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Silje Vallevik Inspires

Photography by Josefina Alazraki Theo

Pictured at home in Notting Hill and surrounded by her own artwork, Silje wears Valle and Vik throughout the shoot. Pictured here wearing the "The Goddess" maxi dress together with Sophie Lis Lightning Bolt hoops, Spike Studs and Compass pendant 

There is no question, Silje Vallevik has the “IT” factor.

Not only is she beautiful, disarmingly so; with sky high chiselled cheekbones, paradisiacal figure and a smile to die for but she is enchanting… or perhaps entrancing!!

It is said when agencies scout new faces, typically they look for that "IT" factor which consists of the confidence and coolness that models give off while casually walking down a runway. It is hard to explain what this truly is, but you can't learn it- you either have it or you don't.

She has it, in bucket loads!

Silje is a Norwegian artist, model and now designer, founder and creative director of the newest, coolest fashion brand on the block; Valle & Vik. We meet the designer at her London apartment and ask her ten quick questions about her life and pathway to success.  

 

Silje wears The Long Flirt dress in Ville Blomst Turquoise with Sophie Lis Lightning Bolt Studs, Spike hoops, Lightning Bolt necklace and long Compass Pendant. On her hands and wrist she wears Sophie Lis bespoke Coded eternity ring, Fallen Star ring and Lightning Bolt bracelet

1.) Tell us about the Valle and Vik brand.

Valle & Vik is an accessible-luxury womenswear brand that delivers a style transcending dress codes, destinations and I hope, generations. I want to create clothes you will wear and cherish forever, clothes that bring you joy and will be passed down to your children. We are the opposite of fast fashion.

The brand combines my love of colour, Scandinavian folk art and tailoring. It's this relaxed glamour that forms the basis of the collections - a signature series of minimalist cuts elevated with lashings of maximalist colour and prints on luxurious silks.

All the prints are based on old Scandinavian and nordic folk art - I just love the history and the feelings they evoke. I love taking ancient symbols and modernising them with digital prints in vibrant colours. There are so many layers to the designs that I believe my clients subconsciously connect with.

Each piece is crafted to offer versatility, wearability & distinctiveness. It’s about creating the wear anywhere, forever dress - a true sartorial comfort blanket.

 

Silje wears The Flirt shirt and The Twirl skirt in rust with Sophie Lis Fallen Star hoop earrings, Fallen Moon Necklace and long Compass pendant

2.) How did you come up with the idea for Valle and Vik?

I was 16 when I was scouted to be a model and as a result, was lucky enough to travel the world for work and had a varied social life. In a week my travels could take me from a gala in New York, to an English country wedding via a yacht in The Bahamas. It was incredible!

I was constantly searching for unique wardrobe wonder pieces that could do it all. I wanted something super high quality that would pack well, offer versatility and not date in ultra-flattering cuts with an eye-catching pop of print, colour or originality… the dress that had it all!!

It was then I realized there was a gap in the market for such a dress when I failed to find a designer that consistently offered these qualities for under £500.

That is when I started making dresses for myself and then for my friends. I worked round the clock to do everything from designing the prints, negotiating with manufacturers and mailing out dresses. I had so many setbacks and a lot of humbling lessons, but finally found five cuts I was happy with. I launched my first collection in May 2017.

The dresses were an immediate hit – within two months the first collection was sold out!!

 

Silje wears The Breezy dress in Bunad Yves blue with Sophie Lis Spike hoops, short diamond surround Love Pendant and long gold chain wrapped twice around the neck for a chocker look.

3.) How did you make the idea of V&V a reality? Did you have textile and manufacturing training or did you teach yourself?

Before modeling I studied Fine Art and History of Art. Throughout my ten year career I always continued to paint, focusing on female nudes, expressing strength, femininity and vulnerability.

As a result, the creative side of having a brand is the part that comes the most naturally to me and has been the best part by far. The business part of having a brand has been and still is a major learning curve.

