Representing the creative future

SST 2022: Meet the Swedish School of Textiles fashion graduates

Discover the sketchbooks of this year’s SST fashion graduates

How does fashion look like when it is created so far away from the fashion system? Situated in Borås, Sweden, the Swedish School of Textiles redefines the tight strings of the industry in its own way. Being isolated can spark inspiration but also make one think of where one could fit into the industry. Having the opportunity to exhibit at Paris Fashion Week, the school takes their Swedish secrets out into the world.

This year, the school had 34 graduates across the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the fashion and textile field. For fashion, the students dig deep into the meaning behind the clothes and how they are made. What is the best way to drape? Do I need to use my knowledge over my intuition or are there even any rules at all? Marrying art and fashion, the collections strive for high-quality construction and a professional level of craftsmanship whilst exploring social issues on a deeper level.

Contrary to the bachelor’s degree, the master’s is more about innovation. How can textiles be more sustainable? How can we develop fabric to the next level? Graduates from the Swedish School of textiles have been researching these questions for several years now. Whilst there may not be a definite answer, there is definitely a way to heal ourselves from overconsumption and overproduction.

It is about the emotion, our relationship with clothing and what we feel when fabric touches our skin. The topics of this year’s class are deep, diving into spheres we didn’t even think of before. Creating far away from the pulse of the industry puts one at rest, at ease with the freedom to redefine what fashion means in our day and age.

Ready to bring their vision into the world, the 34 graduates of the Swedish School of Textiles are ready to disrupt and showcase what their DNA is made of. Whispering their secrets, their collections are ready to be discovered by the world.


Alice Gruvalder, BA Fashion Design

Alice Gruvalder’s collection is like an invisible curtain, showing her truth through the eyes of the wider societal spectrum. Named “Acts of conformity”, the Swedish designer is delving into the question of what it means to be Swedish. “The collection explores racial identity and is a demonstration of the assimilation into whiteness as a reaction to Swedish norms,” she says. “Body features that distinguish normatively Swedish appearances from Chinese appearances are mainly skin tone, eyes and hair”, the designer says. Building on this, her collection features two pieces made out of hair extensions, one symbolising the white skin through the use of resin and tulle, and one circle-shaped blue skirt, reminiscing a blue eye.

The two hair dresses are blonde, almost white- showing the contrast between her black hair and the typical blonde hair colours, found around her. “Furthermore, these traits are translated into pieces that demonstrate how one can dress in a normative Swedishness as part of the assimilation process. This project demonstrates a consequence of deficient diversity in the form of different acts of confrontation.” For this collection Alice’s core references are found in the depth of her veins, her lived experience as a Chinese adoptee. One standout piece from the collection, the blonde wig-hat symbolises a certain desire to fit in. Not in a mental way, but in a literal, visual way: “I created it from the desire to become as Swedish as possible and have blonde hair like others around me. My Chinese features are the only thing that differentiates me from my other ethnic Swedish friends”, she says.

Mirjam Kislinger, BA Fashion Design

The planet is burning. Since Greta Thunberg told us to act as if our house is on fire, not much has changed. The planet is heating up and parts of the planet are filled with thrown-away garments. “Around 80% of produced textiles are landfilled within the same year. With these numbers in mind, I think it is more important to take a closer look at why the majority of consumers lack care for their garments,” says designer Mirjam Kislinger. It is a diffuclt situation for the textile market, she says. The planet is suffering and our consumerism, rooted in the ego of capitalism is hungry for more. When making her collection, the designer asked herself how we can value the craftmanship behind clothes- she wanted the consumer to not only see the craft but to feel and worship it. She worked with discarded garments, she wanted to feel their essence and get to know them as if they were a human being in themselves, she adds. “In many cases, I took the garment apart with the greatest care in order to perceive it in a different light. It was almost wanting to get to know someone very well on a few different dates.” In the end, the designer came to the conclusion that making clothing would not be the right medium to bring the message across. Instead, she opted for a film. “I am telling the story of how a person gets to know a fur jacket and gradually builds up an emotional bond with it. This is exactly the emotional connection with clothing that would establish an appreciative relationship between consumer and garment and defy the culture of over-consumption.” Inspired by the leading researcher on sustainability in the fashion industry, Kate Fletcher, the designer created a truly exceptional approach on how we can learn to love our garments again.

Hedvig Ljungström, BA Fashion Design

When thinking about the beginning of her collection, Hedvig Ljungström references a project with Peak Performance in their second year. The task was to create a sustainable puffer jacket. “I decided to see how I could work with discarded baby garments and started to experiment with the small clothing by filling it with old pillows. I had a lot of fun in this project and decided that I wanted to continue it further into my graduation project”, she says. To bring it to the next level, the designer wanted to tie in her interest in historical fashion. The combination of the two led her of the making of an upcycled collection, made from discarded baby garments. “I find inspiration and attraction in many historical fashion eras- but this time I wanted to narrow it down to the renaissance. I have a fascination for Queen Elizabeth I, and I found it a bit silly and humoristic to work with baby garments, whilst having the “virgin queen” as my chosen muse.” Renaissance garments are drawn by their details and rafinesse- referenced in the embellishments the designer used on her garments. It is interesting to combine something so innocent, such as baby clothing with something so emotional and heavy, such as an historical period. The padding and the expressive shapes of Hedvig’s clothes are reminiscent of Rei Kawakubo with an innocent almost girlhood-esque angle in the modern day. “During the process, I constantly found correlations, but there are clashes that made the synopsis between the material and the chosen time era interesting”, she adds.

