My Uniform: Artist Camilla Engstrom

My Uniform: Artist Camilla Engstrom

LA-based Camilla Engstrom who is known as much for her viral dance videos on Instagram as she is for enormous, witty and colorful paintings. Having grown up in Sweden with a mother who was a “fearless and eccentric” dresser, her style is an amalgamation of so many things: Her current hometown, her family, her artwork and of course the fact that she spends quite a bit of time dancing in her studio. P.S. She’ll be co-hosting a party at our Soho shop and debuting a custom scarf she designed for us on Thursday, December 5th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm. Swing by!

Artist Camilla Engstrom on LA, dancing, and her recent collaboration with Alex Mill!

ON HER CURRENT HOMETOWN—AND HOMETOWNS OF THE PAST

I like LA but I think it’s too cool for me. I moved to Silverlake from New York City a year and a half ago and I don’t know, it reminds me of Williamsburg, Brooklyn a bit. I love that I can be productive here though and surrounded by creative people. Style is super important in Sweden. People don’t like to stick out but they do like to dress well. Muted colors and black are the way to go. When I got to New York I was at FIT and everything I wore became more tailored: Blazers, loafers and really good denim. Now that  I’m in LA I am casual. Too casual! I love colors and hippie style. I want to feel free and loose. 

 

ON EARLY STYLE INFLUENCES

My mother is Chinese. She’s eccentric—super dramatic in the way she dresses. Lots of color and even fake hair sometimes! She’s in her 50s and she’ll wear a corset if she’s in the mood. Nothing embarasses her. I think I got my love of color from her. She always told me that style is very, very important. She’s very social and she knows style is a large piece of making an impression. She also never wears heels which is another thing I inherited: I’m always in comfy shoes! My dad worked in IT and wore suits—the only thing I remember him saying about my style was when I wore my hair up he’d say, “I love when I can see your face!”

 

FIRST INVESTMENT PIECE

It was a pair of vintage Levi’s and honestly they weren’t even that expensive but as a student at FIT in New York they were really expensive. I never bought a designer handbag or anything like that but I did save up for a pair of Tod’s loafers a while ago and now I just can’t wear them in LA. Only in New York and Stockholm.

 

ON HER FIRST DANCE INSTAGRAM VIDEOS 

A brand asked me to film myself in the studio and I was like “eh” and since I had to buy a tripod for it I was like, maybe I can do something more fun. I’m always dancing when nobody’s watching. It was so outside my comfort zone but that’s how it began. I lost so many followers when I first posted one, but then ultimately I gained followers. I was like, “uh-oh!” but then I thought, “Whatever! I don’t care!” I’m a self-taught painter and in some ways I think that’s in my DNA. I have a feeling that life is short and there’s a state of urgency in me all the time. I think dancing makes some people very uncomfortable and for others it creates great joy. 

 

ON THE APPLE SCARF SHE DESIGNED WITH SOMSACK

I’m really into nature and fruits and Somsack called me and this painting I’d done was the first thing he told me he liked. It makes sense, Alex Mill is a New York brand. At the time I painted it, it was simply an apple to me. But when I think of it more I love how Yoko Ono used to make paintings and sculptures of simple things that were also beautiful. When blown up you’re forced to really look at them. 

 

3 professions you’d pursue if not for your current career:

A therapist, work with animals (dog shelter), art teacher for kids

 

3 things you never leave home without:

Water bottle, hand cream, extra pair of socks

 

3 songs to get a dance party going:

“Ca Plane Pour Moi” Plastic Bertrand, “Take On Me” A-Ha, “Canned Heat” Jamiroquai

 

Camilla was photographed at her studio in Los Angeles by Katrina Dickson.

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