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INTERVIEW WITH VOGUE EDITOR LAIRD BORRELLI-PERSSON


How come you write about Swedish fashion?
”I became familiar with the beauty of your country as a child when my mother gave me books and calendars featuring Carl Larsson’s idyllic paintings. My interest in Swedish fashion dates back about 20 years to when I was writing books about contemporary fashion illustration and met, and befriended, many talented artists from Stockholm. Adding a personal layer to my professional interest is the fact that I married a Swede – in a small historic church in Skåne – and became mother to a half-Swedish son, named Axel.”

How many times have you been to Fashion Week Stockholm?
”Attending Fashion Week Stockholm is something I look forward to all year. I’ve had the good fortune to attend consecutive seasons since AW16, which is really a boon as it enables me to chart the evolution of the brands we cover. Context is so important. Before that I attended Fashion Week Stockholm in 2007, I think. Hope had just won an award. I remember a great white coat from them, Björn Borg’s ankle-cropped khakis, and a studio visit with Helena Hörstedt, whose work was quite personal and gothic.”

How has Swedish fashion developed since first time you visited Fashion Week Stockholm?
”Quite a lot since 2007, which I think was my first Fashion Week Stockholm experience, and which roughly corresponded to when Swedish denim was making news. Now, the industry seems to be in a period of transition. In part because the idea of Scandinavian minimalism feels outdated to many new generation designers, some of whom want to use their work to comment on social and political issues.”

”I believe that for Fashion Week Stockholm the concept of strength in numbers applies. The return home of Carin Rodebjer, Totême, and now Filippa K, shows confidence and support for the “home team” and benefits all the brands, whatever their size, on the schedule. Additionally, the relative longevity of brands like Rodebjer and Whyred demonstrates to the world that Swedish fashion can be successful commercially as well as creatively.”

Do you have any highlights from Fashion Week Stockholm that you would like to share?
”There are so many highlights: having Ann-Sofie Back walk me through a collection; interviewing Yung Lean; seeing new parts of the city; meetings with kardemummabullar. A recent thrill was meeting (streetart artist) KlisterPeter, whose work I fell in love with on my very first visit to your city. He allowed us to use his art on Vogue.com last season, which was a thrill. My dream is to hang a small deer head sticker hanging in my house one day – or to facilitate a collaboration between the artist and Stutterheim so that I can wear one around town.”

What, in your eyes, is specific for the Swedish fashion industry?
”What’s interesting to me is the way that it balances opposites: How the Jante reserve is lightened by fashion’s “vocal,” extrovert aspects, and how a casual attitude softens what can be a clean, somewhat streamlined and pragmatic approach to design. (I’m fascinated, too, by how different Swedish and Danish fashion are, the latter being so much more bohemian—speaking in general terms).”

”It’s been interesting to chart the group dynamic at work in Sweden: All Blues, Jeanerica, Nhorm, Our Legacy, to name a few, are labels that are directed by teams, which seems like a lagom solution to the stresses of the industry. Historically Swedish fashion has delivered value for the money; as minimalism doesn’t date quickly, consumers can hold onto pieces longer and potentially reduce consumerism. Last season Totême showed a chic trench 0f 100% recycled polyester; I expect that the famed Swedish love of nature can be channeled into eco-conscious, socially responsible clothing.”

What kind of reactions do you get when writing about Swedish fashion?
”Hopefully lots and lots of traffic! I hope that the coverage we give Scandinavian fashion on our platform encourages people to approach Vogue Runway with pitches about their exciting projects.”

What do you think we will see at Fashion Week Stockholm FW18 in terms of trends and performance?
”Lots of Norwegian bloggers! Trend-wise, I’m interested in seeing how Swedish designers continue to address “street” and sports trends. Because of the season, and the weather, I’m hoping for some really innovative and luxery knits. (I miss Sandra Backlund terribly).”

What excites you the most about going to Fashion Week Stockholm this time?
”Well, it’s a very packed schedule, with some new entries I’m excited to see first-hand like K-ourage and Rave Review, plus there’s the long-awaited return of Filippa K. The intimacy and atmosphere of Totême’s debut last season was spot on; I’m curious to see how they’ll top that, and House of Dagmar is showing down the street from where my husband’s Mormor(grandmother) lived, so that’s a bit sentimental.”

You work very passionate, what is it with fashion that makes you enjoy it so much?
”The visuals drew me in, but what’s most exciting is being able to discover, share, and document, the work of people who have the courage and talent to create something new.”