“We have known each other for a number of years and have been working together for the past four
,” Saif Bakir reminds us as he talks through the continued evolution of COMMON
. Having met in the classrooms of LCF, a fruitful friendship between Bakir and Emma Hedlund has harvested a dynamic label that celebrates contractions, delights in dualism and cherishes clashes. “Our design process is very much integrated. On many occasions we end up thinking about the same thing or draw reference from same source of inspiration. It could be because we know each other so well or also because we both know what Common’s aesthetic is all about,
” he adds. Whether it’s well tailored telepathy or just plain COMMON
sense, the merged minds of Bakir and Hedlund create designs that are beautifully balanced, bouncing between minimal and maximal, tailored and casual, simple and complex. “A fusion of London edge, Paris chic and Scandinavian minimalism
,’ is how the pair themselves describe the heady cocktail. Drink up.
Very few debut collections cause such a well deserved flutter as COMMON’S did for autumn/winter 12. Without doubt, the Lars Jonsson collaborative sparrow print exquisitely applied to bomber jackets set pulses soaring but it was the their mix of design cultures and desire to showcase local manufacture and craftsmanship that really captured our imagination. From this accomplished debut, the princely pair have pushed forward with a trio of collections that continue their narrative. “We want our collections to be able to sit together as one,” adds Bakir. Their story is one under constant development and refinement and spring/summer 14 is the latest chapter to captivate. Entitled Let The Games Begin, the collection introduces us to a vibrant squad of athletic daydreamers clad in a hyper modern team uniform.
“Unlike our previous collection, we wanted to create something that felt lighter and brighter, we were influenced by an active season and lifestyle. We looked at friends and colleagues around us and we were inspired by their active way of life. We then looked into sports and drew inspiration from American sportswear and youth culture. We loved the idea of creating our own team colour and uniform.
Our mood board was based around Rubins colour pallet mixed with images from Luke Smalley body of work including Gymnasium and Sunday Drive. We took note from Smalley’s colour palette in Sunday Drive in particular. There were clippings from reference fabrics; perforated fabrics, Lightweight tech cotton, Mesh, Loop back Terry, Bonded neoprene, Boiled wool. Trims like heat seal tapes, press studs, water repellent zippers. During our design process we looked at textiles and techniques used in technical sportswear. We wanted to create the same effect and utilise some of the benefits these high-tech material. We also looked at different finishes in garments such as heat-sealed seams which we applied in a more decorative way making it part of the aesthetic of the garment as seen on our taped seam trouser Jurg…”
“From looking into youth culture and American sports we then into street art and current artists. We stumbled upon some of Rubin’s work and we were immediately drawn to its modern, futuristic and abstract shape and style, it felt so right and perfect for want we wanted our SS14 collection to communicate. As Rubin is based in Brooklyn, NY we started off by sending him an email and he showed immediate interest in a collaboration. There was a constant exchange of mood boards and ideas during the following weeks. We sent him a colour pallet to work from but he had free reign to sketch and create two walls for us, which we later reworked into the current print.”
“The highlight colours were then picked up from Rubin’s signature use of pop colours. The result is a mix palette of muted, saturated colours of chalk white, cream, bronze and matt black combined with highlight of bright orange, azure and chroma green. We combined Rubin’s artwork with this season’s colours and stripes. The outcome is a futuristic print for a hyper modern team uniform. Rubin’s complex and futuristic shapes works perfectly with this seasons theme and mood and are a great complement to the modern and technical fabrics featured throughout the collection.”
Ultimately, it’s the label’s real sense of collaboration in COMMON
, both between the dynamic between the design duo themselves, their relationships with Swedish manufacturers and creative talent that they work with each season that really excites. From the Lars Jonsson collaborative sparrow print to Hans Krondahl’s reimagined gallop design a creative coming together has pushed the label forward. For spring/summer 14 Common shines an abstract spotlight on street artist Rubin
. Now, his majestic murals surface regularly in NYC on the streets of Brooklyn and the Bronx but his journey began in Gothenburg. Inspired by Beat Street, the concrete projects of Sweden were his first canvas and his latest are COMMOM’s uniforms.
Throughout Let The Games Begin, Hedlund and Bakir balance their modern, sartorial elegance with sportswear fused and and technical focused elements. Muted minimalism is matched with vibrancy, simple lines with complex geometric shapes. Delve deeper into this season’s duality with the Patrick Lindblom shot look book (just previewed on Highsnobiety)…
Look book shot by Patrick Lindblom courtesy of Highsnobiety
Collecting fans and players along the journey, this COMMON
collection will continue to drive this enthralling label forward. Let the real games begin…