3 Questions for Swedish Hasbeens’ Emy Blixt

Swedish Hasbeens continues to find success with a new diffusion line and plans for expanded retail.

The Stockholm-based label, which focuses on clog styles, aims to expand its diffusion capsule collection, Debutante, into a full-fledged line for fall ’13 and add higher heels and more fashion-driven looks to its main line. It also will delve further into branded retail in the U.S. Its first pop-up shops, shop-in-shops and in-store events are set to kick off here by the end of 2013. Launching U.S. e-commerce is also on the agenda.

Designer and creative director Emy Blixt said a permanent brick-and-mortar location is on the radar for further out. “It is destined to happen because that is how we can show just what our brand is about,” she said. “We are just waiting for the right moment. It will likely be in Stockholm, London or New York.”

Blixt recently spoke with Footwear News about capturing a younger consumer, melding fashion with sustainability and the allure of bygone eras.

1. Your three-style Debutante collection is about to hit shelves for spring. What have you learned during your first season with the diffusion line?
The Debutante line [originated] due to a general demand from a younger customer for Swedish Hasbeens. Hasbeens are made with vegetable-tanned leather using a natural wooden sole. The price depends on the height of the sole, so the challenge was to make new young and low styles, yet still very feminine. [We] combined [that idea] with inspiration from the flat-but-feminine wedges that ruled the 1940s. There is a growing demand for lower shoes, so there is definitely room in the market to develop this area, [including] boots for fall ’13.

2. Your main line for fall is inspired by Victorian fashion. What was most attractive about that era?
[It was a] romantic and mystic era. Fashion was full of meaning and quality was high. Colors were strong, yet toned down. Fashion was still slow. Custom sewing and hand-production meant that shoes lasted for a long time. Fashion has never been as understated yet emotionally loaded [since Victorian times]. [That] created one of the most interesting paradoxes in fashion.

3. Why is sustainability important to Swedish Hasbeens?
Do we want to make this a better world, and what can we do about it? These are the questions that modern consumers ask [themselves] today when [they] buy something. Footwear brands should realize that people across the world are demanding quality and natural materials.

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