Since taking over the helm at HOPE in 2016, Head of Design Frida Bard, has introduced new silhouettes and shapes into the HOPE DNA while continuing to build on the very foundation of our design; tailoring and utility wear. Yesterday, Frida and her team, received Designer of the Year Award as elected by Café Magazine. To celebrate, we asked Frida together with menswear designer Bengt Thornefors, to answear a few questions.
Why do you think HOPE won this year’s Brand of the Year Award?
Frida: I’m very grateful and humble that the jury have chosen to pay attention to our work. I hope it’s because they appreciate our contemporary approach in combination with our long-term philosophy for garments and style.
Bengt: We have developed a nice wardrobe with an interesting silhouette, something for every occasion and that looks well-dressed.
What made you become a designer/why do you work within fashion?
Frida: It’s a passion but also my way of expressing and communicating – my own language. What has changed and become so interesting lately is the way the fashion scene has become more open and inviting and no longer exclusive only to one closed group of people.
Bengt: I’m full of energy. I work within the fields of both fashion and interior - why choose?
What inspires you and what do you do when you lack inspiration?
Bengt: Me and my family live in a small city south of Stockholm. At the moment I have to narrow down and canalize all the information that’s out there. Nyköping with its surroundings, the ocean and nature, is a great place for that.
Frida: Other creatives inspire me. Everything that makes me reflect and react can inspire, even small things - it doesn’t have to be something big or complicated. When I’m completely empty, I usually try to do something different or go in another direction than I tried before. That usually kicks off my thoughts again.
What is important when you start up the work with a new collection?
Bengt: The silhouette is key. But also that you continue with elements from the previous collection as to assemble a path.
As Head of Design at HOPE, can you tell us about your vision for the brand? Has your vision changed along the way since you took over the role from HOPE’s co-founder Ann Ringstrand?
Frida: My vision for HOPE and as a designer in general is to reflect and act upon society and its’ movements. I want to cause a relevant dialogue. HOPE has always had a strong voice and opinion and it’s my intention to follow that direction and reach out to even more people.
Can you tell us about the gender-fluid approach you work with at HOPE?
Frida: From earlier this year, we are marking all our clothing with both men’s and women’s sizes. We want to make it easier for customers that are already shopping across gender conventions but also encourage more people to try – it’s a way of saying that your gender doesn’t matter, your choice is bigger than that!
Bengt: For me, very shortly, style has no gender.
Would you say that the fashion industry perpetuates conventional gender roles?
Frida: I would definitely say that the industry at large still perpetuates conventions however if we look at a younger generation of designers and creative, the structure looks completely different and gender-fluidity is there from early on. I don’t think we necessarily need to erase gender roles completely but we must loosen up old-time conventions and respect that people may want and should be able to dress and act according to themselves, not according to norms.
Bengt: We all have different body shapes after all - but I would love to wear my pink dress. I actually just bought one.
5 years from now, where and how do you see HOPE?
Bengt: We have created a path. Hopefully our upcoming collections will make that DNA stronger and give us something to continue to build on.
Can you tell us about the Autumn/Winter collection that is available in shops now?
Frida: The collection takes its’ inspiration from an idea about a revolution, the force and moral courage of brave people standing up to their beliefs. When acting big, you need support and your garments should enforce and encourage you. Power dressing in a new way. We worked around some of our wardrobe favourites such as the trench coat, the combat boot, the oversized blazer as well as the leisure wool coat. It’s also the second collection that we have with double sizing, a natural continuation of our strive to encourage people to dress in a less gender-conventional way.
Bengt: Oversized tailored coats, beautiful trousers, faded T-shirts worn with sneakers - a great combination.
If you had to choose only two garments to wear for the rest or your life, what would you choose?
Bengt: A coat and a great tee - which is what we offer.
Finally – what do you think everyone should have in their winter wardrobe?
Frida: A great coat. It’s an investment piece that you might end up using more or less every day and it’s also a garment that can help lifting your complete look.
Photographer: Märta Thisner Styling: Emine Sander