• Image by Sylwia Dziobon

    An interview with Felicia Halén Fredell, the founder of The Reverence Project

    Written by Ulrika Lindqvist

    Fashion designer Felicia Halén Fredell launched The Reverence Project in April 2024. TRP takes it’s inspiration from their muses, their first collection being inspired by activist and poet Nattalie Ström Bunpuckdee. We had a chat with Felicia about her inspirations and the future of The Reverence Project.

    Please tell me a bit of your backstory, what did you do before launching The Reverence Project and what was the idea behind it?

    Like so many others the pandemic really affected me mentally. As a freshly graduated fashion designer I felt chewed up and spat back out, close to a burnout. My field completely lost its appeal and I was really stuck in a mindset of counting the fashion industry’s faults - the list goes on and on. It made me feel really powerless and at times even apathetic. I had too much time on my hands to think about what really matters. I realize this differs from person to person but for me, I concluded that meaningful and challenging conversations are what makes my life worth living. More than one person in my life said I was a good listener and I took that to heart and ran with it, that’s all I’d ever like to be. This idea kept on growing and brewing for years, and when you can’t seem to let go you know you have to realize it somehow. I wanted to create designs centered around other people’s perspectives. I wanted the privilege of getting to know people and zoom past small talk to where we talk about what matters most to them and why. I kind of found The Reverence Project to be a hack of sorts. It’s essentially about hope and how sharing experiences and stories with others make you feel less alone. It’s really empowering to be the trailblazer who first talks about their experiences, but it’s also really empowering to hear someone put your experiences into words for the first time as well.
    What is your inspiration behind your designs?

    The potential of fashion is endless because it’s a fine-tuned language, stories can be weaved into garments in so many ways. By now I’ve developed this standard form based on my first muses that basically is a template for an interview. I ask them about their relationship to their body, does clothes usually serve as a uniform, armor or creative expression? And then we talk about the relationship to the self. Are there recurring life themes that have shaped them as a person? Is there anything they wish someone would ask them? These conversations usually lead to really beautiful, vulnerable and fulfilling places, and I try to share some bits and pieces of myself so it doesn’t feel exploitative for the muse. When they word something in a hard-hitting way it usually becomes a visual metaphor that I can use in my design. It often ends up becoming prints or draping that is meant to represent the muse’s story. Whether it translates is a completely different thing, but how my design is received and further interpreted is just as interesting.

    Please tell us more about your muses?

    Anyone could be a muse, because everyone has a story to tell. But I sometimes describe my muses as unintentional activists. They’re the type of person who can’t help but to speak their mind in the eye of injustice. Maybe the mood at the dinner table becomes a little uncomfortable, but they sleep well at night knowing that they stood up for something they believe in. At first my muses were close friends who became my patient testing guinea pigs. I slowly developed the questions that I figured led to those radically vulnerable conversations. At its core The Reverence Project aims to be unapologetically intersectional feminist and so the muses often reflect that. Voices that are seldom heard should be amplified. And it’s my pride and joy to weave their stories into garments.
    What would you say are the 3 core values for The Reverence Project?

    Radical vulnerability - because it takes great strength to be soft.
    Authenticity - depicting my muses in a respectful and empowering way is something I take very seriously.
    Existential sustainability - it basically means hope, giving people hope through our shared stories.

    How would you describe your customer?

    I think my customer in many cases are very similar to my muses. They often stand for something, and in doing so stand out. Since their identity is a bit of a statement, blending in was never an option. They might as well dress expressively as well in colors, prints and silhouettes that can be exaggerated. It’s all a springboard towards expressing personal thoughts and ideas. I think my customers often consume a lot of culture in all its shapes and forms, fashion is just another of many interests and they happen to like something quite feminine even if they don’t necessarily always identify as a woman. But they’re daring in their softness and relate to specific stories and therefore garments from The Reverence Project as well.

    What have been the most challenging aspects of launching The Reverence Project?

    I think the fact that I’m alone in my business thus far. I’m surrounded by a lot of great creators and creatives that I’ve collaborated with while developing the brand. But as of now I don’t have a team and it’s probably the big thing up ahead of TRP.

