Human Wear by Johanna Eklund

EklundEklund stands for human-wear for everyone. Johanna Eklund is the designer behind it, a 27-year old from Uppsala, Sweden. Johanna works with non-binary clothing, a concept where clothing is designed for all bodies and expressions.

We had a chat with this genius about thoughts, inspiration, societal issues and yellow bridesmaid dresses.

Photographer: Olof Grind / Models: Sara S. Boljak and Nora Fazel / MUA: Jessica de la Torre / Styling: Lisa Pyk

Eklund Eklund is a clothing brand for everyone. Tell us more about the background, how did it all start?

When I was younger, I struggled a lot with self-hatred and feelings of insufficiency. I didn’t like myself or my body. I tried to understand how one could feel good about oneself, how to like who you are and what you see in the mirror, whatever that is. I always wanted to help others too, especially regarding people’s self-esteem.

I want people of all sizes, gender, sexuality, and color to feel free to be who they are. Even though they don’t fit the heteronormative or body norms that rule.

I also always LOVED clothes and to express myself through different styles! As a teenager, I “went through” several subcultural styles from punk to metal, and let’s not forget the emo style. I’ve experimented and made my own clothes since way back and then I decided to make a career out of it. I’ve been studying textile and sewing the last five years and I’m now attending the textile bachelor at Konstfack in Stockholm. Eklund Eklund was created the spring of 2016 because I started to sell the clothes I was making and I needed a name for my brand. My family name is Eklund and my name on Instagram was eklundeklund3000 so the brand got its name after that.

Photographer: Beata Cervin / Models: Freja Wesik and Ayan Jamal Warsame / Styling: Johanna Eklund

What do you think are the most urgent societal issues right now? Can fashion or art be a part of any solutions?

I definitely think it’s the right to express yourself as you truly are and not as what society, your birth certificate or sex tells you too. It’s about people taking pride in their being and personalities and to be free of categories, frames and norms.

Fashion has a huge part in this and can really make a difference in how we judge and look upon others. How we define beauty and how it’s decided of who and how clothes can be worn. I, for instance, among others such as Maison the Faux & Vaquera, work beyond women’s and men’s fashion and even beyond unisex. We make human wear for humans. I will never decide what you are, what you want to wear or how to wear it.

I also think it’s crucial to make and present clothes for all different kinds of bodies, on this point the fashion industry really failed. There is an obvious norm of models being preferably white, tall and skinny. Most of us don’t look like that and it creates so much suffering for some people thinking that is what you should look like.

What inspires you?

Queers and creatives as myself expanding and exploring what we can be and express that!

You work a lot with the color yellow, is EklundEklund devoted to a specific style or theme?

The yellow color came from my childhood. My mother loved yellow. The wallpaper, curtains, clothes and even her and my father’s wedding was yellow. My mom made her own suit, and mine and my sister’s small brides maids dresses were all in yellow. For me, it’s a happy color and a gender neutral one. I also learned it’s the intersex color, which made me very happy since I work with non-binary clothing!

Photographer: Ingrid Kempe / Model: Freja Wesik and Johanna Welinder / Styling Freja Wesik and Johanna Eklund

When it comes to themes there are some that I tend to come back to. One is humor and especially dirty humor. The first t-shirt I made and sold is in the color sunflower yellow with the black text “Naughty But Nice”. I also made a leather jacket with the text “Dirty Ducks” with a duck wearing a cowboy hat swinging a whip around another ducks’ neck.

Another theme is about being transparent and honest. I’ve made clothes with texts about my self-hate and depressive thoughts. I wanted to put my inside on the outside in order to show people that I feel it too and to take away the shame a lot of people are feeling.

I also have a t-shirt with the text “Hopeless Topless Shameless” with painted tits on it. It’s the kind of “I wear and don’t wear whatever I want and I’m not ashamed of it!” – attitude. This is something I want to inspire and communicate to people, that you should be yourself no matter what. Guess I am kind of activist with my design after all!

Photographer: Olof Grind / Models: Sara S. Boljak and Nora Fazel / MUA: Jessica de la Torre / Styling: Lisa Pyk

Make sure to have a look at EklundEklund‘s webshop & Instagram!