Combining minimalist Swedish aesthetic elements together with designer Filip Bjernebo
South Lane is a Swedish accessories brand with a focus on creating sleek designs that stand out. Originally inspired by fashion and architectural trends found in Stockholm’s artistic Sodermalm district, the brand’s ethos is a clean, versatile aesthetic featuring daring touches of creative flair. After establishing a solid reputation as a savvy street-style timepiece designer, South Lane has evolved to incorporate unique, quality materials from the world’s best sources to create a new wave of dramatic, high-end fashion watches and accessories. South Lane is the lifestyle brand for style innovators who understand that the difference is in the fine details.
FOUNDER AND DESIGNER FILIP BJERNEBO, 28, Certain that his creations combine minimalist Swedish aesthetic elements with the inspiration garnered from world travel, Filip launched his first web-only accessories brand in 2008. After honing his craft for several years, he decided to radically shift gears; the fledgling company was sold to make room for the South Lane watch collection. Five years and a number of well-received collections on, Filip continues to draw design inspiration from the pulse of his environment; be it the relaxed, vintage vibe of the Södermalm district, the excitement of NYC’s vibrant fashion scene or the grittier, urban industrial flavor of East London’s Shoreditch district. Artistically, at the core of all designs are equal parts Scandinavian aesthetics and the satirical nonconformity of inspired works of modern art such as that of Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock.
When and how you decided that you wanted to be a designer?
It’s funny; I still haven’t decided to be a designer. I create things, and I have done that since I was a kid. So I followed along this path and ended up in fashion. I think it is the most captivating thing to create things that become part of peoples every day life – so it was natural becoming a fashion designer over the years coming from a graphic design and branding background.
It was your dream job?
My dream job has always been to work for myself and to create things – whether it was items, digital work or brand concepts. So without knowing it, this really always was my dream job. Even if it took some time to figure it out.
Which is the first thing you designed and for who?
The first thing I ever designed was a brand and logo for myself, even before selling anything or having any kind of product.
Who’s the designer you admire the most and why?
I admire so many designers; the talent around today is really endless. But being Swedish I admire what have come up from my country in the more recent years. Seeing the small indie labels I used to buy when they were still small, now exploding around the world – like Acne Studios. Turning those cool denim jeans into one of the most well respected fashion brands in the world out of Stockholm – that’s inspiring to me.
Who’s your muse, your icon, when you create a piece?
My biggest inspiration for my watches are not so much from any icon, it is rather materials and architecture that really inspires me. Creating watches is all about the smallest details and shapes and architecture is just about that. I remember first moving to east London several years ago, the surroundings there inspired me so much so that up-close shots I took of old warehouses turned into the backgrounds of the dials in the watches. It fundamentally changed the design vision for SOUTH LANE and everything that has came out after that. If you look at this season’s collection you would be able to see a strong industrial edge in every single piece. Essentially my whole design philosophy has become about materials and shapes that fascinates me.
If you had to design an entire collection using just one color, which is the one you’d pick and why?
Black. Black is my obsession and I believe it is so much more than a color. Black for me, it becomes less about the color and more about the patterns in the material. For example black leather ages beautifully and uniquely from how you wear it and every scratch has a story.
Who’s the first person you show your sketches to?
It takes months before my sketches are out of my sketchpad, I go through sketches like no other, and when I finally have a selection that works for me I show it to my girlfriend who is not afraid of criticize what I may have missed, that helps a lot.
The fabric you love the most…silk, lace, velvet and why?
It is not really a fabric – but Calf leather. It is the one material I work with, and I am obsessed with it in any way possible. To start working from a clean slate of pure leather, creating shapes, patterns, the blackness and finish as a starting point – and then having the leather worn by a customer and age over the years. There is no fabric in the world that tells a story like leather.
If your clothes had a soundtrack, which songs you’d choose?
It would definitely be something indie, about being young and bold. Something from MGMT, Two Door Cinema Club or The Naked and famous usually spurs the inspiration.
Do you have any trick to avoid that “blank page” moment when you’re at the beginning of the designing of a new collection? Do you watch a movie, flip an old magazine?
I fortunately have ideas spanning too many seasons to even be able to realize them, so the blank page moment hasn’t come around yet. But Travel is my ultimate source for inspiration – I have a lust of travel and hopping around that never seems to end, and that spurs the inspiration in every direction usually right from the moment I get to the airport. I think it lies in the feeling of being free, go wherever I feel like and explore completely new places and cultures. It normally sets of the inspiration in high speed.
If you weren’t a designer which job in the fashion world you would like to do and why?
Never having had a normal job before in my life, I would probably not work for any other brand, rather set off on a new project or new brand story of my own if this weren’t working out.