Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. Well, in the foundation, we (Moa Wikman & Aidin Sanati) are two creators in our 30s, that explore techniques, proportions and textures through the premise of menswear. Our studio is in Stockholm as we also work as design consultants. The studio thus serves as a creative hub and a natural place for creativity. However, a lot of times we end up designing the collections from somewhere else, preferably a most secluded/isolated place. Reflection is very important to us.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Lately we have been working on collages that might appear a little off at first. An eclectic mix of old glitchy VHS recordings, 70’s hotel lounges, contemporary abstract artists paintings, have served us well. We like to fine-tune these more rugged references when we search for the collection’s palette and feel. It always remains refreshing to include complete antipodes in our work. You may add to this some words of wisdom, provided by a selection of Gerhard Richter archival films.
How has living in Stockholm affected your work? It is a city of understatement and a high quality of life. Therefore it has affected our work more from a social and economical standpoint rather then aesthetically. However this very Swedish idea of reducing elements to their bare essence is something that has followed us through our entire youth. Over here, it is hard to get away from this, as we have such a strong design tradition. For now, the cleanness of the studio serves as a good starting point, but we are not known to drawn on our direct urban surroundings for our aesthetic take on menswear. When it comes to functionality, we do observe and like to engage the elements, as our garments need to be practical and wearable around the year.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the world to be? Currently, we like to venture in a huge light gallery with good lightning and sound system, as we have a couple of these in our near vicinity. If we were to choose a location right now, it would be traveling through North America, starting with a visit the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Also Japan is a pretty inspirational place to travel to. It surely has influenced our work.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Next to our massive project of curating our new E-SHOP that is coming up anytime now, we are digging deep for the coming autumn/winter collection. For this one we work closely with our co-creatives and the ateliers in Italy to push our work forward and to found our platform further in Paris for 2017. We have been working on UBI SUNT for many seasons and like to propel it onto new directions, by connecting to likeminded individuals and fellow wayfaring explorers.
Where do you plan to travel next? Paris is somewhere we obviously head to for at least a couple of times a year, it is where we present our work and connect to our partners. We are also often found in Tuscany, as we work very closely with our Italian artisans, perfecting each design and surface. These will keep us rather occupied in the coming months. Next to this, we like to enjoy the Swedish summer, its beautiful coastline, dramatic fjords and sweeping vistas. That being said, we are surely mapping out that American road trip, we mentioned earlier…
What do you collect? We are great collectors. Always keen on finding new elements that add onto our collages, inspiration or ideology when it comes to design. At the moment we are particularly partial to video clips, image studies, textile swatches with unique qualities, innovative finishings on fabrics and a most diverse array of music.
Describe your current studio or workspace. We like to keep it pretty simple, large windows, white concrete walls, wooden floors, natural light, a lot of light. Clean workspaces and a lot of space to modulate, create and experiment.
How long have you lived in Stockholm and what brought you there? Moa is born and raised in Sweden so for her it was a natural choice to venture back here, after she finished her design studies in London. Aidin is born in Paris to Iranian parents but moved to Sweden at a young age as his father started to work for a French architecture firm based in Stockholm. So after his studies in London he also decided to move back to Sweden. And faith led us to each other in the end.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? In short: we would like them to sense a feeling that cannot be described by words, but can only be experienced, and something they want others to experience too. We like this sensory and basic feel to our garments.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? Many years ago, during our absolute first show, we had kind of a beekeeping theme and we made these white beekeeping hives that were used to enhance the mood of the show. They also had a functional purpose as the models got higher up so all the guests would be able to view them all together, as the seating were like cinema rows. It ended up beeing commented in the cultural news program on Swedish national TV as “pretentious, putting their models on pedestals”. That is when we realized that even a professional critic can sometimes get your concept completely wrong and we were amazed how this person could call our humble show “pretentious”, something that we still remember after five years, however we can laugh about it now.