Touching down in London town, we meet the brand at 15.
Zeigest Week 33; Weekday AW17
“We want to create a Swedish, youthful, denim and fashion brand influenced by streetstyle,” asserts David Thörewik, Managing Director of one of Sweden’s most street aware youth, denim and fashion brands, Weekday. It’s the warmer side of 2017’s otherwise disappointing summer and we’re joined at the table – a circular affair upstairs on Shoreditch High Street – by the label’s Creative Director and Head of Design, Louise Lasson.
A new shop, Weekday’s first in the UK, is still two months away (a minute down the road from Cos, it neighbours H&M and the forthcoming Arket; doors officially opened last Friday), and the pair are full of enthusiasm for this latest brick and mortar proposal: “personally,” confirms Thörewik, “it’s been sort of the goal.”
Arriving in the brand’s 15th anniversary year, the store, a spacious spot on Regent Street boasting a contemporary interior of black and silver with an army of likewise on point staff, no doubt marks a key development in the brand’s trajectory; until now fans in the UK were served primarily by an online ASOS concession, meaning the popular Zeitgeist tees – produced in-store and flaunting the biggest social media buzz on any given week – were unavailable, and nor could consumers access the kind of fully realised experience a shop allows.
With that all now changing, David and Louise open up about AW17 influences, the brand’s forthcoming plans, and what it means to finally be able to call London home.
Nadav Kander was a big influence for AW17 right? What drew you to the photographer’s work and how did you go about translating that influence into a collecton?
Louise: We were really fascinated by his work, with the landscapes, what he captured in the photos; he worked a lot with the human impact on nature. The collection is also inspired by the film Fantastic Planet.., together those works, we meet in a kind of new romantic feeling. And we’ve also, from his photos, created this moody, darker side – there is a clash between very light things and very dark things and there is also in the collection, this combination of two worlds; there is a lot of focus on super small, skin bearing pieces, and deconstructed pieces. And then we wear that together with really heavy outerwear, so there is this contrast. That’s how we often work when we create a collection, we start with a theme and then we find inspiration, often in photography or art, or something more abstract.
Away from the new collection, how did the Zeitgeist concept come about, and why is it important that Weekday uses its platform in this way?
David: We have, in our stores, these studios where we actually hand screen and hand print T-shirts every week; Zeitgeist was created in 2011, with the idea that, on a weekly basis, we would reflect on something that is going on in the world right now, that has captured the interest of our target group. We tried to make, well, we do it, we create prints every week reflecting on these current topics or current events: they are created on the Monday, and on Thursday they are produced in our stores, and then we sell them on Friday. The idea behind it is basically to reflect upon life as it is, sometimes it’s serious and sometimes it’s fun. We try to do both in this project, to both talk about serious stuff that’s going on in the world, but at the same time we talk about something that has just gone viral and is more fun and easy. This is something that we continuously do every week, 52 weeks of the year.
And do you have a favourite?
Louise: I have a lot of favourites but I like the ‘Beyoncé for President’ one.
David: I like it when we are very instant, very sort of in the now, and I know that it was a couple of years ago when Kim Kardashian tried to, she wanted to break the internet, it was this hashtag, and she was posing on the cover of this [magazine]. I think that that picture came out on the Monday and we had it on a T-shirt on the Friday, sort of saying something on that reference; I liked that a lot.
Louise: I also really love that we have that opportunity to be instant and direct, that is really something; it’s also really nice that we do it in the stores.
Earlier this summer you launched a sustainable swimwear line. Again, why is it important that you use your platform as a fashion label to focus on these kind of issues?
Louise: I mean it feels like a natural part of the business. For example, we have all our five pocket jeans, that are sustainable, so it’s organic cotton or recycled cotton blend, and that is something that we are super proud of. We also have sustainability on all of our basic cotton garments. And that is also something that feels great, and it feels very natural I must say, also, it’s very important for our customers that they don’t need to choose between fashion and values, I mean you should combine that as much as possible. That is our ambition, to add more and more; we are doing our best. I also, when we design the collection, I guide the design team that we always think about the longevity in the garment, to think that you can wear it for a long time, have a long lifeline with the aesthetics. I mean even a sweatshirt, you can have it over several seasons and then combine it with other garments.
So the London store. It’s a pretty big deal right?
David: Personally, it’s been sort of the goal to actually open a store in London. But of course, we started the expansion of Weekday in Europe last year, and the UK has been on the agenda for a long time, and now to have the possibility to open a store on Regent Street, it’s amazing. I’m really looking forward to, when we open the store, seeing the first customers entering the store, and how they respond to the Weekday brand and the Weekday collection. Yeah, I think that we are all very happy to be able to launch in London. We have a lot of UK fans, so it will be really nice to meet them all in person.
Zeitgeist Week 23, 25 and 32
What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re in town?
Louise: I come to London quite often, and I think it is super inspiring; it’s very diverse and has a really good atmosphere. So when I’m here I often visit galleries and art exhibitions and I really love the V&A because I think that it’s such a good fashion museum, there aren’t so many places like that in the world. I also love hanging out at the Idea bookshop too. I think it’s easy for a Swedish person to like London.
David: Since I’m also travelling here for work, I just love to be in London; to look at all the people and the different nationalities – I don’t know if you use the word ‘melting pot’ any more, you can say that in the 80s maybe – but it feels like a lot of things are happening. And I really enjoy being a part of it, and taking part in it.
Weekday was founded in 2002. What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed within the industry in that time?
David: One part of it is the sustainability aspect in everything, because I don’t think it was that high on the agenda in 2002, but today I feel that it’s really a natural part of the daily business. And then there is of course the digitization, because it’s completely different now. Back then you didn’t even talk about e-commerce really. Now, the customers are expecting so much more, to really make it very convenient and have this full picture of the brand. I think this is something that really has changed and I think it will continue to change a lot.
And from a design perspective?
Louise: Looking at coming from Sweden, like the Scandinavian style, at that point it was a little bit more minimalistic and clean, and it still is of course, but what we believe in at Weekday is to add to this minimalistic approach, to have worlds meeting. But I think fashion wise, from 2002, I must also say the internet and Instagram; that’s changed everything. It’s nothing like it was then. Today is seems like everything is possible and it goes quicker. I think that’s in a good way, but it’s also very important to stay true to who you are as a brand, and be confident.
2017’s been a big year for Weekday already. What can we expect in the second half?
Louise: There are a lot of things to come.
David: Next we will open stores in Antwerp, we will open stores in Copenhagen, and we will open a second store in London as well.