Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Danach - a film by Anna Österlund to music by Mikael Karlsson with Black Sun Productions

'Danach' by Anna Österlund - a dark short film about the pale steel grey dawn that follows grief, out on Youtube.

Here is a new film just made, an emotional, dark and honest three minute video illustrating the harrowing sorrow that follows when the ceremonies are long gone. It's an interpretation I made of  a string quartet processional called “Danach”, composed by the oh so brilliant Mikael Karlsson (same Mikael as in Breathing) who I just love to work with. It's the final track (performed by the talented musicians of Sirius Quartet) on the last-ever album called "Phantasmata Domestica" from the avant-punk electronica duo Black Sun Productions and this album is the outcome of their three year long collaboration with Mikael Karlsson. The punk legend Lydia Lunch is actually a collaborator on this album too. She's one of those people that I really look up to. I discovered her work from the 90'ies some years ago and was soooo inspired, she's the mother of  DIY and the queen of underground, she gave me the courage to start making my own videos.

The album is about loss, mourning and the grimness in having to move on. Sadly, it's the last ever album from Black Sun Productions, since Massimo Villani and Pierce Wyss after a decade of fantastic, uncompromising art-making have decided to go separate ways. You might have heard of them before, they also go under the name Anarcocks, and call themselves "artivists" they're really crazy and cool I think, far away from the mainstream tracks and seemingly completely fearless.

Black Sun Productions have performed together internationally for a decade, often in collaboration with other artists such as Lydia Lunch and Coil, and have made controversial art installation tours, experimental film and music, and have in their work explored everything from political anti-racist movements to ritualized sex and fetisch.The album name is Phantasmata Domestica which means something like house ghost and is an epic and emotional tale about sorrow and loss. It's dedicated to a long-time collaborator of  theirs, Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson of the band Coil. who they used to perform with. It is now two years since Sleazy's death.

The last track "Danach" is about the next day, a person waking up in a cold dreamlike world, being forced to move on with her life yet overwhelmed by sorrow and reality. Mikael called it "when a horrible light demands a new day and when the ceremonies are all gone. We're never more naked than then, never more honestly fragile. It is at this moment we either grow or crumble as persons."


I got to interpret the music freely and came up with this video in just a weeks time. I made the heavy wool coat that she's wearing and added my grandmother's old mourning veil to the costume. The house I built on top of an old record player, so I could rotate it and the wind comes from Truls who's standing behind the window with my blow-drier. I had a lot of fun making the film, it's quite tricky to go through with ideas when you don't have a budget or a crew to help out, but sometimes that gives birth to new ideas. You should have seen me running back and forth in the forest between the camera and the smoke patrons.

Read more in Paul Gallagher's interview with me in the Dangerous Minds blog.

The album Phantasmata Domestica is available on iTunes and Spotify and if you're interested in knowing more about Mikaels incredible music projects, you should definitely sign up for his once a month newsletter. It includes treats like free downloads  and the joy of reading his beautifully written texts about his work and collaborations with other contemporary artists as Lykke-Li, Kleerup, Amadeus Leopold, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Tobias Picker, Bruce LaBruce, Lydia Lunch, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Benoit-Swan Pouffer, Alexander Ekman, The Swedish Royal Ballet, Mariam Wallentin and a looooong list of many more extraordinary talents.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Darwin collection - a play with bones

I shot these photos of my Darwin Collection during the Summer of 2011. I just realised I never posted them on this blog before! With this collection I started to move away from production and put focus on going through with the ideas I had no matter what. The tops are made by thick layers of denim that I cut and put together with rivets, studs and shoe lace. I made the whole collection in my living room instead of doing them in factories around Europe as I did before. I love to explore the boundries between art an fashion and this was the start, there is more to come but I don''t do seasons anymore.  xx Anna

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Upcoming Art Exhibition Invite

I have an upcoming art exhibition in Malmö, opening night is next Friday

Helena Alvesalo who is the master mind behind One Window Gallery says that it all started when she moved in to a ground floor apartement on Östervärnsgatan in Malmö last year. In her bedroom window she placed two big ceramic sculptures and soon noticed that people passing by stopped to have a look, one day a whole group of kindergarten kids was peeking through the window. Now she invites artist every month to show their work in her window and next week the pulls up the blinds for a thing I made. I hope to see you there and there will be soup for the first visitors...and wine of course! RSVP here.

