• 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

As industry heavyweights send models down the catwalks at Mercedes Benz Stockholm Fashion Week, 14 students rallied for their own show. The Local’s Ann Törnkvist caught up with two of them.

“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
Sponsored Article
On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends
House keys: Shutterstock.

On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends

Finding somewhere to live when you move to Sweden is a challenge. With changes afoot The Local caught up with an expert from letting agency Residensportalen to find out in what direction the market is going, and how Google Glasses may just help you find your dream home. READ () »

The Local List
Ten most disgusting Swedish foods
Salty liquorice, anyone? Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Ten most disgusting Swedish foods

Swedish food is, of course, a matter of taste. But it's mostly disgusting. Our loyal followers on Twitter and Facebook shared what they thought were the worst of them all. READ () »

Sweden wants cruise missiles 'for defence'
Defence Minister Karin Enström. File photo: TT

Sweden wants cruise missiles 'for defence'

The Swedish government has announced plans to beef up its defence forces by fitting its fleet of Gripen fighter jets with long-range cruise missiles. READ () »

Swede of the Week
Sweden's oldest would-be MP: 'They promised I wouldn't get in'
Swedes vote in the 2010 elections. File photo: Dan Hansson/TT

Sweden's oldest would-be MP: 'They promised I wouldn't get in'

Gösta Arvedson, 89, is the oldest Riksdag candidate in Sweden, but our Swede of the Week explains that the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) had to make some unusual promises for him to put his name forward. READ () »

Elections 2014
Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote
The Green Party is one of only two parties devoting their websites to the EU elections. Here campaign manager Emma Rung presents the party's posters. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote

The majority of Swedes feel the country's political parties are not doing enough to inform them about the upcoming European Parliament elections. Only two of the eight parties have dedicated their homepages to the May 25th polls. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping Brawl
Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders
Swedish police on the scene following Monday's fatal brawl. File: TT

Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders

The Syrian-Orthodox Church in Ektorp had tried to quell tensions between two rival families just hours before bad blood spilled into a massive brawl and two brothers lost their lives. READ () »

JobTalk Sweden
'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'
The bridge that connects Sweden to the European continent. File: L.E. Daniel Larsson/Flickr

'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'

The Swedish agency that helps Europeans fight impediments to the EU principle of free movement has revealed an increase in complaints, including one from a foreign citizen unable to open a bank account in Sweden. READ () »

Eurovision 2014
Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip
Sanna Nielsen in the new clip. Photo: YouTube (screenshot)

Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip

Sweden's Eurovision hopeful Sanna Nielsen released the official video for the song Undo on Wednesday, a clip featuring leather, slow motion destruction, and a frozen pig's heart and some violence. READ () »

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds
Swedish apartments. File: The Local

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds

A Swedish landlord suspects that a property fixer has set up a software robot to sign up for new flats on the market within seconds, and is charging house hunters to use the service. READ () »

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'

Twenty-five fire fighters were on hand on Wednesday night when a fire broke out in a southern Sweden animal park. The vast majority of the animals were unharmed, but the cluster of spiders wasn't so lucky. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 23
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Advertisement:
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
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 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

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

720
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