• photography by KIA LEFWANDER
    stylist ALINE BENNOUR
    make up JOHANNA NORDLANDER
    braids ELIZABETH SISE
    stylist's assistant KATIJA HIRSCH
    make up assistant VALENTINA PREDRAGOVIC
    total look MATILDA IVARSSON
    jewellery MARIA NILSDOTTER

    A Conversation with Singer Bishat About the Power of Music and Self-Care!

    Written by Yasmine Mubarak by Sandra Myhrberg

    Swedish Pop & R&B singer Bishat is currently finishing up an EP due out later this year. After a time of depression she has turned to find joy in her music again. Her first single of the new EP will be out this spring.

    After some time away from music, how does it feel being back on the music scene?
    It feels incredibly exciting and only a little terrifying. It’s been a whole journey the past few years on a personal level and that has really affected my music. My songs are very much a reflection on where I am at any given time. I can’t wait to share this whole other side of me. It feels like a re-birth.

    What have you discovered about yourself with your new music?
    There was definitely a lot more darkness in my previous songs. It’s still there brooding in the background, but now I've found this calm, this lightness to my existence. Which in turn has made my music brighter. Turns out I’m not such a moody bi*ch after all (laughs). There is more love, gratitude and more freedom in both my music and myself.

    Have you found any new sound in the studio?
    There's a lot more guitar based songs coming out. I used to be a sucker for the piano basically since Alicia Keys “Songs in A-minor” came out but you know a little guitar goes a long way.

    What unreleased track are you most looking forward to on the new album?
    “Problems” for sure. It's a different type of love song about the fact that we’ve all got our struggles and flaws. A relationship, however, can still be solid if we acknowledge our problems. Not to mention, work on them and give them space to breathe. You can't “fix” people, you can only work on yourself. “We’re not out here counting problems, always find a way to solve them”. 

    Have you found any new creative outlet or hobby during the past year?
    Does keeping plants alive count as a hobby? If so yes. They’ve been subjected to lots of singing and probably too much attention but most of them are alive and I couldn’t be prouder. I started learning spanish (some very niche sentences like este cinturón es muy barato meaning this belt is very cheap). Shout out Duolingo. I’ve also started playing the guitar. Maybe I should put them together…


    How do you self-care?
    I’m naturally a people pleaser and an emotional sponge, which has some serious consequences to my wellbeing. I have to check myself. I’m much better at protecting my boundaries these days. I’ve learnt how to say no to things and to do that straight away. Before, I end up having to lay on the couch and having anxiety all day about over-committing or doing something I really don’t want to do. Say no and say it early on. Also minimizing stimulation. I’m an expert at doing a trillion things at once, doing just one thing at a time is great for me and making sure I get good sleep. In addition, long walks in nature really grounds me, but then again wine with my girls and talking trash on occasion does wonders for the soul too. It’s the balance for me.

    What is your perspective and advice for self-care?
    Screaming in nature.. Is there anything better?? Hard to do in a big city, I'm always worried someone is gonna think something terrible is happening. So occasionally, I just take a walk and if I'm really frustrated I kick a rock or something. The internet is full of ideas on how to self-care from shallow to deep and all the above are great if they do something for you. What I think is the most important thing, is to stop and actually check in with yourself and what you need, usually it’s all there.

    What would you recommend our readers to do?
    I would deeply recommend therapy to everyone as well as regular exercise. Those two things alone have really changed my life and I'm only annoyed sometimes that I didn’t figure that out earlier. It’s not like no one told me I just had to actually commit to it. I guess that’s part of it though, there’s a time and place for everything.. And that time is now lol. Don’t wait! Also journaling. I’ve done this on and off since I was about 7 years old and I looooove going back to read things. It’s a great way to understand your feelings. Putting my thoughts down on paper is a great way for me to look at them objectively and get a sense of clarity.


    And recommendations for how to get more energy?
    Sleep? I don’t know, exercise and do things that bring you joy. And live where there’s sun.. I got 2 out of 3.
    I love reading and writing, but It’s sometimes difficult for me to find the peace and patience to read. But, I've been obsessed with this swedish writer Karin Smirnoff. Her trilogy “Jag for ner till bror”  has had me walking around with a book in my hand almost every waking moment. I didn’t put that book down. Just started “Dina händer var fulla av liv” by Suad Ali.  On my bedside table you’ll always find the poetry collections “Bone” by Yrsa Daley-Ward & “Salt” by Nayyirah Waheed, absolute modern classics to me.


