30/10-5/11 2023 MALMÖ SWEDEN

Portrait #3 2024

April 29, 2024


Around the corner from St Knuts torg in Malmö there´s a shop that stands out among all the cafes, lunch restaurants and bicycle shops. Through the shop window you get a glimse of the colorful walls, clothes and the West African patterns.

The person behind the store is named Victoria Henry and runs both her own brand Henry Rude and the store Veya.

Victoria sorts the caps in the store

I ask her how she started and about the history of the store and the brand?

I was traveling around a bit and lived abroad for a while and when I came back  I didn't really know what I wanted to do. So I applied for an education and thought either I get in and start studying or I would just live in Malmö for a while, save money and go to South America. I was accepted to Media and Communication Science at the university. When I arrived to Malmö I had about 600 kroner in my pocket and got to live for free in a friend's student apartment over the summer. I got a job at a local pub and in the autumn I started the education. Since then I´ve been in Malmö.

My mother had a vintage shop and in the shop there also were a small desgin corner for local and young designers. So my journey really started there, I begun to sew clothes and making my own jewelry.

"I lied and said I had a collection at home. He wanted to see the collection so I ended up running straight to the first pearl shop i could find in New York and made a whole collection in record time."

So when I moved to Malmö, I was still doing it a bit as a hobby. Then I traveled to Jamaica back in 2012 and we went by this tiny fabric shop in a small village where I found a typical West African wax print that I really liked. I think my textile interest started a bit then and I begun checking out waxprint fabrics, woven fabrics and colorful textiles. At that time, fashion, especially in Sweden, was very gray. Now it has evolved and are more fun and playful, but then it was very monotonous and dark. So there an idea was sparked to use more colorful and patterned fabrics but with a more peeled off silhouette that people wear here in Western Europe. I carried that idea for quite some time and after the education was finished, I did two different internships in New York. I was also in a store in New York and the store owner asked me about that necklace I was wearing and wondered where it came from. I replied that it was my own necklace and lied and said I had a collection at home. He wanted to see the collection so I ended up running straight to the first pearl shop I could find in New York and made a whole collection in record time. Then he actually bought the whole collection. So that was another starting point for me. When I got home I registered my business. I started the clothing brand a year later, in 2013, and produced the first collection in Portugal. But I always felt that it would have been fun to produce in an African country insted and my father had worked a lot in Ghana. He had a shop in England when I was younger where he sometimes did business with Ghana. Dad's friend, with whom he had run the shop, still lived there. My father is Jamaican and there are quite a few Jamaicans in Ghana, so when he would go to visit in 2014  I went along. I had never been there before and I had two weeks to find fabrics, create and sew up a collection. I went to the market on the very first day and bought all the fabrics.

I stop her and ask, a bit impressed, if she had any preferences or knowledge of fabrics at the time? If she knew what materials she was looking for or how they reacted to washing etc.?

knew that the fabrics sold there are wax printed, often 100% cotton and lots of patterns. Now I know a lot more about different types of quality, which are printed on site in Africa and which are imported, often from China or Holland. The imported stuff has also led to a lot of local printers  closing down. But that's something I've learned along the way. Besides that a lot happened on the spot, I passed by different tailors and I actually still work with the same tailor today but it has for sure been trial and error. But since 2014 I have been producing in Ghana. Regarding the shop, I was lucky and got to take it over from an acquaintance. I didn't want to run it all by myself so I asked Yasmina (Yasmina Karli Malmsten) who I knew was looking for a place. We started it together and after while Yasmina moved out and I contiuned to run it by my self. So Henry Rude is the brand, a bit more international and Veya is the store, mostly local but still a lot of people from all over the world keeps on discovering it.

interlocutor & photo: mattis

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