Emilila Marklund, BA Fashion Design

Inspired by her childhood, Emilia Marklund dedicated her graduate collection FUNction to her experience wearing boring skiwear as a kid. “Growing up in the North of Sweden, I used to go alpine skiing a lot. I always found it difficult to find warm clothes that allowed me to express myself”, she says. Her interest in fashion felt like a contradiction to the boring skiwear her body was wrapped in during the cold days. Seeing the gap in the market, the designer combined both her interests and make her own skiwear. “This collection is inspired by camp aesthetics in order to find new and playful expressions. I wanted to give functional garments a new expression and function through fabric manipulations.” Inspired by Susan Sontag’s iconic definition of camp, the designer was inspired by a variety of visual references, such as Leigh Bowery. “Camp can be interpreted in so many different ways, so it was great to have a clear theoretical reference,” she says. The designer mainly focussed on over-exaggeration-  she wanted the viewer to feel the aspect of “too much” in her work. By doing so, she overdid fabric manipulations, using details of skiwear in unexpected ways. “That way, I found new functions for ski-wear; for example putting elastic cords in a huge pair of pants to make it possible to adjust the fit, length and expression of them.” Her collection tells a story of modern campness that goes beyond the common Harry Styles genderfluid reference. By combining two worlds that wouldn’t have met otherwise, she created something unique or “who would think of going skiing in chaps covered in big flounces?”, as she says.

Beatrice Stenmark, BA Fashion Design

“My collection is rooted in the human need for hairstyling and it exemplifies the potential in how hairstyling can be used differently in fashion”, says Beatrice Stenmark. In her work, she juxtaposed the world of expressive hairstyling with the world of fashion. “I have combined different hairstyles with textile materials and techniques to generate ideas for material developments. The materials that I created were then used to blend with garments and accessories through digital sketching tools in order to create design ideas.” The essence of her collection is according to her the combination of hairstyle, textile material/technique and digital sketching. “Hair-Dressing is a collection that shows the relevance of hairstyling beyond the human scalp”, she adds. “We, humans are unique in that we wear clothes and have our hair cut voluntarily. And just like fashion and dress, hairstyling is a fundamental part of which we humans give ourselves meaning and identity.” The most common hair type in the fashion industry is animal hair- it is perceived as either elegant and sophisticated or brutal and immoral. Human hair on the other side, would be perceived as disgusting. “This notion intrigued me to explore human hairstyling, but with the means of animal hair, and by extension, textile fibres. I believe that the combination of human hairstyles and textile fibres can be expressed though my passion for textile crafts and techniques.”

Mirte Luijmes, Textiles MA

Mirte Luijmes collection was inspired by nature. “The wonderful realm of liches was the starting point of this material library”, she says, referring to her extraordinary body of work. “Lichens cover about 7% of the earth but are generally unseen. The lichens have a dormant state in which they are dry, crispy and fragile. These organisms can survive under extreme circumstances and be dormant for a long period of time. When they come in contact with moisture, the lichens are activated to resume their growth and become greener, expand and become flexible.” Like a graceful dance, they move in their transformation from dry to wet: “it gives them a stage to perform”, says Mirte. “The responsive property of the lichens to humidity led to the investigation of this species in combination with the flexible properties of knitted textiles. The knit enhances the lichens’ properties in its stretchable, textural and colour possibilities.” The designers’ choices are guided by the natural process. Nature is therefore an active collaborator in her work. “Due to the quantity of forest, Sweden has plenty of lichens. In several countries, lichens are protected due to the increase in air pollution. Through visualizing and emphasising these precious and unseen species, the changeable textiles aim to activate the viewer in rethinking human’s relationship to nature.” A unique thing about Mirte and her work is that she is inspired by what is around her. She has the gift to see the beauty in the ordinary. “My biggest inspiration was the predecessors from the Swedish School of Textiles that worked with natural organisms before. For example, Svenja Keune worked with plants growing in textiles. In her work, she investigates how to coexist with textiles in her own built home, observing how textiles change outside and inside and during the seasons. How she merges her life and her work was very interesting for me to dive into along with the research on living organisms in textiles.” Also inspired by a variety of other students and alumnas the designer is keen to develop and explore a potential future for textiles.