    What can we expect from The Reverence Project in the near future?

    Expect more interviews with muses who wear their heart on their sleeves. And with them looks developed specifically after their stories that are jam-packed with meaning. But don’t expect them in the tempo of a fashion brand that shows collections several times per year during fashion weeks. When you least expect it, we might drop a beautiful story for you to enjoy!

    Image by Joanna Kelly
  • photography Amir Golzari

    fashion Daniel Darko

    all clothing by Julia Weström

    Looking Forward, An Interview with Julia Weström

    Written by Sandra Myhrberg

    Julia Wiström, 31, currently works as a bag designer at a Swedish bag company in Stockholm. She also runs her own brand, where she creates and sews mini-collections, showpieces, and sells on commission. She has just completed a spring collection called “Kitchenmaid,” inspired by classic housemaids, checkered kitchen towels, and humor. We sat down with Julia to discuss her upcoming collection, her career as a designer, and sustainability in fashion. 

    Your upcoming collection “Kitchenmaid” sounds intriguing. Can you share more about the inspiration behind it and what we can expect from this collection?
    It's also a ready-to-wear mini-collection. Lots of checks, lots of lace. The materials are a mix of new and old. I got the idea last year when I was in Paris. In a restaurant, there were kitchen towels hanging all over the ceiling, and I was super inspired. I realized I had to create a collection based on kitchen towels. From there, it evolved into a little story about housewives, which in turn led to 'Kitchenmaid'.”

    Are there any new techniques or materials you are looking forward to experimenting with in your upcoming designs?
    Looking ahead, I'm eager to explore knitwear further. I spent quite a bit of time on it at Beckmans, and I feel there's more to explore and develop in terms of fun knitted pieces.

    How important is sustainability in your design process, especially considering the use of leftover materials from your original collection?
    Sustainability is a cornerstone of my design philosophy. Incorporating leftover materials from previous collections not only minimizes waste but also challenges me creatively to transform discarded resources into unique and desirable pieces. It's a practice that aligns with my values of responsible craftsmanship and environmental stewardship.

    What trends do you see emerging in fashion design, especially in the context of sustainable fashion?
    I've noticed some exciting trends emerging in fashion design lately, especially with a strong emphasis on sustainability. Many designers are embracing recycled materials, which is crucial for reducing our environmental impact. There's also a growing focus on social sustainability within the industry, which resonates deeply with me. Consumers are increasingly curious about the origins of their clothes, and it's encouraging to see more transparency from brands. I'm also excited about the shift towards timeless and sustainable designs that promote longer garment use—a practical approach to reducing overconsumption. These trends reflect a positive direction in fashion, where both people and the planet are being prioritized—an area I'm genuinely passionate about.

    Can you share a memorable moment from your design career so far?
    My foremost memory was when I sold my first garment. It was enjoyable and a validation that people are willing to pay for what I create. There are so many creators in the fashion industry, and standing out is challenging. That's why I'm always particularly happy when people purchase products and place orders with me. I'm very humble about it.

    What do you enjoy doing in your free time when you’re not designing?
    When I'm not working on design, I love hanging out with friends and my boyfriend – I'm very social and enjoy being around people. Food is a big passion of mine; not to cook, just to eat, haha! I enjoy dining out, savoring wine, traveling, and being in the sun. I probably like most things that most people enjoy. I also enjoy organizing parties, something I used to do as a job and still cherish as a hobby. Actually, this summer I'll be DJing on Gotland, which should be really fun! I love having a good time and laughing. At the same time, I also enjoy relaxing and listening to true crime podcasts.

    photography & AD Amir Golzari

    fashion Daniel Darko

    makeup & hair Sandy Alfares

    model Ebba D / Stockholms Gruppen

    post production Thomas Wilke & Amir Golzari

    makeup assistant Karin Hanser

    photography assistant Fredrik Edling

    all clothing by Julia Weström

  • photography Sandra Myhrberg

    fashion Alphons Amuri

    total look Hugo Blue

    Shadows of Ourselves, an Interview with Bloom Twins

    Written by Josie McNeill by Sandra Myhrberg

    Music and Fashion Coexist

    For Ukrainian born pop duo Bloom Twins, music and fashion are intertwined–one cannot exist without the other in both member’s lives.