    What is your hope for the future?
    On a personal level I want to pick up the pace and release more music and you know hopefully play a live show again. Globally I feel like the music scene is pretty vibrant right now, people are hungry and it shows. There’s more up close and personal music side by side with dance floor bangers everyone is ready to get down and dirty to, like a global pressure cooker I only think is gonna be good for music. “More music, more life” to quote Drake.

    dress CHRISTINA LEUNE
    shoes CHANNA STUDIO 
    jewellery MARIA NILSDOTTER
    jacket MATILDA IVARSSON
    shoes CHANNA STUDIO
    coat JOHANNA LARSSON
    bikini HUMANA
    earrings STYLIST’S OWN
  • photography by MATTIAS EDWALL
    stylist JAHWANNA BERGLUND
    hair & make up ELVA AHLBIN 
    talent JOSEFIN ZACHRISSON / Mikas
    total look BOTTEGA VENETA
    earrings LWL JEWELRY

    An Interview With Josefin Zachrisson

    Written by Amandine Bredelet by Sandra Myhrberg

    Josefin Zachrisson was born and raised in Söderhamn. After four years of art and design studies, she graduated in 2019 Beckmans School of Design and is today active as an artist and designer with Stockholm as base. She describes her practice as a three-dimensional language in the border country between art and design. With her design language, she wants to communicate feelings, thoughts and ideas. Her way of working is conceptual, experimental and emotional and takes consideration for both impression and use. In addition to their individual work Josefin is also part of the art and design collective Swedish Girls.

    What inspires you? Where do you find your inspiration? In my work I often try to reflect society in some way and my concepts are the outcome of my thoughts and emotions. The input is therefore very important, I value conversations and I often look to all other artforms for inspiration.


    How would you describe your artwork? I exist in both art and design and would describe my work as conceptual, experimental and emotional. The meeting between my work and the consumer is what gives it purpose and that's why I often work with some kind of function.


    What message do you want to deliver through your artwork? I want to communicate feelings, thoughts and ideas through my work. It is my form of outlet and my source of peace. Art and design keeps me constantly challenged, educated and inspired and I hope to contribute.


    What is your dream project? I’m working towards my first gallery show in Stockholm at the moment and to be honest, this is my dream project. Further on I have so many ideas, people I would love to work with and places I want to exhibit so it would be impossible to choose one.


    Can you explain your “Swedish Girls” collective? By starting Swedish Girls we created a context for ourselves. Our name comes from owning what people in the business call us. Together and individually we want to claim a space in the borderland of art and design.


    Is that your fight? As a queer woman I fight for representation in a business with a remaining male genius complex. I have a privilege based on my socio-economic background and my skin color so the bigger fight will always be for inclusion. Our common fight is to create with responsibility to prevent climate change and this can not be done without diverse representation. 


    What is the biggest difference between a model and artiste designer? I find a lot of similarities in the way it’s about physical expression and the emotional work behind it. The biggest difference is how the model industry still is so trapped in ideals. There is no right or wrong in art and it should not be in modelling either, it’s about identity and identity has to be free.


    Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I actually quite often write my diary like it's 10 years from now and last time I did I wrote about my first or second opening at MoMa.      

    total look ACNE STUDIOS
    total look ACNE STUDIOS
    coat BOTTEGA VENETA
    earring LWL JEWELRY
    total look BOTTEGA VENETA
  • Ervin Latimer

    Written by Amandine Bredelet by Amandine

    Ervin Latimer is a Finnish designer who won the prize for Young designer of the Year 2020 and has a background in high fashion. He was design manager at Heliot Emil and ended up a finalist in the prestige filled H&M Design Award to name a small part of his background. Alongside fashion and other creative projects, Ervin has always been an activist and fighting for human rights as well as diversity and presence within the fashion industry.

    Your winning collection has a story to tell, can you tell us this story?
    The miniature collection I designed for the Young Designer of the Year Award makes a point about gender diversity and fashion’s role in the performance of gender. The task for last year’s competition was to design clothing that has multiple ways of being used. I have a background as a drag artist, and I’m fascinated how clothing can be used to highlight or obscure one’s gender identity. I decided to design apparel that start from traditional binary pieces of clothing such as masculine suits and feminine dresses that can then be taken apart, mixed and put back together. This creates a spectrum where one can place themselves, however they see fit for their gender identity and style. It is a celebration of the multitudes of gender.

    What inspires you?
    I find fashion as a tool for discussion just as any other medium such as writing, which is another passion of mine. Themes such as masculinity, brownness and queerness can usually be seen in all my creative work, so there is a core source of inspiration there. I could easily list you things that sound very prestige, such as photography books, exhibitions and cinema as sources of inspiration for the design ideas – and those would all be true – however equally often the ideas come from super random everyday things like memes or something strange I see when taking a bus. I keep written notes on my phone because I always forget to carry my sketchbook.

    This February – March, you will host an exhibition at The Institute of Finland in Stockholm. What do you want to say through your exhibition “Possibilities of Potential Selves”?
    Possibilities of Potential Selves takes a broader focus on inclusivity and representation. The visual and auditive elements that were created for the installation claim and completely repurpose a big stereotype of the Nordic fashion image: the forest. Me and the team who I’ve been lucky to work with have created an audio-visual experience, where people and identities that usually remain marginalized in Nordic fashion are now placed front and centre as the new norm. What’s important for me is that this happens both in front and behind the camera – representation also matters within the creators of these images and sounds. Everybody in the creative team are people of color and most are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
    I think the installation really is an experience with a capital E. It has been designed so that if you stay long enough and let yourself be immersed by it, after some time there are new elements that you might hear or see. This also applies to the short fashion film that was exclusively created with a local Swedish team for the installation presentation at the Finnish Cultural Institute in Stockholm.

