Photography: Angelina Bergenwall
Model: Anzie Dasabe
Fashion: Lina Michal
You left Sweden for New York. How have you developed as a designer since then?
When I moved four years ago, I was in a strange new-start-phase of life. I appreciated the feeling of being completely alone. It was easy to reinvent myself, no one had anything to compare with. I let go of parts of my personality that was overly concerned with planning and very anxious. I said yes to everything I was invited to and practiced away (most of) my Swedish dialect. A strange side effect of not speaking your native language eventually came to light when I found someone I fell in love with. In English, it was easier to say what you sincerely were thinking and to show vulnerability. We probably would not have been married today if we had met "in Swedish".
Your own collections have often been described as romantic explosions. But since we talked to you lately, you have now started working on Nike in the United States.
Before I got my current job, I flirted more with the idea of sportswear and streetwear, I often felt torn between the part of me that likes sheerness and embellishments, and the one that likes technical details and clean influences. With my job at Nike, I have to keep myself from their aesthetic, it's part of the agreement. But it's almost a relief that I have to return to something more romantic to be able to keep my brand.
You won the Vogue Talents Young Vision Award 2013 and have since received a lot of attention for your creations internationally. Where do you see you and your design in the future?
The biggest challenge has always been to relate to the idea that, as a fashion designer, you often have to pump out products in the world to cope economically. I've never really managed to feel that's okay. It's hard to justify your creations when the industry is so saturated already with both interesting and bland designers. When it comes down to it, maybe people like what I do, but I really am not needed in todays landscape, at least not on a larger scale.
It's wrestling with that thought that has gotten me in on a course towards an atelier and the idea is to launch my atelier right in the spring, for example with a fashion film I recorded in New York in August. In this format I'm allowed to make fewer, more advanced, customized items than before.
You have previously questioned why Scandinavian design is so restrictive in its design language. Do you feel freeer now that you do not create in Sweden?
I remember feeling like that, but if I look at the Swedish brands we have today, I do not really understand why. There are a lot of creators who feel life-giving and unlimited. But although it is an inspiring time for Swedish fashion, the general Swede is bound in our aesthetic. We all have the same hairstyles, jeans and vases from Svenskt Tenn. In the United States, I feel a bit more free to test things out and am not as afraid of my own "bad taste".
You have previously described your style as changeable. Where would you say that you are aesthetically now?
I have always felt a bit of shame over my attraction to dresses, silk and bright pastels, feminine crafts, embroidery and so on. Sometimes it feels like I spent the past ten years working on the unnecessary shame that it's just that kind of feminine that comes most natural to me. I always wrestle with the idea that it is not enough. Recently I have tried to un-program those feelings that hinder me. Now I'm steering into the feeling, and I know I've met the right point when it turns out to be something more fleshy. A mantra I had when I directed my fashion film was "if it has to be sweet, make sure it's sticky". Preferably, I want to end up just between poetic and vulgar, I'm not really there yet, but I'm not in a hurry either.