There’s another H&M designer collab in stores this spring with Sweden-based designers The Swedish Hasbeens. After finding 300 pairs of old clogs from the ‘70s, childhood bffs Cilla and Emily started the label to bring back the good days of fashion, before, as they put it, the “plastic-chrome-tanned shoes with too much bling-bling made in really bad quality.” The latest partnership with the fast fashion mega-retailer brings it back to its homeland roots – a first for the brand in Canada – and coincides with Stockholm Fashion Week, a rising force all its own with young talent so fresh you’ll be wearing it before the end of this paragraph. The girls just want to make shoes for a better world, and we salute them.
We sit down with Emily Blixt, one half of the ultra-cool retro-flavoured Hasbeens, to chat about inspiration, ambition and Vivienne Westwood’s panties.
How did the partnership with H&M come about?
We heard that it helped a lot that the girls at H&M went tapping around their office in our shoes. They have impressed us with their collaborations with some of the world’s greatest designers, so when they contacted us last spring we were really happy.
Why was it important for the label to pair with such a massive brand?
H&M is part of Swedish culture since they have always given us Swedish kids the opportunity to afford really cool fashion. We think that H&M is great at picking up and acting upon public opinion, which we believe is a truly democratic way to work.
You’re big fans then, huh?
Working with H&M is also a fantastic opportunity for us to spread the idea of Hasbeens and make these shoes available to more people around the world. It creates a win-win situation, for H&M, for us as well as for all the people who will be able to buy the shoes around the world.
Is there a particular era your customers are buying into this season?
Swedish Hasbeens’ design is inspired by fashion worn by epic Hasbeens throughout the ages. We find the inspiration in the freedom of the ‘60s, the ‘70s consciousness and the humor of the ‘80s. This spring, Swedish Hasbeens released the slingback models from the ‘50s and ‘60s that will look great to a pair of short tight pants.
Did you consciously try to make your H&M offerings different from what you typically produce or to reflect what you typically produce?
For the H&M ‘70s bohemian look that’s popular this spring, we designed three unique models inspired by the traditional Swedish ‘70s style – that is one of our specialties. The shoes are designed to remind us of our childhood and the time when our parents looked really cool in a pair of high heeled clogs. They are just like the rest of our line: Made of wood, vegetable leather and have a plain and simple construction.
Three words to describe the inspiration for the rest of your spring 2011 line outside of the shoes produced for H&M?
Revolution, quality and Audrey Hepburn.
Eclectic. Your label current specializes in footwear and accessories. Do you think you’ll branch out into other areas of fashion — men’s line, cosmetics, fragrances, lifestyle items perhaps?
There are a lot of great Hasbeens out there that needs to be brought back so we will keep on making sustainable shoes, bags and belts in natural grain leather inspired by great Hasbeens.
Which designer or fashion house — past or present — do you most admire or feel inspired by?
Love Vivienne Westwood’s ground breaking designs and that she wants to change what’s wrong with the world with her creations. That, and she had no knickers on when she met the Queen.
Did you participate in Stockholm Fashion Week?
Stockholm Fashion week is on our “to do list.”
Are there any Swedish designers that we should be watching?
When it comes to design I’m all dedicated to the great retro and secondhand stores we have in Stockholm. I prefer to look back on the generation of the past.
If you could collaborate with any person (past or present) on any project (fashion-related or otherwise), who would it be and what would you create?
It would be with someone making something that I really need and that you never can get. Like a new form of child care, milk delivered to your door or a smarter toilet paper.
Last question, for the readers: when in Sweden, what are 3 things not to miss/do?
The Stockholm archipelago, the Gothenburg coast and the Malmoe beach.