Though they span the realms of art, film and music, Uniforms for the Dedicated are, well, dedicated to clothes and they consistently create canny garments with a rebellious playfulness at their core. We spoke to Fredrik Wikholm to find out more.
SL: Dummy Plant 1A is inspired by scientists and industrial engineers of the 1950s, but who specifically and why/how did you come to find such a point of reference?
Simply because the further back you turn in history the more beautiful and naive mistakes you find in the history books, at least grand local ones. Now things are either very controlled or completely out of hand.
It’s by putting yourself at the risk of and/or actually making those grand mistakes that you learn and evolve. A lot of the time we feel like a bunch of blue eyed scientists and engineers beamed in to another landscape, space and time. We call it design by accident and it happens to Uniforms all the time. Also, the symbiosis of the educated smart look and the classic working man uniform sort of peaked during the 50s in a wonderful way.
For example, we sometimes wonder if champagne first occurred via the path of a well executed plan or a fermentation gone horribly wrong…
SL: The previous collection, March of No Coincidence, was based on post-war workwear – and now you’ve drilled down further to focus on British workwear of the 80s. Why British, specifically – and why the 1980s?
Well first of all, Uniforms is a gathering of very different characters with wide influences from all over the world giving the collections a hint of multiple personality disorder. However, British workwear is one of the inspirations, or more specifically the look of the frustrated young men of the working class at that time, primarily the skinhead look. The skinhead uniform came with reggae and ska passed on by jamaican immigrants. It is to us an amazing subcultural look born in a confused state of total love for the ongoing musical and cultural clash yet infused and darkened by frustration on so many levels. The Thatcher era and the exploding British music scene shaped a vibrant and dynamic decade.
SL: I’ve got the cash for one shirt, one outerwear piece and one pair of trousers – which items do I get that embody this collection best?
Are we talking about SS11, AW11 or SS12 – total mass confusion at the moment. If If SS11 I’d go for the off white Only Dancing trousers, dirt grey Seducer button down with thin purple stripes and the Ginsburg blazer.
SL: How has Dummy Plant 1A evolved/learned from last season’s S/S collection, 1020 Trickery Lane?
We’ve evolved our knowledge and design identity a lot the last year and I would say the collection is a bit smarter and less rough, fabrics more refined and colours a bit more subtile. Overall the people behind and the collection itself evolve in synergy and we have a tendency to grow older by the minute, resulting in a line of garments with a more mature playful look.
SL: As showcased for the recent Pitti Uomo in Florence, the Anorak for S/S12 has been crafted using environmentally friendly textiles such as hemp, cotton and PET. Was this enviro-drive a result of your scientific inspirations for the Dummy Plant 1A collection?
Aha good one mister, I like the sharp question. The destinations of our ever ongoing sourcing trips lead us to hemp garments and other suppliers with a green focus. We all have a responsibility to do the best we can for the environment, I’m not claiming that we are green enough yet but we are trying.
A wider spread of recycled and hemp fabrics, natural colouring processes combined with a design philosophy outside of the trend box hopefully generates a happy garment that will last in your wardobe for years to come.
SL: UFTD’s quirky attitude is applied to creating clothes “for the playful mind”. Have men become overly serious about what they wear?
Yes we have, not saying that clowning your way through life is the answer but all this insanely preppy style, heavy mountaineering outfits and young old men looks need a playful mix up. I’ve never been a fan of taking one specific look too far, guys trying too hard are rarely interesting.
SL: Experimentation is a word that features heavily inn the UFTD lexicon; so how important is to allow people to make mistakes when creating a killer collection?
As mentioned above that’s sort of our foundation. “Stumble, fall and take notes” is tattooed on all employees.
SL: Your clothing line is but one limb of the UFTD body but how much is it directly influenced by the others (or vice-versa) and what’s the importance of such an ensemble approach?
It’s all a mix of what we love doing and get our inspiration from. It’s a perfect synergy on many levels and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Just got back after shooting a film during 3 days in the deep woodlands of the north, came back with a backpack full of inspiration.
Words: Alex Jackson