A common theme running through my last few posts has been the spreading influence of Swedish fashion worldwide. Another is that perhaps the perception of Swedish fashion as a one-trick pony (“cool minimalism”) should start being revised. Both are especially the case when you view contemporary Swedish fashion alongside its other design cousins: textiles, furniture, product design, graphic design, etc.
Let’s look at some internationally renowned Swedish design: Orrefors produce exquisite glass, but they are not afraid to push the boat out a little and even recently landed Karl Lagerfeld as a collaborator. Multi-disciplinary design studio Claesson Koivisto Rune believe in entertaining through design, which comes shining through in their furniture, lighting, buildings and interiors. Meanwhile, Svenskt Tenn and 10-gruppen – predominantly known for their textiles – allow bold colours, prints and whimsy to run riot. Do you feel that façade of Swedish same-ness crumbling yet?
In fact, diversity in Swedish design is being championed during the Design Festival in London that starts this weekend. Featuring various exhibitions, seminars and talks, Hemma: Swedish Design Goes London will explore the varied landscape of Swedish design now. First up, some 50 designers and companies (a good mix of established and up-and-coming) will be exhibiting their works at the home of the Swedish Ambassador. Special Library Talks will shed lights on the trends within Swedish design and architecture, while there will be several chances to have fika (Swedish for an informal gathering of friends for coffee, sweet treats and a chat) with individual designers and companies.
Hemma will also celebrate emerging designers with ung8, a juried selection of Sweden’s best young talents. From industrial design and furniture to ceramics and new concepts, ung8 represents the future of Swedish design. And whilst they aren’t going anywhere soon, a retrospective of Claesson Koivisto Rune will be held at the Skandium shop in Knightsbridge.
So what can we learn about Swedish fashion from Swedish design? If Hemma: Swedish Design Goes London has anything to do with it, it’s that diversity whilst maintaining a strong identity is key to winning over the world.
Hemma: Swedish Design Goes London runs from the 17th to the 25th of September and is a collaboration between the Swedish Institute, the Swedish Trade Council, Svensk Form and the Embassy of Sweden in London. Visit the website for locations, dates and opening times.