Elmina Ekman, BA Fashion Design

“My fascination for paper and its history already started in my first year at SST, where I experimented with changing the properties of regular pattern-making paper, transferring it into a “textile”,” says the BA graduate Elmina Ekman. Reminiscing about these experiments, she draws conclusions about how this led her to her graduate collection. Mesmerised by the subtle magic of the paper, she dedicated her graduate collection READY-TO-WASTE to her fascination. Her interest in traditional craft techniques and the constant urge to make clothing more sustainable whilst using fun materials led her to a traditional papermaking technique where discarded textile waste is shredded and recycled as paper pulp. “Even though my initial idea was to use this technique, I had to come up with new methods since the process of shredding the fabric by only using a domestic blender was too time-consuming,” she says. Instead, she created her own techniques to recreate the expression of rag paper. “The idea of using low-valued cotton was intriguing and invited me to work more freely with colours and surface treatments. To highlight the so-called paperlike material, I used garment archetypes from my wardrobe and used them as guidelines for making classical yet fun silhouettes. Inspired by traditional craft techniques, the designer wanted to shine light on the importance of working with your hands, bringing back the spirit of craftsmanship. Craft is in us, in our veins and according to Elmina, craftiness suggests using different tools for creating sustainable garments or textiles.

Linn Stooss, BA Fashion Design

In the end, true inspiration can be found anywhere. For Linn Stoos, it was an old wicker armchair that had been with her for her whole life. “I have always saved it because I am obsessed with the shape of it, even though it’s nothing special. This chair served as a body in my degree work or rather as an experimental pattern generator, as I used the chair and its shapes to trace patterns for my garments,” she says. Ignoring the gender binary within fashion, Linn Stooss work is about unisex fashion and social constructions about gender roles, identities and norms. “There is a lot to unpack, so I focussed on the gap. Why does unisex fashion favour male-coded garments and neutral colours? Aren’t all garment types and colours for all bodies? Why is a pair of pants considered “more unisex”, ergo more socially acceptable for all bodies to wear, than for example, a skirt? Of course- we never know the answer, but why do we accept that?”, she says. Fashion could be seen as a powerful tool- it allows us to strip on identity, and it can make us feel safe, expressive or powerful. “Fashion has the power to exclude or include and inclusive fashion is what I wanted to explore in my unisex collection.” By using the chair as her reference point, the designer was able to break free from the body’s restrictions that tend to dictate the world of fashion design. The collection is about size- not about gender, she says. “Does it fit your body? Great, then you can wear it.” Made out of elastics, it is carrying the meaning of inclusivity inside-out: accessible to anyone, by anyone.

Elin Westling, BA Fashion Design

We all know it. When you are little, the world is so big. Mother’s dresses are the most beautiful, and the feeling of delicate lace running through tiny hands feels magical. Playing dress up is the visualising of fantasies, all our identities and alter-egos are suddenly becoming real. “My collection is inspired by the nostalgic act of playing dress-up as a child. The idea came from self-reflection, trying to remember what made me love fashion in the first place and how my relationship with fashion back then was different than to what it is now,” says Elin Westling about her graduate collection “PLAY DRESS UP!”. This colourful collection is bright, loud and joyful- but actually, it is born out of the most unjoyful we recently experienced: “At times, especially during these years at school during the pandemic, it felt like what I was doing didn’t bring me joy- only feelings of creative pressure and stress. I knew that I still loved fashion just as much as I did when discovering it, but the state of the world changed my view on it,” the designer says. Bleak times let us think the same thoughts over and over again and potentially recentre our focus. When it felt like the world was ending, it felt pointless to study fashion sometimes, she says. “Therefore, I had to find a way back to that relationship I had with fashion when I first started loving it. That was when I was a child and I played dress-up. When I reflected on this time, I learnt that my relationship with fashion and dressing was all about joy, seeing garments as what they can be and not what they are. It was all about being free and creative with garments. Clothes were seen as wearable toys, not as garments with rules and codes.”

Leonie Burkhardt, MA Textiles

Since Leonie Burkhardt finished her BA in Hamburg, Germany, it was always one of her big wishes to study at the Swedish Institute of Textiles. Their specialism in weaving drew her to the school. Now, two years later, she finished her MA. Her graduate collection is an experimental approach towards the woven material, almost like a love letter in its purest form. “My collection is called Woven Forms. It’s investigating the possibilities of creating three-dimensional objects transformed from flat woven textile,” says the designer. Born out of pure curiosity, the designer wanted to question if 3D objects could be woven on a Jacquard powerloom. “With the help of multi-layering weaving techniques and yarns that shrink when treated with heat, a flat rectangular textile is then transformed into quirky, abstract, self-supporting textile sculptures. The main idea behind this was to look at the loom as a forming tool rather than a machine that only produces flat textile. An advantage of this thinking is that textile-forms can be produced without the need of sewing or having too much textile waste since nothing needs to be cut.” In her process, the designer felt particularly inspired by sculptors. In particular, she references the work of Anton Alvarez. “He is working with clay and his colourful sculptures show the beauty of imperfections and quirkiness,” she exclaims. For the concept, she felt drawn to the work by Holly McQuillan, who researched zero-waste garment construction and developed zero-waste fashion based on the weaving process.

