A company that celebrates personality
KOMUDESIGNS IS A BRAND OFFERING BESPOKE ITEMS SUCH AS RIDING & WALKING SKIRTS, CAPES, 18TH-CENTURY GARB, custom SEWING PATTERNS, GRAPHIC DESIGN SERVICES & MUCH MORE. But who is behind it?
My name is Madelene Dahlberg & I’m the creator of KOMUDESIGNS.
I’m 32 years old and live in the Swedish countryside with my dog. The horse is housed at a stable a bike ride away as he won’t fit in the apartment. Jokes aside – I have a degree in graphic design and a love for sewing. I am primarily self-taught from an early age, although I have participated in several courses and workshops over the years to solidify my knowledge and expertise.
This company exists on a part time basis – I normally work 2-4 hours a week, never more than 5, and some weeks not at all. Therefore ordering time and the occasional waitlist varies but you’ll always be told an estimate before confirming your order.
Well, I had to come up with a name for a graduation project in 2010. I mashed up the word designs with a nickname from my cosplay days and had a giggle over it since translated into Swedish, it literally means “cow” “moo”, and I’ve always liked cows. Then I needed a website for a portfolio, and the name stuck. The company itself I created out of sheer frustrated stubbornness.
I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression early on, then with severe chronic migraines and later with Autism. Time and time again, I was told I’d likely never be able to work. This is where my Autism kicks in with its laser focus on certain interests.
Mine? Horses, design and sewing. I started riding as soon as I could walk, and I was a kid draping curtains on mum’s dress form and drawing on any scrap bit of paper I could find. A teen getting into cosplay, graphic design and photography. An adult delving into historical sewing, corsetry & embroidery. Riding wear was a surprise, however.
I gained 40 kg from a migraine treatment and quickly found it frustrating to shop for equestrian wear, especially for winter. I live in Sweden, it gets cold! I only ride outside and our stable has no heating. The ready-made clothes I found were either too short, too small, or pocketless. So I started drafting and took inspiration from history. I wanted big skirts that covered the horse & comfortable travelling capes. I found suppliers that cared about their worker’s rights and the environment. I try to live a fairly sustainable life – I wanted the clothes to reflect that.
After I made my own, friends started asking for them. I did a limited trial run and had several heartbreaking requests of “Can you make this skirt despite my size?” “Am I too big? Too small?”
This isn’t how it should be. People of all shapes ride, walk and hike.
Launch of the company
I lost the extra weight again but was still frustrated. I wanted to work, even if it was only for an hour a week, and I wanted to make clothes that FIT. The portfolio was quickly converted into a proper company website and KOMUDESIGNS Kommanditbolag was was registered as a business at the beginning of 2020.
My diagnoses have long felt like stop signs, but in reality, they turned out to be the very thing that made this whole thing possible.
What’s happening now
You might have noticed that my website looks a little different – you can’t order any physical skirts or caped. I’ve decided to pause the production of these and focus on the sale of custom sewing patterns – so you can still make your own, and it’ll fit just a perfectly as the physical skirts did!
This decision is partly due to health (me + sitting at sewing machine = more migraines) and lack of time – I’m currently working on several folk costume projects that take up most of my time.
However – IF I have the time over for a skirt or cape I will advertise this on my Instagram, and it’ll be first come, first serve, so follow komudesigns there so you don’t miss out!