Last month, Swedish womenswear brand Odd Molly opened its first concept store in Stockholm, just around the corner from Östermalmstorget. The new shop provides the label with a way to demonstrate what the brand is all about, which creative director Per Holknekt says can be summed up in their core values: love, courage and integrity.
“Courage is about being daring. We don’t want to buy into the rules of the fashion world,” he says. Rather, their goal is to create wearable outfits that women will wear as much on their days off as when they are in the office.
Indeed, Odd Molly’s bold, ethno- and boho-inspired patterns and prints break out of the mould of the sleek, black pieces that come out of many Swedish fashion studios, such as Filippa K and Camilla Norrback.
Holknekt says Odd Molly is slightly allergic to black, particularly when it comes to their clothes.
“Black is easy,” he explains, adding that they haven’t yet designed a black piece, although he admits a few of their garments are “almost black.”
This out-of-the-ordinary design approach is also translated into the carefully considered interior of the new store on Humlegårdsgatan. The interior features gigantic hand-crocheted steel fences, old lacquered walls for wallpaper and an über plush round pink couch.
Other touches, which Holknekt calls “feel-good details,” include a small floral shop and a complimentary loaf of bread with every purchase. The company’s emphasis on the handmade and craftsmanship also breathe throughout the space.
On this point, they are arguably among the ranks of high-end Swedish knitwear designers such as Dagmar and Sandra Backlund. Holknekt says that some of their sweaters can take up to 60 hours to create.
“We like handmade. Handmade is imperfect and adds lots of character,” he says, adding that many of their designs cannot be done by machine.
Odd Molly produces its garments in China, India, Portugal, Turkey, Morocco and Italy. Their philosophy extends from design to production. According to product manager Kristin Roos, who is responsible for CSR, “we are very careful when we select our suppliers to make sure that they live up to our Code of Conduct, which all of them have to sign. Up until now, we do inspections at the factories ourselves, but our goal is to start third-party-revisions this year.”
She adds that while they don’t promote any specific part of their collection as fair trade or ecological, they strive to incorporate such values at every level of the organization.
Since its inception in 2002, the brand has grown rapidly both at home and abroad. Like many other Swedish fashion companies, Odd Molly does most of its business overseas, with 1500 retailers in 38 countries.
Besides its home base of Sweden, the company’s largest markets are Norway, Germany, Denmark, the United States, Italy and the UK. According to Holknekt, 80 percent of Odd Molly’s sales are abroad.
Other recent initiatives at Odd Molly include the launch of a skincare line with Danish fashion model Helena Christiansen. They are also working on a range of eyewear to be released in 2010.
Holknekt says the company will evaluate the outcome of the new Stockholm store before deciding whether or not to open up any concept shops elsewhere, although he mentions their ideal goal is to have one store in every market where they operate in the next three to four years.
For the time being, however, “our concept store is an opportunity to speak our own truth,” he says.