My Music List - and childhood memories

I spent many late Friday and Saturday nights alone in my room drawing and sewing while listening to Chopin, Miles Davies, The Temptations...and Jon Bon Jovi. Or the late night talkers at the local radio station. I was prolly one of their few night time followers and won quite a few listeners competitions. Once when I was 12 or so answering "Who's the most beautiful, Michael Jackson or Michael Bolton" and said "Michael Bolton because at least he's natural". Here is a list of some that I really like these days:

The Cure, Cold War Kids, The Kills, Anything that Jack White is involved in, Harlem, The Dead Weather, Marilyn Manson, Pixies, Antony And The Johnsons, The White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys, David Bowie, Hole, Depeche Mode, The Strokes, Johnny Cash, Ebba Grön, Billie Holiday, Joy Division, Chopin, Kate And Anna Mcgarrigle, Prince, Audioslave, Kent, Thåström, Freddie Mercury, Franz Ferdinand, Queen, A Camp, Bloc Party, Hello Saferide, Moneybrother, Courtney Love, First aid kit, Dave i.d., Beck, Bob Dylan, The Raconteurs, PJ Harvey, Clinic, Suicide, Nine Inch Nales, Them Crooked Vultures, The Neutrinos, The Black Keys, Billie Holiday, Thee Oh Sees, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Rage Against The Machine, Robyn, New Order, Deerhoof, Times New Viking, Future Of The Left, Radiohead, Lovvers, Interpol, Juliette And The Licks, Babyshambles, The Libertines, Editors, Kaiser Chiefs, Boy From Brazil, Razorlight, Les Savy Fav, Good Shoes, Royal Republic, Yoko Ono, Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, The Amplifetes, Quit Your Dayjob, No Joy, Die Antwoord, Saul Williams, Sharon Jones, Redwalls, The Vines, Cage the Elephant, Hockey, Blood Red Shoes, Band of Skulls, The Cramps, Screaming Lord Sutch, Cat Power, The National, Timber Timbre, Scout Niblett, Honkeyfinger, Young Fathers, Crystal Castles, Old Crow Medicine Show, Booka Shade, Miss Li, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, The Kooks, Bass Drum of Death, Nirvana, Trentemøller, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Count Basie, Bonerama, Eurythmics, La Roux, Mando Diao, Big Mama Thornton, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dead Skeletons, My Morning Jacket, Lykke Li, Masquer, Woodkid, Spoek Mathambo, Mikael Karlsson, Rufus Wainwright, Laleh, Iggy Pop, Matthew Stone, Medeleine Peyroux, Low, Elvis Presley, Deathline, Rodriguez, Håkan Hellström...

The last two are on constant repeat now, so melancholically beautiful.

Monday, September 3, 2012

My New Film - CLARA

"After the success of Breathing, her haunting collaboration with composer Michael Karlsson, film-maker Anna Österlund has returned with her latest short, Clara - a beautiful and impressionistic film examining the conflicting pressures of motherhood.(...) I worked with symbols from classic paintings such as the apple symbolising temptaition, and other symbols showing struggle, hard work, restlesness and love. I’m leaving it up to the viewers to make their own interpretations, but everything is there for a reason."

Paul Gallagher at Dangerous Minds made a beautiful interview with me last week about my life and thoughts on the work I do in fashion and film. Here is my latest 3 minute film - CLARA - a collaboration with musician and fashion designer Jenny Grettve. See it on Youtube if Vimeo gives you trouble.

clara from Ravishing Mad on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Perfect Jeans

High waist, drop crotch, hand painted, perfect ass, skinny fit, jodphur style, mens jeans, womens jeans, unisex, strong colours, DIY, signal red,  no muffintop, built in knees, carrot shape, wrinkel dye, concrete structure, these are the jeans that I have in stock, dying on demand so choices of colours are endless...Edition is limited and I only have a 1-4 pieces left in each size and waist sizes run from 25 to 31 for women and 29-33 for men. Send me an e-mail to ease your cravings - info (at) - The price is 1200 Swedish crowns for a pair (1 Euro is about 9 SEK), freight included.

Ravishing Mad jeans with high waist, drop crotch, hand painted, perfect ass, skinny fit, jodphur style, mens jeans, womens jeans, unisex, strong colours, DIY, signal red,  no muffintop, built in knees, carrot shape, wrinkel dye, concrete structure, choices of colours are endless...

Friday, June 8, 2012

BREATHING - my new short film

”A creature in captivity is often driven to pointless, repetitive behaviour.”

See it on Youtube

On the first day of red Autumn, Truls and I went to the most Southern cape of Sweden and carried with us as many flint stones from the beach as we could manage in an hour. The sea was calm, grey and empty. Sky just the same. Little Ada helped us out and hauled excitedly the chalk covered weight up to the old VW bus. From a distance it seemed like we were piling up skulls that early, foggy morning.

Later. We knocked on our friend's door and little Olivia opend. Shy moment. We went into her room and drew green apples, delicious cupcakes, and witch castles with evil fences. We were all friends in a matter of minutes and dressed up in too warm clothes before heading for the pond in the nearby forest. A shooting tower served us a royal view over our new territory and on the way we found a poor old dove that had probably been killed for the price of its head. The girls were wearing red and white striped raincoats and we delivered hot coco and sandwiches from a lower position.  

For the next four hours they were asked to run across the fields with a heavy bicycle, throw leaves in the air a million times, beating up a ticking clock, never, never, never look into the camera, stick their little hands in unbelievably sticky lingon berry jam, and shake girls shake...just shake your heads a little...a little more. "But Anna, are you aware we are no toys?" But girls, just shake a little more! "If we have to be sticky with jam and lipstick all over our faces, we want to paint your faces too" (I should of course have seen that one coming) Yes yes we all smiled in agreement, you paint us however you want, and they happily, giggly gave us wine red whiskers accompanied by little dots. So there we were, a family of four with seemingly blood stained faces, piling up skulls on a humid Saturday under the falling leaves. The girls manically licked their fingers trying to get clean, the stickiness of the sweetness was frustrating and no one would give them any soap.

As the darkness started to fall in the middle of the Afternoon, giggles were replaced by tired eyes and a longing for hide and seek. Every scene was nailed in first take and I remember Truls and I saying "this is the last one" probably 20 times. Our mind game was revealed with little effort and the girls started repeating whatever we said, with utterly sweet and polite voices. We couldn't stop laughing, yet the darkness wasn't waiting for us, wrapping us up until red was equal to green. I asked them over and over again: "try and look serious" the little sweet parrots gave me big smiles and responded politely with nonsence. Then suddenly, from out of nowhere, Ada dropped the clock to the ground while biting her lip and Olivia followed the movement with her eyes and the camera was on. It was a wrap!

Hide and seak continued in the darkness, dry branches in the hair added up to a lovely appearance. We filled our stomachs with the remainings of a bag of cinnamon buns and enjoyed the no longer endless view from the shooting tower. The girls had become best friends on their first playdate.

BREATHING is the first of composer Mikael Karlsson’s series of Talk Music pieces called "Traps” with strings performed by Sirius Quartet. I made this film together with my husband Truls and it shows two little girls seemingly at play in the forest, but as we linger with them we start noticing that they're measuring time and behaving in irrational, robotic or animal ways. They're on a very strict and hectic schedule somehow, and us watching them worries them.

Last year in August I came across Mikael Karlsson's music for the first time when it was played during a performance with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in my all time favourite TV show So You Think You Can Dance. I fell head over heels for his music and immediately googled his name to send him an e-mail crossing my fingers for future fun together. He sent me the sweetest answer back in no time. We spent hours e-mailing back and forth over the following months and there were just so much to say, so much to want and to dream of. So we ended up making a short film together. Mikael had written a beautiful and poetic piece of music for a string quartet, and he layered it with his chilling yet comforting voice and sounds of wind and the time.
  I tried to illustrate it visually by adding more information to the mystery of his words dealing with misconceptions, isolation and irrational behavior as comfort. After our long and rewarding talks about how an effective society sometimes forces people into apathetic behaviour in order to cope with everyday life, I realized that his words (to me) somehow was connected to a sense of being trapped in a treadmill. What do we do in situations when inexplicable routines traps us like animals, do we manically continue forward or do we protest?

