Know Your Labels: Rodebjer

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by The Writers
July 15, 2014
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Sweden-born Carin Rodebjer talks about her eponymous label

“I didn’t know I wanted to go into fashion per se, but I knew I was sewing all the time and drawing, so I definitely had a sense of what I wanted to do even though I didn’t know that people could work in fashion, really. Rodebjer is a little bit of the Swedish minimalist, but richer. I think it’s like a rich cleanness; it’s a sharply pure, laidback luxury, and timeless and progressive at the same time.

It’s the combination between Sweden and New York, actually, because I lived here in the Lower East Side on Ludlow for a while in the end of the ‘90s so I have merged the two. I was studying at FIT but I dropped out when the business started going.

I think it helped when I lived here because everyone stopped me in the streets — in Sweden no one talks to you when you’re walking, but here people stop you to talk to you about what you’re wearing. You know, it’s thanks to New York that I do what I do because New York has been so encouraging from the very start. New York is lovely in that way; you get encouraged when you want to do something.

Sweden is so small, I mean compared to here, and the people are so privileged, in a way, because the people don’t work as much as we do here. It’s a different, easier lifestyle, and people want it be practical. It’s very function-oriented in Sweden, so they want to get up in the morning and leave their kids at school and work and then go to a drink all at the same time with the same clothing. There are different occasions, I think.

I started Rodebjer because I didn’t find anything I wanted to wear so I started to do it myself. I just wanted something easy that I could wear here and that I could wear in Sweden as well. And you know those inspiring women? I wanted to dress them as well. The perfect woman would be…maybe Julianne Moore. We actually have a really wide age group.

We have, like, three generations [of women] coming into the store. It’s the same woman, but it could be during the many phases of her life, which I love. I think our woman is one open-minded, self-reliant woman. I wanted to leave it a bit open because I want the customer herself to decide who she is within the collection.

I want to see individuals. That’s why I started. Because I love individuals and I love people. Some people. It’s so important to choose your own life and make your own decisions and to follow your own ideals, and that’s the whole reason of Rodebjer – to make people follow who they are. That’s tricky with fashion sometimes because people get confused if it’s supposed to be lived by the rules or if you choose your own rules, and for me it’s about choosing your own rules. That’s why I picked this business.

Every woman should own something that she could wear forever. Like these old Wranglers jeans I’m wearing right now. Or the Art Dress! It’s a dress or it’s a top or a cardigan.

artdresscomp

You can combine it in 300 different ways and open it in the back, and you can actually tie it around your waist. It’s a never-ending possibility. Sometimes the thing that’s timeless is good because it is something that can live. You put it in the wardrobe and pick it out five years later and it still works.

One piece of style advice I would give is to know yourself. Is that too boring? I would say to know your physical and psychological weaknesses and strengths would be the best, but that’s so hard. People are so afraid of  their weaknesses but [if you] make your weakness your best friend, it will be easier to get dressed in the morning.”

-Carin Rodebjer, founder of Rodebjer as told to Leandra Medine and Amelia Diamond

REPLIES
  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    Yes, yes, yes! I love Rodebjer. While I realize NY influences Carin in particular, and I have felt for a while that Scandinavia will soon be a more central influence on the creative side of fashion.

    There’s something about the Nordic practicality that makes really good clothes, and when fashion broken down to its simplest cycles is about the New! New! New!, I am convinced that even the so-called baby (in relation to Milan and Paris), New York, will begin to feel some of its influence wearing off as we look north.

    At least from a publications standpoint, there’s a higher density currently of truly interesting and innovative media. As is a natural course — at least in my opinion — when the outsider, or younger one, or underdog becomes slightly more established, it/they acquire a slight bit of pretension. And for now I am enjoying the lack of pretension in Scandinavian fashion.

    [Disclaimer: I could have it all wrong, but I am going strictly on feels as both an admirer and part-time consumer]

  • Luba

    My first rendez-vous with the brand and I already love it! Thanks for sharing!

    XO Luba

    http://www.well-living-blog.com

  • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

    Very Leandra, somehow, which is a good thing. Love Scandinavian style (in general), too, especially that crisp whiteness of things, combined with intriguing designs (or not). Don’t like pastels though, so I get to admire only a selected range of all things Scandinavian, which is OK.

    @Emma Hager: BTW, we ‘almost met’ :-) The day you posted a comment here about being in Copenhagen, I was in Roskilde, trying to surf the web by means of a very week wlan and enjoying the lovely Danish sunshine after the Swedish rain …

    • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

      ROSKILDE! I plan on going next summer with some friends if I make enough money for airfare! I was so jealous of all the people boarding trains in CPH for the festival. Rain boots in one hand, a case of Carlsberg in the other. I’m assuming you were there for the festival…how was it?

      I REALLY wanted to see Mø (she’s my faveeeee) do her thing in her native land, in front of thousands of really high-energy fans.

      • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

        Well, no, I had forgotten about the festival, which (as we MR readers know) is what happens when you are of certain age and too aware you’d be too old for most festivals, anyway, so you don’t even try :-)
        We visited the Viking Ship Museum and the town and it is as lovely as you probably expect it to be, so GOOD LUCK!

  • http://blogaboutdesign.com/ B.A.D l Blog About Design

    What a comfy chic fashion label. Thanks for introducing me to them!

    Check out the B.A.D blog… http://blogaboutdesign.com

  • Lily Zeltser

    in love..literally in love, with every single piece..

  • Esther Levy

    She sold me at Julianne Moore.

    • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

      I have a hard time not speaking ‘Julianne Moore’ after M.I.A. chanted it in Y.A.L.A.

  • ee_by_cc

    This is a super timely post for me because I was going through some clothes in storage and just found this amazing Rodebjer dress that I bought at a sample sale SEVERAL years ago. It’s so awesome because it’s a really low-back halter, but it comes with 4 different strings so I can tie up the halter different ways (around the neck, create straps in the back and feed them through these loops, criss cross them in the back). Can’t wait to start wearing it again once I have it back from the dry cleaners!

    http://www.enduringethereal.com

  • Nico

    So much in love with many of these pieces!

    Outfits, trends and street style on lb-lc fashion blog

  • DEAR CARRIE

    Wow, Rodebjer is the suprematism of Chanel’s philosophy. Love it.

    http://www.dearcarrie.com

  • monkeyshines
  • Number-22 Ltd

    I’m so pleased that you’ve written this post. I run an online fashion boutique and seem to be one of very few UK stockists. Her SS’14 collection was beautiful but the AW’14 line seems a little edgier, aside from a very cute cherry print that covers the perennial shift dresses and tops. @disqus_GHltfAMGT2:disqus I wholeheartedly agree. Despite the fact that Carin shows in New York, Scandinavian design does seem to be having more of an influence, and Swedish fashion in particular seems to be having something of a renaissance at the moment.

  • Dominique
  • Ana González

    Those brands are the best. They are not made by fashion addicts, the expression is pure.

    LAZYCATSTYLE

  • bong
  • beeskneestrees

    I love her story and her honest philosophy behind the clothing. Inspiring and beautiful designs!

    http://beeskneestrees.tumblr.com

  • http://www.strippedchic.com/ Shannon Kearns

    Do they carry anything under $200? I kid. This is some incredible designing, thanks for sharing.

    -Shannon at http://www.strippedchic.com

  • atelierjen

    First time I’ve seen this designer – great stuff, thanks for featuring her. I particularly love the striped coat and the long cardigan dress. Why I’m thinking of winter sitting here in a (very temporary) heatwave, I don’t know….

  • JennyJacquard

    Can I just humbly say that, well, the Rodjeber’s designs are YES really great, but as a fabric designer and all-around textile enthusiast, the fabrics used in nearly ALL of the Rodebjer pieces are so, so, so, so superbly and disappointingly crappy. Living in Sweden I have a lot of exposure to the brand and have been following the brand for some years. The same fabric constructions + compositions are the same season after season on many of their designs. Theoretically this is a great thing for smaller brands to do to be able to leverage their buying power. This is not my problem. My problem lies with the fact that their basic viscose plain weave that they use in BOTTOMS is so totally not cut out for the job – the seam slippage on that renders these 1800sek (300 bucks) bottoms a one season and done kind of thing. Beyond that I am a bit snobby in that I feel I am too old/wise to spend 2500sek (365 bucks) on a coat (trench) that is mostly polyester (and crepey making it STATIC-Y in these Swedish winters and probably made in China or something). I hate to sound like I am picking on this brand, it is actually a cultural thing here in Sweden where there is a kind of a nationalistic brand following – that will/does extend to markets beyond our borders – and real (especially fabric) quality doesn’t much matter – looking at you Minimarket, Hope, Whyred, and even Acne in most cases. I see the appeal of the very functional and let’s face it – nordic feminist driven designs and I am one to wear these kinds of things. However, I find myself more times than not passing over these brands because of the cheap fabrics they use (2-3 euros/meter) and selling the integrity of their brands and national identity in the design world waaaay short. Tirade over.

    • Fishmonkey

      I agree. I bought a pair of Rodjeber pants this summer while in Moscow — they were on sale, and a beautiful color and cut made me get over the fact that they were mostly acetate. But I certainly would be willing to buy more pieces and at full price if they came in good fabrics. Also there ARE smaller designers who put a lot of effort into sourcing great textiles — this is why I keep going back to Van Hongo, Titania Inglis, and Protagonist. Amazing designs and no polyester.

  • niki

    so nice. also take a look at svilu.com. big fan.

  • http://www.designerera.com/ Designer Era

    in the end you get what you want to do, amazing collection !