Insights from our Head of Design for H&M HOME - Evelina Kravaev Soderberg
Can you explain your role as head designer for H&M HOME?
The head of design role involves being a creative leader. It's about encouraging and inspiring other designers, making sure our visions are clear and our collections inspire our customers. As head of design, I'm in charge of the overall vision and I help make sure the 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?
The love of design and products is what drives people to become designers. When you've been doing product design for some time, it feels natural to move towards working more with the bigger picture on a conceptual level and encouraging other creators to evolve and develop.
Where do you find inspiration?
By being curious, I love art and books. I love to explore other artists and designers. Travel is probably our major source of inspiration, along with meeting people from different cultures. I watch and observe different surroundings.
What are your thoughts on the future of interior design?
I think interior design is very interesting at the moment. Customers are more interested in modern, inspiring HOME decor. There's a great deal of interest in personal lifestyle living. It's about living, eating and travelling. We can see that the importance of expressing yourself and your personality isn't just a matter of how you look - you and your HOME are a very important part of this concept.
Would you say 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 and our collections are inspired by the world.
How would you describe H&M HOME to a new customer?
H&M HOME is a modern, inspiring and diverse interior design brand. Making it possible for lots of people to update and decorate their HOMEs with well-made products that offer value for money.
Describe the design process at H&M.
There's a lot of creative collaboration. Every season, we start off by getting the design team together for a brainstorming session where 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 in close cooperation with the buyers. As designers we're also very interested in sales. That's how we get to know our customers and what they're looking for.
What are your future plans for the H&M HOME collection, and how far ahead are you looking?
We design for the following season, so we work one year in advance. It gets easier with experience. You design items for so many seasons that you start to see patterns. Of course, there's always a crystal ball element in this job. To be successful, you need to be receptive to the world and see how things are changing. We have a lot of great plans for the development of H&M HOME, it's still just a baby!
What opportunities do you think are offered with the growth of online shopping?
Everyones time is becomming more limited, so 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 whether they'll fit.
How does H&M HOME differ from other brands within the same segment?
We're fast-moving, and we want to be on trend. Our goal is always to offer what customers want, at the right time. We like to be sensitive to trends, and we want to adopt a "twinkle in the eye" approach to design. For example, we think things like “it's only a cushion cover - let's have some fun with it!”. We try to make our collections fun and quirky.
What are next year's key trends for HOME decor?
The more digital we become, the more we'll need tactility. When we live in an environment where we're always connected, we'll need the contrast of touching and feeling - and that will become apparent from our design. Nature is a source of inspiration that's still very strong, so we'll see even more natural materials like wood and ceramics. A sense of comfort and luxury is also something that we'll be exploring through quality and detail in our forthcoming collections.