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Insights from our Head of Design for H&M HOME - Evelina Kravaev Soderberg
Can you explain your role as head designer of H&M HOME?
The Head of Design is a creative leader. The role is about encouraging and inspiring other designers and ensuring that our visions are clear and our collections inspire our customers. As the Head of Design, I lead the overall vision and help ensure that this vision is maintained all the way through to our products. H&M is all about teamwork, and we love creating trends, colours, prints and materials together.
How does it feel to be in charge of the overall vision as opposed to designing the actual products?
You become a designer because of your love for design and products. Once you have done the actual product design for a while it feels natural to take a step back, work more conceptually with the bigger picture and lead other creators in their evolution and development.
Where do you find inspiration?
My curiosity inspires my love for art and books. I love to explore other artists and designers. Travel is probably our major source of inspiration and meeting people from different cultures. I am always watching and observing different surroundings.
What are your thoughts on the future of interior design?
I think that interior design is in a very interesting place today. Customers are showing more interest in having modern, inspiring HOME decor. We are seeing considerable interest in personal lifestyle living, i.e. living, eating and traveling. We are noticing that the importance of expressing yourself and your personality is not only about how you look but about the whole concept of you, and the HOME is a very important part of this concept.
Would you say that H&M HOME has a Scandinavian design or touch?
I think Scandinavia might be in our creative DNA, but we work with H&M HOME as a global brand with collections inspired by the world.
How would you describe H&M HOME to a new customer?
It is a modern, inspirational and diverse interior decor brand. It makes it possible for many people to update and decorate their HOMEs with well-made interior products that offer value for money.
What is the design process like at H&M?
There is a lot of creative collaboration. We start every season with the design team getting together for a brainstorming session, during which we discuss trends and share ideas. We come up with trend directions, new colours, materials and prints. When the overall vision is ready, the product designers start to develop the products. The designers work closely with the buyers. As designers, we are also very interested in sales since this is how we get to know our customer and learn what they are looking for.
What are your future plans for the H&M HOME collection, and how far ahead do you look?
We design for the following season, so one year in advance. It gets easier with experience, once you have designed a certain number of seasons you start to see patterns. Of course, there is always a "crystal ball" element to this job as well. To be successful you need to be sensitive to the outside world and observe the direction in which it is moving. We have a lot of great plans for the development of H&M HOME. It is still just a baby.
What opportunities do you see with the growth of online shopping?
Time is getting more and more limited. Online shopping is and will continue to be very important. Our HOME decor products are very easy to buy online because you don't have to try them on to know if they will fit.
How does H&M HOME differ from other brands within the same segment?
We move fast, and we want to be on trend. Our goal is to always offer what the customer wants at the right time. We like to be trend sensitive, and we want to take a twinkle-in-the-eye approach to design. For example, “it is only a cushion cover, let’s have some fun with it”. We try to include humor and quirkiness in our collections.
What are the key trends for HOME decor next year?
The more digital we get, the stronger the need we will have for tactility. When we live in an environment where we are always connected, we need the contrast of touching and feeling. This contrast will become visible in our design. Nature is a source of inspiration that is still very strong, so we will see even more natural materials like wood and ceramics. A feeling of wellness and luxury is also something that we will explore through quality and details in coming collections.