• Sweden edition
 
Stockholm Fashion Week
Stockholm students debut design collections
New Swedish designers make fashion week splash

Stockholm students debut design collections

Published: 30 Jan 2013 15:43 GMT+01:00
Updated: 30 Jan 2013 15:43 GMT+01:00

“I would rather they were nervous than they were not. It’s very emotional and it can be a very intimidating thing to be part of fashion week,” says teacher Marie O’Connor two days before the Wednesday show.

Fourteen bachelor’s candidates in their second year of a three-year course are sleeping and eating in the warren of ateliers at Beckmans Design School in Östermalm, Stockholm.

For the past 12 weeks, they have been learning new techniques – everything from weaving to knitting – to tackle their sources of inspiration and knead them into a finished collection.

“From an educational point of view, the project is bigger than the show,” says O’Connor, who explains there is a fair amount of tweaking along the way.

O’Connor, a graduate of the Glasgow Art School who went on to work for a decade in London, is teaching in Stockholm for her second academic year.

Yet even in the UK, she says, there is a certain awareness of what's happening among Swedish designers.

“I don’t like to generalize but there’s kind of a nice darkness about some things I see coming out from the smaller labels in Sweden,” says O’Connor.

“There are fewer decorative elements for decoration’s sake, it is more fashion about fashion, with elements of re-imagining what clothing is, what fashion is and what fashion can be.”

The Beckmans show on Wednesday is less of a fashion bellwether than the much-scrutinized graduate shows such as for example Central Saint Martins – a key highlight of London’s fashion week where editors sniff out emerging talent.

The Beckmans show is a different beast entirely. Many of the students are young, many still experimenting. This doesn't, however, preclude some creations from setting the tone for a designer’s future work, or homing in on an upcoming trend.

SEE PICTURES OF STUDENTS NHINA SVENSSON'S AND MOA SJÖSTEDT'S OUTFITS

“Some students already know where they want to be placed in the world of fashion and whether it’s commercial," says O'Connor. "Or non-commercial as an artist treating what one does more as an extension of yourself."

“There are designs that will become a trend, or commercially viable later on. And that’s what fashion is about, it’s projecting, it’s the future, it’s not doing a version of what is out there, it’s about understanding the zeitgeist or feeling what’s in the air and knowing what the next thing is.”

If her students agree with her or not, they seem rather unconcerned by it.

“I think we are subconsciously tapped into trends, as there is constant input, but for me I’d rather step away from it,” says Nhina Svensson, 21, who is stitching the coat tails of a man's jacket.

“I’d rather find myself.”

Svensson is preparing a five-piece collection with two men’s outfits. The jacket she is finishing combines sports mesh and panels of a utility-like fabric. Her outfits are layered, many with knits she herself has developed.

“Layers of netting become more dense, but it still aerates. I like that paradox,” she says.

Her collection merges capes, netting and functionality into a blend of the Super Bowl and the Night’s Watch but still has a soft touch through dense but gentle layering.

“Future employers may be sitting in the front row,” Svensson says with a soft shrug. “But my outfits don’t need to be garments to be worn or sold.”

She slips a black scarf with five different knits around her neck – both the texture and the size of the yarn are wildly different. Some of their forebears are pinned to a mood board at Svenssson’s work station, next to cut-out images from the clean-up efforts at Fukushima, scene of the nuclear accident following the devastating tsunami off the coast of Japan in 2011.

“I was supposed to go to Japan on holiday when the accident happened. I cancelled the holiday. It felt odd to be a tourist in a country in crisis,” Svensson says.

Yet, the rescue efforts were to form the basis of her collection, looking at utility and protective gear in a new light.

One photo shows the blue crinkled plastic of shoe protectors slipped over a heavy workman’s boot. The image has made its way into Svensson’s collection as she dipped the toe of clunky ankle boots straight into see-through silicone.

“I’m designing for a person who is engaged in what they wear. I don’t think the H&M jeans and t-shirt set are my target group.”

Svensson cites Alexander McQueen and Yohji Yamamoto as designers she looks up to.

“It’s a fact that a lot of us will be snapped up by H&M, but I want to go to Central Saint Martins,” she says with a smile.

SEE PICTURES OF ALL 14 STUDENTS' CREATIONS AT MERCEDES BENZ STOCKHOLM FASHION WEEK

A few desks down, her colleague Moa Sjöstedt, 26, also cites a Japanese designer as inspiration – Issey Miyake, known in fashion circles as the king of pleats. And there are pleats galore in the three intricate outfits that Sjöstedt is preparing.

A white dress plays with the light in folds of silk organza, a fabric Sjöstedt calls “both heavy and fragile”, while a more solid creation to its right uses cotton canvas, a textile that the designer at first thought would be too unyielding for her purposes.

In both dresses, the pleats juxtapose with different fabrics and patterns – a burgundy shoulder patch festooned with coarse orange stitching, or a mock weave that actually consists of strands of thick yarn glued into a cohesive streamlined fabric, then painted for added texture.

“The different surfaces meet each other, a bit like a landscape,” Sjöstedt says.