    We started singing before we could speak,” Sonia Kuprienko, one half of Bloom Twins, said. “We were born in a musical family. So that is something that we consider a natural habitat. When fashion came it was as a quest for finding ourselves and sharing our identity with everybody.”

    Through the zoom screen for our interview, it was apparent that the self-described “dark pop” sound of Bloom Twins, composed of twin sisters Anna and Sonia Kuprienko, influences the duo’s fashion. Both wore their hair in short black styles, each accessorized with chunky silver jewelry and black clothing, leaning more into the “dark” aspect of the genre.

    Bloom Twins had a complex beginning. The two twins started their career in the public eye as models, but music was always in the background–both are classically trained musicians by encouragement from their musically inclined parents. Anna and Sonia met their music manager through their modeling manager after the latter posted a photo of the two on Facebook. The future music manager suggested that Anna and Sonia should move to London to test out their music careers after they finished school. Twelve years later, the two are still there, combining music and style as their full time careers.

    She’s Not Me”

    Even with similar alternative styles, Anna Kuprienko of Bloom Twins said that she could not be more different from her twin sister Sonia. “It’s so weird because we’re identical twins with the same DNA,” Anna said. “How was it possible that I’ve never met one person in my life that is so different to me?”

    The two combine their distinct styles to create a unique genre of music. Bloom Twins merges the alternative music tastes of Anna and the pop inspiration of Sonia to create their dark pop sound. “I tend to create more alternative instrumentals that are pretty dark, but you know, with good energy. She is more melodic–it’s more sophisticated, more pop.” Anna added about their opposite styles.

    These differences extend into the sides each of them gravitate toward in the process of creating music. Sonia leans into the more lyric and melody oriented part of the process while Anna focuses more on the production side.

    Anna said that she became interested in music production by the encouragement of her manager because of her interest in computers. The first song the twins wrote together was “She’s Not Me,” a track asking listeners to stop comparing the two sisters just because they look alike.

    The song is a noir, electronic inspired track that still feels like it has roots in the pop punk world with the duo’s vocals. Anna said that Bloom Twin’s original sound was inspired by the electronic music she was listening to at the time. The duo continued with this electronic sound with most of their tracks, even venturing into the dance music world with tracks like “High on Beat” with Jan Blomqvist. But recently, Bloom Twins has shifted even more into the pop punk world with their collaborative EP with X Ambassadors’ Sam Nelson.

    The team’s first EP together, Pretty in Pink, was released on Nov. 17, 2023 and contains the pop punk songs “Drunk and Loud,” “Beats Not Bombs,” and “Pretty in Pink.”

    Sonia said that the three began writing “Beats Not Bombs” together after the Bloom Twins reached out to Sam Nelson to collaborate.

    According to Sonia, Bloom Twins allowed themselves to experiment with a wide variety of sounds and genres because they refused to put themselves in a box from the start. Sonia said that they wrote the upbeat alternative rock song “Beats Not Bombs” in under two hours. In the middle of the writing process, Sonia said she suggested that she and her sister sing a part of the song like they’re drunk and loud. Sam Nelson decided that would be a great title for another song, so the three switched gears to write “Drunk and Loud.”

    Sonia described “Drunk and Loud” as one of those songs that you blast in your headphones as you ride the London underground. The beat of the song keeps you moving and the lyrics cause a reaction in the people around you.

    Pretty in Pink” is about a girl who is not afraid to tell it as it is. All the songs have distinct instrumental parts in the music, marking a departure from the band’s predominantly electronic

    I believe that we allowed ourselves to not understand or classify how we’ve evolved because we allowed ourselves to get away with pretty much anything by calling our vision anything that it can be,” Sonia said.

    Sonia went on to say that “it’s important to not forget about the dance scene” when talking about the evolution of the group’s sound.

