In this addition of Chit Chat Tuesday, we get a peek into the delightful world of Dancing in the Grass founder and creative director Carla Hogstrom. This new brand has already made a big splash, landing on the radar of some our favourite mini Insta-fashionistas. Enjoy this peek at their new SS17 collection which will be available February 7.
JS: I love the ethos of the Dancing in the Grass brand—it is truly an expression of your passion for nature and healthy foods! Let’s unpack that a little bit—did you inherit your love of healthy food from your family or did you have a shift in consciousness about food as an adult later on?
CH: Passion for healthy food runs in the family. My sisters and I were raised with our father peeling apples for dessert and saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, not really in those words but very much with the same intention. He still does it today, but now to my little daughter, and she goes around saying she loves apples and that apples are good for you.
My mom would go to the market almost every other day to buy fresh fruit, veggies and fish and would “preach us” all the goods from it and how fortunate we were to be able to enjoy those healthy foods.
Teaching our kids to eat healthy is as important as giving our kids a good education. Health is precious, has no price, and I believe very much that you are what you eat. Beauty comes from inside, always heard that, and for that, I prefer to look like a nice pineapple inside.
Children who spend time in nature early on in life are much more motivated to get outside and care about nature when they are older, the same goes for eating healthy. Teach your kids early in life and you are saving them troubles later.
JS: Your love of nature shines through in your whimsical prints—do you live in a rural or an urban setting? How do you share your love of the outdoors with your family? What are your rituals to get outside regularly?
CH: We live in a rural setting both in Portugal and Sweden. Even so, we are only 25 minutes from the center of downtown Lisbon or Stockholm. I see myself as a city girl that loves to breath the pure, countryside air. Again, it’s a family influence; I spent many vacations at my grandparents’ in the Portuguese countryside, running through the potato fields, stumbling on huge watermelons, picking wild black berries along the road and so on.
Even so, there is a big inconsistency in all this, because I want/need to live in a big city, surrounded by many restaurants, shops, to be able to go to the movies, reach the airport very easily and just fly away. But at the end of the day, as Cinderella time arrives I just want to leave this busy lifestyle behind and go home, to a quite countryside, where I can go outside and just disconnect from the world if I want to. For me is a privilege to be able to have the best of these two different worlds, separated by a 25 minutes car ride.
Generally, Swedish people love nature. When I moved to Stockholm almost 20 years ago, I experienced this through my husband’s love for nature regardless of weather. It’s all about getting the right clothes and just go out, there are just an endless number of things to experience; it’s all around us. Our daughter requests to go out if we don’t take her, all because we have exposed her to it. The Swedish school she goes to does that as well, regardless of weather, it can rain, it can snow, you still go out. I love the Swedish expression, “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing!” Try it!
JS: Dancing in the Grass is a relatively new brand—what was life like before? Is designing for children a long-time dream or goal of yours?
CH: Designing for children is a long time dream of mine. Life before Dancing in the Grass was completely different; I took a Masters in Economics, an MBA in International Business and pretty much worked all my life in the IT & Telecom Business. I loved it, it was very ego rewarding.
Being a mom after 40 has some privileges though and one is to understand very quickly that if you want to live long you need to be truly happy, you need to do what comes from the heart. I’m fighting for that place in my dreams.
Happiness is contagious and I want my daughter to be a happy kid.
JS: Is womenswear a new direction that you’d like to go in? I see you have included some mum and mini looks in your SS17 campaign.
CH: I have always loved mini me styling, seeing mom & kids aligned is so sweet. I try to do it with my daughter sometimes, but is not so easy to find good options, so I just had to give it a try. It turned out very good on of my friends who look great in all the dresses but it was just to much to take it to production, because I would have had to make changes in order to fit all kinds bodies. The mom that fit really well were slim and elegant but I really need changes if I would want to sell it to a broader audience…
I will actually publish the campaign pictures, because they look really fun and will be great to understand the market reaction to it, then our plan is to AW17 give it a try with one print/one dress, it will be more manageable
JS: Your husband is from Portugal and you are Swedish. Do you live in Sweden or Portugal or both?
CH: It’s actually the other way around! Hubby is Swedish and I’m Portuguese. We live in between the two countries, even though now we need to spend more time in Lisbon because our production is all located in Portugal and we still feel that we need to be around. We get to experience the best of two different worlds.
JS: Does your daughter have any creative input into the Dancing in the Grass designs?
CH: Absolutely, she is a source of inspiration, she makes comments, has favorites prints and during the creative process of making the prints she gives her input. She is my personal assistant.
JS: Where do you see your brand in 5 years time? What are your goals as a brand?
CH: The main goal of Dancing in the Grass is to inspire parents to live a healthy lifestyle and to enjoy and take care of our nature.
Healthy lifestyles are a growing movement, and we are very happy to be part of that, even better knowing that at the same time we are putting smiles on children’s faces. Kids love Dancing in the Grass prints and the fact they can play freely and easily in our comfy clothes.
Nowadays, it’s very difficult for parents to make healthy food choices. Inspiration is the only way, but it needs to come from the heart, and you only touch hearts with LOVE. In five years we see Dancing in the grass touching lots of hearts & souls.
Thank you Carla! To shop Dancing in the Grass, visit their website. The new collection will be available on February 7, 2017.
Photography: Dea Ludovice
Grooming: Jay Snellman
Stylist: Maria Nilsson
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