Sofie Sølvhøj Heinesen, MA Textiles

Clothes come alive on the body, that’s when the magic happens. It’s that moment when life floats out of the veins into the woven structure of the garment. It interacts with our perfections and imperfections- it becomes a part of us, our performance. “Performing Knits aims to investigate kitted textiles as interactive pieces, where changeable qualities embedded in the knit design are activated through movement,” says Sofie Sølhøj Heinesen about her MA collection. “My main objective is to provide a novel perspective of knitted materials and their role in a performative context. Presenting a shift from previously seen static knitted material to incorporating knit design to create pieces that have the opportunity to enhance and take part during performances.” Always fascinated with the notion of change, the designer provided shifted expressions in form and surface: “As a designer specialised in knit, I have the opportunity to design both form and surface simultaneously which is quite unique. In this process, I found that I can design changeability by manipulating form and surface directly on the knitting machine. As you might be able to see, every piece in the collection has many looks depending on movement and perspective.” Putting a special emphasis on collaboration, the designer collaborated with different dancers. “I find it so rewarding to discuss and see other perspectives than my own,” she adds. “It provided me with input and knowledge both in regard to their field, and the connection to textile, but also on my own work when it was viewed from a perspective outside of design.” Inspired by the craft of Ballet, her core reference was “Das Triadische Ballet” by Oskar Schlemmer from the 1920s. “In the ballet costume, scenography and movement are all designed to influence and enhance each other. I probably watched the ballet every day when conducting research for my degree work. I was so taken aback by the relation between movements and design, and the transformation it provided. It made me curious about how knitted textiles could take part in a performance in a way that the knit would be a part of the performance.”

Adam Billy, BA Fashion Design

“The project aims to use my own body as a shape-able, malleable material in a similar manner to how we bend, shape and deconstruct textiles in fashion design,” says Adam Billy about his BA collection. Contrary to his peers, he gravitated towards the digital medium and decided to make his collection in that space. “It was created in the digital space, allowing specific technologies, like LiDAR to translate my moving body into a digital presentation, resulting in morphed, stretched, and juxtaposed body parts,” he adds. Guided by pure intuition, the designer claims that he liberated himself from external imagery to fully focus on his own body. “I actually didn’t have a mood board of visual references, besides pictures of my own body in odd angles and poses,” he says. “Generally, I was inspired by the way the body is used to build other bodies, inspired by Dr.Gunther Von Hagens, creator of Body worlds.” The designer believes in a digital future for fashion- to him, it will move from the physical into a new sphere, drawn by extended reality, virtual or augmented. “As digital technology becomes more immersive, I think the experience of digital fashion will improve. My project speculates why digital fashion needs a bridge between avatars and garments, and I wonder if a niche of digital fashion won’t just be body-designing.” For the future, Adam Billy wants to explore further alternative means of expressing, altering and speculating the human body in design- maybe, one day he might return to wearable artefacts- only time will tell.

Caroline Ingholm, MA Fashion Design

For Caroline Ingholm, it was all about breaking the boundaries. “The goal of my project has been to explore and challenge the boundaries within fashion. Garments have been looked at from a bigger perspective, looking at garments as being complex and important objects within our life,” she says. She wanted to mark the positions of body, garment and space- and show how they work together and connect. She wanted to bring the garments closer to one another, almost as if they were living beings, and connect them to understand them. “The structure of our lives and how we do things have been the biggest inspiration, visualising that force of empty versus the occupied space that we live in,” she adds. Visually, the designer felt very inspired by the idea of five skins by the Austrian artist and architect Friedrich Hundertwasser. “He visually explores five divisions of space as a type of spiral where clothes are the second of the five skins. This idea opened up my view on the relationship between humans, things, and society.” She also looked at the garment sculptures by Erin Wurm. “She uses garments as a sculpting material challenging the position of the garment, body, and surroundings. Wurm’s work made me realize the effect the proposed skins could have on one another when viewed from a new perspective. The layers can be viewed as one fluid and move through each other.”

Ebba Hedlund, BA Fashion Design

“During my upbringing, being active and outdoors was important. I have had such a hard time relating to the clothes and it often resulted in them being left in my wardrobe until the activities were to be carried out,” says the designer Ebba Hedlund. As children, the world outside is filled with excitement- fresh air dangles around our noses while our legs dance through the leaves the trees have just shaken off. With her collection, Ebba wanted to make activewear great again- when did activewear get so boring and lost its aesthetics? “I wanted to challenge activewear’s aesthetics, form and functions. I wanted to create winter activewear that differs from what can be found on the market today.” Inspired by the renaissance, the designer found her refuge in history: “Historical references from the Renaissance have been an essential inspiration source for the collection’s aesthetic and form creation. This has allowed me to play freely when the mix between historical forms meets the functionality of winter activewear.” Moreover, the point of juxtaposition was really important to the designer. She wanted to mix activewear with areas it is usually less acquainted with, so she can be able to play freely with her medium. Her challenge was to combine functionality with beauty, which hasn’t always been easy: “The difficulties in the project have been how much of the functionality in the clothes could be sacrificed when the form and aesthetic of the piece has been challenged.” Functional clothing is getting more and more popular in the industry- from abolishing business wear for activewear at work during the pandemic, to choosing a functional uniform- simplicity and functionality seem to become the rising values in this day and age. “This topic is important, the wider mass seems to become more interested in it,” says Ebba. Her collection may be a glimpse into the future, done with the right dose of play in functionality.

Jonatan Nilsson, BA Fashion Design

Construction is what can make a garment truly interesting. Seeing garments like houses, they have a foundation, and once you understand the metrics of construction. Disruption only works if you understood the rules, and Jonatan Nilsson certainly understood the rulebook. “My collection is about deconstructing “agricultural workwear” in order to challenge their expression. I did this by adding new openings to these recognizable garments and then I allow the wearer to deconstruct the garment themselves through entering it,” he says. Jonatan’s clothing is a piece of art in itself, seeking inspiration in 20th-century Swedish farmers, the graduate built on the aspect of functionality in the age of overconsumption. “It started with me looking at old images of my grandparents working as farmers and seeing their beautiful clothes but being somewhat unable to relate to their world.” The designer grew up in rural Sweden, with farmlands, green fields and fresh air as his backdrop. Yet still, he felt disconnected from it- so is fashion he says, subtly referencing the industry’s obsession with capitals. “As a designer, this is my way of tackling a sense of disconnection with rural culture whilst also feeling disconnected from fashion capital cities. I wanted to reappropriate agricultural clothing and recontextualise it to be mine and to be fashion.” Finding alternative ways to construct can be difficult, but the designer found it in the absolute extreme of workwear: spacesuits. “Looking at old space and flight suits, I saw that they had many strange zipper openings around the body and stretch long lines, creating the unintentional potential for multiwearability,” he says. Sustainability comes with the nature of his work- his pieces are so versatile; they can be seen as their own capsule wardrobe. This collection is a true labour of love, with times of liberation and stress. A capsule into the heart and right into the future.

Freija Seihine, BA Fashion Design

As an ode to her interests in textile techniques, material exploration and printing, Freija Seihine created her graduate collection. “With my graduate collection, I combined my interests in textile, fashion, and upcycling. Re-p/nt/ng is more of a technical investigation on how one can change the surface expression of discarded textiles and garments with the help of textile surface techniques, and by this, transform into something new,” the designer says. Inspired by the textile artists Anna-Lena Sauer and Aiko Hachisuka, the designer admires their way of restoring and repurposing discarded textiles in a way where the original object can no longer be clearly identified. “In my collection, I have explored two textile techniques in relation to upcycling which are slashing and printing. Slashing is a pretty cool technique as it is very simple but can create a lot of different expressions depending on what materials one uses and the composition of the slashes,” she states. She got interested in this technique once she saw how it had been used historically as an embellishment technique. She wanted to see how she can repurpose this- using it not only to embellish but also as a way to merge material with different properties, like fur and leather. For the future, the designer believes that sustainability is the way, but beyond the conventional environmental aspect. “You need to question the physical and mental health of workers within the fashion industry. I think a response to this might be that the industry starts going at a slower pace and focus on craftsmanship, ideas and good quality.”

Linnea Dahl, BA Fashion Design

The flower’s beauty and myth have served many designers as a source of inspiration. King of print Dries Van Noten is dedicating his prints to the flowers’ impeccable beauty and many others reference its lifecycle of untouchableness. “My collection is based upon translating the striped lines from chosen flowers into knitted form-giving textures. I was inspired by the influence flowers have had throughout the history and current world of fashion design,” says Linnea Dahl. The graduate asked herself how she can be inspired by flowers, but in a unique, never-been-done-before way. After a while, she eventually came up with the concept of being inspired by lines from striped flowers. “My main reference is the organic expression that is being created when having nature as your inspirational source. I have always found nature and everything in it so beautiful to look at, almost like a beautiful work of art. “All the different ways that flowers, trees and animals are built up by nature is such intricate science with endless inspirational material that we humans can observe and learn from.” After her experience at the Swedish School of Textiles, Linnea Dahl feels like a different designer, she says. “I feel so much more comfortable in what I design. It feels like I truly found myself as a knit designer during my graduation project.”

Miranda Borg Blomquist, BA Fashion Design

Miranda Borg Blomquist’s graduate collection is performance art. Almost the size of a human being, the designer made accessories, called “Big Accessory Energy”. “My collection “Big Accessory Energy” investigates redefining the perception of accessories as well as their wearer, through challenging scale, form and placement of accessories in relation to the body,” she says. Using mouldable material as a sketching method, the designer went up and beyond with her execution. “By challenging the perception of accessories, the wearable artefacts made within this work also came to challenge the perception of the wearer. Through scaling up the clay to a size comparable to the human body, they claim the same space as the body wearing it.” They are taking control of the body. Suddenly something else is dominating what is known to be the most intelligent species on the planet. It is an experimentation of will, executed through the medium of fashion. “Their scale, form, and placement dictate the movement of the human body, almost turning the human into the accessory. So, by redefining the perception of accessories, this work also redefines the perception of the wearer.” When speaking about her process, Miranda recalls a crucial moment with a teacher, who once told her to only something as long as it is fun. “That saying has been leading the way in my graduate work. Choosing to work in this industry is not the easiest path, so then it has to be fun in order to be worth it. So, I only did what I found to be fun, and let that feeling lead the way in my work.” The core references in her collection are referring to clay shapes that she created by hand. Clay, a material so soft and mouldable allowed her freedom to truly explore shape and expression- with only minimal blockage between idea and realization. “Working directly by hand, without much use of tools creates an honest expression of authenticity to myself. Pieces become a direct projection of the inner mind.”

Sasha Heinsaar, BA Fashion Design

To start her collection, Sasha Heinsaar went far back- to her childhood. “Prior to embarking on the journey of making my degree work, I was mostly creatively guided by technical aspects of crafting your own material which then was turned into the garments. This time, I really wanted to give my materials a new meaning by infusing my childhood memories of reading Slavic folk fairytales and their characters into my work,” she says. Usually, folklore is seen as something mystical, almost magical, which provides us with the daily escape we occasionally need. These days, the world is upside down, and maybe all we need is a little escape into the magic we are lacking. “From the beginning, I knew that it would be a tough mental challenge, as the current political climate in the Slavic region has been highly unstable for quite some time. Yet, I desperately needed to have a creative outlet to react to this atrocious war started by the Russian government against the Ukrainian nation, as well as both Belarussian and Russian people being held hostage under the tyranny and dictatorship of their presidents.” Seeing the staple Slavic folktale narratives as a metaphor for hope and change, the designer wanted to reflect the need for change through characters in her work. Sustainable by nature, the designer wanted to make the hand-making of clothing even more sustainable. “I wanted to go beyond making everything by hand and opted for only using secondary sources. This goal turned into a one-year-long yarn and textile craft material hunt throughout all second-hand and thrift stores I came across as well as collecting unwanted materials from family and friends,” she adds. At the end of her long search, she had a collection of handmade garments, each of them created with purpose and dedication. Inspired by folklore characters, the designer invites each of us into her special world, telling stories we haven’t heard before.


Tuva Esterstam, BA Fashion Design

When people outside Scandinavia imagine the Nordics, they imagine a community of self-sufficient living, far away from polluting skyscrapers and busy roads. “My collection was heavily inspired by my roots in northern Sweden and self-sufficient living. The concept is this small, self-sufficient community that consists of a livestock keeper, a fisherman, a hunter, a gardener and a barkeeper,” says the graduate Tuva Esterstam. Her collection is a little village, materialising characters that so far only lived in her head. Design-wise, Tuva wanted to branch into the segment of outerwear: “I love nature and I want to convey that outdoor clothes can be fun, functional and sustainable at the same time.” The relationships we have with our hometowns are special ones. They stay with us, wherever we go somehow. Growing up in the Swedish town of Västerbotten, one of the main references was the Västerbotten folk suit- it inspired the first look, says Tuva. Her hometown is located in northern Sweden, a place filled with beauty and culture. Beyond this extremely personal reference, the designer looked into archetypical garments. “I looked at the fisherman’s sweater or a barkeeper’s hat. I wanted to work with archetypical garments that are so recognisable, and I think those two are great examples of that.”

Hannah Knoblauch, MA Fashion Design

We all know it- we want to dress for the weather we want, but instead, we have to dress for the weather we can. You can’t always get what you want, but you can certainly adapt to the circumstances. Whilst the weather keeps doing its thing, MA graduate Hannah Knoblauch dedicated her collection to the act of adaption within clothing. “The project Weather Wear is inspired by the need of adapting to changing weather whilst you are on a hike. It deals with alternative transforming mechanisms for multifunctional hiking garments. The aim was to develop adaptable pieces that you can rely on in different conditions without exchanging or detaching segments from them,” says the designer. When stepping into the game of functional wear, it needs to work- whatever the weather. One thing that Hannah noticed during her process, was how little consideration is given to the transforming mechanism itself during the design process. “The stages of the garment before and after are designed carefully but the actual engagement between user and garment during the transformation is quite technical instead of natural and smooth.” Weather Wear focusses on intuition instead of theory- it is about how the wearer feels, not how they are supposed to feel. When developing the clothing, the designer focussed on biochemical studies and body mappings. “I started documenting my friends and me when being outdoors during weather changes. What I discovered were instinctive movements that protect the body from rain and cold. I used these natural movements to design the act of transforming a garment from one stage to the next,” Hannah says. Contrary to traditional active and outdoor wear, Hannah’s collection proves that the idea of interaction and multifunctionality lead to a deeper appreciation and a subsequent longer lifespan of the garment. “Eventually the project aspires to replace the commonly used layering system of clothes and therefore increase the value of individual outdoor garments.” For Hannah, the secret lies in reliability and connection. “The aim behind it is to make clothes more sustainable in terms of lasting long. This is why I see fashion designers focusing more on the user experience in the future. As designers, a connection and awareness can also be established by communicating and discussing development with your end user.”