I design what I want to wear - dream up dream dresses then make the dream a reality. I want to create wearable art.

Everything else – the textile printing and manufacturing has been self-taught and a steep learning curve with many key lessons learnt on the way!!

Prior to launching, I took a Post-Grad in Branding & Brand Management at London School of Business and Finance to give me a small insight and spring board into the world of running a business which was really valuable.

4.) Was there a defining moment when you knew fashion was something which would be a big part of your life?

I have always loved clothes. Growing up I used to tailor my own clothes to make them fit how I wanted. My great grandmother was a seamstress so I guess it was in my blood. My grandmother is one of the most stylish women I know, even now at 80 years old, she is always put together with an effortless relaxed but undeniable elegance. Last summer we went the local beach together when I was back home in Kristiansand and she was rocking a two piece black high waisted 50’s bikini with a pair of lilac sunglasses.

She was the one who got me into vintage when I was a young girl, she always mixed new with old. High waisted looser  pants - tucked in tight sweaters with a vintage belt and a statement necklace on top is a go to look for her. Even now she rocks Valle and Vik, layering the shirt dresses over pants and sweaters - always the best dressed!!

The only job I had before modelling was a summer job at a clothing store in my home town. I just loved it, and more often than not, I wasn’t payed any salary due to spending everything I earned on clothes before the month was done!

When I started modelling my obsession with clothes/fashion only grew. I just love how the right dress or outfit can completely change how you feel and act. It’s more than just some external materialistic object - it can really transform you. I love seeing that joy and confidence boost in my clients when they wear Valle and Vik, it really is the biggest reward for me and makes it all worth it.

Silje wears the Cannes Do in Coral with Sophie Lis Fallen Moon Studs, Fallen Moon necklace and long Compass pendant. 

5.) Describe your average work day routine.

I get up 7/730am, make a pot of coffee or tea then put them on my tray and enjoy it in bed whilst going over emails etc. By 8.15am I’m in Hyde park getting some fresh air vitamin D and endorphins on my morning run whilst listening to a podcast, a book, music or nothing depending on where my heads at. I get home, showerand sit down at my desk with breakfast.

And that’s where the routine ends. Being the founder of a small but rapidly growing fashion brand, no day is ever the same. I have to wear so many hats and I have so many different people I work with depending on the day. I spend most days with my assistant, and whoever is working with me on a specific project, be it design, market strategies, accounting, production etc. I work best in a team as it forces me to focus on the specific task in front of me. If I work alone I get easily sidetracked as there are so many things that need my attention constantly. If I have to do real focused work alone I have to turn off all notifications on my laptop and phone and just set my alarm for 45 minutes allowing me to concentrate deeply.

If I have to do meetings I try to keep them to the afternoon as I find mornings and early afternoon to be my sacred work time.

My favourite days are design days, spending the day making my dreams a reality can’t be beaten. Receiving new samples is literally like Christmas to me, SO exciting!!

If I’ve been sitting down all day I love to finish the day with a boxing class at BXR or Psycle followed by Pho with my one of my fav girl boss friends. It is literally heavenly nourishment for body, soul and mind.

Silje also wears our Lightning Bolt bracelet with bespoke Coded eternity and Fallen Star ring

6.) What are the best and worst things about being your own girl boss?

The best is the amazing feeling of accomplishment and joy when I reach a goal or when my creations are well received. And when my vision has turned into a tangible thing and it all started with a thought that lead to an action then another then another - and then suddenly here we are! That is an amazing feeling, the feeling that you can do anything you put your mind to.

However, that same thing can also can feel overwhelming and daunting. The fact that it is all down to me and that I have to do everything.  I always feel like I’m not doing enough. There is always so much more I could do and should do.

