• photography by LENA MODIGH

    Ulrika Lundgren, RIKA

    Written by Mari Florer

    “I love biker jackets, that’s my thing.”

    Ulrika Lundgren is a Swedish born fashion designer, stylist and business woman - she’s the woman behind the international fashion brand Rika.

    When I got in touch with her for this interview she told me she only had 30 minutes to spare. One hour later I felt a smile spreading over my face when the thought hit me; “She likes talking to me”.

    Listening to this truly enthusiastic woman describing the start of her project is pure enjoyment. It is also clear that the trademark Rika and the person Ulrika Lundgren are synonymous in spirit.

    Looking at Rika’s collections it is no surprise that biker jackets and classic French style female chic are personal obsessions of Ulrika.

    From interior stylist into fashion designer
    After graduating from her interior design studies in Amsterdam she began to work as an interior stylist for magazines like Elle Decoration and Casa Vogue and travelled globally. Slowly as more people appeared in her photo shoots the clothing became more important and her interest in fashion grew from there.

    “In Spain I made a leather bag with stars, mostly for fun, about 100 bags for close friends… and I invested all the money I earned from my photo sessions in my brand Rika, which I started in 2005” she says.

    The star-bag was a hit. It has been carried by many famous fashionistas all over the world. Alexa Chung, Scarlett Johansson and Kate Moss to name a few.

    Rika Maison guesthouse, Amsterdam
    Today Ulrika resides in Amsterdam. The city has a nice touch of small village and the child friendly environment makes it an ideal place to live in. Also the geography is right.
    “I work a lot in Paris and London. Amsterdam is in the middle”, she says.

    Her Rika boutique, in Oude Spiegelstraat 12 in Amsterdam, has grown into a Rika Maison guesthouse. She designed the rooms herself.

    “It´s decorated like my home.”
    “And, your home. What does it look like? “ I ask.
    “We live in an old school house rebuilt by a Dutch architect. It has black floors with white walls, ceramic vases, velvet pillows. Simple. Just like Rika Maison.

    “So where do you see Rika in the future? For example do you want to design a line for men or create a children collection?” I ask.

    “I did try to develop a children collection once but in the end it turned out too expensive.
    I will keep focusing on the Rika collection, the Maison guesthouse and my Rika magazine and developing that. “

    Swedish or a Dutch?
    I tell her that the Swedish department store NK in Stockholm, Sweden is promoting her as a Scandinavian designer but when I read about her in Elle, they present Rika as a Dutch label.
    Does nationality matter?
    “I feel like a Swede. But my brand feels neither Swedish nor Dutch. For me it is of great importance that my mission is connected to my brand identity and not a place on earth. But I am inspired by girls in cities like Malmö and Copenhagen. I like the Scandinavian style. Not too dressed up - just good looking.”

    The spirit of Rika
    It is not only money she invests in her company. Ulrika Lundgren is personally involved in the styling of every collection. Her creative capital is the essence of Rika. I tell her that I think the pictures in the look book are lovely.
    “Yes, that is where I leave my hallmark and there is where the collection is presented.”

    It’s easy to imagine that she has given full attention to every little detail concerning Rika.
    Speaking to Ulrika I must admit I sometimes get a glimpse of a perfectionist or even a control freak. Have you ever found yourself dressed all wrong in a situation when it wasn’t really appropriate?

    “No, I am cautious. I analyze things. I Save my thoughts in my mind a while. Then I make a decision. But I like challenges. At one time, five or six years ago, I made bags decorated with bugs and spiders. Most of the people thought it was weird. Today when the jewelry designers uses such motives all the time it would probably be a success.”

    What is the most rewarding thing with being a fashion designer?
    “To see young women wear my creations… and that they are satisfied and want to buy my clothes. Appreciation.”

    Can you name a Dutch designer and a Swedish designer you like?
    “Well. I do wear Acne sometimes. But I don’t wear any Dutch designers. My favorite brand is Céline. I love it - classic French Parisian girl style.
    When I dress I always wear something timeless. I am 40 years old - not 20. Black is classic”
    “I always spend a little extra money on shoes, bags, jackets and trousers. Today I carry a blue bag, a Marc Jacobs cardigan and a couple of Acne trousers. I like it simple.”

    She tells me she’s going to attend a Vogue event soon and doesn´t yet know what to wear; maybe jeans, a shirt and a biker jacket. To her it is crucial to feel comfortable. Girls are most beautiful that way, she thinks.

    The conversation is interrupted. She calls me up in a few minutes.
    “Are we finished?” she asks.
    Just one more question I say.
    Do you have a male styling icon?
    The smile returns to my face. That I had figured out.

    photography by LENA MODIGH

    stylist MEGHAN SCOTT / Magnolia Agency

    hair & make up ELIN TORDENLIND / Magnolia Agency

    model LINNEA / Stockholmsgruppen

                        / www.rikaint.com

  • photography by ELLEN ROGERS

    Ellen Rogers interview

    Written by David Barrie by Sandra Myhrberg

    Ellen Rogers is a fashion photographer who creates and inhabits a highly distinct universe. Full of temptresses, dark landscapes, ancient scratched, almost mythic surfaces, her work has been published in the pages of Dazed & Confused, i-D, Tank and Vice magazines and she has worked for many fashion clients, including Charlotte Olympia and Piers Atkinson.

