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MARTHE ENGDAL
ASPIRING PR GURU, COLOR FANATIC

Written + Photographed By Kelley Mullarkey  |  Video Produced By Sean Stillmaker

One of life’s greatest offerings is the ability to visually experience the world, a place that is showered with such rich hues of lapis blue, acid green and oil slick black. Undoubtedly, what most people tend to oversee and take for granted is with fashion, everyone is allowed to add his or her own interpretation and take on the world to this already breathtaking environment – an irreplaceable gift.

Drenched in layers of fabric on a regular basis and covered in nearly every color under the sun, Marthe doesn’t just add a bit of flavor to life – she treats everyday as if it were a separate page of a coloring book –one naturally based off Dr. Seuss, The Little Mermaid or Legoland.

Her enthusiasm and collection of larger than life accessories and pieces (an amazing brass-monkey necklace, an oversize pair of seashell earrings, a fish patterned skirt) seem to leap right out of the lines, off the pages and straight into the path just outside your window. With Marthe landscapes and animals come alive; her imagination has no end.

“There’s no excuse for a lack of inspiration. You have everything right outside your front door. The world is such a vibrant place – take advantage of it! You won’t have to go far to find happenings.”

When Sean and I moved to London nearly four months ago, Marthe was one of the first people I was blessed to meet, thanks to Caroline, a close colleague of mine and her flatmate. Quirky, bubbly and eager to hear all about Chicago, my thoughts on fashion and living in a foreign land, I was absolutely impressed. And this was before I even laid eyes on her Acne boots or sky-high YSL tributes.

With an unusually delightful and multi-coloured upbringing in Orkanger, Norway, Marthe’s love for vibrant and vivacious textiles and patterns transcends from the extremely visual household she grew up in.

“My father is a chef and breeds tropical fish. We’ve always had huge fish tanks in our living room. He’s an absolute aquarium enthusiast. From red shrimps to clown fish. He’s bred several species of fish and has worked with scientists. I think that’s where my love for bright clothing originates from.”

Her mother, a woman with an expertise in knitting and sewing showed Marthe the importance of being good with her hands, a technique that came in handy once she began making her own clothes and purses.

Always a creative child and quite the perfectionist, by the age of six, Marthe was already ‘drawing like a maniac’ and actively pursuing gymnastics, a sport known for its decadence and glamorous uniforms. When her best friend showed her an online fashion forum during her beginning years as a teenager, that’s when the so-called fashion wheels began turning.

“When I first fell into fashion I emerged as a boarder chick. I was really into snowboarding so I started knitting my own beanies while in secondary school and making them for others.”

While I sat in Marthe’s east London bedroom, a room home to leather skirts, stripped trousers and a perfectly checkered emerald green peacoat, it was hard to imagine her days spent in baggy jeans, hemp necklaces, men’s t-shirts and massive snowboarder jackets. Or the period she went through that involved drawing on a metallic blue pout every morning when she felt inspired by The Spice Girls.

“It’s really amusing to analyse the evolution of one’s style and see how it has changed through the years. I don’t like following trends like a sheep in a flock. For me, my personal style is absolutely schizophrenic. Some days I’m trying to channel Bozo the Clown. Back when I first started caring about fashion I went for the literal and based if off of just what I knew.”

As the afternoon continued on and Marthe dished a bit more about the philosophy of her personal style (mixing high street with designer), I began to see the psychology of it. From a wardrobe outwardly coated with a “collection of jackets resembling Skittles” to the only pair of jeans in her possession.

Instead of using scissors, Marthe used a cheese grader to cut up the jeans. Having grown up around a chef, her style subconsciously encompasses a familiar territory. Our upbringings and environments truly do enable us and resonate with us, whether that be in fashion or another career.

One of the things I love most about Marthe, aside from her fearless personality (how many people do you know who would waltz right into a grocery store wearing an exaggerated pair of purple eyebrows after a photo shoot?) is that she truly understands the logic and significance of brand awareness. Marthe can read any product or piece of clothing and strip it down to its basic roots.

It’s no wonder that Marthe herself recently relocated to London to pursue a career in public relations. In an age where we all are constantly bombarded with an endless wave of labels, musicians, publications, restaurants, etc… it’s nearly impossible to survive the digital era without consideration of how an identity is created.

“For me, my decision to enter into the industry of PR is about creating a bridge between people and brands. People need to know who or what they’re supporting or buying into. At the base of it, fashion is all about economics. To be successful you have to know how consumer markets work and where trademarks begin.”

After everything is said and done at the end of the day, Marthe’s personal style is guaranteed to make you smile. And hopefully live a bit more boldly. As Marthe so casually puts it, “My style is very circus in town. But it’s very me. And that’s all that matters.”






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