New York City’s streetmeets-sophistication energy inspires the new H&M Studio collection. We chat to lead designer PERNILLA WOHLFAHRT
H&M lead designer Pernilla Wohlfahrt talks about H&M’s street-inspired collection
What environment captures your creativity best?
A creative environment that values curiosity and an open mind above all else. Fashion has this fascinating power to express personality, even the culture of the times, so everyone needs to be attuned to that to remain relevant. That means having a voracious appetite for art, architecture, music and history, and being aware of your surroundings whenever travelling – be it around the world or on your commute from home to work. In a creative environment, you need to be respectful of everyone else’s opinions and experiences, and above all, be kind. You get a lot more done when you’re genuinely nice to people, and we’re all much happier for it.
What is your personal style and does the collection reflect your fashion aesthetic?
I’m a minimalist – I like clean lines and distinctive silhouettes, though in a more laid-back way. But I’m also willing to go out of my own stylecomfort zone every now and then. Accessories have the power to change an outfit. A statement necklace can instantly lift something basic, like a white T-shirt, and brightly coloured shoes can inject some panache to an all-black look. When it comes to our collections, our customers are the greatest influence. Our aim is to provide our customers around the world with clothes, shoes and accessories that they will genuinely love and continually wear – pieces that can be effortlessly mixed with their existing wardrobe and that truly express their personal style and love of fashion.
What is your take on fast fashion?
We see increasing consumer demands associated with fast fashion as opportunity to have direct communication with our customers. We constantly listen to our customers and receive a great deal of feedback via social media. Fashion has become truly global now, but also more inclusive and therefore a positive step forward for everyone.
Is the contrast of feminine details and street and punk influences in the Studio collection a strong design aesthetic of yours?
I believe that the whole design team working with contradictions can yield new and exciting points of view. This kind of juxtaposition in the design process will vary from season to season, but for this collection, it’s definitely about the urban sophistication of New York City, blending graffiti prints with menswear checks, for example, and merging different fabrics in a garment to ultimately express a fearless attitude and create new silhouettes.
What is your favourite piece in the collection?
It’s always hard to choose, but I love the oversized hooded parka-poncho hybrid in the checked print and fauxfur trim. It’s tough yet cosy, and you can literally throw it over anything and still look cool. The dresses are also important pieces. They follow the curves of the female body, but also have strong, structural elements. Nothing is too precious, which I think comes with the street-punk attitude we were channelling.
H&M STUDIO COLLECTION IS AVAILABLE AT H&M STORES IN SANDTON AND V&A FROM 14 SEPTEMBER 2017.