This post is a very special feature – you might say it’s about a contemporary, inspiring artist in the series “Beauty will save the world” AND a cover of a “Scandinavian Pattern Pioneer” in ONE (making up for the lost post of last month)! This artist and textile designer is an outstanding source of inspiration and a big role model for female entrepreneurs! She has created a brand that is highly prolific and recognisable and by the age of 75 she is more creative than ever and her brand has its 40 years anniversary! Congratulations GUDRUN SJÖDÉN!
I know that many of you already know and love this brand. But for anyone that did not yet discover this colourful, folkloristic fashion wear with ethnic vibes made of organic linen and cotton, I start with a glimpse from the Christmas collection 2016 so that you’ll have a flavour before we dig into the rest…
Yes, this is COLOURFUL by the true meaning of the word! And there is no doubt about the artist inspiring these photo shots: Frida Kahlo. This is precisely how Gudrun works with her seasonal collections. They always have a very explicit theme to create the perfect supportive atmosphere for her creations. She might start with the distinctive features of a geographical place where the local traditions or famous personalities influence the choice of colour palette and the styling of the models. It could also be a simpler theme like gardening, the sea or the forest. Nature always plays the leading part in the collections and all patterns are originally painted in watercolour by Gudrun. Her watercolour work was exhibited some years ago at Kulturen, a museum in Lund, Sweden, and it inspired me a lot.
I think I’m not the only one who saves the catalogues of each season just because of the fabulous photos! The themes, the impeccable styling and the scenography are merged into an outstanding imagery!
Of course this brand is a dream come true for pattern lovers! Gudrun says that she loves “contrasts and surprising combinations. Nothing should ever be indifferent or mediocre. Colourful stripes and mixtures of patterns, clothes you can mix and match whatever the season, functional unique designs that won’t date, fashion for women of all ages, shapes and sizes.” If you followed along earlier on the blog you might partly recognize these objectives from Mah-jong in the 70’s. And yes, Gudrun Sjödén started in 1976 and was contemporary to Mah-jong, sharing the ethical and aesthetic values that permeated the Swedish design of this time. But contrary to many designers Gudrun Sjödén managed to bring her designs into the future making her brand find new generation of users, still being true to her original vision and her love of bold colours and patterns.
Part of her success is that a Gudrun Sjödén design equals environmental awareness both in the production line as well as the choice of materials which is very important for today’s users. On top of that she was an early adopter of social media and have built a web presence and an extraordinary dialogue with her “fan base” that make her users feel like being a part of the Gudrun Sjödén family. All this is by the book how you should build a story around your products and an emotional response to your brand, BUT with Gudrun Sjöden you feel a genuine commitment every step of the way! Gudrun Sjödén is not only clothing but a way of engaging in the world. Since 2006 Sjödén also runs a donation program that will choose a different project to support every year.
As you might tell, this is one of my favourite brands but I’m in no way affiliated with them and write this out of pure admiration. As a surface pattern designer Gudrun is one of my biggest inspirations and I think I have everything to learn from her on my journey with Dot Oddity. And I need to learn quickly as the late bloomer I am (read more of my story here)! To see and understand the work behind these fabulous designs is something I’m really dreaming of doing!
The company has expanded with stores in seven countries and an online store if you live elsewhere. Find out more on Gudrun Sjödén!
All copyrights of the pictures belong to Gudrun Sjödén Design AB (if nothing else is stated) and were found on the Press page of the website http://www.gudrunsjoden.com/