Being your own boss is not for the faint hearted, you have to have self-discipline, patience, humility and be prepared to roll your selves up and work really really hard. You basically become your work and your work becomes you,  I think in the beginning at least, it’s hard or impossible to separate the two. You have to be passionate to the point of obsession. So I guess that’s good and bad - you are always working even when you are not you are, and finding a balance is an art form I am yet to master.

So the best part is; you are your own boss, and the worst part is; you are your own boss!!

Silje pictured again in the Cannes Do dress with two Shooting Star diamond earrings worn in the same ear, short gold surround Love pendant and long diamond surround Love pendant on her back.

7.) Describe your personal style and your go to, fail safe favourite items?

I would describe my personal style as pretty simple and laidback but always with a pop of colour or texture or something unexpected. I love mixing up layering, colours and prints. I love statement flats and bags to add contrast to whatever I am wearing.

I never really think of matching things. When I put together an outfit, it’s all about how I feel that day and it kind of just happens. When I go out - in the winter I am most likely in silk pants and a silk top with flats or ankle boots. For summer it is mostly Valle and Vik silk dresses, either alone or layered; like The Long Flirt over some vintage jeans and a silk cami for an effortless but pulled together look. I am quite fuss free in my style - in the sense that I don’t like too many frills and I do not wear a lot of makeup. I like simple elegant cuts in luxurious fabrics. I don’t feel like myself if I am wearing clothes or makeup that is too contrived. Some clothes wear you, but I like my clothes to enhance whatever I feel and whoever I am, or striving to be that day :)

My fail safe fav would be one of my long shirt dresses - The Long Flirt or shirt and silk pants  with some Aquazzura flats and a funky bag (at the moment it’s the velvet Gucci Bucket Bag) - some everyday sparkles (diamonds of course) mixed in with an art deco ring and lipliner pillow talk from Charlotte Tilbury and some blusher - et voila! 

Silje wears the City Slip in rust together with our Plain Diamond Hoop earrings, Spike Studs, Fallen Star and diamond surround Love pendant necklaces, Lightning Bolt bracelet and bespoke Coded and Fallen Star ring

 8.) Who are your style icons? Are there any influencers now you follow avidly?

My Grandmother mentioned above, always the best dressed at any occasion. Also I will always love Audrey Hepburn’s effortless chic style. So classic, so timeless.

9.) How important to you are accessories? What’s your favourite piece of Sophie Lis jewellery?

I love accessories, they complete any look. As stated before I am a complete bag and shoe fiend! I am “mildly”  obsessed with Aquazurra shoes, I love all their funky coloured flats and sexy strappy sandals. As for bags, I am not loyal to one brand but whatever has caught my attention. I love to mix it up and I love an unexpected clashing coloured bag.

I also love love love dainty sparkling jewellery - hence why I adore the entire Sophie Lis collection, especially the Fallen Star range. It ticks all the boxes for me, dainty and sparkling with an edge. I love jewellery I can live in that works with everything - basically everything Sophie Lis.

I also love costume jewellery pieces , art deco vintage finds - statement rings and earrings that you can layer with your everyday jewellery and just add a bit of fun to any outfit.

So with jewellery I like it delicate or big - no in-between.

My colours in the next collection are inspired by colours of jewels after a recent trip in Marrakech where I bought some amazing gems in the souks. It feels like treasure hunting so I called the collection the Treasure Trove as it was inspired by emeralds, rubies and sapphire colours.

Silje pairs the City Slip in Rust with her new matching headband and Sophie Lis Fallen Star hoop earrings

 10.) When you’re not in the office, where can we find you? Click your fingers and be…..

I’d be in Italy Positano on the Amalfi coast with my closest friends and family - eating pasta , sipping on rosé and jumping in the sea - maybe a spot of paddle boarding ( I’m excellent at it … lol … or am I?!!)

Silje wears wearing the "The Goddess" maxi dress in yellow together with Sophie Lis Lightning Bolt hoops, Spike Studs and long Compass pendant  

Click here to shop all Sophie Lis jewellery from the shoot

Click here to shop all Valle and Vik