    You’re an activist and fighting for human rights, what is your definition of diversity?
    True diversity is about sharing power to those who don’t by systemic, structural design have equal means to it. True diversity recognizes the complex intersecting identities we all posses, by considering privileges and power structures even among the marginalized and discriminated. Most importantly, true diversity is active, not reactive. It’s not about making the right PR move to benefit oneself or one’s company, it’s about proactively supporting someone else to fix systemic injustices in our societies.
    I’d also like to point out, that I don’t really see myself as an activist. I think it’s important to recognize, that due to the lack of certain kinds of representations I might be perceived as an activist, however what I really am doing, is trying to make people like me feel seen, and provide them interesting ways to reflect upon themselves and their identities. There is a difference between choosing to fight for a cause because you think something is wrong, and simply manifesting your own identity that isn’t considered normative in society, if you know what I mean. I am not saying I don’t want to be an activist, but it’s a huge problem that by simply being me I am considered one.

    How do you show diversity through your collections?
    For me ethnic and gender diversity is a given, I wouldn’t even know how to present things in any other way. I hope there is a feeling of effortlessness there, from a diversity perspective. However, there is always the question of what kind of diversity one is presenting. For example, fashion is seamlessly connected to the body and the types of bodies we see in fashion images are still very limited, simply because we have deemed a certain size and shape as more desirable than the other. From a marginalized body perspective my collections aren’t particularly diverse, therefore I am actively working on doing better.

    Is design being your way to fight for human rights?
    For me design is one way, however not the only one. My work as the Managing Editor of Ruskeat Tytöt (brown girls) Media, a Finnish online platform with a mission to broaden the representation of marginalized people in the field of culture, media and art has been an equally important way too.
    With that said, as I mentioned earlier, I really don’t find any of this as a fight for human rights, but rather more selfishly a fight for the existence of myself and people like me. I don’t say that to downplay the importance of what I am doing with my work, nor to toot my own horn. What I’m saying is I’d prefer not to have to worry about any of these diversity and representation issues and focus on something else. I wish that Brown or Black LGBTQ+ people wouldn’t feel like they need to make a point about their existence, nor shod they. It’s just that we have some very basic issues like equality or human rights to figure out while we express our creativity.

    It is your first fashion week and it’s a special one, what will that change for you?
    I have worked for brands that present collections during fashion week, but you are right that this is the first fashion week where I am presenting something of my own. I am super excited about it and delighted we were able to arrange the exhibition, all things considering. It has already connected me to many new amazing and talented people, and I really wish this creates a foundation that I can build upon in the future, in terms of discussing representation and diversity in fashion in the Nordics. I am confident this will happen!

    Do you think the Stockholm fashion week is a good way to express your thoughts?
    I think any fashion week should be a good platform to express the types of thoughts and views people like me present. I think it should go without saying that these types of discussions are welcome. I think all the Nordic fashion scenes have similar issues when it comes to representation and inclusivity, and while some fashion weeks are maybe are better equipped for the difficult discussions than others, the most important thing is that now it’s slowly happening.

    Do you think the Stockholm fashion week is a good place to highlight ethnic minorities?
    I don’t have enough experience to evaluate if it at the moment is a good place or not, however it of course should be. No fashion week should be any different in terms of requirements for representation and highlighting ethnic minorities. As long as fashion weeks are presenting brands that aim to be global, the casting etc. should reflect that global audience. And with that said, even if there somehow magically wouldn’t be any people of color in the Nordics, we would still all collectively benefit from structural racism and discriminatory power structures, so if anything, we would still have an obligation to actively work on highlighting and normalizing experiences such as ethnic minorities.

    What message do you want to deliver during the fashion week?
    In addition to promoting themes such as the spectrum of gender or POC representation, I do want to hammer down a message, that we, LGBTQ+ people of color are here, even in the Nordics, creating amazing, thoughtful, and artistically ambitious things. We have been discussing these themes for ages, it is just only now that we are being listened a little bit. Ultimately, I hope that my installation stirs up a curiosity to learn more and an ambition to educate oneself on these matters.

    What kind of clothes will you prefer during the fashion week?
    As a designer, I am always hesitant on judging or making demands on other designer’s work, as I see that as the job of a stylist or fashion journalist/critic. I guess it’s safe to say that I’ll prefer clothing that meets the moment environmentally, ethically and from a social responsibility perspective, both externally within the production cycle and internally within the company.

    Which person would you like to see wearing your design?
    The character Harper in HBO’s tv-series We Are Who We Are

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