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Style, innovation & equality

(24): Per Götesson

London-based Swede brings thought-provoking and heavily draped menswear to an international crowd.

Edited by Robin Douglas Westling Written by Jimmy Guo

Copenhagen, Denmark — An MA alumnus from the Royal College of Art in London, Swedish-born Per Götesson got his break when he was hand-picked by Lulu Kennedy to show at London Collections: Men. Now with three shows under his belt, Götesson’s thought-provoking and heavily draped collections are catching the attention of magazines such as i-D and Dazed as well as some of the most selective stockists all over the world.

Growing up, you’ve said wanted to become an artist but ended up being a fashion designer.

— I think I really realised that I wanted to work in fashion when I was working on my application to Beckmans School of Design. I can’t really say why, it just happened really naturally. But I don’t really think that being a fashion designer means I’m not an artist.

You have a BA from Beckmans School of Design in Stockholm. What was it like studying there?

— It wasn’t until I started at Beckmans that I felt fashion design became real for the first time. My cohort was incredible with many strong personalities. I think the best things I got from there were some of my best friends and the network among classmates and professors. Beckmans is a small school so it becomes like a family. It really is a luxury to have free education in Sweden because it doesn’t put pressure on schools to take on too many students. It’s something we need to cherish.

After Beckmans in your enrolled your MA at the Royal College of Art in London where you’re now based. How has London influenced you as a designer?

— London is multi-cultural mega hub and for me it has given me a lot of freedom. The drawback is that London is very individualistically minded and it can at times seem like you can never work hard enough to get anywhere. Establishing my brand in London influences me a lot and the network I have opens a lot of doors.

After showing your MA collection at the Royal College of Art you debuted at London Fashion Week just a few hours later. How was that possible?

— Lulu Kennedy, the Founder and Director of Fashion East & man, got in touch with me a month or so before my graduation show. I got super nervous and told my program director Zowie Broach. She told me I was very lucky as she had only just decided to only let us show a single look from our finals collection. That meant I could debut my collection with just a few additions.

During your studies, you’ve said that your design aims to create a uniform for rebels, like a suit made for riots. Is this still present in your work?

— Yes, the starting point is the same. I think it’s important that the end product is desirable and that there are layers of thought behind it. I want the uniform I create to be both poetic and functional, but there’s always an issue with it I’m trying to explore and resolve. Having a bit of humour is very helpful.

You tend to work a lot with denim and in earlier interviews you’ve called it “the tailoring of the people”. What other materials inspire you?

— Lately, I’ve become obsessed with lycra. I tend to be drawn to quite basic fabrics. I don’t like having too many options and I relish the challenge of making something mundane desirable.

What inspires you as a designer?

— What’s most inspiring to me is looking at how other people dress. I really like when you can tell that someone feels beautiful and sexy in what they wear. Even if I wouldn’t dress like them myself.

What are your thoughts on Swedish menswear?

— I haven’t been back home to Sweden in more than a year so I don’t have the most up-to-date idea of how Swedish men dress today. But when I went to Copenhagen recently I thought that many men looked good, but they move in groups dressed like clones of each other. Sweden feels a bit more bohemian in comparison.