One of the first people I thought about when starting my interview series about people and their relationship with their closet was Annette! If you're based in Stockholm and have been searching around among people in the Slow Fashion network - you know who she is. Mostly famous for her and her daughters Second Hand store creation at The Lobby. A place where several second hand brands and sustainable brands meet conscious consumers in a high-end-vintage environment called #inspoSTHLM. Recently they moved to the MOOD mall. She’s the founder of Legnology /SootSTHLM, tailor and designer and Slow fashion enthusiast. Get to know her!
What are you wearing?
I’m wearing a suit I bought at a second hand store this summer. The trousers were a bit short so I had to let down the hem and I also changed the buttons since I’m not a fan of mass-produced looking buttons. I’ve collected buttons pretty much my whole adult life so I have plenty to use on the clothes I want to personalize.
I’m actually a men’s tailor and I used to have my own atelier. Sewing is one of my passions. I call it my sewing Yoga. That’s when I relax and reflect. I have 8 old school metal machines from the Husqvarna company, it’s the best machine out there still and if you happen to find one, it’s a keeper.
What’s your relationship with clothes?
I love fashion and I always have. When I was a kid my mom used to make my clothes. When I was 13, I started sewing as well, I got my first sewing machine. My mom’s and I didn’t really agree on fashion at that age so I started making my own clothes instead. When I finished high school I started a program for tailors and worked in a tailoring shop. All the students from the Swedish design school called Beckmans used to end up at our place.
After that I moved on to wig making for a while, then attended some textile classes and not long after I had my own atelier. I also did some interior textile designs, wedding dresses and so on. Went back applied to Beckmans Design school and got in. Out of a 100 applicants 12 were accepted and I was one of them. The principal and I didn’t get along however so I didn’t last long and it was around then H&M picked me up. I ended up being a buyer among different things at H&M for 25 years.
The reason why I after so many years decided to leave H&M was simply because I couldn’t ignore the environmental and social issues anymore. I always have to be passionate about my work and I didn’t believe in the strategy we had at the end or the work I did so I had to bow out. I left 2012 and didn’t really know what I’d be doing next. I’m very grateful for my time at H&M. I made so many friends for life but I felt it wasn’t fair towards myself or everyone else that I didn’t 100% believed in what I was doing.
That’s how my daughter and I came up with the idea of going in to hosiery production. We love tights and leggings, unfortunately most of them have such a poor quality so we wanted to create something better. Something that was up to our standards, not only in terms of quality but also design, they should fit “real” women. We wanted to take away plastic packaging and work with good paper instead. We wanted to make them sustainable all the way. Legnology is our baby!
How would you describe your style?
My style is totally based on my mood. I’m quite impulsive so if I see something I like, I go for it. I have items in my wardrobe from the 1970s, wonderful items I’d never get rid of. My base is quite Rock n’ Roll but I can be very colourful as well, even though black will always be black. I know I stand out and I love it. I don’t like to dress or act within certain frameworks. People can think what they want. I mix as I feel like. I lot of people are buying their personality and their self-esteem. I don’t have to do that. I’m comfortable with myself and want to inspire. I like honesty and straight forwardness, tell it to me like it is! I’m the same way, ask for my opinion and you’ll get it.
How would you describe your closet?
I’m sentimental, some of my clothes I’ve had for a long time I just cant break up with. Over all it’s quite the mix. I probably have 20 dresses that are all black but different styles. Inspired by Soot probably. Then just as many are colourful, that I made myself. If I find a fabric I like, I visualize how it would look in a certain style and make the piece. You learn the value of clothes when making your own, since you know the time it takes to make them. The appreciation of the labor you could say. But honestly, I know I own too many clothes. A little bit too much. Now I’m telling myself, one thing in, one thing out.
What is a sustainable closet for you?
A sustainable closet is one with no seasons, it’s personal and it’s about style and not about trends. It lasts. Pieces that are versatile and can be mixed and matched in many different ways. You wear your clothes just as it suites you. A fancy skirt that you wear at a party one night and can be “dressed down” for a regular weekday.
What do you think about the fashion industry?
There’s so many things I would like to say about this but when it comes to the fashion industry, what has to change is the seasonal collections. If that changes that will have an impact on material use, produce in smaller scales.
To keep in mind all the work that goes in to making the clothes, all the people in production. It’s their everyday life and they’re fighting to survive. If we want to create a fair world we need to stop taking advantage of other people in the production countries for their cheap labour.
You should ask yourself when something costs 49.50 SEK, who paid the price? Who gets what? Rent, material costs, salaries, transportation and so on, how can it cost so little? We need circular business models to be sustainable the whole way!
What can one do that seeks to create a more sustainable closet?
Above all, stop falling for the “trends”. Ask yourself what’s YOUR style? What make YOU happy? What colours do YOU like? Shop second hand before new or buy from companies that are transparent with their production chain. How can I maximize the number of times I wear them? Pick out your favourite items and use them as the base. Build off of them. If it’s personal it’s sustainable. Borrow, swap and personalize.