• 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
Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert
Terrorism expert Ranstorp and a policeman in Norway. Photos: TT

Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert

A Swedish terrorism expert has come forward criticizing the way Norway has handled its recent terror threat, saying the day the threat began was a "total problem in intelligence". READ  

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

A nurse in southern Sweden has been reported for abuse at a senior care centre after she allegedly waved to a colleague with the hand of a recently-dead resident. READ  

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo
Plopp and Polly, the offspring of Pandora the panda. Photo: Kolmården

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo

A pair of red panda cubs have been born in central Sweden, a wildlife park announced on Monday. READ  

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

The Green Party's views are 88.6 percent "LGBT-friendly", a Swedish LGBT rights group claimed on Monday, making the Greens the most gay-friendly of all Sweden's parliamentary parties. READ  

Man held on suspicion of murdering wife
Police on the scene. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Man held on suspicion of murdering wife

Updated: Police arrested a man in Copenhagen on the suspicion of killing his wife, whose body was found at the couple's home in southern Sweden during the weekend. READ  

Arlanda, Stockholm
Lightning bolt grounds flight to New York

Lightning bolt grounds flight to New York

Swedes bound for New York learned on Monday morning that their plane had been cancelled after it was hit by lightning during Sunday's thunderstorm. READ  

Elderly Swedish man stripped of his 35 cats

Elderly Swedish man stripped of his 35 cats

The County Administrative Board of Skåne has decided to confiscate the 35 cats of an 81-year-old man who was forbidden from having more than nine of the furry felines. READ  

Wild weather set to strike Sweden anew
Photo: TT

Wild weather set to strike Sweden anew

With Sunday's thunderstorm reported as the worst of the year so far, Sweden is bracing for round two on Monday as meteorologists predict more of the same. READ  

Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high

Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high

Last year 1,600 people in Sweden took their own lives - and for Swedes aged 15 to 24, the numbers haven't been so high since 1989. READ  

Floods replace Swedish heatwave
The Viking Lines ferry pictured was ripped away from the dock as a result of the storm. Per Gustavsson / TT

Floods replace Swedish heatwave

The Swedish summer was washed away on Sunday as thunderstorms caused chaos in Stockholm, including torrents of water flooding down stairways at metro stations. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
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
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
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

729
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