Meet Janina Pedan – the pioneering set designer taking the fashion industry by storm.
She is softly spoken, each of her sentences thoroughly considered; she is magnetic in her unassuming charm. The body of her work shows parity to her physical presence: it is thoughtful and precise, never overwrought, always respectful of the creations it supports. Whether she is creating a Japanese-inspired set for AnOther Magazine’s Lea Seydoux cover story, or the window displays and assortment of furnishings for Simone Rocha’s Mount Street store, her work is simultaneously quiet yet powerful: through its economy, it speaks volumes. In an industry that can often be seen to celebrate a brash loudness, it is utterly refreshing. “In fashion, you meet so many people with attitude,” she reflects. “They’re so unnecessarily horrible and have this really strong hierarchical approach about where you belong. That’s so discouraging; if you have creative intentions – especially if you’re new – then you want to try things out, and see if it works. You need to have someone open-minded to pick up on that; . I feel like only a few are doing something meaningful, somehow, not just putting out a ton of collections or pictures.”
She studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths before being afforded a grant from the Swedish Art Council permitting her free creative reign. She now executes her set design with a similarly thoughtful approach. Born in Ukraine before moving to Sweden, London relieves Pedan from the “social claustrophobia” of Stockholm: She shares “in London, you just move from one area to the next and no one knows who you are. There’s a pleasurable type of freedom that comes with that.” It is this cosmopolitan eclecticism and openness that marks her work, and that of her collaborators, each challenging hegemony in their own unique way. “We were born into the world that we’re in,” she summates, “but it doesn’t mean we can’t try to change the situation, because it’s not working for the majority of the world. Some people might have something to lose if things change, but I don’t think creativity is one of them.”