BEHIND THE COLLECTION: Cheap Monday with Carl Malmgren
Let us set the scene for you: It’s Sweden in the year 2000 and two friends, Örjan Andersson and Adam Friberg, are running their own boutique store named Weekday in the heart of Stockholm. Their lifeblood: high-end fashion and exclusive denim brands with a dash of second-hand vintage to keep everyone happy.
Fast forward to 2004 and the brand we all know and love, Cheap Monday, is born – Örjan and Adam’s answer to the problem of overpriced designer denim with zero compromise on style.
Things have gone from strength to strength for Cheap Monday ever since, and with a huge global following and threads for sale in over 35 countries across the globe, we had to find out more. We were lucky enough to meet with Carl Malmgren, Senior Designer for Cheap Monday, to hear all about the inspiration behind their latest collection, and what exactly is involved in taking their signature denim from concept to customer.
Carl, thanks for catching up! Can you give us an insight into your role at Cheap Monday?
I am a senior denim designer here at Cheap Monday which means that I work with all denim bottoms – mens, womens and unisex. I also work with denim jackets and some other denim related products from time to time.
How long have you been with the company and how did you work your way to where you are today?
So I have been with the brand since the start in 2004. I was working in a store called Weekday when the owners of the store had this idea of making jeans at a more honest price, as a reaction to the escalating price points at the time, especially with a lot of LA brands retailing at ridiculous prices. None of us could afford them, and also we were missing a proper punk jean. We were all into music and clubs and stuff so the first 800 pairs were advertised through flyers at clubs in Stockholm and sold out really fast. Then it all took off from there and now 13 years later we´re still doing pretty much the same thing, just on a bigger scale.
Ok, let’s talk the latest collection: can you give us a run down?
So, for the SS2017 collection we were inspired by the energy of music subcultures from the 80s. The collection blurs the lines between key movements of that era – New Romantics & Goths, Metalheads and B-boys are some of the movements referenced in the collection. A fusion of the styles from each movement plays across genders to deliver a fresh new take for 2017. We have sort of taken stylistic elements of these movements and mixed them up in the styling which creates a cool disperse kind of look. We always have a heavy black/grey/white base and this season we are adding pastels to spice it up. On the denim side we are exploring more non skinny denims a lot. The collection goes back to a more “authentic” denim feel with slightly heavier fabrics and simpler washes. Our fit Sonic is a great mens fit that is slim but not too skinny in this kind of look.
Can you give us a rundown of the attention to detail and the process from first putting pen to paper at the design stage to eventually wearing the final product?
Well, we always work closely together in the design team with a strong theme always in mind. We try to not pay too much attention to what happens on the market and what the fast fashion retailers are doing. That´s simply another part of the business. We start with the themes and then presenting to each other what we feel like doing with the products, details, washes and colour and then we take it from there really. It´s a lot of mood boards and presentations going on to shape the collection and the concept. Often when the product is finally out you are somewhere else in your head, working on a new collection so you tend to miss it as a designer!
From the latest collection – what will we catch you in this season?
Definitely Sonic, which is now my everyday jean – it’s the perfect go-to jean when you want to stray away a bit from the staple skinnies. It doesn’t feel weird to wear but doesn’t have that super skinny look.
What keeps Cheap Monday one step ahead of the rest of the denim world?
I think that we try to focus a lot on the theme rather than the fashion industry and I think that if we can bring you in to our world, you will understand what we´re about and why you should wear the brand. Cheap Monday is a lot about doing what you feel is right and not what others tell you to. That goes for our view on life as a whole as well.
What’s next to come?
We have a great 90´s vibe capsule collection coming out in April, watch out for that. Other than that we´ll just keep on keeping on!