Portfolio of the Month: Spotlight on Swedish fashion designer Annika Wieselblad
For the style-conscious, February only means one thing: Fashion Week. But as the collective eyes of the fashion world dart feverishly between the runways of Paris, Milan, Berlin, New York and London, the savvy shopper will tell you it’s all about the Swedish labels right now.
Behind the ritz and swagger of the global players, Sweden has long been honing its own brand of sultry sartorial cool, boasting brands like Acne, Cos, Cheap Monday and, of course, H&M. We caught up with Annika Wieselblad, who’s the vision behind the hotly-tipped Stockholm-based design label, Wieselblad. Handpicked by the Swedish Fashion Council as one of the most exciting new labels in town, she now sells in six stores across Sweden and Berlin (and online).
How would you describe the Wieselblad style?
I’m all about the soft, minimalist feel, but with my own twist. I like the idea of clothes as a protective shield against the outside world, so the fall and the form of the clothing is particularly important to me.
How did you get into fashion design?
I started to sew when I was ten years old. My grandparents gave my sister and me a sewing machine, but I was the only one that used it. I’d remake old garments, and eventually started making my own stuff. My grandfather also gave us a guitar, but by then the sewing machine held all the power. Later I studied fashion design, and just decided to go for it.
What was it like setting up your own label?
Setting up your own label is not easy. Seriously, not going bankrupt in the first year has been my biggest achievement in this business so far. There are so many parts to the job you have to learn on your feet. It's no good just being creative: you've got to get some business instinct. You have to be able to multitask.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
One season I was really in to Greek mythology. Another season I just read Dylan Thomas poems. There are always different film and music influences when I’m at the drawing board stage. It all depends on which mood I’m in, I guess. But it’s always rooted in my desire for form, quality and individuality.
If you could show at any fashion week, which would you choose? Which city’s style excites you the most?
I would love to show at London Fashion Week. Although New York’s scene is so exciting, too. But I’m moving to London for a while, so I’ll stay loyal and say London.
How would you describe the fashion scene in Sweden?
It’s a fantastic, booming scene here right now, with a lot of new brilliant designers and brands. It’s not as big as Paris or New York, obviously, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. There’s definitely a Swedish ‘look’, though — I think a lot of Swedish designers choose to work in darker, more muted colors because of the weather. Because let’s face it, it’s cool here 7 months a year.
Whom would you most like to dress?
I’d like to dress Chloë Sevigny or our own homegrown Swedish popstar, Lykke Li.
What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers?
Work hard in what you believe and don't ever give up. Nurture your talent carefully. But if you work hard, everything will be OK.
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