• 08.25.11

A Wild Techno Take On Folksy Nordic Fashion

Emma Lundgren gives traditional Sami costumes a garish 21st-century makeover. Caution: blue lipstick and pompadours ahead.

Scandinavia isn’t known for producing the world’s wildest design, notwithstanding the occasional rogue cheese grater at Ikea. Which makes the Scandinavia-inspired textiles of Emma Lundgren something of a freak of nature. They look Scandinavian, alright — if the place got hijacked by Cyndi Lauper.


That’s because Lundgren, a recent grad of the Royal College of Art, drew ideas from a smorgasbord of unlikely sources in her native Sweden: the Northern Lights, the folk costumes of the Sami (indigenous Arctic people roughly equivalent to Alaska’s Eskimos), and the futuristic Esrange Space Center in the historical Sami territory of Lapland. The she produced her garments using hand-sewing techniques and lots of whizbang technology.

The resulting collection, Samilight, is a blingy explosion of neon colors and laser-cut plastics and digital embroidery in traditional Sami patterns, layered indiscriminately like it’s 1987 all over again. The styling here is so loud (blue lipstick and a pompadour? What is this, L.A.?) it’s hard to focus on the ornate details that make Lundgren’s textiles unique. But the close-up shots should give you a pretty good sense of how much craftsmanship goes into each piece.

Lundgren will show Samilight during New York Fashion Week on September 9. More info here.

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.