Pola Demianiuk, MA Fashion Design

A letter into the future- a time capsule of how clothes could be made in an alternative reality. One that is more progressive, more aware. Pola Demianiuk’s final collection is based on soft-robotic principles. “This work explores the kinetic potential of pneumatic actuators applied to garments. Based on soft-robotic principles, the clothing embedded within the wearable structures acquires a property of self-assembly on the body, without or with minimal intervention,” states the designer. This project is about questioning- the reality, the body and the dressing-up process. Through her speculative approach, the designer introduces a new narrative, a new relationship between the body and the clothing. “In other words, the garment design assists the body to be dressed,” says Pola. Based on fashion and engineering, the designer wanted to marry two worlds that are usually opposite one another. “It is a multidisciplinary approach, that required research within art and science fields, starting with kinetic fashion examples like Iris van Herpen or Agatha Medioni’s transforming clothes. Through MIT’s research reports on soft robotic technology and alternative manufacturing methods, I had to experiment to understand how they work.” Learning by doing was Pola’s approach, slowly finding her way through her fields of dedication. “Especially relevant in my work appeared actuators made of fabric, translating those principles within knitted and woven textiles properties. Such a method is extremely light, soft, haptic, friendly and washable and does not require any rigid parts for actuation.” Well-equipped labs and a high standard of experimentation set the graduate up for a key standard when it came to generating new ideas. “Fashion is a field of art enabling new concepts and technologies to surround us, people, exceptionally close, affecting our everyday activity, senses and mood. As someone once said, technology makes something possible, but the design makes it real.”

Elin Arvidsson, MA Fashion Design

“REFRAMING GARMENTS started with a wish to come up with a new method for remake, by challenging the traditional way of using garments as the material,” says the graduate Elin Arvidsson. We live in a culture of waste, especially when it comes to clothing. We overproduce, overuse but not over recycle. It is a deadly duality, which sometimes makes making garments harder. “Due to the massive amount of post-consumer clothing waste, there is a great opportunity to utilize this material and through playful methods push the imagination towards new innovative solutions.” Throughout her education, Elin enjoyed twisting archetypes in various different ways. “At the beginning of my master’s, I started to work with discarded garments and tried to understand what these clothes could be.” Elin’s approach towards clothing is unique, she tries to get to know them from their core, their substance. She collected garments from different second-hand stores and deadstock from other companies. “The project explores the definition of archetypes through the use of lines. It deals with questions such as what defines a specific garment and how many lines need to be added to understand what it is. It proposes a new method for reusing garments without taking the garments apart but instead looking at all the potential that is given within it.” Through this, Elin has created an archive, which helped her to examine the potential of changing the perception of unwanted and discarded garments. In her working process, the designer felt particularly inspired by Marcel Duchamp, by his unique way of putting things into a new, fresh context. He questions the role of the artist and is making people look at things with new eyes. “I was inspired by Y/Project for the interesting play with details and fit of garments that we all have a relationship with.” Lastly, she cites Rave Review for their strong eyes for materials that take one on a nostalgic trip whilst creating high-end fashion. “I believe that fashion will be more open-minded towards creating collections from used garments and that there will be endless variations of what a remake collection could look like,” she says.

Christine Snedker, MA Textiles

Driven by an interest in exploring ways to elevate the textile and filling’s role within an interior context, Christine Snedker wanted to explore new ideas of what furniture can be. She wanted to move away from the classical idea that material is just there to cover a rigid, static frame- she wanted to delve into the abstract world of possibilities. “It was important that the knitted textile had a function and was able to transform in colour, shape or function to create playful and multifunctional objects for supporting the body in different positions.” One of her greatest inspirations for this project has been the Latta Chair by Anna Von Schewen. “The construction of the textile within the chair is based on a corset. When the filling, wood, is inserted into the textile it forms a flexible and supporting seat. The filling within the form is what gives the characteristic shape, but the textile holds it all together.” This concept has majorly influenced her collection, it has been the core idea behind it. For the designer, the knitted textile should be the main element and without it, there is no function.

Felicia Hansen, MA Textiles

“My collection Teddy Vessles [also known as our former best friends] explores repurposing possibilities in discarded stuffed animals through textile design methods,” says MA Textiles graduate Felicia Hansen. Childhood is for mostly a time associated with a teddy- an intimate companion, a friend to hug or just someone who listens. The designer’s collection itself consists of 9 textile vessels made from discarded stuffed animals and a stiffening agent. “The idea of the collection is to encourage the public to reconsider where their old stuffed animals are and how they discarded them. Teddy bears have become a universal symbol of our childhood, but we tend to forget them when we grow up.” What was once a friend morphs into a symbol of uncoolness in our teenage years, then into a stage of nostalgic innocence once we grow up? Like the fashion industry, the toy industry is where many manufacturers try everything to grab potential customers’ attention. This ends in a large waste growth from the toy industry. Fashion and toys have a lot more in common than we might think. “When going into the children’s toy shop or thrift shop, it is evident that post-consumer waste from toy companies has not been dealt with as much as post-consumer waste from textile and fashion companies- there is clearly a need for it.” Moreover, the designer has been inspired by various fashion collections. She has been particularly stung by Rave Review, which transforms unwanted materials into desirable ready-to-wear pieces. “One of my core references for this collection is Mike Kelley and his work Deodorized Central Mass Satellites. How he worked with the form and colour of the stuffed animal is truly amazing. Another reference is the work of Agustina Woodgate. Her piece Milky way and other similar works she has done has really shown me how to use colour and texture of the stuffed animal in order to create work with a new function.”

