Ida Sjöstedt is the designer that defies the traditionally safe Swedish fashion with tasteful kitsch and ready to wear glamour. Her daring designs and honest craftsmanship has become tremendously popular in Scandinavia as well as globally. Mr. Wolf wonders if her originality has contributed to a more daring fashion sense in otherwise safe Sweden.
You have gone from delightful lace in previous collections to an edgier look with your winter collection, has your inspiration changed since you started the brand Ida Sjöstedt in 2001?
My sources of inspiration have always been very eclectic and very consistent. I always want a balance between darkness, light, beauty and kitsch. Female clichés and pop culture is always a part of my collection, whether it’s desperate housewives, lolitas, femme fatales or evil cheerleaders.
How do political, religious and social issues affect your collections?
I think you’re always affected by the world around you; however I try not to be too literal or too current in my themes of inspiration for the collections, but my most recent spring collection Dream Girls was inspired by Instagram and the way people use escapism and try to expose their reality to others through pink filters in order to achieve a prettier, magical dream world without responsibility or everyday life. Also my latest winter collection was dealing with issues like fashions strive for perfection and how it often makes women feel bad about themselves.
Social issues are always a part of me and what I do, but in the end of the day I know that people buy my dresses if they like it and if it fits.
What is it like in Ida’s world where female clichés are combined with social issues?
I’ve always been obsessed with beauty and creativity, so making clothes is what makes me feel good. Also , the various clichés of being a woman never stops fascinating me and it’s an endless source of inspiration. I work mostly with young women, from the staff in my studio to models at the runway shows and generally I try to inspire younger women to be creative, express themselves in any way they want and not obsess too much about their looks.
I always try to treat everyone around me with respect which isn’t always very common in this industry where girls are often seen as products.
Your design is being sold internationally, what differentiates Swedish fashion from the global fashion scene?
We don’t have a long heritage so I think the Swedish fashion scene is younger than Paris or New York. Swedish fashion started blooming with the bloggers in the early 2000s, so a lot of young people actually are really influential. Also there aren’t many Swedish designer labels that are older than ten or fifteen years.
Swedish fashion is regarded as functional with value for money. Most labels have started from everyday wear and denim.
How would you describe Swedish fashion and style?
I would say it is trendy but often quite safe. The base is in everyday wear which can be worn to work or a night out. Swedes are getting more glamorous though, and Swedish women are more used to wearing dresses and high heels than ever before. People in Sweden think that I’m really original as my base is evening wear.
What is the next step for Ida Sjöstedt as a brand?
We’ve just launched our own web shop and our couture line is going better than ever, so at the moment we just try to focus and continue making what we do as good as possible. With Ida Sjöstedt Couture I’m proud to say that we make every dress in our studio in Stockholm –and I think it’s great if we can make people more aware of how a garment is actually made and crafted.
Words: Lisa Palm Lamerstedt