DE­SIGNER DOSSIER

New York City’s street­meets-so­phis­ti­ca­tion en­ergy in­spires the new H&M Stu­dio col­lec­tion. We chat to lead de­signer PERNILLA WOHLFAHRT

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - SEPTEMBER CONTENTS -

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.

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