with cmmn swdn
Emma Hedlund and Saif Bakir launched CMMN SWDN in Malmö, Sweden in 2012 with the aim of creating modern, high-quality wardrobe staples mixed with progressive standout pieces. For their sophomore season at Goodhood, they carry on the groundwork they’ve laid with the new ‘Tropical Deco’ collection. There’s plenty of ostentatious cuts, patterning, and proportions that wouldn’t look at all out of place in a Key West cabana. We take a closer look at a few of the collection’s stand-out pieces.
Miami has always been a hub. A port city on the Atlantic coast of south Florida, it’s served as a melting pot for immigrant communities from Cuba and South America for generations. The city had an Art Deco boom during the movement’s heyday, but by the 1970s many of the distinctly styled buildings had fallen into disrepute, or had simply been torn down. During this period Leonard Horowitz, a designer and South Beach newcomer from New York, struck up an unlikely friendship with an Art Deco enthusiast, Barbara Capitman, over their shared interest.
They founded the Miami Design Preservation League, and set to work renovating and preserving Miami’s Art Deco legacy. Horowitz even designed an iconic colour palette for the renovations (above), a mixture of pastel hues containing pinks, greens, blues, and yellows.
Emma and Saif wanted to make a collection that reflected ‘70s Miami splendour, touching on cultural elements of 1970s Americana, the Latin and South American influences of the city, and the Art Deco heritage and pastel palette of Leonard Horowitz. We explore the detail behind this season’s standout pieces.
WES KNITTED SHIRT
The Wes is a CMMN classic, first introduced in the SS17 collection. Each iteration acts as a blank canvas that Emma and Saif build up from the bare silhouette, and this season is no exception. It’s the perfect base for the Leonard Horowitz-inspired palette, and stands out with the mix of pastel stripes and the contrast semi-crochet knit on which they sit. Worn open with a vest underneath gives an instant Miami feel. Traditionally, Cuba and other South American cultures utilised a lot of knitted garments, and if you move further down to say, Brazil, you end up seeing a lot of macramé and knotting. The Wes’ build nods to these different techniques that reflect the diverse population of Miami.
Art Deco was all about referencing. As air travel became more commercialised and accessible through the 1920s, people started travelling to far away, exotic destinations. Artists of the era would be inspired by such trips, which led to the intricate decorative element of the style – a lot Art Deco buildings would have bold decorative elements that refer back to nature and wildlife which you’d see on doorways, in furniture, and so on. This sort of decoration is seen in the intricate patterning of the Miles Jacquard Knit T-Shirt, which features a boxy, relaxed fit.
NET TANK TOP
With the Cuban and South American influences intrinsically steeped into Miami, the city has a bit of a Latin vibe which Emma and Saif wanted to reflect in their collection. The string vest, light and airy, is the ultimate South Beach piece. Constructed from a soft cotton with a knitted rib, the net tank top is the ultimate ‘70s garment, and layers up perfectly with the Wes Knit Shirt. The ‘70s were all about clashing, not only with colour but also with cut, material, and texture.
JAYSON PLEATED SHORTS
Both the Jayson Pleated Shorts and Jay Pleated Trousers draw inspiration from a similar place. Emma and Saif looked at the people and population of Miami – if you look at old films from the ‘70s and ‘80s set in Miami you see immaculately tailored suits, ideally with that little bit wider leg. Scarface is a particularly good example of this. The Jayson shorts can be worn high up which makes them very dapper, or they can be worn on the hip for more of a casual look. There’s also a chain that comes with it, a reference to that more casual, skater look.
Emma and Saif have created collections that celebrate colour and texture, two elements of clothing design in which they’re particularly interested. Whilst creating modern menswear staples, CMMN SWDN’s collections also have a distinct sense of nostalgia to them – Emma and Saif believe that there’s a sense of familiarity and comfort in looking back, whether it’s to ‘70s Miami or ‘60s German pottery, a theme on which they based their previous collection.
A slight change is on the cards, however, as the pair start heading towards something much more modern, and will be looking at their youth during the ‘90s for the upcoming season. Watch this space.
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