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Cheap Monday tricks for their 10th anniversary

Cheap Monday is the skull emblazoned label that started as a small second-hand shop in Stockholm and has now grown into a fully-fledged ready-to-wear brand. 2014 marks its 10th anniversary and the spring/summer 15 show went out with a splash…

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All the beautiful, Birkenstock-wearing blondes of Stockholm flocked to the Cheap Monday show this week, taking place at a swimming pool in the centre of the city. Models stalked the perimeter of the pool before getting the #FROW soggy as they jumped in fully-clothed for a pool party finale, to a remix of Blink 182’s What’s My Age Again? Forever fun and ever youthful, the title of the show was Mindless Optimism, inspired by the naïve positivity of the punks and teenyboppers who think anything is possible and everything goes. Headed up by Creative Director, Ann-Sofie Back; scribbles, stencils, dungaree dresses, boyfriend jeans, Gaffer tape prints and check shirts were what the close-knit design team used to illustrate their theme. Ann-Sofie moved back from London to Stockholm in 2009 to take up her position at Cheap Monday, whilst carrying on her own line, BACK. We caught up with her post show to talk Lord of the Flies, the WAG club and why Stockholm might just be better than London.

How much of the Ann Sofie Back aesthetic do you put into Cheap Monday?
A lot, but then again it’s filtered through a lot of other people’s creative output, and there are product developers, buyers, brand directors, retail teams, agents and distributors to listen to as well. To try and please yourself as well as all those people is a challenge but working there would be boring if it wasn’t like this, I think. I learn a lot all the time. 

What are the differences between designing for a high street brand and to your own label?
Cheap Monday is like an out of body experience whereas BACK is just incest. 

What’s the best thing about London?
I miss the feeling of being in the centre of the world, I miss the weekend papers that took the whole week to finish reading. I miss my friends and lazy Sundays in the pub. 

What’s the best thing about Stockholm?
Life here is pretty uncomplicated and even if my workload can be very heavy it’s NOWHERE NEAR the stress of just taking the bus to work in London.  

From the young glorifying the end of the world to artificial grunge, your themes for Cheap Monday are always carefully thought out, how do you come up with those ideas?
It’s really different every time. There are 10 designers at Cheap Monday and everything we do is a group effort. Sometimes we really struggle to put a name on a collection (like Mindless Optimism) and sometimes it’s just clear from the beginning. The next one for autumn/winter 15 is good; “We did everything our parents would do, what went wrong?” It’s actually stolen from the book Lord of the Flies. The collection could also be called “Piggy is dead!” Which may be catchier?

You say the Cheap Monday customer is a cool student – what did you wear to school?
I went to school in Bromma which is a little bit posh and so I dressed so that people would think I was posh too. Obviously I couldn’t bring friends home because then they would know, I even ducked in my parents car when we drove by people I knew. But at that time I came across i-D magazine, sold in the coolest store in Stockholm, and everything changed. Me and my best friend Sandra went to London, went to the WAG club, went to Legends, danced with Boy George and Neneh Cherry. So fuck off Chevignon, Diesel, Polo Ralph Lauren and Moncler, and HELLO JUNIOR GAULTIER!

How did you dress outside of school?
Growing up in Sweden, there is no difference.

Do you have a muse?
No. I don’t put people on pedestals.

Your runway shows are always super creative, what do you think is the future of the fashion show?
I have tried to come up with something that would replace it but there just isn’t anything better.