Swedish composer Mikael Karlsson, based in New York, holds a masters degree in composition from the Aaron Copland School of Music and graduated Summa Cum Laude with departmental honors in June of 2005. He is deeply engaged in finding new ways to perform classical music and in 2003, he co-founded the film scoring collective Please MusicWorks LLC, which has grown to include more than 100 of New York’s best performers. Mikael composes both classical pieces and modern electronic music which has received numerous awards and his music has been performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Swedish Royal Opera to mention a few, and his music has also moved on to the video game Battlefield - Bad Company. Among collaborations, his work can be found together with the work of Lydia Lunch, Mariam Wallentin, Kleerup, Lykke Li, Benoit-Swan Pouffe, Alexander Ekman, and many more.

Fashion designer and photographer Anna Österlund holds a bachelors degree in Arts with a major in fashion design from the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås in June 2006. She runs the anti-fashion label Ravishing Mad from Malmö, Sweden, together with her husband Truls Bråhammar. Anna creates both ready to wear fashion and experimental collections, short films, music videos, art installations, photography and constant collaborations with dancers, musicians and artists in order to widen the definition of fashion, and to explore the sociological aspects of fashion that allows us to express our identity. Anna Österlund has been named “reinventor of denim” by the Italian fashion magazine Collezioni Sport and Street, for her draped silhouettes, hand painted denim structures and extremely high waists and her collections has been shown on the fashion weeks of New York, Paris, Berlin and more.

Born and bred in the downtown scene of New York City, Sirius Quartet has been blending the precision of classical music with the energy of a rock band for over a decade. The four conservatory-trained musicians are also highly skilled improvisers, whether playing acoustically or with electronic effects they push beyond the conventional sonic vocabulary associated with string instruments. From Lincoln Center and the Köln Triennale to the Knitting Factory and CBGB’s the Sirius makes itself at home in a wide range of venues and musical styles. For the last several years the Quartet has partnered with American Composers Orchestra and composer Randy Woolf to bring ACO’s Music Factory and Rhythm Factory education programs to the public schools of New York City.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pictures of Yuvia

Dear Yuvia was like no one I've ever met and yet it felt like we'd known each other forever. Hours in the sunny rain and she let her hair out, laughed, screamed, danced and ran like she was fighting for her life and then tears fell down her cheeks.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sweet Little Big Yuvia

A few years ago sweet little Yuvia (who ain't that little anymore may I add) came to my sewing workshop in the skate park Stapelbäddsparken after reading about me in the newspaper the day before. A teen with designer dreams spending her Summer holiday with the family in the nearby countryside, this workshop was of course something to ruuuush over to. Well she didn't really need my help and made a beautiful dress and the newspaper put us on front page.

Now she sent me a message the other day telling me she was back in town, would love to have a coffe and that I'd bring the camera. It's gonna be fun and she's gorgeous, I tell you! You'll see the pics soon, I promise...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pecha Kucha Malmö

Tonight I'm doing a Pecha Kucha speach at Babel in Malmö about my work as a fashion designer and how I sketch and play around to create new collections. I'll show pics from the whole process and give hands on tips on how to fool the brain to come up with new ideas, so I hope to see you there! It's at Babel at 8 pm, free entrance and no age restrictions at the door.


The other speakers are:
PA Jörgensen - Internationally reknowned food photographer
Niklas Madsen - How the tax system could  be made more fun
Claes Forsell Andersson - Kulturkraft Syd, competence development within the culture sector 

Rebecka Eriksson - Geek Café Malmö
Kristina Alexanderson - Creative Commons Sverige
Jimmy Wallin - Comic book drawer/Apartförlag
Jonathan Hörnhagen - Rhetoric Slam
Christina Merker-Siesjö -  Work cooperative Yallatrappan in Rosengård

Friday, April 27, 2012

Deathline - The Band

Truls and I are in London and yesterday we spent the whole evening with Kaoru from the excellent band Deathline and had a loooong and inspirational talk about anything and everything. We've never met before but found each other immediately and I'm so looking forward to the work we're gonna do together!

They're just about to release a new single Ten of Clubs in May and their second album in the Autumn follwed by a tour and I'll do my best to make sure they get to Sweden too!

