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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Simon Ekrelius: New S/S 2012 Season Interview

Swedish designer Simon Ekrelius first caught our eye back in S/S 2011. Since then he's been showing all over the world and busily refining his futuristic vision. Let's catch up...

Written by Amelia Gregory

Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Natalia Nazimek
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Natalia Nazimek.

Simon Ekrelius has been slowly building a reputation for his futuristic yet feminine style. Here’s a peek into his new S/S 2012 collection Bar-Red, page and a chance to find out more about his unique vision.

Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson.

What brought you from Sweden to set up your studio in London? 
I first discovered London in 1993 and since then I have been back and forth. My designs work better in London than in Sweden, healing where people are very careful with their wardrobe. In 2002 my partner Tom and I decided to move here and settle down.

Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
All photography by Marc Lavoie.

Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Sampo Lehtinen
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Sampo Lehtinen.

You have a wonderful way of making futurism seem eminently female and wearable – what inspires you and how do you keep this look fresh each season?  
I’m inspired by many things other than fashion; architecture, painting, sculpture and artistic movements in general. I don’t look at the work of other fashion designers because I can’t help but be affected, which is not good for my creative process. I also tend to avoid fashion magazines, which helps to keep my head clear and enable me to work hard on my feelings for the next season. I decide what I really like and what I feel will work, bearing in mind that it’s easy to go way too crazy and futuristic. It’s important to find the right balance – that’s what fashion is all about.

Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Natalia Nazimek
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Natalia Nazimek.

What in particular is the new season’s collection Bar-Red based on and what does the name refer to?
I think that back in 1919 people were maybe experiencing similar things to what we are going through now, so Bar-Red is based on the Bauhaus movement, mainly with regards the geometric forms used in architectural design. I like the way that the Bauhaus integrated different forms in order to construct a new kind of style and I translated this into our time so that the collection is not completely retrospective. Bar-Red is so named because it can also mean Barred. The shape of a Bar is rectangular and the colour Red is the main colour in the collection, plus the words Bar and Red work together perfectly. I used bar-shaped objects in my prints such as cigarettes and there are big chunky arrows pointing at naughty areas or sometimes just away.

Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Sampo Lehtinen
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Sampo Lehtinen.

You showed in Ottawa this season which is quite exciting – how did this come about?
I was asked to take part by the organisers of Ottawa Fashion Week and at first I did not even believe they had a fashion week. Plus it was during Paris Fashion Week, which was very awkward. But they wanted me to come so badly that they offered me a very good package, so then I just couldn’t say no, especially since the economy in Europe is so tough now. I met members of the Swedish embassy when I was over there and that was interesting because they want to import more independent Swedish design to Canada.

Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius by Gareth A Hopkins
Simon Ekrelius by Gareth A Hopkins.

Will you be showing again in London anytime soon? We loved your last catwalk show with On/Off here. Any London based plans that we can share with readers?
Yes, absolutely, I’m planning to do an exhibition again next season at London Fashion Week. Perhaps I will share space with another designer to see how that goes, and after that I’m sure that I will be back on the catwalk again. But it all depends on the sales I’m afraid…

Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Lesley T Spencer
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Lesley T Spencer.

What is your preferred music to listen to when you are working and have you discovered any new musicians or bands recently that we should know about?
I’m just putting together a playlist on Spotify, and it features Grace Jones, Best Coast, Fever Ray, The xx and The Knife. When I am working I sometimes listen to 6 Music, but sadly I don’t have much time to really discover new bands.

Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012 - illus
Illustration by Simon Ekrelius.

Your fashion illustrations are beautiful – how do you ensure this side of your work practice stays alive?
I do my illustrations as I go along. I create them in my head and then if I have a pen, some colours and a bit of paper they will come out automatically like a machine. So I will always illustrate as long as I am creatively productive. They are not always pretty – sometimes they are just a few lines that will help me to remember what has come into my head.

Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson.

What are your future plans for the Simon Ekrelius brand? 
Aww, this is a difficult one! I think for the moment I just want to get a better relation with buyers abroad and perhaps one boutique here in London to stock Simon Ekrelius exclusively. But then of course it would be great to eventually do my own shows in Paris or London, with high level production so that I can explain my stories properly in all areas. After that I would like to have my own place (to sell from). But first I need to focus on finding buyers.
 

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One Response to “Simon Ekrelius: New S/S 2012 Season Interview”

  1. Caroline says:

    Its so refreshing with designers who is passionate and yet with self-distance and realistic points. His work is outstanding and London should be proud to have talents like that. Love your magazine – Caroline

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