    Via email, on a computer somewhere in a darkened house, rain-soaked landscape or photographic shoot – who knows? – Ellen agreed to be interviewed by David Barrie, a documentary producer and director who’s made films on art, design and fashion.

    D: What’s the first word or idea that first comes in to your head when you hear the following words: Theatre. Tree. Sleep. Erotic. Simon Cowell?

    E: Theatre: Red velvet. Tree: Black branches. Sleep: White curtains. Erotic: Cream. Simon Cowell: Some sort of putrid Yellow-Green

    D: What do you think of mobile phone apps that allow people to generate stylised, square format digital images of everyday life?

    E: Hehe. I don’t actually have one, but I think they are harmless fun. They certainly look better than the normal photos the iPhone takes.

    D: You’ve just published a book called ‘Aberrant Necropolis’. Burial grounds are usually places of reverence and convention. When was the last time that you visited a cemetery and what did you notice?

    E: That is an interesting question because I was last in a cemetery in Norwich. I was there contemplating with my family whether or not to give my mother a place there. I said to my mother that I always wanted her with me, always at home. My family however like to know there is a place to visit and talk to her as it can be hard to talk to a box in someone’s house.
    I feel selfish in my constant decline but I can’t help think that having her outside in the cold with thousands of other dead souls is not what I want for her. Regardless of how attracted to them I am aesthetically.

    D: You’ve said in the past that you’re “obsessed” with ‘the supernatural’ and ‘the occult’. How do you know that you’re “obsessed”?

    E: The Occult means ‘secret’ and this is the drive behind my every move and integrity. I am infatuated by the idea of dissecting fear, beauty, love and abject disgust to see how they work, what their mechanics are, how I can use them to my advantage, my art.
    The ‘supernatural’ and the ‘occult’ hold intrigue, deep routed mystery and a constant question. This is too what I strive for. Maybe I want a very real separation from answers, an untouchable and reverential secret. Few things mean more in my house than a drive for mysticism.

    D: Do you think that we live in a time when we want to be immersed in something that’s not real?

    E: It’s a horrific time. Banks are a very real danger and are taking over or lives. We are all seeming to fall into debt and it isn’t likely to get better soon. Yet in the midst of this black fog over the world’s nations, comedy sales on DVD are at an all time high. Computer games are bigger than ever and we all want escape. This is natural. But as the majority of us close our eyes and dream-of-never-land, the wolves outside our homes are howling. They are here.

    D: Often you work with a model called Hana. Who is Hana and what is it about her that makes you return to her as a subject?

    E: Hana is a twenty year old student from Norfolk. I love her dearly and she is my muse. I find her to be all the things that I am not. She is the antithesis of my being and I am so attracted to that. She has also seen so much in her life. She is intelligent yet in lifestyle we are polar opposites - and great friends. Every time I wish I could explain something about myself, I will use Hana. She is the vessel through which I tell my personal story.

    D: What are some of the particular feelings, experiences, spaces or objects that you find yourself returning to in the notes and journals that you keep?

    E: I have for a time been writing together many characters. I am not sure how often I have spoken this aloud but all the men and women in my photographs belong to my ongoing world, and play a part in the larger story. Sometimes I will do the odd shoot to fill in the blanks of my story and most often I will cross reference my story with my journals. I am now working on a new set of images where I battle political slights and I will try and address many points that disgruntle me. The first in this series was ‘The leaf room’ - where I explain about the dangers of testing on humans.

    D: Is there a particular aspect of fashion or the work of designers that you’d describe as art?

    E: Most certainly. Their artistic practice is much the same as mine, or any other persons who call themselves an artist. They are in essence writing a concept and staying faithful to an execution. Many designers of fashion are, to me, true artists: and I would never discredit an artist on account of their medium.

  • MAJA, autumn 2012

    The Colors of Marimekko

    Written by Michaela Widergren

    In the early 1950s the founders of Marimekko, Armi and Viljo Ratia began experimenting with fabric, prints and color. A fashion show was held, showcasing the beautiful and modern prints. The couple wanted to show what every woman could look like and accomplish with her sewing machine and the playful textiles of Marimekko. The original prints were seen as the most avant garde and became a natural success among the women in Finland.

    When living in a habitat that’s pale white and grey most of the year, being drawn to vibrant colors becomes inevitable.

    Sixty years later I’m invited to one of Marimekko’s concept store openings and for an interview with the people behind Marimekko. The first feeling I get when meeting these women is controlled but still most passionate. There is no doubt they live and breathe for the brand and its reputation.

    I can feel the national romantic mentality of the designers and creators in the air, a mentality that is absolutely required to survive and develop for as long as Marimekko has done.

    I had an inspirational talk with Erja Hirvi, one of the twenty five designers behind Marimekko’s current style. Erja is a designer of prints; she told me that all designers have their own interpretations of the world and that’s what most of them are trying to present. She said that the atypical interpretations of our world make Marimekko’s design differ from others.

    It’s how you choose to present it, not what you choose to present that’s essential. Nature is a familiar theme, that evolves and never grows old, Erja feels that since nature is visible everywhere, that’s why it’s the biggest inspiration of all, always.

    I’m told a quote from founder Armi:

    “There is no reason to mess up a print with a color unless there is a reason.”

    I think I understand what she meant and I decide to agree.

    KLAPI, autumn 2012
    JURMO, autumn 2012
    SONJA, winter 2012

    SONJA, winter 2012

    MELOONI, winter 2012
    KULTAKERO, winter 2012