    Besides Sam Nelson, Bloom Twins has collaborated on projects with various DJs, such as
    “DayDream” with Benny Benassi and the aforementioned “High on Beat” with Jan Blomqvist.
    The twins said these collaborations mainly came about during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. “We wanted to dance, but we couldn’t and I believe that this music is the result of that oppression,” Sonia said.

    The duo got into contact with the DJs through Instagram DMs as well. It’s interesting to see how much social media impacts modern music careers–Bloom Twins’ most streamed song is “High on Beat,” a song that came to fruition over direct messaging. “Now that I’m saying this, I actually think it’s very strange that people not only took the time of their day to listen to our song because I don’t think that we were the only ones that were

    Sending them DMs. I also really don’t think we chose the songs that they liked, but they still rode with us,” Anna said.

    Honoring Their Roots

    One of the topics that Anna and Sonia consistently returned to throughout the interview was their home country of Ukraine. Sonia said that one of the main influences for the duo’s sound is the conflict in Ukraine.

    It definitely affected what we said, how we wrote, what we chose to write about, and what we chose to sing and when we chose to sing,” Sonia said. “It not only affected us as human beings, but it affected anything that we wanted to touch.”

    Sonia and Anna have been advocating and speaking up for Ukraine through their art since 2014 with the single “Get Up Stand Up #WeAreUkraine,” which is a cover of the Bob Marley song. The cover was released at the start of the Ukrainian conflict with Russia. Bloom Twins released a music video to go along with the cover that contained actual footage of what’s going on in Ukraine. The twins were given the opportunity to perform their song on BBC NewsNight to help raise awareness.

    When the war broke out in 2022, the twins took to social media to call out artists who used Ukraine to film music videos, but were not speaking out about the conflict. Through Daily Mail,
    Bloom Twins called out major artists like Jorja Smith and Coldplay for abandoning Ukraine and only caring about the country when it benefits them.

    Their activism led them to be recruited as organizers for Night for Ukraine, a benefit concert in September 2022. The concert was performed at the Roadhouse in north London and the
    proceeds from the event were donated to provide aid to people fleeing Ukraine after the Russian invasion.

    The twins said they will keep using their talents and platform to advocate and raise awareness about the war in Ukraine. They also want to inspire people in Ukraine to have hope and to
    continue to pursue their passions and talents despite the efforts of their oppressors.

    I want to tell all the Ukrainians to speak your talent, spread your talent in other countries if you can. Put your mark on the frickin world,” Anna said.

    Never Stop Blooming

    In terms of what’s next for Bloom Twins, the duo will be releasing a second 3 track EP in collaboration with Sam Nelson. In addition to these tracks, the Bloom Twins said they will be
    releasing a new single consistently every few weeks or so.

    The duo will also be touring with X Ambassadors for upcoming festival appearances. They are also working on a clothing brand that will be sold as merchandise at the duo’s future shows.

    The brand is called Gussi, which was inspired by how geese began attacking Russian soldiers after they invaded Ukraine. Proceeds from the clothing sale will be going to charities that help Ukraine and Ukrainian citizens.

    The twins said, akin to their band name, that they will keep developing their brand and exploring new realism, both in the music world and in other areas of the arts.

    Blooming roses basically means that you never stopped developing. You’re always growing into this new thing,” Anna said.

    We’re excited to see where Bloom Twins blossom next.

    total looks Michael Kors

    Anna wears

    dress Closet London
    shoes Essen
    choker Stylist's Own
    Sonya wears

    dress Closet London
    shoes Essen

    Sonya wears

    jacket Nadine Merabi

    skirt Ganni

    ring Maria black

    Sonya wears

    jacket Ganni
    trousers Maria black
    shoes Essen

    Anna wears

    total look Nadine Merabi

    shoes Essen

    Anna wears

    dress Nadine Merabi

    neckless Stylist's Own
    bracelet Tomwood Project

    total looks HUGO BLUE
    dresses Maska
    stockings Stylist's Own
    shoes Closet London

    photography Sandra Myhrberg

    fashion Alphons Amuri 

    makeup Yin Lee

    hair Dayna Vaughan-Teague 

    special thanks to The Ragged School Museum 

    total looks Michael Kors