•           photography by KATRIINA MÄKINEN & VIKTORIA GARVARE

    Swedishness Extended

    Written by Fashion Tales

    Ludmila Christeseva in dialogue with Ulrika Skoog Holmgaard

    The trend to buy cheap and accessible clothes, otherwise known as “fast” or “democratized” fashion has over the last decades established excessive consumer behavior globally, sparking the debate on unsustainable character of fashion industry. Swedish fashion scene has witnessed the rapid development over the past two decades successfully contributing to the development of this trend. Known as the home of the H&M brand, Sweden also gained its influence in the late 2000’s as a fashion capital through introducing a sustainable style of Swedishness to the rest of the world. Such successful brands as Filippa K, ACNE, Carin Rodebjer, Tiger of Sweden promote conscious fashion design and production practices. Their Swedish `Fashion Wonder` is characterised by simplicity of forms, discreteness of color palette and timelessness of design, establishing a less-is-more philosophy, without sacrificing creativity. In general, mass-produced fashion may make quite a few people happy through providing disposability and thus, affordable variety. Yet many people understand that this disposable form of clothing comes with other costs such as global environmental issues, wasteful overstock of out of date fashion, and underpaid female workers. 

    Being born in Belarus and raised during times of scarcity, which defined the consumption culture in the Soviet Union, I still remember how I was used to mending and redesigning the clothes of my older sister and our cousins. The social conditions and the deficit of the basic wardrobe elements such as nylon tights, lingerie and shoes forced us to be extraordinary careful with clothes that we possessed.  The DIY (Do it Yourself) principle, so popular nowadays among hipsters, was our know-how. We tie-dyed our trousers so they looked like fancy jeans, we re-modelled our fathers’ old shirts into party dresses and we shared accessories we had among friends. Moving to Sweden made my world turn upside down. I no longer needed to mend and sew my own clothes.

    Some fashion consumers might not want to purchase products which are mass produced in sweatshops, but they often do this despite good intentions, since the practice of buying disposable fashion is built into our cultural constructions, and as mass produced fashion is readily available for purchase. We do it because we can. There is an abundance of affordable wear, enough to change a full set of clothes every season. Mesmerised by the shopaholic paradise of sales and discounts, we get used to uncontrollable shopping, which goes against the principle of sustainability. And it comes at a price — toxic production waste which destroys ecosystems and people’s health; greedy profiting results in slave labor at factories in many third world countries. Does our craving for status, position and well-being create a necessity to neglect the world around us? Perhaps other cultural experience of fashion production could contribute to a change from such habitual manner to consume. How would such change impact our identity? What, really, defines Swedish identity when talking about fashion? Who knows, perhaps, my slightly forgotten experience of sewing and remodelling clothes inspired all these questions as well as paved the way for me to make art from left overs, promote conscious fashion design practices and support couturiers who try to rise against the fast fashion paradigm.

    Wednesday, 28th of August, fifteen incredible Stockholm women; working in various industries, brightened up Stockholm in spectacular dresses and beautiful costumes designed by the Belarusian fashion brand Historia Naturalis led by Polina Voronova. The aesthetics of the brand are inspired by the laconic nature of Swedish style, with its functionality and pragmatism. The colourful march “100 Shades of Nature”, full of conspicuous playful motives, started at Norrmalmstorg, in the restaurant Vau de Ville and joint along the path of sunny Strandvägen. This magnificent parade danced across the streets, leaving observers with a smile on their faces.

    100 Shades of Nature” has brought together some really inspiring women of Stockholm, all with a special history that deserves its own chapter and all are concerned with the issues of sustainability. One of them is the Swedish Ambassador in Belarus, Christina Johannesson. Christina was leading the procession of the conscientious consumers, while holding a stylish string bag created by blind crafters in Belarus and transformed into fashionable accessory by Historia Naturalis. For the Swedish Ambassador in Belarus, to support and be part of a cultural exchange between Belarus and Sweden was an obvious way to support a good cause.  Whether it is art, performance, fashion, music or theatre – Christina joined the discussion between our ‘fashion nations’, with many differences and possible similarities. Sustainability seems to be a trend for contemporary consumers both in Sweden and Belarus, but the meaning of the term is still not precisely defined. Despite these facts; emphasis on sustainability resonates strongly with what the contemporary consumer wants or calls for globally. That is why sharing professional experience across the borders might pave the way for creative solutions towards more principled practices within the apparel industry.

