Designers Saif Bakir and Emma Hedlund are quite unusual considering they abandoned high-tempo lifestyles in London and Paris to move back to thier native and relatively small city of Malmö in Sweden. But when talking to them, it all makes sense. COMMON, the brand they set up earlier this year, trades under the motto ‘Made in Sweden’. Moving back, after studying at London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins, and workig for Kanye West in Paris, turned out to be necessary when developing the brand. Bakir and Hedlund now tours the country looking for factories and mills that can help produce his suave and stylistically advanced collections.
The cornerstone of every gentleman’s wardrobe is the suit! For this season we took inspiration from the 1940s and the aesthetic of elegant army officers in wartime Europe
The A/W12 collection – entitled ‘House of Sparrow’ after its signature bird camouflage print – positions COMMON somewhere between Givenchy and Dries Van Noten in style and graphic identity, but – thanks to Bakir’s determination to produce in Sweden – that’s where the similarities to other brands end. What makes it special is that even though it’s Swedish and solely produced within its borders, it doesn't feel Scandinavian. Bakir has done that rare thing of fusing his multi-cultural past with a Swedish idea of common sense, order and quality control. This is a truly unique set up, and you get the feeling this sartorial adventure has been brewing inside of Bakir for a very long time, itching to come out. We asked Bakir to talk us through a few of the corner stones of the collection, giving him the opportunity to explain them himself…
1. Bird Bomber Jacket
One of the stand-out pieces is the classic bomber jacket in a desert storm bird-camouflage print. We took the most common bird, the House Sparrow, and fused it together with two of our favorite jacket styles, the bomber jacket and the varsity jacket. The idea was to take a fragile, pretty, and innocent garden bird, and as a contrast create a camouflage print which is tough and masculine. The result is a sharp, classic silhouette that’s modern and playful made from water-repellent digitally printed fabric.
2. Stripey Trench Coat
Our striped lightweight satin coat in a burgundy, gold and hazelnut combination is an updated version of the traditional trench coat. A sophisticated and chic piece that offers an elegant feel to the collection.
3. White Winter Coat
The utility coat inspired by the coats worn during the Winter War, and it's one of our favorite pieces. It's made from heavy-duty 14oz Japanese canvas in Arctic white with sheepskin lining and oversized bellow pockets. Again, we wanted to create a blend of something rigid and tough but in a refined, sophisticated and pure appearance.
4. The Suit
The cornerstone of every gentleman’s wardrobe is the suit! For this season we took inspiration from the 1940s and the aesthetic of elegant army officers in wartime Europe. We created a sharp, slightly cropped double-breasted suit in fine Italian wool.
5. Japanese Selvedge Trouser
We really wanted to work with denim but not in a traditional way by making jeans, as we didn’t see the point of trying to add to an already saturated market. However we really like denim not just as a fabric but also for what it represents historically and in popular culture, and for its strong association to the working man. We wanted to use this casual, rigid and tough fabric, and give it a more formal look without loosing its edge. The result is a 13onz raw Japanese selvedge denim smart trouser with the selvedge proudly displayed in the waistband creating the perfect balance between workwear and luxurious sophistication.
More info on COMMON here
Photography Patrick Lindblom
Art Director Stinsensqueeze
Styling Andrej Skok
Make-Up Linda Andersson
Hair Antonio de Luca
Models Rokas and Andreas @ Elite