Zara Larsson designs collection with H&M

She’s a badass with a great talent, a set of strong opinions and a megaphone at her disposal. This spring, Zara Larsson is releasing a hotly anticipated album and a collection designed with H&M.

We meet Zara Larsson for the first time on her birthday. It’s mid-December and she’s back in her hometown Stockholm for a few days, taking time off from her schedule of promoting, performing and recording ahead of releasing her upcoming album So Good. She enters the H&M office through an inconspicuous back door and meets the designers working on the yet secret collection in a conference room. The 19-year-old is the new artist to know now, and she’s set to make a global breakthrough this spring. She’s rowdy and very kind, and her piercing blue eyes reveal a deep interest and devotion to what the others in the room have to say.

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Zara Larsson is here to go through the blueprints of the collection she’s designing with H&M and she’s resolute about the fact that she has the final say on every design, fit and material.

“It’s going to be playful, young, empowering and little glamorous,” she says while deciding what fabrics, prints and neck labels she wants on the garments. 

Being destined for superstardom, making a collection together with one of the world’s biggest fashion retailers isn’t the only big thing happening.

“It’s about damn time!” she laughs when asked if she’s prepared for her international release. “I’ve been ready for this for I don’t know how long and just want to get out and tour, release my album, spread my music.” 

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL HAVE TO COMPROMISE WITH IF YOU BECOME A GLOBAL SUPERSTAR?
“I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m from Stockholm and whatever happens in my career, I think people here are too cool to care. Also, I’ve already compromised on a lot. Since I’m never home, I hardly ever see my friends and family, and I haven’t exactly been an A-student either…”

Zara Larsson became a household name in Sweden in 2008 – when she was 10 – and won the country’s version of the “Got Talent” TV series. After winning, she was expected to become a child star, but instead it went completely silent around her for a long time.  

Four years after her talent show win, she was signed by a record label and her breakthrough single Uncover was released. It’s been an upward spiral ever since, and with her 2015 and 2016 singles Lush Life, Never Forget You and Ain’t My Fault, she has launched over two billion streams online.

WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST CAREER MOMENT SO FAR?
“I had the most fun at the EMAs [MTV Europe Music Awards] last year because it was all about me. I performed with my amazing dancers, I was nominated, and it felt like the first time my music and my life were in the centre of attention. Performing with David Guetta at the UEFA Euro 2016 opening ceremony was really fun too, although there was more focus on his artistry than mine.”

Zara Larsson belongs to a new breed of artists. She has an authentic relationship with her fans and doesn’t take instructions from anyone. Aside from a big voice and hit making songwriters waiting in line to work with her, she also has a strong set of opinions that she’s fearless of unleashing.

“I encourage girls to support other girls. It’s consistent in everything I do. I know that girls are raised – or at least grow up – to think it’s natural for them to be compared to others. Look at what people are doing to North [West] and Blue Ivy. Those beautiful girls have barely turned five and people are already putting them against each other. Can a girl just live?”

The world is undergoing big changes. Old leaders are replaced with new ones and things that were certain before may not be anymore.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE FUTURE?
“I hope my generation is more open, more accepting and more loving than the one that came before. I think we’re less afraid.”

WHAT’S YOUR GENERATION’S MOST IMPORTANT TASK?
“We have all these opportunities and possibilities to meet each other and experience other cultures. We need to be less afraid.”

WHAT GIVES YOU HOPE?
“I see so much hate, especially online, so it’s easy to lose hope – but then I remind myself of all the beautiful things out there. All the brilliant people writing and saying sweet things to each other. The next generation will change the world, and that gives me a lot of hope.”

BECAUSE YOU HAVE ALL THESE FOLLOWERS AND THIS BIG PLATFORM – DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO MAKE YOUR VOICE AND YOUR OPINIONS HEARD?
“I don’t have an obligation to do anything. I do it because I want to, not because I have to. I would have been the same – and have done the same things – regardless of how many people follow me on social media. Why should my voice not be heard? If I can change just one person’s mind it means everything.”

“So Good” will be released worldwide on 17 March. The Zara Larsson x H&M collection will be available in selected stores and online from 18 May. 

 

ZARA LARSSON

AGE: 19

OCCUPATION: Artist

LOCATION: Stockholm, Sweden

INSTAGRAM: @zaralarsson

TWITTER: @zaralarsson

MOST COMFORTABLE IN:
Jeans, sneakers, a T-shirt and a big furry jacket.

NEVER LEAVES HOME WITHOUT:
Wallet, phone and headphones because “I can’t do anything without music in my ears”.

ZARA’S RIDER:
A full-length mirror, a juicer, Nutella, roasted coconut flakes and a surprise.

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