you can say that.

So for a lot of those people instead of 8 to 11 years to get into work, it now takes like three years to get into work and integrate into society. And that's something that we are proud of because it helped us create our own garments locally. And by doing that, we will decrease our carbon emission because we used to do our clothes in Asia and have been able to move the production from Asia to Sweden. That's a decrease of carbon emission by 90%. It's amazing. But at the same time, being able to create work opportunities for other people that are kept away from the labor market as well.

That's something that we work with a lot, to develop that kind of process that makes us more flexible, more resourceful and also able to decrease production because we have 100% transparency and we can control the volume we create every day. So we won't make more clothes than what people order. And if it's sold out, then it's sold out, and we'll create something more. But we won't make hundreds of clothes just to save some at the warehouse to be able to deliver faster. Because we have educated the consumer as well through the whole process and show them the values and the soft values around local production and around the brand.

V Magazine: In your ideal world, would you be focusing almost solely on designing the clothing itself or do you also really enjoy the process of figuring out the manufacturing, or the business model behind it?

Angelo de Silveira: It's easier for me as an entrepreneur and fashion creator to be able to adapt to the new process, you know. For a bigger brand, it takes time to implement this, but for us being able to create fashion today or start up a fashion brand today, we will look at the most sustainable way to do it. 

So again, those two things go hand to hand, you need to understand the business part of it and the innovation part of it, to create a brand that will affect change and everything, because if you want to be a relevant brand and get through a time of COVID when the whole world is burning, you can’t just make clothes just to make clothes. You need to have a greater meaning, you know? For us that meaning is to create the opportunity for our generation to create something that they can relate to or something that will empower them. Opportunity for our community and for the people in Sweden that have a long way to get into the society and the work market. Can we use fashion to create positive impact? That's like the main goal of our brand.

V Magazine: Can you describe the type of person you feel is buying the clothes you make?

Angelo de Silveira: Maybe the same people that we thought of when creating the brand and around the brand, because our brand is such a diverse target group. You can see like an old Swedish actress that feels attached to several cultures and you can see Yasin, who is a super controversial rapper in Sweden. So it's really people that feel attached to several cultures and don't want to like define themselves as a minimalistic dresser or someone that likes streetwear, because we want to merge those two different expressions and create something that can speak to several cultures at once as well. 

V Magazine: What is the highlight or proudest moment for you since getting started?

Angelo de Silveira: I have plenty of those because obviously I'm not from the traditional fashion background. So, I mean, our first article was amazing. When Usher and Offset wore our clothes, that was amazing. And we were in Paris last year and presented clothes at the Swedish cultural Institute. That was amazing as well. So I mean like, the last two years, so many amazing things have happened to us.

You can see more about Diemonde here.


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