RECENTLY PUBLISHED WORK SS19
TWIN MAGAZINE September 2018, Stockholm Fashion Week Feature
Stockholm Fashion Week Show and Casting Review
On her subsequent return to Stockholm fashion week, photographer and writer Sarah Jane Barnes set out to review new designers, encounter previously unseen brands, get honest feedback and most importantly shed some light on the choices of casting at one the leading Fashion Weeks of Northern Europe.
Jewellery Designer, Marian Nilsdotter chose to go her own way, communicating her vision through an intergalactic display of electro music and harpist amidst laser lights beside creeping smoke it was matched by a choreography of models that moved like celestial beings. The show ended in a crashing silence that enabled the audience to photograph the models posed as the army of angels they were. Nilsdottor uses jewellery as a medium to depict her universe of surrealist fantasy, with her careful approach to materials, all pieces are artisan produced. Her work is characterized by symbolic figures using precious metals, stones, and pearls to tell her story. This was the most well-presented show of the season, a true piece of theatre. The casting was inclusive and representative of a diverse Sweden.
Marian Nilsdotter SS19 | Photo courtesy of Fashion Week in Stockholm
At Lazoschmidl, the Swedish-German menswear brand established models Fillip Roseen & Carl Hjelm Sandqvist led the show. Fillip experiencing well-earned success as the star of Missoni’s current campaign brought a definite international presence to the lineup. Carl a musician who tours as the frontman of rock band Tellaviv proved himself to be a multitasker by not only walking the show but managing the hip soundtrack as D.J in between looks. The collection was a combination of sparkling lurex knitwear and iridescent sequins. This loungewear look brought humour to the table via the added layering of crop tops featuring childlike depictions of teddy bears and monsters. Overall this self-entitled ‘playdate’ collection was clearly Missoni inspired by the patterns alone, the similarity was uncanny. Founded by Josef Lazo and Andreas Schmidl, the brand has a penchant for design that subverts gender norms. Initially creating made to measure garments, they traded via social shopping company Tictail before partnering with American retailer Opening Ceremony. With a target demographic of carefree party boys, they have gained a strong following in the New York club scene.
Fillip Rosen for Lazoschmidl SS19. Photo by Peter Hakansson
Soft Goat a commercial brand with proven international sales and accessible price point showcased cashmere loungewear styled in a refreshingly non-commercial way. Rich tones of colour supported by attractive shapes were displayed with a cultivated sense of streetwear modus operandi. Using the internet as the only distribution channel the brand is able to keep prices low with quick turnover. Building a brand with a sense of social responsibility they support Project Playground, an organization that works to provide aid to vulnerable young people in South Africa.
Celebrity favourite Jennifer Blom launched her brand in 2010, this season she continued her red carpet style with flawless precision, presenting flowing dresses of pale and hot pink tones, as well as more classic mint and blue shades. With a focus on femininity and glamour alongside her way of reading the female body, she created a stunning collection. The graduate of Sweden’s prestigious Beckmans College of Design practises sustainable production by using Italian and U.K farmed silk as her main material.
Jennifer Blom SS19. Photo by Peter Hakansson
Camilla Thulin’s casting choices were both socially aware and politically aligned. With a roster of actresses, personalities and academics including Sara Danius this became a fine display of age equality. A charitable collaboration with Sara, in particular, led to the creation of a limited edition silk blouse. The pattern of which shows a clenched fist symbolizing women’s liberation. This in aid of GAPF, a non-profit women’s charity working against honour-related violence and oppression was modelled by Sara with discernment. In a time when gender issues are debated more than ever, Camilla Thulin remains strong in her feminine expression stating “My goal is for all women, regardless of age or size, to feel strong and beautiful.” Having founded her company in 1992 Camilla is a long-standing name in the industry. She is famously known for having created Malena Ernman’s gown worn at the Eurovision Song Contest at a whopping cost of 400,000 kroner (over €37,000).
Presenting at Fashion Week for the first time, Stylist and Costume Designer Salem Fessahaye was on fine form. This debut show, a family affair with friends both walking and in attendance was almost entirely non-caucasian cast. Her designs maintain an interesting mix of streetwear and couture showcasing asymmetric hems on sublime gowns alongside oversize suiting. These suits similar in design to zoot suits, a style popularised by African Americans in the 1940’s were striking. Her styling pedigree recognized through work with global clients including Adidas, Nike and David Beckham was apparent. The atmosphere was electric throughout resulting in a standing ovation from the full house. Runway photographers unable to capture the elusive finale designer shot accepted defeat, after pleas to audience members blocking the usual line of sight were left unheard.
Designer Salem Fessahaye
From initial inspection, Ivyrevel appears to be a typical commercial brand, however, attending the show I was delighted to see otherwise. Happening upon a new path under the creative direction of Sebastian Hammarberg, business is on point. Colourful and sexy pieces owned the runway, featuring styling nods to Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums and Studio 54, the show was opened and closed with undeniable finesse by Saptieu Jeng. Meeting with Sebastian later that day it was clear how ingrained his work ethic is. Overseeing every inch of the show production this season he had left nothing to chance, unafraid of last-minute change. With this true determination for the future, he has the capacity alongside founder Dejan Subosic to lead Ivy Revel to a broader audience beyond the domestic market.
Saptieu Jeng for Ivyrevel SS19 | Photo courtesy of Fashion Week in Stockholm
During my trip, I met two of Sweden’s auspicious modelling talents Anab Mohamed Abdullahi and Saptieu Jeng both signed to Stockholm’s Mikas Agency. Anab’s family hail from Somalia, whilst Saptieu’s parents are Gambian. Each maintaining a strong presence across the show lineup this season I was interested to learn of their casting experiences in Sweden and more specifically Stockholm fashion week. Anab although positive diversity was slowly improving was clear to inform me of her previous encounters, “They made us feel it was a competition because they only took one black model per show. After castings during my third season, most of the designers wanted to book me. Later my booker told me they cast another model but not me also because they didn’t want two black models. So, in the end, I only walked one show and I was the only model of colour in it.” Working for Sale Fes this season light was cast upon her hopes for the future “For the first time, I felt like other designers may open their eyes and see there is nothing wrong with many models of colour in the same show.” Saptieu defining her observations expressed “Right now it feels like everyone is just focused on looking diverse without actually understanding what that really means. Hiring one or a few coloured models doesn’t make your company diverse. Even though there is still much work to be done by the agencies, casting agents and brands, I can see a change.”
Anab Mohamed Abdullahi for By Malina | Photo courtesy of Fashion Week in Stockholm
I also spoke with Ken Gacamugani who walked for three of this year’s graduates from the Swedish School of Textiles, Helga Lára Halldórsdóttir, Dick International and August Gille. Ken originally from Burundi in East Africa was signed to the Sunrise Agency after been scouted on Instagram earlier this year. Sunrise founded by Beckman College graduate Matilda Dahlgren in 2018 is a street casting agency with the objective to offer a less normative selection to clients through diversity in size and race. Ken explained his findings of casting in Sweden “They always look for the skinny, tall, white models, the blond and blue-eyed, throwing in 5 black models to call it diversity. But Sweden doesn’t look like this anymore. It is 2018, Sweden is a rich multicultural country with generations of immigrants. I feel that these fashion shows and the industry should represent that. There is a whole world of diversity beyond those boundaries we should normalise and appreciate.”
Model Ken Gacamugani
As touched upon by Saptieu there is more work to be done. With power comes responsibility and the hope those who attain it will make future choices without bias or tokenism.