Indigofera and their Exquisite Blanket Collection
Stockholm-based brand Indigofera is, in their DNA, a maker of extremely finely constructed denim jeans. A few months ago, on a chance exploration to buy a new pair of jeans, we came across a collection of Indigofera’s beautiful wool blankets. We had heard of their blanket collaborations in the past with artists Wes Lang and Richard Colman, but had never seen or touched them in person.
We were hooked. Made in Norway, the blankets truly weave a story, one of a traditional craft given a completely contemporary spin. We reached out to Indigofera’s co-founder Mats Andersson about the brand's production, the history of Slöjd, and getting a blanket when you bought a Volvo.
Evan Pricco: I saw the word "Slöjd” come up in my research. Is this something that is still taught in Swedish schools?
Mats Andersson: Slöjd is traditional way of making stuff in a non-commercial way. It can refer to anything like wood-carving or making a woven or knitted textile, like a blanket. I did have this course in school a couple of hours every week, and it's still there for students.
When did blanket production start for Indigofera? How does a company from Stockholm find fabrication capabilities in Norway to make this happen?
The blankets were developed at the same time as the jeans, and have been a part of the collection from day one. Since 2009, we have done about 30 different designs. I grew up in a home where we had quality wool blankets, which we have done remakes of. In Sweden, in the 1950s and ’60s, you got a blanket in the car if you bought a Volvo. And we all had Volvos. This was to protect the seats and keep you warm if the heating system could not keep up with the cold winters. When we were starting the brand, I had a girlfriend in Norway and found the last existing blanket producer there. Once there were a lot of blanket factories, but they have all gone from Scandinavia now.
Wait, you would buy a Volvo and get a blanket? When I bought my MINI, I got a mug. Maybe you should rekindle this?
Yeah, the blankets came with the car. I totally remember having those blankets in the car as a kid. I don’t remember if it was a Volvo blanket or not, but it kept the vinyl seats warm in winter and protected them from heat in summer. That may be a good idea. I might contact Volvo.
You have done collaborations with Wes Lang, Richard Colman, and more recently, Vår. How did you formulate these collaborations? Wes's artwork looks natural on a high-quality blanket, and Richard's are so eccentric and unexpected. How did you plan these?
There was no masterplan. I have followed Wes and got the opportunity to buy a piece of his art and met him. He invited me for a BBQ. I sent him a blanket to say thank you for his hospitality and he reached out and asked if we could do a blanket collaboration. I connected with Richard through a common friend. And Vår and I are friends in Stockholm.
As the blankets have limitations in the amount of colors you can use and what you can do, there is an interaction between the artists and me. But, in the end, it is what they see in it and what they want to do that makes the result. I hope that giving the artist freedom to create is what gives us the feeling that you describe. The format in itself creates the limitations, but I think that brings out the creativity.
Any more art blanket collaborations coming up?
I’m sure we are going to do more collaborations; we have a few artists that we are talking to now. We really enjoy this part of what we are doing, but we also want to keep that vibe you described earlier. So I think we need to let it have air and not force anything—let it come to us in mysterious ways.
The following text is an excerpt from the January, 2016 issue of Juxtapoz, available here.