  • ANNA CAMNER 'A Plague I Call A Heartbeat' at Galerie Forsblom in Stockholm

    Written by Ksenia Rundin

    Seemingly, for many of us, art itself appears to be an ‘imaginary museum’ that constitutes human expression of her- /himself, her/his world, and her/his beliefs throughout time and space. The Swedish artist Anna Camner’s exhibition A Plague I call a Heartbeat at Galerie Forsblom, Karlavägen 9 in Stockholm, emerges an intriguing interdisciplinary dialogue between the brush strokes by an artist and meticulous observations of a scientist. The fragmentary perspectives, which the artist playfully invites her audience to integrate with, reveal the sublime within some, as would seem, ordinary elements, such as a pestle and stamen, a cracked nutshell and folded plastic material.

    The realistic illusion of each element with a renaissance melody hidden in the demanding blackness of the background and the candescent light perspective call a heartbeat to come through each piece and to reach a beholder’s ear with its astonishing silence. Artistic ambiguity with a scientific touch makes one first mistake some art pieces for photographs, what actually transforms the further interaction into an intriguing dialogue between the mind and spirit. The fastidious accuracy of the details play chess with the eye, challenging the latter to make a move towards a new visual and spiritual discovery. There is no predetermined storytelling to follow but a forum for a beholder to create his or her own interpretation through experiencing and discovering the art pieces and disappearing in the ‘museum’ of own reflections.

    A Plague I Call A Heartbeat
    Galerie Forsblom
    Karlavägen 9
    October 4 – November 10, 2019

    photography by D. A. HAKANSSON
  • Rita Ora for Deichmann

    Written by Meghan Scott

    On Thursday 29/8, Deichmann launed its collaboration with Rita Ora, their new ambassador for young fashion for the autumn and winter collections. The first Rita Ora for Deichmann collection is available in select stores and online at Deichmann.com. Influencers and journalists from all over Europe met in Berlin at a fantastic secret location, each sporting their own pair of Rita Ora for Deichmann shoes. A very unique concept that captivated the essence of the collection. And to everybody's surprise Rita gave a performance, and one of the songs are from her campaign with Deichmann. Odalisque Magazine had a chance to have an exclusive interview with Rita herself and chat about the collaboration. Check out the collection here. Prices range from 379sek - 599sek.

    How did this collaboration emerge between you and Deichmann?
    My relationship with Deichmann began a few months ago – since then I’ve heard a lot about them and how incredible they are. I really wanted to do something that I felt like was a statement and that was a moment. I really feel that this collaboration was so trusting, honest and genuine. I feel like only goodness can come out of it.

    There are so many styles (40 in total) to choose from in your collab and must have been a lengthy process. What was the original inspiration for the whole collection?
    There isn't just one thing that inspires me - it really is something different every day. I’m so lucky to have grown up and still live in London, because creativity is all around me, all the time.  I’m so encouraged when I see people who are totally fearless to be themselves when it comes to fashion, it’s so inspiring to feel that confidence.   I would say that’s been my biggest inspiration - being surrounded by these incredibly influential and fearless people.  It made me want to design something honest and real - something for everybody and every situation -  something that gives people confidence and freedom.   I’ve experimented with colours and styles -  it’s just been such a great creative experience for me and something I’m incredibly proud of.

    What are your favourite styles from your collaboration with Deichmann, and where will we see you in them?
    Oh yeah, I definitely have a very specific favourite piece in the collection! For me it's anything with sparkles – cause it works so well when I’m performing. So we have a few sparkly boots and a lovely cool sparkly sockboot that is coming out and an ankle boot. Those are my favorites. I can't wait for them to come out!

    You seem to seamlessly morph into any situation style-wise, like a sort of fashion chameleon, have you always been into expressing yourself visually, or have you adopted this since your rise to stardom?
    I have always loved dressing up and being the biggest version of myself that I can be.  I would agree that I'm a bit of a fashion chameleon.  I quite like that people don’t know what to expect from my style.  My style changes every day - I love colour and it's amazing to get dressed up and try something new. 

    If you had to choose one attitude out of the 5 of the collection, which really means something to you, which one would it be, and why? 
    That’s hard as I think the collection represents all of these things.  For me though, I would say freedom.  That’s something I  can personally connect to and was something that I had in the back of my mind when working on this collection with the team.  I want people to feel free to be who they are when they wear these shoes!

    #ritaorafordeichmann #ritaoraradiate