Countdown To Runway

IDRS 15 Files #7: What Designer Jeanette Svensk Li Is Crushing On

On travel-inspired designs, luxury must-haves, and why you'll never see her in yoga pants.

By Aoife Reilly September 21, 2015

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Image via Jeanette Svensk Li

With the sold out show less than three days away, eight local designers are currently putting the finishing touches to their presentations before they take to the stage for the Independent Designer Runway Showcase. Included in the lineup is Mercer Island-based designer Jeanette Svensk Li and her label Cute Like Mad.

Hailing from Sweden, her creations bear all the qualities of Scandinavian design—unfussy silhouettes, cool color tones, and sleek tailoring. After moving to Seattle in 2008, she began designing her own clothes and soon Cute Like Mad was born. Using natural materials Svensk Li’s ready-to-wear fall collection (which she will present on Wednesday) features a mix of printed bomber jackets, tailored coats, and harem-style jersey pants.

Favorite style blog?
I can’t choose just one—I like Look De PernilleKarla’s Closet, and Just Another.

Best Instagram feed?
My favorites are chiaraferragni,, tmagazine, blairz, thepouf, and amyschumer.

Who does your hair?
I do. I cut, bleach, and color it myself. Sometimes, once a year or so, I have to go to a hairdresser and clean up the mess I have made but I don’t like to!

What item of clothing or accessory has been in heavy rotation this month?
My rayon matte jersey pernilla pants. They are from my AW15 collection and will return again for spring. You’ll see them on the runway on September 23. They are so comfy and versatile and you can dress them up or down. They are my obvious go-to pants. I am always a little overdressed. Why keep something in the closet if you love it? Just use it, put it on, and feel fabulous. You will never catch me in yoga pants, unless I am stepping out from a workout. I now wear a lot of my Cute Like Mad clothes, not to show off my stuff, but because I love them and they are perfect for my lifestyle.

What item of clothing or accessory would you buy right now if you could?
I hanker for a Chanel 'Boy' bag but they don’t make the one that I want anymore.

Favorite coffee shop or café?
Having lived in San Francisco I am a Peet’s Coffee and Tea girl, but my local Starbucks is great too. If I want to get fancy I go to Homegrown that recently opened on Mercer Island, they have great Stumptown coffee.

Best restaurant you’ve tried lately?
I haven’t had the time to go out in Seattle this year because I am so busy working when I’m home. But this summer I went to some awesome restaurants including Temple Restaurant in Beijing, Sun Tung Lok in Hong Kong, and Prinsen in Stockholm.

Soundtrack for a Sunday afternoon?
Ed Sheeran in concert: Multiply Live in Dublin.

Seattleite you’d most like to meet?

Where’s your next travel destination?
Taiwan. My oldest daughter is an exchange student there. I won’t see her until March.

What inspires you as a designer?
I get inspiration everywhere, yet travel seems to be the most intense source of ideas for me. My AW15 collection is inspired by San Francisco but the SS16 collection is inspired by Iceland. I get inspiration from architecture and museums. I love to imagine how I can turn garments, which were constructed and designed a long time ago, into something current and modern. Music is also important to me—I always listen to music when I work.

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