Designer chat(s): The Swedish School of Textiles

The Swedish School of Textile is the first show of this season’s Fashion Week Stockholm. We spoke to some of the graduating MA and BA students ahead of their debut.

Matilda Forssblad (MA)

What’s your relationship to Fashion Week Stockholm?
”I’m about to establish my relationship to Fashion Week and I do that with curiosity and an open mind. I’m looking forward to be a part of it!”

Do you have any advice to someone who wants to study fashion?
”Do it for yourself – don’t be a pleaser. Education is power.”

You’re interested in expanding the domain of fashion, but where does fashion begin and end?
”Yes, I’m exploring the domain of fashion beyond its traditional outlets. According to me, it doesn’t have to be wearable for it to be considered fashion. Fashion is more than garments. Instead, fashion – like the mind – is endless, while the body isn’t. These days, we express and experience fashion through images, a representation of the garments. This opens up for other ways of relating to fashion, especially as a practitioner.”

Outtake from Matilda Forssblad’s collection BRAVEHEART FASHION WEAR


Helga Lára Halldórsdóttir (MA)

What’s the best advice a teacher has given you during your studies?
Prove me wrong is something I was often told by teachers during my bachelor’s degree. In some cases it meant that they weren’t convinced of what I was doing or that they simply didn’t understand my ideas (some of that was due to me not having the knowledge of presenting my ideas properly at the time) and sometimes it was a strategy meant to confuse me a bit in order to evoke some anger – which can be a huge motivator.
It is a phrase that stuck with me and it resurfaces during my design process quite often as it inspired my initial way of developing my designs. This phrase also taught me that it is ok to disagree and can be used as a tool to argue and discuss your designs critically with yourself and others.”

In your collection, you’re exploring the idea of the corner as a safe haven for an awkward person. But isn’t fashion – and the way you choose to dress – in itself some sort of protection?
”Absolutely! And I see this as a fundamental element of what fashion represents. Fashion answers to a basic human need for protection in so many ways, not only physically but, more importantly, emotionally. The corner serves as a basic formula in response to this basic human need while translating the relationship between our bodies and the space they occupy both in regards to physical and emotional aspects.”

You’ve just graduated! What’s next?
”Currently I am looking for employment and more importantly figuring out where I want to place myself within the field, or what direction to take. I have been living in Borås these last two years and now it is time to find where the next opportunity is.”

Outtake from Helga Lára Halldórsdóttir’s collection CORNERED COMPOSITIONS


Linn Sohl (BA)

What’s the best versus hardest thing about being a fashion design student?
”The best thing about being a fashion student is all the amazing people you’re surrounded by. You share blood, sweat and tears with them and after three years you’ve gotten a new family that understands your highs and lows better than anyone else.
        The hardest thing is the stress and pressure. Not only from school, but also the pressure you put on yourself. You are expected to be innovative and creative all the time and everything you do has extremely tight deadlines. When you’re stressed, you lose motivation which results in lack of exactly the things you aspire. It’s a struggle, but that’s what your new family is for. Some might think it’s a competition between us students, but it’s really the opposite.”

U/NITED has strong elements of both fashion and art, using two-dimensional collages as its main inspiration – resulting in a playful collection. Do you think the fashion industry would do better with more humour?
”I think it’s important to use humour in fashion, we need to be able to just enjoy it. But there is also a seriousness in using humour; it is a powerful strategy to evoke emotions and even criticism. Collage, in this case, encourages reflection of what is right and wrong. The aim with U/NITED is to loosen up our relationship to garments through playfulness and humour, to make us less controlled by supposed rules of dressing.
The short answer is: I do think the fashion industry would do better if we use humour – in the right way.”

Outtake from Linn Sohl’s collection U/NITED


Karolina Centeno Norberg (BA)

How did you end up in fashion?
”Ever since I was very young, sewing has been one of my biggest interests. When choosing what I wanted to do in life, there was no doubt about which way I wanted to go.”

What drew you to create a collection completely without cutting and sewing?
”Normally, you weave a fabric which is then cut and sewed into a garment. The idea of this collection is to present a new method through which you can create the fabric and garment at the same time. In this way I show how these two factors can be brought together, without cutting and sewing.”

So, what happens now?
”First of all I need a week of sleep. Next step is getting a job! My hope is to be a part of fashion that tells a story.”

Outtake from Karolina Centeno Norberg’s collection