Five Minutes with Dagmar designer Kristina Tjader

Dagmar, designer, Kristina Tjader, Stockholm, Scandinavian fashion, Hong Kong, China, Fashion

Stockholm has been on fashion radars recently thanks to its super cool street style and multitude of talented designers (it’s where Acne was born, after all!) I have been a huge fan of Scandinavian fashion labels for a while – there’s something alluring in their innovative, minimalist designs made with unique fabrics. It helps that the clothes are  well-priced too!

One of the brands that I have been wearing a lot is Dagmar, which I first introduced you to last year. Founded by three sisters  in 2005, the brand is known for its edgy, urban silhouettes which are punctuated with cutting-edge fabrics, colour combinations and techniques.  Their autumn/winter 2013 collection for example, features sculpted silhouettes with wide sleeves. Details  include smocking, lace and black metal zippers in a gorgeous palette of plum, green and caramel.

I got the chance to meet with Kristina, who is head designer of the brand, on a recent visit to Hong Kong. Read on to find out more about this award-winning label…

Dagmar, designer, Kristina Tjader, Stockholm, Scandinavian fashion, Hong Kong, China, Fashion

So has fashion always been a big part of your life?

I started making clothes as a young girl. I used to make outfits for my dogs and my grandmother – who was a tailor – would help me. She taught me how to make patterns and I was always sewing. I got my formal training in Paris which changed the way I design. I still create with a French eye so [Dagmar] is a bit more feminine than the other Swedish brands.

You started your career at H&M and also worked with Christian Lacroix. Why did you decide to launch your own line?

H&M was a great school because you learn how to think while understanding the process behind fashion. My older sister was also working there as a buyer while I did men’s wear. I started freelancing and when I was pregnant with my second child we decided to launch our own brand. My sister Karin looks after PR while Sofia is our head of sales.

How is Dagmar different to what you have done in the past?

We have a goal which is to empower modern women. Globally there is a new generation of women who want to look like women even though they work and are powerful. We want them to feel strong in our garments but also comfortable. So it’s never too sexy, or elegant. Dagmar is intellectual and sensual at the same time

Swedish brands are known for their chic, minimalist aesthetic. Does Dagmar follow a similar vein?

In a way we do because our look is quite clean compared to other international brands. Our style is reflected in our climate – it’s very raw in the winter and light in the summer and you see that in the clothes. Sweden has been a very poor country, so it’s not so much about fashionable clothes but more about function. You can also see the influence from my French background, such as the draping. I love it because it hides flaws!

How has Dagmar changed in the past eight years?

Initially we started with knitwear but have added items such as cocktail dresses because we wanted to do something different. Many brands focus on denim but we are much more feminine. We try to create a contemporary style with arty influences. I want my garments to live for a long time. Next up I would love to do men’s wear.

What’s your signature look?

We have a few garments that are always in every collection, like cardigans, jersey tops and knitted sweaters. We want to create stylish, classic pieces that you always want to have so when it’s worn out, you will  buy it again. At the moment I love our lace knits – it uses a new technique to sew the lace onto the knit so it looks like a printed pattern.

Where do you see Dagmar in 10 years?

I would love to build a business like Acne has done. We will never be Chanel nor am I interested in that. I’d like to be like Isabel Marant and Sonia Rykiel who are known for dressing real women.

Dagmar is available at Vein Shop 121 Lee Gardens Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, tel: +851 2528 4988. www.houseofdagmar.se

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *