Head of design at Swedish womenswear retailer Lindex, Annika Hedin has been at the brand since she graduated from university almost 20 years ago. She talks to Drapers about heritage, sustainability and balance.
Annika Hedin began her career at Swedish brand Lindex as a designer, fresh from university. Almost 20 years later, she has worked her way up to head of design, and has overall control of womenswear, kidswear, lingerie and cosmetics for the brand, from its headquarters in Gothenburg. She speaks to Drapers about the importance of heritage, building the brand’s sustainable credentials and how she keeps herself motivted.
How did you get started as a designer?
My talent has always been in sketching and drawing and I had quite creative parents. They had their own clothing store when I was a kid and my mother sewed a lot of my clothes, so I was interested in that from the beginning. After school I started off doing dressmaking, design and tailoring, then a friend of mine called and said I should apply to a fashion course at the University of Borås. I applied and went there for three years. We’re still in contact with them – Lindex presents them scholarships each year, so it’s nice to still have that connection.
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How would describe Lindex?
We’re a brand with a very clear heritage in making women feel good. Our foundation comes from lingerie, and that women should feel good about themselves. We’re also focused on our Scandinavian roots and what that means to us when it comes to design and our values, for example with equality and sustainability, but also in how we express ourselves in everything we do.
Why is sustainability something you’ve focused on in your time at the brand?
It’s always been important to me, from the beginning. I remember when I was still based in the lingerie department, I made a presentation about sustainability to my boss. Mid-way through the new CEO turned up and said he’d heard that something interesting was going on. That was the first small victory and it’s really grown and has become very important to the brand.
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What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen while at the brand?
We made quite a big journey from being a clothing company to being a fashion company. That’s given us the confidence to dare to try things at a more rapid rate. Also achieving sustainability, it’s about how to work with the fibres and the fabrics. I think the biggest change has come from within: a growth in confidence, clear leadership and a real vision and values.
Are there any designers you particularly admire?
I admire Stella McCartney, because I think she has a really good value in her brand and is always keen to reinterpret herself and her brand in a fresh way. I also admire her sustainable twist on everything.
Lindex lookbook aw17 (6)
How do you keep motivated?
It’s important to maintain some kind of balance and I try to shut off on the weekends. I used to paint and draw, but now with two kids and a house to maintain that’s not so easy. My daughter loves sailing, so it’s really nice for me to sit on the beach when she’s taking part in regattas.
What is one thing you’ve learned since you started your career?
I’ve become the kind of person who goes with the flow and lets life happen. It’s about setting a goal, setting your course, and really visualising that clearly. Things will happen when it’s the right time.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in the industry?
You should be really humble in your first job or internships, but at the same time show motivation and eagerness to learn. If you help others they’ll help you back. My motto has always been: “Be kind to people and work hard”.
Favourite clothing brand
I really like Swedish brands Whyred and Hope
Favourite places to shop
When I’m in London I always go to the Shop at the Bluebird. I also love Soho and Brooklyn in New York, and the Marais in Paris
Last thing you bought
A pair of white sneakers
Last place you went on holiday
I went to our summerhouse in the west coast archipelago of Sweden
Last film you watched
Trolls – I watched it with my kids. Very family-friendly
Architect. I designed my own house outside Gothenburg.
How you unwind
Digging in the garden and building our summerhouse. I like to work with my body on the weekends because I work a lot with my mind during the week