Interview & Text: Editorial Staff English edit: Annabella Massey
H&M will be launching its outdoor menswear capsule collection, the “Mauritz Archive”. This collection has been largely inspired by Mauritz Widforss, an outdoor clothing store which helped establish the foundation of H&M’s menswear. In order to give it an authentic feel, the Swedish fashion giant has teamed up with British Millerain for their waxed cotton and with Abraham Moon & Sons for their wool. THE FASHION POST met Petter Klusell, the designer behind the Mauritz Archive, and asked him how he managed to update old outdoor products and make them contemporary in terms of functionality and design.
- Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I work as a Senior Designer in H&M casual and sportswear. I went to tailoring school in Sweden many years ago. My original idea was to do costumes for film or maybe theatre, but pretty soon, I realized I was more interested in fashion instead. I was very interested in how to make the garments, the patterns, the fabrics, and so on. I then went to London College of Fashion and practiced men’s tailoring there.
I’ve been working for H&M for 11 years now. I started as a Design Assistant. Then I worked with men’s swimwear and underwear for some time. I next moved into men’s casual. I now have a more senior position in both casual and sports.
- How did the Mauritz Archive project come about?
This is an image from 1947. The company Hennes was founded by Erling Persson. In the late 1960s, he bought a shop called Mauritz Widforss next to the Hennes store because he needed more space. Mauritz Widforss was an outdoor store and they also had menswear articles and clothing. They sold out what they had in the store, brought in some new stock, and then sold out again. At the time, Hennes was only womenswear, but the idea of doing menswear came up. For a short while, there were special Mauritz stores. This name was taken into the brand and was eventually merged. This is where the ‘M’ in H&M comes from.
Mauritz Widforss was a man in the 19th century. I’d read about this story but I still didn’t know much about it. I then came across a book in a Swedish antique shop, a compilation of magazines from 1914. The title translates to ‘From the Forest and the Lake’. The book contained an advert and I wondered if it was referring to the same Mauritz. I did some research on the Internet and found that the Mauritz in the book is indeed the same Mauritz as in H&M.
I thought this was really interesting and I wanted to somehow tell this story. We did some research into what they had in the store in the 1960s and earlier. We found old Mauritz price catalogues in the National Library. We couldn’t keep the originals but we got copies.
We came up with the idea of doing a project around this, telling the story of how H&M moved into menswear and got the name “Mauritz”. This research, together with more research into vintage garments, gave us inspiration. We also wanted to do a collaboration with a fabric mill to make it even more interesting. We thought of various fabric mills which had an outdoor feel, but in the end, we went with British Millerain. They do these waxed cotton qualities. We also went with Abraham Moon & Sons. They do wools and tweeds. We brought all this together wanting to make a modern, urban menswear collection inspired by an outdoor feel.