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Exclusive interview: Filippa K


Renowned for its chic and classic designs, Filippa K is also committed to sustainability. Sally McIlhone finds out about the Stockholm label’s impressive vision

Sally McIlhone,

If asked which brand embodies the essence of Swedish style, many insiders would name Filippa K. Its high-quality, stripped-back clothing in muted tones, which eschews unnecessary embellishments, has made it a go-to brand for modern women. At the same time as maintaining its high-quality, chic collections, the label is also making a name for itself because of its commitment to the environment.

Creative minds
The label’s creative director Nina Bogstedt joined the company 20 years ago, shortly after it was founded by Filippa Knutsson. Bogstedt heads up the design team and has been instrumental in developing Filippa K into a pioneer of eco-fashion – setting it apart from many other fashion businesses – as well as introducing a wider range of items to its collections.

When she joined the company in 2005 Filippa K’s collections were ‘mainly stretch jeans and jersey tops’. Over the years, Bogstedt has ensured that Filippa K’s output is more rounded, and for spring/summer 2016 the brand has produced exceptionally made, utilitarian staples including military-inspired khaki shirts and camel trousers, as well as more directional items such as cherry red leather biker jackets. Bogstedt’s favourites for the season are a reinterpretation of the classic trench coat, a khaki suit, wide night-blue trousers, and a skirt with a rope belt.

Eco-friendly focus
In line with such creative thinking, Bogstedt has recently helped Filippa K develop a vision for the future, which has the environment and sustainability at its heart. Sustainability has always been important to the company, which focuses on designing classic, timeless clothing, and now it is bringing environmental and ethical considerations to the fore. It has introduced a vision which is based on nine ‘planetary boundaries’ identified by researchers at Stockholm University, such as chemical pollution and climate change. Filippa K now centres on fashion where ‘sustainability is the guide to growth’ and which has the planetary boundaries ‘in mind at all times’.

Wardrobe staples
For example, the brand has introduced Front Runners, timeless garments that are sustainable and resilient. The first three Front Runners are a classic black dress, top and shirt made with Tencel (a natural and recyclable fabric created from wood pulp). Filippa K has created a set of 12 criteria which a product must fulfill before it can be considered a Front Runner: it must, for example, be made from sustainable materials, use fewer chemicals than other items and be recyclable. In addition, customers must be able to rely on a Front Runner to be a wardrobe staple for years to come.

‘A classic never goes out of style: they are long lasting and can pass through generations if you care for them well enough. A classic is also very often versatile, so it suits many purposes and is easy to match with other pieces,’ Bogstedt explains. The label’s aim is for whole collections to be Front Runners in the next 10 to 15 years: ‘It’s an ambitious target but an important one,’ Bogstedt stresses.

Innovative retail concepts
Another interesting initiative is the Lease concept whereby customers can rent menswear or womenswear garments for four days at 20% of the retail price. This service is available in two of Filippa K’s Stockholm stores and provides ‘a more sustainable alternative to traditional consumption.’ The company is determined to carry on developing its environmental credentials. ‘We strive to be innovative and more sustainable, and to carry on learning,’ says Bogstedt.

Scandinavian style

After two decades in the Swedish fashion business, Bogstedt continues to be inspired by developments in her home country: ‘The Swedish fashion scene has grown much bigger and is perhaps more interesting today than when Filippa K was founded. There is much more space for new and small-scale designers and it is influenced by more cultures.’ According to Bogstedt, the Filippa K woman flourishes in this climate: ‘I see her as strong, independent and urbane. The Filippa K woman is a conscious consumer. She wants high quality and doesn’t follow every trend.’

For chic and eco-friendly fashion, Filippa K is a front runner, and is sure to remain so thanks to Bogstedt’s vision.

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