In the best department stores and boutiques, sales staff will do their utmost to fulfil your requirements. But 29-year-old designer and former shop assistant My Lindström took her dedication to customer service one step further and started her own line of men’s shirts, MyL Shirt. ‘When I worked in the department stores Åhlens and NK in Stockholm, I noticed that there was a real dearth of modern and interesting shirts for tall men, or those with longer arm lengths, so I began to design my own,’ she says.
In 2009, Lindström opened her store in Kungsholmen, an historic Stockholm locale. The walls of the boutique are lined with crisp Italian cotton shirts in a palette of pinks, blues and greys, intermingled with the bold tartan-inspired checks of younger and more casual lines. Customers can choose from styles that are modern and relaxed, or slim fitting, and each comes with an extra-long sleeve option.
Lindström’s fashion trajectory began in high school, where she specialised in fashion and textiles. After a brief stint with womenswear designer Carin Rodebjer, she moved to Italy to attend Florence’s acclaimed Polimoda Fashion School, where her career took a fortuitous turn. ‘I was able to skip the first year, due to my previous studies in Stockholm. As a result, I was placed directly in the menswear class, so I studied menswear for two years and really enjoyed it. I felt that menswear was a growing area, with a lot of possibilities.’
After graduating Lindström moved to Munich to work for the German fashion house Hugo Boss, but it was only a matter of time before she decided to return to her native Stockholm and to strike out on her own. ‘Whilst working for Hugo Boss I began to get an idea of what I wanted to do, and I figured that it was the right time to do it. I’d applied for some design jobs in Stockholm with labels such as H&M, but I found it really difficult to get a foot in the door, so I began working at home. I really enjoyed it, so I decided to start my own business.’
Although the classic contemporary style of well-dressed city types in the Swedish capital offers plenty of sartorial inspiration, the designer admits that travel remains her main stimulus. ‘I get a lot of ideas from the people that I see on the street, but I think that my biggest inspiration comes from travelling to different cities,’ she explains.
Having lived in Munich, Zurich and Florence, it was the French capital that struck a particular chord when Lindström was putting together the collection. ‘I lived in France on-and-off for four years. I think that Paris is a really interesting city, so I named each of the models after the city’s metro stations,’ she explains. The slightly tailored silhouette and bold check print of Nation reflects the youthful, casual style of the south-east Paris quarter, while the slim, neat fit and formal wing-collar details of Louvre tips a nod to the patrimony and luxury of the city’s celebrated landmark.
In fewer than two years, MyL Shirt has flourished. Last season the collection expanded to include bow ties in silk, cotton and jersey, all hand crafted by Lindström. This year she extended the brand further by presenting semi-annual collections in seasonal tones and fabrics.
Although a further extension of menswear is very much on her to-do list, her focus lies on global growth. ‘I want to become an international brand and to make a whole collection of clothes for tall men. I’d also like to add womenswear.’ With a successful online webshop attracting customers from as far afield as Brazil and America, is MyL Shirt ready to expand? ‘At the moment,’ says Lindström, ‘I’d rather stay small and focus on doing something well.’