“Let There Be Light” is the Autumn/Winter 2021 collection of Swedish designer Linus Leonardsson, showcased under the British Fashion Council’s DiscoveryLAB programme with the support of TONI&GUY as the opening act of London Fashion Week Digital February 2021. Born in Stockholm, educated in Antwerp, launched in Moscow, and based in London, Leonardsson’s flair for international exchange is well reflected in this fourth collection of the brand, which looks beyond national borders and into a digital realm where everything is possible.
Although the title presents a religious connotation, the concept of the collection is rather one of creation. Namely, the necessity of constructing dreamscapes and utopias in one’s own mind when sheltered from impressions from the outside world. Call it daydreaming or escapism, but envisioning a better world is a necessity to bring ourselves and our communities forward. Within utopia exists dystopia, which leads to Leonardsson’s interpretation of the word. Having experienced the outside world mainly through a display of pixels during the course of the pandemic, they saw endless possibilities of self-expression and communication with the entire world all at once through modern technology. Highly inspiring, and utopian in one sense of the word. But at the same time, a digital realm is only real for as long as the power is switched on, and once logged off reality remains. Recycled synthetic jerseys with otherworldly shine, reprocessed polyester cords crocheted into statuary constructions and tight, figure hugging superhero-like pattern constructions all tell the story of a digital utopia where everyone can envision their own dreams, while duvet inspired puffer jackets, up-cycled floral bedsheets and dead-stock yarn crocheted into soft helmet like hats portray the domestic contradiction which protects the dreamscape.
The collection also references past ideas of utopia, in specific the 60’s space age and its hopeful look on the future, including its problematic undertones. For example, the launch of blissfully ignorant mass production, the emerge of hedonistic flower power and its contrast to absurd traditional core family values promising unachievable happiness to the masses. Also the maximalist prints reference this époque, but have been achieved entirely digitally as a contemporary interpretation, while the box like pleated constructions and dripping bust seams are a nod to fashion visionaries of the time.
In line with the ethos of Linus Leonardsson, “Let There Be Light” presents a gender non-conforming collection where the lines of female and male wardrobes are diffused into nonexistence, all with the help of Scandinavian maximalism and hysteric glamour. Furthermore, the collection is made entirely out of recycled, dead-stock, up-cycled or low-emission fabrics and materials from European sources. After all, in order to achieve the future utopia of our dreams, we must first take care of the world of today.