Celebrating 20 years in the business, Swedish label Filippa K has become on of Scandinavia's hottest exports. On this milestone, we caught up with the brand's founder, Filippa Knutsson to talk career highs and lows and her top tips for trips to Stockholm and her current home town, Paris....
Fillippa K Designer Filippa Knutsson
GraziaDaily: How do you describe your brand to uninitiated?
Filippa Knutsson: Simple, well-made clothes and accessories with a clean, modern Scandinavian design.
GraziaDaily: What are the biggest lessons you've learnt over the past 20 years and how has the industry changed?
Filippa Knutsson: The industry has become much tougher and more competitive with customers expecting new styles at an ever increasing rate. One of the biggest lessons I've learnt is to listen to my own intuition! Many times I've listened to advice from financially competent people but who don't really understand what makes a fashion company tick - and it's rarely been for the better. Fashion, in large part, is about emotion and it's important to rely on one's instincts.
Filippa K A/W 2013
GraziaDaily: There's been such a boom in Scandinavian fashion design - do you feel part of that community and aesthetic?
Filippa Knutsson: Filippa K was one of the first independent labels to pave the way for the rest of the industry, so obviously we are very much part of the Scandinavian fashion community. Even if all Scandinavian design, whether it be fashion or interiors, often has a very clean aesthetic I feel that Filippa K often has a more classic approach to design than our counterparts. I have always strived to help women and men look and feel good without having to be too preoccupied with fashion and trends. I suppose I'm more interested in clothes than fashion.
GraziaDaily: What have been the best fashion moments in your career?
Filippa Knutsson: We've created some spectacular fashion shows at different venues in Stockholm throughout the years. These shows have been beautifully produced but also great fun with fantastic after parties. Celebrating all the hard work that goes into creating a new collection is always a great moment. Otherwise just the day to day working with the design team, the discussions, the joking around, the passion…..the trips for inspiration to faraway places…all of that creates great fashion moments!
Filippa K A/W 2013
GraziaDaily: And the worst?
Filippa Knutsson: I've had a couple of breakdowns due to exhaustion and the enormous sense of responsibility - which is the dark side of this very demanding business where you have to be on top of everything all the time. As I always say ''you're only as good as your last collection'' which creates an enormous sense of stress….
GraziaDaily: After 20 years are you still ambitious for your label? What do you still want to achieve?
Filippa Knutsson: I have decided to step down from the hectic pace of the daily operations to be able to spend more time with my kids and just give myself space to reflect and breathe! Having said that I am still very ambitious for the future of Filippa K, I see enormous potential in the company expanding internationally and also in the possibilities of diversifying into other product areas. Being at a distance from the company helps me see what's needed in a clearer way.
Filippa K A/W 2013
GraziaDaily: Can you give us your top Stockholm tips - where should we be staying, eating, drinking, shopping?
Filippa Knutsson: We have really had a boom in new great restaurants lately, one of them Restaurant Taverna Brillo, the restaurant is surrounded by bars and also encompass a market, a bakery, an orangerie and an ice-cream café, all designed under the lead of Swedish interior designer Jonas Bohlin. To stay I would recommend Nobis Hotel on Norrmalmstorg, a top class hotel that really has put an extra effort in the design and the atmosphere. And for shopping - visit Asplunds, one of Stockholm's best interior design stores.
GraziaDaily: What is the best part of your job?
Filippa Knutsson: To work with a team of highly professional and passionate people is an enormous privilege. To know that I have built up a successful company that is still evolving and growing and to be part of charting out the future of that company is very satisfying and has taken many years to achieve.
GraziaDaily: Where do you live and why?
Filippa Knutsson: I live in Paris as my boyfriend of 10 years, Thomas Fourtané, is French and based here. After years of commuting I decided to move here with my 2 younger children, in order to live a more balanced life, give my children the opportunity of an international education and of course, indulge in the pleasures of Paris!
GraziaDaily: Describe a typical Sunday at your place - what do you do to relax?
Filippa Knutsson: A perfect Sunday would consist of a lazy morning, then going out with the whole family for brunch at the nearby Rue Cler, a food street near us with a great authentic Parisian atmosphere. After that, a walk along the Seine where the mayor of Paris has turned the former trafficked road into a wonderful pedestrian walk with floating gardens and small cafés. Then Thomas and I will go and check out the flea market at Marché aux puces de Saint-Ouen, where you can find wonderful vintage design items for the home, or see a movie with the kids (I love the cinema) before ending up round the kitchen table for a cosy Sunday meal before the PSG football match of the week that my boyfriend rarely misses!
GraziaDaily: Whats your biggest luxury in life - how do you indulge yourself?
Filippa Knutsson: I'm someone who needs to continually indulge myself, it's the reason for living! Massages, cinema all alone in the middle of the day, eating out several times a week and buying wonderful design pieces for my home… are just a few. My biggest indulgence, however, is to go on trips with Thomas to exotic and cultural destinations and stay in original and inspiring hotels…..
GraziaDaily: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us...
Filippa Knutsson: That I consider myself almost half English! I went to St Pauls Girls School in London - something that not many people are really aware of - the fact that I am completely brought up in England even if my parents are Swedish. English is my first language and I read all my books in English...