Melbourne-based illustrator and graphic designer Annika Fleur Seidel’s creativity has been employed by corporations including VicRoads, Telstra, Sportsgirl and by independent brands and music groups Skipping Girl Vinegar and The Red Tree.
Her latest self-funded creative project sits close to her heart both figuratively and literally. This week she launches Light Years – a new boutique lingerie label motivated by the limitations of choice “to lace or not to lace” presented to Melbourne lingerie shoppers, and a desire to dress in her own understated style from the inside out.
Her new stylish sporty-luxe range will be available at two shops well-known in the boutique fashion community for supporting Melbourne-based emerging designers: Alice Euphemia and Monk House Design, where Annika will also create a Light Years feature window display.
TENANT spoke to Annika about her range, the inspiration behind the name and her ‘misspent youth’.
Welcome to your 3054 couch Annika and thank you for talking to TENANT about your work and your new commercial lingerie line. Light Years is designed and made in Melbourne – were you living here in this flat when you came up with the idea?
I’d been thinking of doing it for a while, but the moment I decided to take on the Light Years project was in 2009, on a sunny day by the river in Innsbruck, Austria. There was a giant beer in my hand and at that moment anything seemed possible.
I thought you referenced Australia for a minute and was wondering what suburb Innsbruck was. The image of the beer was quite easy to visualise! As was the sunshine – the mother of many a creation.
So why Austria do you think? I know you have German heritage, does that part of the world feel like home? And by that, I mean relaxing and rejuvenating…
I was with my family at the time and we were discussing future plans – it was the first time I had really seriously entertained the idea of doing the label. If I had to pick another city that feels like home the way Melbourne does, it would have to be Berlin – there’s a really similar feeling to the cities – combined with friendly people, a great creative scene and good food. It really does feel like a second home.
How long have you been living here in North Carlton?
We’re technically in Princes Hill if you want to get fancy. (I’d never heard of it before moving here!) We’ve been here now for two and a half years.
Are you originally from Melbourne?
Yes I am from Melbourne – which feels a bit boring really! I grew up between Melbourne, Brisbane and a small town in the US called Chagrin Falls, but the bulk of my youth was misspent in Croydon (3136) in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.
Okay, that does not sound very boring. Why did your family move around to such locations? And what was Chagrin Falls like? I looked it up on Wiki and it is small and the name is so pretty but also sounds a bit… mournful?
We moved for my Dad’s work – he’s a civil engineer. Chagrin Falls is one of those picturesque ‘Anytown, USA’ kind of places – pretty pastel coloured houses, Stars & Stripes hanging from every second porch and strangers saying hello in the street. I felt like I’d been dropped into the middle of a film set. Even school was just like the movies.
And cut to…”misspent youth in the eastern suburbs”….Did this in any way lead you to graphic design? I’ve noticed a link between the suburbs and graphic design that is percolating away in my mind….is it all those train lines?
Ha! I’m not sure about the train thing – all I know is you don’t want to be at Ringwood station at night! I was fortunate enough to go to a high school that had a great art and design program so my love of design was encouraged from an early age.
Please tell us about your professional pathway.
After finishing uni (I studied Graphic Design straight out of high school) I had a couple of jobs designing everything from cheap menswear to homewares and sleepwear. Since 2009 I’ve been freelancing as a graphic designer and illustrator. Lingerie designer is just another thing to throw in there and make it harder to offer a concise explanation of what I do.
And makes things more interesting. As you say – you have done a mix of things and continue to be open to different design mediums and projects, do you have any dream project that you would be willing to describe?
I would love to spend some time working overseas – anyone offering an awesome contract job somewhere in Europe? Call me!
Back to project Light Years for a moment, it is a really great name – how did you come up with it? What does it mean to you?
The name just came to me one day – it immediately resonated with me and when I saw the domain name was available I took it as a sign.
To me it sounds very dynamic and speaks of youth and possibilities. It’s been really interesting to hear all the different ways people interpret the name and what it means to them.
The look of the range is very sporty – I think of dance and aerobics, or maybe space travel, when I view some pieces in the range. What has inspired this collection?
The design was inspired by the gap in the market between the ultra basic and the overly feminine. I’d never been able to find lingerie that reflected my style and I was sure there were others out there that felt the same way. The range uses angular panels and flat stud detailing to keep it interesting without being girly.