She has a background in drawing and collages, both media that have made their way into her inspiration scrapbook. It is packed so tightly with references that it looks swollen, near sodden.

She has included work from artist Agnes Martin in there - "whose frenetic repetition makes the drawings look like textile,” Sjöstedt says.

Pictures of artist Sheila Hicks' woven art are also glued onto the scrapbook’s thick black pages.

Second year student or not, Sjöstedt feels no commercial pressure, in fact she thinks wearability cannot be the sole focus of fashion.

“Why ask who’ll wear this instead of seeing it as an idea, a proposal?” she asks.

Like Svensson, Sjöstedt wants to keep studying after Beckmans, although her sights are set either on the mixed media textile master’s at the Royal College of Art in London, or moving into the art world.

Her intellectual bent is clear as she muses tentatively while touching the different panels of handcrafted materials and discussing the techniques she used and what they achieved.

The heavy cotton, for example, allowed her to slice its edges once it was already in place on the mannequin. She has, during the 12-week project, tried her hand at traditional pattern-making, but reverted to building her outfits directly on the doll.

And although she operates further from the fashion mainstream than many of her colleagues, she is quick to defend the industry.

“It’s easy to look down on fashion, as it’s a profession by women for women,” Sjöstedt says.

“The fashion industry should be held responsible for the environmental problems of over-consumption and for working conditions, but no more than other industries – I’m sure car manufacturing has its hidden secrets,” she says.

“But because people view clothes as superfluous and fashion as superficial it’s easier to be judgmental.”

Ann Törnkvist

Follow Ann on Twitter here

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
My Swedish Career
American teams up with Swede to beat cancer
Matthew Volsky holding the Gynocoular colposcope which is used for screening cervical cancer. Photo: Gynocoular

American teams up with Swede to beat cancer

When Matthew Volsky first came to Sweden he didn't think he would stick around. Six years and a pioneering invention later he tells The Local about the medical device which is helping save lives around the world. READ  

Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Arla organic milk. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth

Swedes are spending more and more of their food budget on organic foodstuffs, with major supermarkets reporting double digit increases, according to new statistics. READ  

Swedish police warn of rogue pregnant cow
The cow pictured is not the one in the story, and presumably not cranky. Photo: Mike Groll/TT

Swedish police warn of rogue pregnant cow

Police in southern Sweden have issued a public warning about a pregnant cow on the loose, after two people were sent to the hospital after a hustle with the heifer. READ  

SAS and Norwegian suspend Israel flights
Photo: Matt Rourke/TT

SAS and Norwegian suspend Israel flights

About 170 passengers planning to fly to Stockholm on Wednesday have been stranded in Tel Aviv, with flights between the cities cancelled due to a missile striking near the airport. READ  

Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Photo: Mark Lennihan/TT

Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax

With EU countries' treatment of Bitcoin varying vastly, Sweden has asked for clear EU rules stipulating whether or not the cryptocurrency should be taxed. READ  

Google in failed bid for Sweden's Spotify
Photo: Spotify

Google in failed bid for Sweden's Spotify

US Internet giant Google tried last year to buy Sweden-based streaming music service Spotify, but pulled out due to the beefed-up price tag, according to a media report on Tuesday. READ  

Motorists in sticky drama after jam spill

Motorists in sticky drama after jam spill

Drivers in western Sweden were forced to jam on the brakes after a van shed its load of preserves and juices which led to major traffic problems. READ  

Property of the Week
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

Why settle for owning a house when you can own part of the island it is located on? This week's property allows you to get your money's worth of solitude while spending some time with your closest neighbour - the sea. READ  

Saab buys Swedish submarine shipyard
File photo: TT

Saab buys Swedish submarine shipyard

Swedish defence and aeronautics group Saab said Tuesday it had completed the acquisition of German heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp's submarine shipyard in southern Sweden. READ  

Opinion
'The Danish narrative on Sweden is based on a lie'
File photo: Shutterstock

'The Danish narrative on Sweden is based on a lie'

There is a popular narrative that in Sweden people bite their tongues while in Denmark they speak their minds; political commentator Brian Esbensen debunks this, arguing that Danes simply find it easier to criticize others. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Blog updates

22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »

 

22 July

PROTECTING GIRLS FROM ABUSE OF THEIR RIGHTS (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today (22 July) my Prime Minister, David Cameron, and UNICEF, are hosting the world’s first #GirlSummit in London. The Summit’s aim is to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end the appalling practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Early Forced Marriage (CEFM). This is a high priority for the UK government and the Prime..." READ »

 
 
 
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Gallery
People-watching July 11-13
National
Malmö mayor slams Danish beggar ban
National
Swedish anti-abortion midwife sues county
National
Swede's salary chopped for Facebook use
National
Northern Sweden warmest in 90 years
Gallery
'Victoria Day': Crown Princess Victoria turns 37
Politics
Mona Sahlin to fight extremism in Sweden
National
EU tells Sweden to cover up snus flavours
Society
Swede snags assassin role in Tom Cruise film
Lifestyle
Top ten ways to spend a few days in Malmö
Gallery
Swedish summer tourism highlights
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

694
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se