Sophie Jungvkist, MA Textiles

Light is its own genre of emotion. It can fill us with hope or even blind or overwhelm us. “Woven Change, Shifting Expressions” is a collection of jacquard- woven textiles shift in function and expression”, says MA textiles graduate Sophie Jungvkist. By pulling the weave in on one end, the layers move and change the transparency in the wave- which means that the amount of light that is being let through is changing, she adds. Creating these weaves is reminiscent of the waves of the oceans, the stronger they are, the less light they reflect. Everything is shifting, and suddenly you gave a new texture. “Certain pieces have transparent colour layers, and when these overlap, they mix optically into a new colour.” Inspired by the changeability in textiles, the designer wanted to create something new with the possibility to adapt to changing needs and situations. Visually, she was inspired by window blinds and how they, just like jacquard woven textiles, can change the amount of light they let in. Everything in relation to textiles and light guided the designer throughout her process. “One important example is “The Sun Show” by the design duo Alissa+Nienke. It shows how light can be regulated with the movement of soft, textile layers. The function of a window blind is giving it more dimension.” Hoping to find her way to develop further changeable weaves, the designer is hoping that the future will be full of adaptable and shape-shifting textiles to give the garments more life.

Josh Devitt, BA Fashion Design

Fashion affects everyone, in a way. We have to get dressed every morning, and when we meet someone new, we try to decode what they are wearing. Fashion is a language in itself that everyone speaks in their own way. “My BA collection explores how fashion in its traditional context can be used to discuss social and political structures,” says the designer Josh Devitt. Originally Josh only planned to come to SST for an exchange semester, having studied initially at the RMIT in Melbourne, Australia. He decided to stay and finish his degree in Sweden. “I felt so much more inspired to create and develop as a person and designer in a new county far from my home,” he says. Inspired by the need for education and discussion surrounding LGBT+ civil rights, he urges us to change. Within his garments, he wanted to challenge what we see as common ideas- to him, this collection is not just clothes. It’s wearable art with ideological functions, ready to protest and take part in political activism. “My degree work references 19th-century and contemporary protest archetypes. From first-wave feminists, bloomer pants and ball gown crinolines to the hippie protesters of the 60s/70s and today’s ANTIFA activists, who wear all-black technical garments,” says Josh. These references are super close to him. He sees the project outside himself, but it came from a place he truly believed in, he adds. It is about what he wants to stand up for in his activism, his politics and his connection to fashion in a world dominated by capitalism likes and the next materialistic desire.

Sara Hultman, MA Fashion Design

“My collection consists of jacquard woven pieces that come out flat from the loom and are sculpted by hand to create a 3D object,” says Sara Hultman. She wanted to showcase the versatility and the various expressions of 3D objects. Those objects speak in so many volumes, whether that is form, shape, colour or haptic. The inspiration for the form and colour is from the tropical sea slugs. They are a combination of translucent parts together with layers and irregularity in their form, coloured in string tones. “Each piece of the collection can be isolated or mounted together with another piece creating larger scaled and sculpted objects,” the designer adds. This results in a collection within the collection since the pieces transform after every time they are worn- each of them is unique in itself. “I researched both the arts and craft movement and the industrial revolution to see what values are in those contrasting areas. I wanted to see if those could meet and create a combination of craft and industry. Kay Sekimachi, who already created multi-layered sculptures in the 1960s was breath-taking.” Besides classic references, the student dug deep into SST’s archives and came across the works of Lovisa Norrsell and Kathryn Walters- creators in spirit, Sara felt glad to lean on their knowledge.

Ine Gyllensvärd, BA Fashion Design

What is negative? What is positive? How do we define negative spaces today? All these questions and more has Ine Gyllensvärd asked herself when she created her graduate collection, Seeing the Negative. As an exploration of negative space, the designer did many drapings that highlighted the in-between space of the textile. “The method I used was based on the cut-out collages of Henri Matisse. Just like Matisse did, I would cut out shapes freehand then work with composition when I draped them around the form,” she says. He used the body as the ground, whereas Matisse used a wall or a canvas. “I found an interesting piece that said Matisse originally came up with his method when he was designing costumes for the Ballets Russes. He would cut out paper shapes and attach them to the dancer’s leotards to find the right placements for the appliqué.” When Ine found out about this, she felt as if she reached one of those rare full-circle moments- she knew that she had to try this method. You can see Matisse’s influences in her shapes and graphics. He is like a red threat, guiding through the collection. “Matisse’s aesthetic is something I had since I was a child. My parents had a big poster of “La Tristesse du Roi” above their sofa and I would always stare at it whilst sitting underneath, watching television. My childhood memory shaped my own aesthetic.” Besides Matisse, Barbara Hepworth’s work was very important to Ine. She is her favourite sculptor. “I was constantly inspired by the way she worked with negative spaces in her work as I was doing mine. I read some quotes of hers about sculpting and intuition in composition, these words really moved me.” In the end, the designer made worlds collide and defined her own meaning behind the negative space- now it is upon us to see it.