Senior denim designer for Cheap Monday, Carl Malmgren, dishes about the denim brand's plans for Spring/Summer 2017.

Thanks for speaking with us Carl. Can you tell us about your role at Cheap Monday and how you became a senior denim designer? I have been with the brand since the beginning, back in 2004. At the time, it was a store called Weekday. The owners of the store had this idea of making jeans at a more accessible price point, in response to the crazy prices of jeans at the time, especially with a lot of LA brand retailing ‘super premium’ denim at super high prices. None of us could actually afford them, and also we were missing a proper punk jean. All of us were really into music and clubs and stuff, so the first 800 pairs that were made were advertised through flyers at clubs in Stockholm and sold out really fast. That sort of set the scene and it all took off from there. 13 years later and we're still doing pretty much the same thing, just on a bigger scale. As a senior denim designer, I work mainly with bottoms (men, women and unisex). I also get involved with denim jackets, and occasionally some other denim related products.

What can you tell us about the SS17 range? For the SS17 collection, “Been There, Was That”, we were inspired by the energy of music subcultures from the 80s. Blurring the lines between key movements of that era - New Romantics & Goths, Metalheads, 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 dispersed 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, going back to a more “authentic” denim feel with slightly heavier fabrics and simpler washes. Our fits Level and Donna are great women’s jeans; they’re anti-fit and have a more unique silhouette.

What key style do you think makes the SS17 collection special? I think the Donna is the perfect go-to jean when women want to stray away a bit from the staple sprays and skinnies. It’s designed to still be really comfortable and have that classic mom jean look & feel.

As a denim designer, is there a specific process which you follow each season? Can you fill us in on how a range gets from your mind to our stores? Well, we always work closely together in the design team and start off with a favourite theme always in mind, as a base. One thing which I think sets us apart is that we try to not pay too much attention to what happens on the market and what the fast fashion retailers are doing. To us that´s simply another part of the business. We start with these themes and then start presenting to each other about what we feel like doing with the products, details, washes and colour and then it sort of grows from there really. As you can imagine, it's a lot of mood boards and presentations going on to shape the collection and the concept, which can change a bit, but the concept stays the same. The thing is that a lot of the time when the product is finally out and in store you are too busy somewhere else in your head, working and staying focused on a new collection so you tend to miss it as a designer!

What Cheap Monday styles do you wear the most? I definitely wear the Sonic most, which is now my everyday jean. It’s a slightly looser fit, but still slim.

How do you make sure that Cheap Monday’s attitude and message is reflected in each collection? How do you make it stand out year on year? I think it’s important that we try to focus a lot on the theme, rather than the fashion industry. 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 – which is pretty much what we aim to do in our collections. 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.

Thanks Carl,it's been great chatting. What's the most exciting thing you're focused on right now? Watch out for our great 90s-vibe capsule collection coming out in April!