Walking into the airy white studio there’s a buzz about the place, and it captures just what the brand is all about. Sailing through the room in an ocean of blue, our eyes dart around the different washes and weaves of denim that have created a sea of rolling waves around the space. You could get lost in them, let them consume and carry you as the smell of freshly washed fabrics and the light buzz of a sewing machine in the distance fills you ears. Calm and comfortable.
Wåven is fast becoming a cult brand. Clean lines, tailored edges and structured fits are staples of the collections each and every season, and the whole aesthetic is one that oozes Scandinavian design and contemporary colours. Designer Anika Islam is the brains behind this brand, transitioning beautifully from women’s clothing to men’s. The new venture is one she was hesitant about, but it turns out the anxiety was mislaid. Boys look brilliant in clean-cut denim too, you know.
Launched in the autumn of 2014, Wåven (Pronounced Woh –Vuhn) is a brand that embodies everything that is good about Scandinavian design. Garments are created in production lines owned by Anika’s own family, allowing her full creative control and expression to explore the multiple ways denim can be used to line your body in as many washes and weaves possible. At their pop-up a few months back they also had personal customisation using patches and badges, letting us know that when you buy something, it really is exclusive.
Photographer Cleo Glover joins us to capture Anika and the smaller details that make this brand just so unique. Despite the exclusive feel and only one year into it's life as a brand, stockists include Urban Outfitters, Topman and Asos. We take a few extra moments at the Wåven studio to soak in the atmosphere. Swimming in an ocean of blue. It feels like home.
How did you start designing clothes?
My family has been in denim and clothing manufacturing since as long as I can remember. As a child my dad took me to meetings all over the world, mainly in Hong Kong, as that’s where a lot of his business was. I’d sit in these meetings, not understanding much, but they’d have large walls with racks of clothing, predominantly denim. The whole process fascinated me, so from a very young age I think it was built into me to a clothing related business. As I grew up and living in London I was exposed to so many different things here, cultures, fashion, along with my own passion which lead to me starting Wåven, which reflects me as a person completely.
Do you think Hong Kong had a big influence on the brand as well as the Scandi aesthetic?
I think so even on a subconscious level, the architecture and accents of the Asian fashion scene are apparent in Wåven.
Why did you decide to do mens clothing as well as womens?
We do mens and womans apparel, as I don’t believe in barring ourselves to one sector or gender. I want it to appeal to a wider audience, but I also like how the mens and womens collections communicate with each other - it’s quite a unisex collection and brand. The two collections have a harmonious trend.
What inspires your designs?
I think it’s being exposed to all these cultures and combining them together, as well as travelling a lot. For example AW15 was heavily influenced by utility, as well as streetwear. I feel the Wåven DNA is very solid, I want to create something very honest where every season we do something different and aren’t confined to one particular aesthetic.
Do you feel that youth culture has had an influence on Wåven?
Although we are fully aware of the youth culture it doesn’t deter us from what we are and what we want to be. I’ve always wanted Wåven to be part of a bigger picture instead of just tagging onto current trends and phases that rapidly come and go. This also relates to the denim we use, being something that can last a long time.
Do you feel your perception of men and male youth culture have changed since you started the brand?
I definitely think I’ve learnt a lot, men have become a lot more aware of what they are wearing and conscious of their appearance. They know how they want to be portrayed and presented to other people. In understanding this through Wåven it has allowed us to try new styles and explore knowing someone will wear it.
Do you think this culture of menswear will continue to evolve?
I think it will continue to evolve, I can’t imagine anything staying stagnant in todays age. It’s great that men and younger boys are experimenting with what they are wearing, it makes it exciting for, us so we can be really creative yet produce something people will love and be passionate about.
Is there anything you’d like to bring to the menswear scene?
You’ll have to wait for SS16! We are bringing lots to the table pre Christmas.
Did you have any challenges when creating menswear?
It’s trying to tune into how our young generation of men would think and what they want to be wearing in two seasons time. It’s all about understanding what these groups of individuals want, whether it be mens or womenswear.
Finally, where did the name Wåven come from?
I deicided on the name due to two reasons. Firstly that it means to weave something and denim is woven in its rawest form. I felt it fitted what I was trying to achieve so well, going back to basics and creating a pure, honest brand. The use of Å in our name is pronounced with an ‘o’ sound in Scandinavian languages. This again relates to going back and creating something pure, but honest. An English brand with a Scandinavian influence.
Endulge in anything Wåven at their website.
Interview by Fraser Stannage.
Words by India Opie Meres.