Swedish designer Erïk Bjerkesjö’s talent lies in his ability to combine elegant and innovative design with a postmodern craftsmanship. We caught up with Erïk before his show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Stockholm to learn more about him and his new collection.
Hailing from the small Swedish island of Gotland, Erïk Bjerkesjö earned his master’s degree in Advanced Footwear Design at the well-reputed Italian fashion school Polimoda. He began his career by creating a line of exquisite and elegant shoes, entirely made by hand together with Tuscan craftsmen. Earlier this year he was selected as the winner of Pitti Immagine Uomo’s Who Is On Next, and in January he showed his first full menswear collection at Pittie Uomo. Yesterday Erïk Bjerkesjö made his second debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Stockholm, and we caught up with the designer to talk about his background, his inspirations, and his collection for SS14.
– My mother is a designer, so I grew up in a house with an atelier, Erïk says. But it wasn’t until I saw Helmut Lang’s garments in Paris in 1998 that I became really interested in fashion. I began my studies at Polimoda in 2005, and graduated with a master’s degree in Advanced Footwear Design in 2009. During my education I also worked together with my teacher at Dior’s Haute Couture department.
Where do you find inspirations and influences for your design?
– I draw inspiration from movies, music, and some paintings. I’ve also had a mentor since school, Linda Loppa, who is a huge inspiration to me when I’m working on a new collection.
Who is your ideal wearer? Do you have someone in mind when you create?
– I create new characters in my mind while working on a new collection. But I must say that my friend and photographer Magnus Klackenstam is my ideal wearer. I think that there are many artists and architects that find my work interesting, but I’m happy who ever it might be.
It wasn’t until I saw Helmut Lang’s garments in Paris in 1998 that I became really interested in fashion
Erïk’s SS14 collection is named after the British territory of Gibraltar, inspired by the drama that took place there during the mid twentieth century. He’s also drawn inspiration from the harsh nature of Gotland, as well as the austerity associated with the iconic director Ingmar Bergman. It’s an experimental, yet minimalistic collection, where the clean shapes have been contrasted with feminine details such as elongated tops and pants with slits. The materials is an exquisite mix of tanned calf leather, Egyptian cotton, cashmere, and formed wool, in a subdued palette of white, greys, and blacks.
– I come from the island Gotland, south of Stockholm, and I was inspired by that island and its landscape. Besides that I’ve been inspired by Ingmar Bergman, who periodically lived on Gotland, as well as the director David Lynch.
Erïk’s debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week was presented by Peroni Design Collaboration, a joint effort by beer brand Peroni and Bon Magazine to support promising Swedish designers.
This was the first time that you showed you collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Stockholm. What did that mean to you?
– It meant everything to me. I was so happy to be part of Peroni Design Collaborations, and to have Marcus Söder as a stylist, someone that I really respect and feel inspired by.
See some of the looks from Erïk Bjerkesjö’s collection Gibraltar above. Runway photos by Kristian Löveborg.