Noëmi Rahel Siegfried
Artist and Designer
Where are you from and why did you decide to create El Llamafante?
I am a Swiss- Hungarian Artist and Process Designer, I’ve studied Postindustrial Design in my hometown Basel, Switzerland. Just before the Pandemic hit, I moved to Mexico City where I started creating my clothing & shoe brand El Llamafante.
I’ve always had a fascination for garments and have been collecting various styles from different eras throughout my life. Since I can remember, I’ve had an existential need to express myself through my clothes, perceiving my body as a canvas and using fabric and color to create an emotion rather than being trendy. I never cared about trends and rarely read fashion magazines like Vogue, or ELLE, it just didn’t interest me. For me the act of getting dressed has always been an act of creation.
Creating a mood and entering into a specific character without losing oneselve’s essence by perceiving life as a movie, a theater, or as a museum, where you are the artwork, the walking painting.
Coming from a very small, rather conservative town with zero appreciation for vibrant colors, I’ve always felt like an alien, a crazy bird. I needed to get out, to find a place that wasn’t grey and as perfect and boring as Switzerland.
My grandparents lived in Mexico City in the 60’s, they have brought a lot of beautiful objects back home, so I grew up playing with Mexican toys, wearing Mexican clothes, perceiving and being mesmerized by the color palette and magic of Mexico. For me it was always like imagining heaven until I visited Mexico for the first time in 2016 and realized that it really was heaven, at least for me. Since then I knew one day I am going to live in Mexico.
In Summer 2019 I’ve finally decided to take that step into the great unknown. Leaving everything – including my Swiss Residency – behind and stepping out of my comfort zone. I was quite nervous about my decision, because I didn’t know at that time what I was going to do there. So, one day I had a dream, where a surreal animal, a crossing between a lama and an elephant appeared to me from the sky, smiled at me and gave me a bag. The following day I knew, this was a sign and an affirmation that the path I’ve chosen to take on was the right one. I painted the animal on a large canvas, I’ve never really painted before, but I knew I should manifest and materialize this creature, I felt it was going to be important and meaningful to me.
In Mexico, when the Lockdowns started, I began to experiment with drawing. It was mostly automatic drawing, the technique the Surrealists used to approach the subconscious. I used this technique various times before in different projects. But it was the first time, that a very playful, happy and innocent world appeared in front of my eyes, with creatures that interacted with each other in curious, mysterious ways. I knew it was El Llamafante’s world. And I should pay attention to what he was going to reveal to me. After a few months, I’ve decided to use clay in order to create small three-dimensional sculptures of these creatures and at the same time, the idea of developing a fashion brand that would interact with them, appeared.
I decided to produce a collection based on the tiny sculptures, but wanted them to complement the looks, so I made them on a bigger scale using the technique of Papier mâché.
While I was in this process, I invented a story around El Llamafante, to really invoke an experience when entering his world. Each new collection is revealing three of El Llamafante’s friends and acquaintances, who are part of his realm and who are represented by the sculptures and the corresponding outfits.
In order to understand the story more easily, I am illustrating it as a comic. Each collection opens a new chapter.
So, to answer the question: I didn’t decide to create El Llamafante, El Llamafante appeared to me and is revealing his world to me and I am listenting to what he has to tell me.
What did you do before El Llamafante?
Before I moved to Mexico City and created El Llamafante, I was the singer of my music project Totem Nevada, for three years. After we had a tour in Mexico, the band broke up, so it was much easier for me to decide to move away from Switzerland.
I was also involved in various artistic projects, which you can check out on: www.noemirahelsiegfried.com
Is there any connection between your music project and the fashion brand you’ve created?
I think the only connection is that both outputs have their roots in the subconscious realm. We have always jammed for hours and all of our composed songs resulted from these sessions. The structures of our songs weren’t conventional.
The creative process of writing a song and to design a dress is very similar to me. I visualize melodies and words in colors and forms, the same happens with fabrics, so I place them in a certain order, I create a mood. It’s not that easy to explain, but I think the process is quite similar.
With Totem Nevada I was able to reveal a part of me that is obscure, heavy, sad and angry, emotions that we consider negative, but are important to pay attention to. El Llamafante on the other hand, is a luminous, childlike, innocent world, that I carry out, which I believe reconnects me – and hopefully others too – with their inner child.
Why do you use mostly primary colors?
I love primary colors; I think they are the purest of colors. They approve life.
Tell us something about your childhood that reminds you now of El Llamafante
I wanted to be a fashion designer when I was a child, I was always drawing dresses and outfits and what I loved to draw most were hats, huge, round shaped hats with a lot of flowers.
One of my earliest memories is one where I was four years old, I remember, I was sitting on the couch in our living room, bored of the white tights I was wearing, wanting them to be yellow. So, I took a yellow marker and started painting them. Later on, my mother came in, who of course got furious. Haha.
Another memory that reminds me of El Llamafante is, when I was a bit older, about fourteen years old. At that time I began travelling on my own, I started collecting post cards that would fit my outfits, and I pinned them onto my clothes.
How did you come up with the idea of an egg as the planet of El Llamafante?
I painted a bird when I was seven years old, I loved that bird. That specific bird became part of my signature, when I sign something, I draw that bird next to my name. So, I have this obsession with birds, even though I don’t know much about them. I think it’s more what they mean to me, and that is: Liberty. Their colorfulness and the way of bringing joy into the world through their songs is something that inspires me every day. The egg as representation of fertility and resurrection. The fact that the egg is hard outside and soft inside, the necessesity of breaking out of the shell to see the light of the sun –is for me– a sublime image. Moreover, I absolutely adore the shape of the egg.
One day I woke up and knew El Llamafante’s was born inside of an egg.
Who are your influences? What inspires you?
I am influenced by movies, poetry/books, music/dance, art, meaningful moments and of course people.
Alejandro Jodorowsky to name one, has a great influence on my work. Mostly his book Psychomagic that talks about the power of imagination. Other artists I admire are, Joan Miró, Nick Cave, David Bowie, Kubrick, Niki de Saint Phalle, Carmen Amaya (Flamenco in general) etc. And definitely the places and people I’ve met throughout my travelling’s around the world.
For whom did you create El Llamafante?
For everyone who dares to stand out, to be unique, to embrace color and to be art.
Besides Fashion, what else is El Llamafante for you?
El Llamafante is a magical world, is a heavenly world, is a funny world, is an inclusive world, is a world where the strangest creatures find a home.
I hope that the spirit of the brand has a positive impact on our dying planet, it tries to be a healing balm for the great open wound.
Links: Website: www.el-llamafante.com
Personal website: www.noemirahelsiegfried.com