• 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
Getinge Floods
Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues
Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues

UPDATED: The flood in southern Sweden spread further on Wednesday, with forecasters predicting rain all week. With the defence minister on the scene, officials have warned that up to 8,000 households risk evacuation. READ  

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'

Foreign and Finance Ministers Carl Bildt and Anders Borg held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss how Sweden was being affected by a "less secure" world, and how it would foot the bill for a growing influx of refugees. READ  

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion
Volvo Cars chief executive Håkan Samuelsson. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion

The now Chinese-owned Volvo Car Group announced a return to profits on Wednesday - thanks to the Swedish brand's popularity in China. READ  

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad donated a gift to his hometown on Wednesday to the tune of 53 million kronor ($7.7 million). The cash is to be used for developing the area. READ  

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire
Photo: Fanni Olin Dahl/TT

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire

The Slussen tunnel in Stockholm began billowing out black smoke on Wednesday afternoon. Police believe that the fire was connected to an attempted robbery earlier in the day. READ  

Elections 2014
Parties duel as refugee costs rocket
Photos: TT

Parties duel as refugee costs rocket

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and opposition leader Stefan Löfven clashed on Wednesday after the Migration Board asked for more money to handle Sweden's influx of refugees. READ  

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages
The Sami in northern Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages

Did you know there are five official minority languages in Sweden? The Local's Isabela Vrba finds out what they are, how they're protected, and what rights their speakers have. READ  

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

More and more Swedish boys are born with deformed penises, and researchers are uncertain exactly what's behind the increase. READ  

The Local List
What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet
Photos: Shutterstock/Imagebank Sweden

What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet

The Local Sweden has been asking readers to squeeze their view of Sweden into just 140 characters or less. Here's what you came up with up for #SwedeninaTweet. READ  

Sweden and the Bronx
Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx
The Bronx. Photo:Shutterstock.

Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx

What do the Bronx and Sweden have in common? More than an affiliation with the Yankees, it turns out. And one small Swedish town is about to make that abundantly clear. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Politics
"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Society
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
National
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Society
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
'Assange will not leave until safe'
Gallery
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Shutterstock
Lifestyle
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
National
Food agency warns girls: 'Don't eat stinky fish'
Politics
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
Gallery
People-watching August 16-17
National
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Society
Top ten literal Swedish words
Politics
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Gallery
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Politics
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
National
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Politics
Swedish politician proposes ban on begging
National
Swede asks for epidural and gets disinfectant
National
Swede reports 'expensive' sex to police
Education
Sweden plans to scrap SFI for adult education
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits 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

686
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
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