Spots, stripes, sunflowers and Gudrun Sjödén

On Saturday I excitedly caught the train to London for the premiere of Gudrun Sjödén's new Classics Collection at her Monmouth Street store. Gudrun was there in person greeting her delighted customers and I joined the queue of eager fans waiting to meet her (we'd travelled from all corners of the country). She graciously made time to answer my questions.

Gudrun Sjoden's Classics Collection
Gudrun Sjödén's colourful Classics Collection

Can you tell me about the Classics Collection?

The Classics Collection comprises stripes, dots, sunflowers and tulips – pattern designs that I have used for many years. I began working as a designer in 1963, at the time of Swinging London! There were a lot of stripes, squares and geometric patterns at that time – simple beautiful designs that never go out of style.

What are your values and ethics when it comes to designing?

It's very important that you consider the environmental impact of production. Nowadays you can't avoid it, you have to understand what you are doing and what you are producing. One of my goals is that I want to make clothes and designs that people will wear for a very long time. I think that this is the most valuable way of having the least environmental impact, that people use and wear their clothes until they are worn out, not just buying and throwing clothes away after a little while.

Which woman in the world would you most like to dress?

Maybe Queen Elizabeth II, but I don't think she will change her style!

Perhaps she wears Gudrun Sjödén at home?

Yes, maybe when takes her dogs for a walk!

Would you consider making a sewing pattern book of your designs for your fans to make their own Gudrun Sjödén clothes at home using your fabrics?

I made one a long time ago. It was called 'Easy Way of Sewing by Yourself' and people are still asking for this book! There are not many books that teach you to easily cut and sew.

Is it still available now?

No, it was published maybe 25 years ago.

Do you still get excited by fabric?

Oh yes. It's still fascinating!

What are you going to visit while you're in London?

This visit I'm mainly at the shop, making sure everyone is working properly and that everything looks as I want it to look. It's very nice to meet the customers and talk to them and get ideas from want they want and what they think.

Fashion illustrations by Gudrun Sjoden
Gudrun Sjödén's beautiful illustrations hang in the shop

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Gudrun's care and attention to her customers is wonderfully refreshing and was much appreciated by the many happy people in the shop. Some faces I recognised from the store opening last year, many like me had travelled for hours to be there and we were all united in our appreciation of Gudrun's beautiful designs. I spent another joyful hour looking at the collection and chatting to fellow devotees over sunflower cake and elderflower cordial.

Gudrun Sjoden's London Store
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