By David Hellqvist, Port Magazine
Words by Nikolaj Hansson / Illustration by Sine Jensen
Having previously worked at Dazed & Confused, David Hellqvist is fashion features & online editor of Port Magazine, while also being editor at Varon Magazine. Also working freelance for publications such as The Guardian, Inventory Magazine and New York Times, the London-based Swede knows what's up. We hooked up with Hellqvist for a discussion about printed matter, the democratization of fashion and the ever-changing world of media.
Being a swede living in London, what do you find to be the greatest cultural differences?
There isn’t that many, at least not any major ones. I think that’s why a lot of Swedes – and Danes – move here; it’s close, we know the language, and it’s quite similar to what we’re used to. And, oh, it’s generally just an amazing city.
What are the main factors one must take into account, when producing a printed publication today?
Three things: quality, quality and quality.
How important do you find, that style is to one's personality?
Very important, it's a visual manifestation of your personality. It's part of who you are and what you feel like. In Britain, there was once a telly show called You Are What You Eat. It's true but it's also true that You Are What You Wear. So you might as well make your clothes count.
♦ Port Magazine Cover by Nadav Kander
The iconic Time Magazine brought an article earlier this year on the democratization of fashion. What do you think the reasons are for this development over the past couple of decades?
The reason for that is called the Internet. It has enabled everyone – whether you are 13 and live in Minnesota or 76 and living in Copenhagen – to express an opinion. What we’ve seen in fashion is that when bloggers become big enough, their opinions matter. The industry can’t afford to ignore them because of the size of their audience. It’s not necessarily a good thing as it devaluates pure fashion/film/music criticism. But it’s democracy, so what can we do? Winston Churchill once said that political “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
Where do you see printed publications as opposed to the digital ones ten years from now?
Fewer of them. But hopefully also better. They will come out less often, have more pages, more advertising, cost more and be more like books probably. Beautiful things you want to save. That’s the only way forward for print. But print will never die, I don’t think. It will just change and adapt.
Do you think that the mass production of content through a media such as blogs has made it harder to differ between professional and amateur work?
Yes and no. There’s a lot out there, and that has made it difficult to stand out and make a difference. But I still believe web magazines have something blogs don’t; access, experience, contacts, networks etc. We have to build on those factors and make what we do better all the time.
You have done freelance work for clients or publications ranging from Inventory Magazine over The Guardian to Adidas. What has been some of the more memorable experiences?
The highlights differ according to the job; travelling and seeing the world is an obvious one, others include meeting interesting and fascinating people, hearing and telling their stories. As a writer, though, there’s nothing better then nailing a piece; writing, re-arranging, changing, writing some more, completely changing it again, more words, a last edit, dot an i and send off to print.
♦ Photo by Tommy Ton
Consumers state their opinions today through social media, blogs etc. Is the consumer slowly taking over the role of the press?No but they are making sure their voices are heard. It can get a bit loud on the Internet sometime as a consequence – but generally it’s a good thing.
Do you find that the social and economic climate also can have an influence on the style of the average man?
I suppose to a certain degree – people have less money for clothes, fair enough – but I don’t believe style is defined by recessions. If you want to look good, there’s a way around it.
Looking five years into the future, what do you think will be the most significant changes in the world of menswear by then? Interesting question. I think by then the collaboration hype will have imploded. I like a good collab myself, but by then everyone will have collaborated with everyone! I think menswear will have gone more towards womenswear in the sense of the trainers and shoes being the male ‘it’ bags. And I think the realisation that menswear is not all about suits will have hit home properly and the last streetwear/sportswear versus high-end fashion boundaries will have been broken down. By then it’ll hopefully even be on to chapter two, the follow-up to taped seams and waterproof fabrics. Materials and fabric, in general, is the last sartorial outpost, especially for menswear; that’s where the final battle will be fought.
♦ Varón Cover by Nacho Pinedo