It is a bubbly and boisterous place, the creative mind of Martin Bergström. Originally, and still, a fashion designer, his ingenuity is also applied to such diverse fields as product design, print and set design - using everything from fruits, decomposing fabrics, ink stains and forgotten handicraft techniques to bring his objects alive.
But it’s the hand-drawn patterns that are the basis for everything.
Whether creating a unique textile print for a major Parisian couture house, costumes for a contemporary dance company or everyday items for a global retailer, it all begins with the drawing. Working with both digital print and screen print, the groundwork is nevertheless all made by hand.
Educated at Konstfack University College of Arts Crafts and Design in Stockholm and Universität der Kunste in Berlin – he graduated with an M.A. in Textiles in 2005 – Bergström has an artistic outlook when it comes to fashion and design.
This is true whether he’s producing made-to-order garments or collaborating on one-off projects with globe-spanning companies.
Organic shapes meet abstraction, playfulness merge with couture-like sewing techniques, futuristic shapes are found in the old, rotting potato found in the fridge. In the work of Martin Bergström, restraint and artistic freedom create a dramatic tension, and despite the kaleidoscopic quality of Bergström’s prints, there’s a feeling of something held-back and controlled. This is partly due to a careful selection process in which the free-flowing creativity is edited and reworked.
While prints and patterns are the main focus, the clothes are still important, and Bergström regards the collections as a kind of exhibition - the garments themselves being his 'paintings' and the textiles his 'paint'. In this manner he has managed to find a place in a industry which he is critical of, questioning the throw-away culture of modern fast fashion.
But Bergström also believes in working within the system, and it’s important for him that his designs - whether they are made for a luxury company or aimed at the mass market - have lasting value and meaning.