Suss Karlsson’s Scandinavian Kollectiv
Suss Karlsson is a Swedish designer and shop owner. She has an extensive background in knitwear, involving supplying costumes for movies, teaching knitting classes, and writing books on knitting. She owns several clothing lines, susannekarlsson, Fischer Karlsson, and Barnen Sweden. She has been coming to Tart and The Farmer’s Daughter for years and designed the Tart uniforms.
This month she opened a new store just around the corner on West Third Street called Scandinavian Kollectiv. They offer high quality, handmade products made exclusively by Scandinavian designers.
Tomorrow, April 22nd, Scandinavian Kollectiv is having an Earth Day shopping party with champagne, open-face Swedish sandwiches, and princess torte by Sweet Genie. This special event offers 20% off your purchase and 10% of the proceeds goes to Tree People.
Tell us about your new store and what you do.
Women’s, men’s, everything is hand made and everything is Scandinavian designers. We’re setting it up right now because we’re moving some things around, but it’s cute. It’s like a house. I have a little area in the back where I serve wine at 4 o’clock to customers, and coffee and pastries in the afternoon, and we’re writing on the walls. When you have coffee in Sweden it’s called “fika,” when you take a break and have a coffee with your friends, my daughter is painting that.
I also do costumes for movies, and I used to have a store on Beverly for 23 years, so I’m really happy about being here in this kind of area, there’s more foot traffic. We’re building a website right now for the store, but I have a website with susannekarlsson, which is all black clothing. I do mainly knitwear, and then for spring I do linen and stuff like that. I also have a line, which I carry in the store, called Fischer Karlsson, which is handmade scarves made out of 100% cashmere.
Why did you open this particular store?
I had partners at my company Suss Design for many years, where I taught knitwear and did knitwear for all the movies and stuff, but I left them a year and a half ago, and I wanted to go back to my Scandinavian roots. I’m more inspired now by my country than I ever was, and the whole area I grew up in. I also go back a lot. I also feel that in LA, people can come to a place where they can discover modernism and Scandinavian taste and design, so I’m launching a couple of brand new designers from Denmark, coming this fall, and helping my daughter’s collection, Mor Dotter, to grow and merchandise her designs. She’s a painter so she paints on clothing and does a lot of prints, and my brother makes hand-hammered silver jewelry so I’m launching him too. It’s kind of a whole concept of Scandinavia being on Third. There’s that Swedish candy store there- Sockerbit- I’m friends with them, and there’s Lotta Stensson, so it’s becoming a little Scandinavian flair on Third Street, so I thought it was a great spot. When I saw it I was like, “Oh my god, I need to be here.”
West Third Street in general is a great spot with all the shops and restaurants.
Yeah I’m next to Pistola and Quality and Trina Turk is on the same block. It’s a great area; I’m very excited.
What are you other favorite local spots around here?
Well around this area I go to Loteria inside of The Farmer’s Market, the little Mexican place. I go a lot to Little Next Door, it’s my favorite, they have great wines, and being European, it’s like living in Europe in there. I love Sushi Roku because it’s just healthy and good, and Joan’s on Third, I mean the whole area is just cool. And then you go to Beverly and there’s Terroni’s and all the Italian places. I mean here- it’s hip, it’s cool.
Who inspires you? Who is your creative muse?
For me, personally, I get inspired by everything, every day, but as a designer, Missoni, because I knit. I’m very European influenced in my designs, and my stuff is very “boyfriend,” very man-inspired.
Is it unisex or just menswear inspired?
Unisex. When I make something for a man, the woman will pick it up, and then I do boyfriend shirts, but the buttons go the other way.
What are your favorite albums of all time?
I like everything, kind of. I love all kinds of music. I love Dave Matthews. There’s a band called The Daylights, I love them. Some of them are from Denmark. That’s my favorite band right now. Lenny Kravitz, I made ponchos for him and I went to see him in New Orleans.
What does “do it at the daughter” mean to you?
Wine. Cocktails. I come here with my girlfriends and I love brunch here, and I love the new whole cabana area because I like to hang out. At my other store too, I just invite everybody to come and hang out.