Exhibition with forgotten pattern treasure

Beckmans Alumni

For the first time, more than 70 designs created by Göta Trägårdh and many other leading artists of the time for STOBO textiles between 1954-64 are on display.

Göta Trägårdh is one of the founders of Beckman School and was the main teacher in the fashion line for many years. She was a Swedish pioneer in fashion design, fashion illustrator and textile pattern maker. For 10 years she was the artistic director of STOBO textile (1954-1964). 

STOBO textile - one of Sweden's most ambitious textile ventures 

-The exhibition has been put together with the help of volunteers and the desire has been to shed light on a pattern treasure that has unfortunately been completely forgotten for half a century. STOBO textile is one of the most ambitious but at the same time least remembered initiatives in Swedish textile history," says Anna Häggblom-Stålhammar, who coordinated the exhibition.

It was Stockholm's cotton spinning and weaving mill (founded in 1869 in Barnängen in Stockholm) that changed its name to STOBO in a new venture in the 1950s. Director Sven Ericsson had bought the first fully automatic film printing machine for Sweden in 1948. Before that, all fabrics had been printed by hand.

Many former Beckman students were invited to create patterns

When Göta Trägårdh became artistic director, she was given a free hand to build STOBO's collections. A group of younger artists, many of them former Beckman students of Göta's, were invited to discuss the possibility of creating a new expression for STOBO's designs. The result was a complete reorganisation of the entire production and an unreserved commitment to innovative designs. A similar venture had never been made and for the first time, independent artists were designing fabric patterns for industrial textile production.

Success in the media but no sales

The first STOBO collection was shown in 1954 and received rave reviews. The collection also attracted attention because it used different materials such as cotton, wool, rayon, linen and nylon that could be used in a variety of ways; the same fabrics and patterns could be used for both furnishings and clothing. 

Press coverage gave STOBO a flying start and everyone wanted to see the new fabrics, but STOBO never became the sales success that Sven Ericsson had expected. Stores were afraid to take the plunge and consumers had trouble finding the fabrics, even though they were praised in the media. Several ambitious collections were made under Göta Trägårdh's leadership and attempts were made to launch the patterns abroad. 

Göta stayed at STOBO until its decommissioning in 1964. After the closure, STOBO's large pattern archive was destroyed and no artists got their sketches back.

The exhibition now presents sketches, fabrics and photographs from STOBO textiles. 

Exhibition and pop-up shop with retro fabrics & clothes 11 May-16 June
weekends 11.00-16.00
Location: in the barn, Troxhammarbyväg 33, Ekerö

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