I've heard three tracks from the new album and fell for them hard, they've kept their raw underground rock style yet the production is more worked through than before and Jennys deep voice makes me want to start singing, bad idea *giggles*.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

One Window Gallery Malmö

Picture belongs to One Window Gallery
One Window Gallery opens on May 1'st on Östervärnsgatan 16C in Malmö and is showcasing one new artist a month in a street level window. I'm going to show there September 16 to October 12, woohooo!

The woman behind this gallery is multi-artist Helena Alvesalo who recently moved into an apartment on this address. In the window of her bedroom she placed two big ceramic scultptures and she instantly noticed how people passing by stopped to have a look, pointing, smiling. One day a whole kindergarten class stood outside the window peeking and babbling and she realized it was time to start One Window Gallery.

It's a minimalistic gallery for the people passing by, a street gallery with room for only one piece of art at a time. Most visitors are prolly not frequently running to art galleries, some are commutators, some are pensionists,  some live in Värnhem and some are in the neighbourhood to visit their lover. But what they all have in common is to pass this window.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Talking with Anna Österlund

As you know I sometimes run workshops at universities, colleges and at various companies in creative methods and lecture about fashion and identity from a sociological point of view, both in Sweden and abroad. This interview was filmed in November last year when a bunch of girls from Friskusprojektet came over to my place to hear my thoughts on fashion, film and creativity. It's a local democracy thing going on here in Malmö that any woman between 15 and 25 can take part in for free. They meet every second week to either discuss film, make their own films, or visit someone that works with it. Their goal is to strengthen women and give them tools to develop confidence in themselves and make for changes in society  no matter of their origin or social group. We had tea in my sofa and I got so inspired by all of their questions and ideas and here is a five minute clip from our session together. It's in Swedish though...

It was filmed and edited by Helena Alvesalo who also run the communication bureau Omnia Minima. I met her a week after and she had been so inspired by our talk that she had printed the words "pants" on her pants, "shirt" on her shirts and so on. I loved that idea!!!

The background music is by the excellent musician Anna Jadéus who you most definately should check out, the stuff with her singing on that you find on her Myspace or on Spotify is great, and actually quite different and more of a singer/songwriter style than what you here in the clip.

In Front of the Camera

Anna Österlund in clothes by Jenny Grettve
Most of the time I'm behind the camera but sometimes I just happen to sneak in front of it too. Here's an editorial of me showing the SS-12 collection by Jenny Grettve in the magazine Upright. Check out her webshop too!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The New Direction

Seasons are my enemy, it's not like you'd say that a book written last year or 10 years ago is not worth reading. Always getting back to my hatred for seasonal must-haves and the colour of the season. Anyway, I'm glad that I'm not the only one thinking about these issues and I'm so excited over the new brand Honest by, let's follow their example!

Right now I'm working on a collection evolving around my recent bike conkout and it's turning into a dark story. I'm also starting up the work with a short film scripted after receiving a breathtakingly ravishing yet mad letter from my actor/writer friend Joanna Pickering. Poetically and unpronounced she tells me about the night when she was badly injured and almost lost her foot when in Buenos Aires wearing an exquisite Chloë dress grey...and leaving me with more questions about the event than I had before reading it. It's turning into a collection and an installation too,  I can't wait!

On top of that I'm art directing a German bike company which makes the coolest and most innovative bikes in the industry. You could say they are still the underdogs that now is surprising everyone with their crazy and awesome new methods and the big boys need to watch out. We started out at the turn of the year and I have so far come up with a whole new look for their graphic communication that will reflect the innovation they already have in their bikes. Things have started out great and we're having so much fun together, they're totally embracing my ideas and it's quite cool of them I think to be so brave about change.

Next week I'm releasing a new video for composer Mikael Karlsson. I have interpreted his work in a short film in the setting of an Autumn forest, a pond, children turning manic, and the colour of blod...

Yes, and what more? I need to start blogging again and keep you updated...last week I returned to Stockholm to lecture and run a workshop with the cross-disciplinary students at the college course Beyond Fashion at Mälardalens högskola. The students of this semester were quite cool and I loved the stuff they came up with. Most of them are already working professionally in the creative business now wanting to explore how to take it to the next level by mixing fashion, film, dance, music and performance acts. It's great to have students that know how to add to a workshop and that understand conceptual thinking!