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Ann Ringstrand spent over two decades working in fashion, as co-founder of the ready-to-wear label Hope. When the fast pace started to exhaust rather than excite, she decided to quit the industry for good. Her love of designing wasn’t as easy to leave behind, however. Ringstrand coupled a newfound devotion to mindfulness with a distinctly Scandinavian aesthetic to launch her own collection of ceramics, fragrances, jewelry and studio wear. She shares her experience creating Ann Ringstrand.

Why did you make the transition from fashion design to ceramics and fragrances?
Designing is my passion. I’ve always told my two children that my fashion brand was my third baby. But a few years ago, we showed at Paris Fashion Week. Everything was like a dream and, still, something was missing. I realized I had trouble being present in my life. It was actually my daughter who recognized it. She said, “You look at me, but you don’t hear me.” That really bothered me.

How did you address those feelings?
I bought a book on mindfulness and began to practice staying present, while brushing my teeth or going to the gym.

What role do the senses play in mindfulness?
I started really tasting and smelling as part of that practice. No matter which city I was in, I would search for places to buy essential oils and things like that. But it was hard because I didn’t like the packaging or the aesthetics.

How did that frustration lead to the collection?
I realized there must be other people longing for something modern—every oil burner seemed to have a lotus flower on it. I worked with a small porcelain factory outside of Stockholm to create a collection of ceramics, including an oil burner, and I designed a modern mala, the beaded necklace used in meditation, inspired by Swedish designs from the ’60s.

Tell me about your fragrances.
I developed three scents inspired by relationships: Ground, Gather and Touch. Ground is about the relationship you have with yourself, and it smells earthy, like rain on limestone in the morning—something really grounding. Gather supports social relationships. It’s very green and woody. I imagine a dinner table set among pine trees, with lots of herbs on the table. The last scent, Touch, is a warm fragrance about the relationship you have with one other human being.

Your Scandinavian heritage shows in your designs. Does it also come through in your fragrances?
They have integrity, which I think is Scandinavian. They also resonate with the elements that you associate with Sweden: stone, the ocean, air.

You travel frequently. What’s the first thing you do when you return home to Sweden?
I go into my kitchen and make a cup of tea. Then I give the flowers some water because they’re always dry when I come back. I have two almost-teenagers, and I try not to bug them with unimportant things. When I come home the house is messy, but I just breathe deeply and try to see what’s really important.

Have you reconciled the feeling that something was missing from your life?
I used to ask myself, “Do we need more fashion?” It’s a challenge as a designer, giving the world something it needs. I’m interested in contributing to people’s wellbeing, and I’ve found a new reason to design.

This story originally appeared on Skandiastyle.

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