Given their country’s less-than-tropical climate, it’s no wonder the Swedes have an affinity for all things woolly and warm. As knitwear comes into its own as an international style staple, talented designers such as Katja of Sweden, Anna Holtblad, Dagmar, Odd Molly and Sandra Backlund are leading the pack on the Scandinavian front.
While we’re still anxiously waiting to see Sandra Backlund’s Miami-inspired spring/summer ’10 collection “Pool Position” (she knits her entire collections by hand), 14 second-year fashion students from Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm brought us all the knitwear we could ask for. As the only non-commercial show during Fashion Week by Berns, “Undisciplinary,” gave the students plenty of freedom to experiment with the form and function of their creations.
“As students, we are still learning about our own identity as designers and what we want to get out of this industry, so this might be the only time in our lives that we can let loose and create what we want without having to think about a target group and business,” says participant Emilie Steele. Propelled by this freedom, the group tackled themes ranging from the loss of tradition in the face of globalization to a subtle protest against fast fashion.
Carina Sahlin’s “Enclosed” collection—which included a dress made out of giant yarn—made us feel especially cozy, while Josefin Arnell’s “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall” provided a touch of the weird, with oddly bulging eyes and misplaced nipples (were they real or fake?). Meanwhile, Fanny Ollas’ twist on the classic English fox hunting suit proved to be a radiant update on a typically tired look.
For her part, Steele’s “Towers and Pinnacles” collection was a true standout. “I’ve always loved sculpture and architecture, so everywhere I go I get inspiration from shapes and materials. The idea came to me one day when I was taking the subway. I thought about all of the people surrounding me and just how few of them actually stand out from the crowd. I’ve never liked the idea of being just one among many. The towers and pinnacles in the city constantly catch my attention when I look up, just as all the rooftops blend together,” says Steele.