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Freja Wesik Gudfreja Queer DIY Craft collection

The DIY couturier crafting candy-coloured corsets with washboard abs

Stockholm-based designer Freja Wesik talks having fun with fashion, queer craft, and why she wants to see Ursula from The Little Mermaid in her clothes

As they emerge onto the fashion landscape in the midst of a global pandemic, the new gen of graduates have never had it so hard. With this in mind, 1 Granary launched its Designers To Hire initiative in late 2020, with the intention of spotlighting bright new talents – and most importantly, getting them jobs. As part of a new series created in collaboration with the platform, Dazed will also be putting a selection of these designers forward across the course of the coming months. Meet the first below. 

Scroll through Freja Wesik’s Instagram feed and you’ll quickly spot bandeau dresses crafted using ribbons, candy-coloured beads, and brown tape, necklaces strung with heavy metal objects you’re more likely to find in a hardware store than the realm of high fashion, puffed-up handbags crafted from malleable foam, and corsets with built-in washboard abs. “My work is playful and a bit childish, but still serious,” explains the Stockholm-based designer, who graduated from the Swedish School of Textiles in the hell year that was 2020. 

Now working under her label Gudfreja, Wesik’s latest collection does what it says on the tin. Entitled DIY Queer Craft, the offering demonstrates her dual approach when it comes to creating clothing. With some pieces demonstrating her meticulous attention to detail seen in intricate beading and weaving, and others evoking a more intuitive, gung-ho feeling via gloopy, sculptural expanding foam accents and haphazard embellishments. Who does she see wearing her pieces? “Ursula, from The Little Mermaid. Great hair, bad make-up, fashionable, and badass scary.” 

Here, we get to know Wesik a little better.

How would you sum up your label in a sentence?

Freja Wesik: Gudfreja is playful and a bit childish but still serious. It represents my personal identity search, it is characterised by humor and a colorful palette, and has the objective of comfortable and relatable designs.  

What’s your fashion mission?

Freja Wesik: To create a safe space for a different kind of expression within fashion. My work is for the queer community – you are welcome in this world, whoever you are. I want to give back to my community and therefore inspire people to see the potential in clothes and feel free to express themselves. 

How did you become interested in fashion?

Freja Wesik: I was always creative and loved craftsmanship from an early age. As a kid, I communicated through craft. An early memory of mine is whenever I was getting upset or sad, I would lock myself in the bathroom and start drawing. It was my way to calm down.  

Tell me about your aesthetic – what are you inspired by? 

Freja Wesik: In general, my aesthetic is colourful and playful, with a mix of identity building and references to our contemporary time. I’m not interested in inventing the wheel – instead, I source inspiration from my previous work. I want to play around and exhaust the possibilities of my ideas. 

Do you have any fave pieces from DIY Queer Craft, or pieces that you think sum the collection up well? 

Freja Wesik: I love my collection and I must say I love all my looks. But if I had to choose three pieces they would be the abs t-shirt, the long white lace dress, and the beaded mini dress. The abs t-shirt is a fun twist to an everyday white tee – I cut and folded a t-shirt to create the muscles. The long white lace dress is such a simple idea but still powerful in its simplicity. Within this piece, the body transforms the garment which makes it possible to adjust it to different sizes. The beaded mini dress is made from handmade clay beads and placed into a pattern of a camouflage rainbow. It’s funny, short, and the boobs are out.

“Who would I love to see wearing my clothes? Ursula, from The Little Mermaid. Great hair, bad make-up, fashionable, and badass scary” – Freja Wesik 

Where are your clothes meant to be worn? 

Freja Wesik: I don’t create clothes for a specific occasion but some of my looks are perfect to walk down the wedding aisle in. 

Who is the person you have in mind when designing?

Freja Wesik: Me, myself, and I. I make clothes that I would like to wear myself. If I feel like my best self in my designs, others will do too.  

How do you want to change fashion? 

Freja Wesik: The worth of clothing. For me it is important that my design has value. I treat my pieces as friends. I want them to live forever. 

What song would you pick for your runway show and why?

Freja Wesik: Perhaps something from the 80s, a song that makes me happy and everybody can sing along to. How ironic would it be if I picked Madonna’s “Like A Prayer”? Simply amazing! 

Best thing and worst thing about working in fashion in 2021? 

Freja Wesik: I have a no-money job, but an amazing studio with creative friends. The possibilities are endless but at the same time, we are so restricted.