It’s incredible to think that in the 1800s some 1.5 million Swedes embarked on the long journey from tiny villages in Sweden, across the ocean to the unknown country of America, attracted by the hope of a better life!

It was in Minneapolis at the Gudrun Sjödén – A Colourful Universe Exhibition at the American Swedish Institute, ASI, in July 2018 that the inspiration for the 2019 Autumn Collection came to Gudrun. Her interest in the Swedish emigrants and the country to which they moved was kindled and grew as she met many fascinating people during her visit.

But the emigrants in the 1800s were not the first Swedes to leave for America. Sweden established a colony on the Delaware River in North America back in the 1600s. It was called New Sweden or Nova Suecia. Two Swedish ships berthed here in 1637. Following years of crop failures in Sweden during the second half of the 19th century, many started to dream of the New World and its rich and fertile land.

1.2.jpgVilhelm Moberg’s novels, written in 1949, tell the story of Kristina from Duvemåla and Karl Oskar who left their home in Småland for America. His novels have been adapted into a TV series and have greatly shaped our picture of emigration in Sweden.

It is estimated that more than nine million self-defined Swedish Americans live in the United States today. Minnesota is the state that has by far most inhabitants with Swedish ancestry. There are a number of Swedish-American organisations and museums in Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, Portland and Minneapolis where the exhibition about Gudrun was held in 2018.

In order to create that genuine feel for our Autumn Collection, we travelled to different parts of the States. We visited the plains in Arizona and went to Minneapolis to see the Swedish communities and meet Delina White from IamAnishinaabe with whom we collaborated. It was a trip filled with amazing encounters and flashbacks to the past.

Perhaps it brought us a bit closer to Kristina from Duvemåla?  

2.2.jpgMINNEAPOLIS and the 
American Swedish Institute, ASI

This Swedish-American mansion is constantly hosting a variety of new and colourful exhibitions. It was during the Gudrun Sjödén - A Colourful Universe exhibition in 2018 that Gudrun hit on the idea for the Autumn Collection. We now have lots of Gudrun Girls and fantastic new friends here. Thanks to Bruce, Laurie, Peggy, Christiana, Alison, Scott, Lynne and everyone else….


Across the prairie, through forests and valleys and the world-famous Grand Canyon. From northern USA with its blizzards and biting winds to the heat of Sedona. The new arrivals settled all over North America.



Behind the scenes at the 

What a fabulous day! We photographed the creations that Lavender designed for Gudrun Sjödén on the Walker Art Center’s terrace with Delina, Lavender and Snowy. It was a day filled with music, laughter, dance, focus and lessons. The team behind these unique creations know exactly what they were about. Thank you so much Delina, Lavender and Snowy for your generosity!

Swedish author 1898-1973. His best-known works are The Emigrants, a series of books about a group of people who emigrated from the region of Småland in Sweden to Minnesota in the mid 1800s. A fate shared with 1.5 million other Swedes, including many of the author’s relatives.


Caitlin from MINNEAPOLIS
Caitlin was the first model to step onto the catwalk at our opening show at ASI in July 2018. Of course she became a model for our autumn photoshoot. Like most Americans, she has her roots in Europe. Caitlin’s ancestors came from Ireland.


There are many places with Swedish origins to explore around Minneapolis. Vilhelm Moberg found inspiration for his books in the town of Lindstrom. Scandia was the first Swedish immigrant settlement in Minnesota, and the open air Gammelgården Museum there has an impressive collection of original buildings and objects belonging to the early Swedish settlers.


– the Swedish neighbourhood in Chicago

This is where many of the first immigrants settled. Andersonville is now a trendy neighbourhood with ultra-hipster vibes where you can eat Swedish meatballs at Svea Cafe, buy Ballerina biscuits at Erickson’s Delicatessen and mulled wine at Simon’s Tavern, and visit the Swedish American Museum at 5211 North Clark Street.