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THE DESIGNER CHAT: K-OURAGE


What is the story behind K-ourage?
“The story behind K-ourage is simply when you start to ask yourself questions about what is important in life. To be fed up with superficial fashion with a focus on just producing more and more in a cycle that goes too fast and the hype of famous people you don’t even know what they are famous about. A longing to do something in harmony with the strong values we have. To show that fashion can take a stand against social injustice and intolerance and still be fashionable. By talking about, and collaborating with, people that do something for real to make a change. And most of all wanting to inspire other people to have courage.”

When and how did the three of you start working together?
“The summer of 2016 Jacob Bernhardtz and Anna Blomquist met by accident in the subway in Stockholm. We knew each other from before since we had worked in the same company, Jacob as an e-com expert and Anna as designer. We decided to take a coffee a couple of days later. Both of us had dreams about creative freedom and starting up a new brand, and we also shared the same ideas about human rights, but needed people with other competences than out own. It felt like a sign that we ran into each other. The name of the brand just came naturally out of this. When we needed a logotype we turned to Jacob’s cousin Magnus Klahr who is the art director at a fashion magazine. We met and when we told him about the idea his reaction came quickly: ‘I’m in!’. And K-ourage was born.”

You won Show up fashion awards in November, how has that affected K-ourage this far?
“We sent in our application in the last second, thinking that it was too early for us since our first collection for SS18 is not even out in stores yet. To our surprise we were nominated and that was a big honour already. When we won the award we were really proud and very happy because this meant that we can continue with next collection and get help and advice from experts in the textile industry. It is an encouragement and hopefully a way to help us being noticed in the Swedish fashion world.”

This is the first time you are showing at Fashion Week Stockholm, together with Swedish Fashion talents, what are your expectations?
“We are again very honoured to be among this group of talented designers. We were overwhelmed when we found out at the first meeting with Swedish Fashion Council what this price contains. We are so excited and of course our focus right now is the show at Stockholm Fashion Week and after that the Nordic Lab Fair when we will have the opportunity to met potential customers and other people in the business for inspiration and advice. We hope that the fashion show is going to make people curious about K-ourage and wanting to know more.”

What inspired you for your AW18 collection?
“The collection for A/W 2018 is about breaking new ground. 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the student riots in Paris 1968 and we want to celebrate that with this collection. The riots was about getting together questioning and protesting against what people found unacceptable. That is one of the things we think courage is about and what the world needs to do again 50 years later. So by this collection we try to find that spirit in a modern interpretation. The collection has a 60s touch to it, both in the silhouettes and specific items. Those years and the time to come was about breaking new ground for women. There is a mix of traditional menswear and womenswear in the collection. A part from the suit and the shirts there are garments that seemed to be borrowed from your dad or boyfriend and on the other hand wide and puffy sleeves, the silver brocade and a long dress is flirting with 60s couture but ripped and unfinished. Smeared make up and messy hairdos. The ‘good girl’ falls apart. Breaking la bourgeoisie. The clashes of tones of greens mixed with silver represent hope for a lighter future.”

What is your design philosophy?
“We want to be including and make wearable fashion for all kinds of women. We hope that women will use K-ourage clothes as a part of their personal style but also as a sign and statement that they care and share our values concerning equality, human rights and tolerance. We want to inspire others to be brave and have courage.”

Regarding your name, what does courage mean to you?
“We would like to quote our ambassador Petronella Barker ‘Courage is to dare to stand up for yourself and what you believe in though you may not really dare. To challenge your own cowardice. Because courage costs.'”

Who is the bravest person you know?
“There are a lot of people we admire for their courage, both historically and today, but if we should mention brave women today we want to say that the K-ourage ambassadors are a big inspiration to us, and hopefully to others. These are women who really make a difference, even if sometimes in silence. Tess Asplund (activist), Parasto Backman (graphic designer), Petronella Barker (actor), Rojda Sekersöz (film director) and Nina Zanjani (actor).”