H&M’s Evelina Kravaev Söderberg says homeware speaks volumes about the people who live with it.
In Stockholm-based Evelina Kravaev Söderberg’s career, all roads have led back to H&M. Having studied at fashion design school Esmod in Paris, she arrived at the Swedish brand in the late ’80s, beginning as a fashion designer and climbing the ladder to become head of design. After stints working in design for other retail brands, she returned to H&M in 2007 to join the then fledgling Home team, and is now head of design and creative at H&M Home. We spoke to her ahead of the recent launch of New Zealand’s flagship H&M Home store in Auckland’s Commercial Bay precinct.
Evelina, what’s the usual starting point for each new Home collection? The team and I monitor the world around us in an ongoing creative process in which we identify styles that are of the moment and adapt trends to create collections that work. It’s our job to track the influences within home and fashion, and choose the most exciting trends for H&M Home.
We like to have fun with interiors in the same way that H&M has fun with fashion. We always have a sense of humour and a twinkle in our eye, which results in some exciting products.
How do you transform trends into homeware? We monitor all creative fields for inspiration, then translate the ideas that are suitable for interior products. I think all creative fields are super interesting, and they all influence each other; sometimes fashion and art influence interiors, and sometimes interior fabrics, materials and shapes influence fashion and art.
How are ethical and sustainable practices implemented in your work? Sustainability is as important to us as it is to the entire H&M group and a natural part of our daily work. Our aim is to make sure that fashion and interiors can continue to be enjoyed today and for generations to come. Every season, we increase the number of Conscious products in our assortment, using materials such as organic and recycled cotton, and recycled polyester.
In today’s fast-fashion world, what’s the best way to create a timeless interior? I’d say the secret is to choose well, stay true to what you like and select staples that you can update with seasonal items. The same goes for our brand – we know who we are and who we’re designing for, pay attention to detail and create products that are made to last.
How would you describe your own interior style? Every item in my house has a story to tell. I like a home to feel lived in, so that you can sense someone’s character and that they enjoy their life in the space. This comes from mixing vintage with new, contrasting textures with cushions and throws, and by having personal objects and art on display.
Home to me means a private space where you can relax and be your true self, so I decorate thoughtfully with only pieces that my family and I love. Your home is an extension of yourself, so it’s interesting how it can reveal your character. Just like fashion, it’s a fun to play around with interiors as a means of expression. What’s great is it doesn’t matter if you want every room to have a different style, or if you want your whole house done the same way – interiors are at their best when they say something about the person who lives there.