Seeking comfort at home and finding new pleasure in the simplicity of things, Acne Studios alum and founder of Tekla Fabrics, Charlie Hedin is all about quiet luxuries. Established in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2017, Tekla embraces simple and functional living, forgoing trendy must-haves for elevated staples that will last a lifetime.
It prides itself on creating high-quality textiles - think modern, minimalist sheets and blankets in subtle colourways, luxurious towels and chunky striped bathrobes - that are organic, chemical-free and made to last. Hedin's background in sailing (he was a member of Sweden's youth national sailing team) may be partially responsible for that. "Sailing has forced me to acknowledge the fact that everything needs to be functional," he says. "A towel should get you dry. A blanket should warm you up. Simple things like that."
Here, we discuss the importance of eco-credentials, Portuguese craftmanship, Nordic design sensibility and his latest collaboration, Sacred Places, a photo book by Philip Messmann.
Type of brand:
How does the name Tekla connect with your brand?
I was in a national sailing team when I was a kid and I called all my boats Tekla, so that's where the name came from.
Define Tekla's aesthetic…
Tekla's aesthetics are shaped by architectural references and the tranquillity of nature; we design products that have a lasting, meaningful impact on customers' everyday lives. The same goes for the fabrics, colourways and finishes - they have been chosen for their high quality and we're confident they'll continue to deliver this quality for years to come. Function always comes before form.
You started out working in fashion. How and why did your homeware brand, Tekla come about?
Starting Tekla trickled from my frustration when it came to sourcing beautiful, yet affordable home textiles. I've moved around so much - between Paris, Amsterdam and LA - and every time I moved, I needed to buy new textiles. Yet, there was nothing that made me think "this is it". Beyond this need, Tekla is about creating something that you buy to wear in your spare time or to sleep in; these are products that I want to use. They are very functional but in a beautiful way.
What impact or influence did your sailing experience have on your brand vision? Your first foray at Copenhagen Fashion Week did involve a boat trip…
My sailing background has had a significant impact on our design path and our key values. Sailing has forced me to acknowledge the fact that everything needs to be functional. A towel should get you dry. A blanket should warm you up. Simple things like that. Tekla is about freedom, and to me functionality is freedom.
Many of your fabrics and designs are inspired by architecture. Tell us about some of the spaces and structures that have influenced your creations…
Tekla is about freedom, and to me functionality is freedom. To live simply and not have too many things, to live in a space with less but better furniture makes it all so relaxed, and adds more quality to your life, I think. It's about creating a room that feels light and warm. You can see this at play in galleries, museums, airports, but the spaces I have always admired are those by Alvar Aalto, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Axel Vervoordt and John Pawson.
Shop your own line. What are three of your favourite pieces?
Rather than relying on favourite pieces and trendy seasonal products, we aim to
build Tekla around elevated staples, which serve a genuine purpose in today's
Where in Portugal are your robes made and what makes them so comfy?
Our bathrobe line makes the most of expert craftsmanship by the skilled men and women of the Braga and Guimarães cities in Portugal. The robes' fabric is woven in extra-thick, 385g
organic terry cotton that is combed, making it softer, stronger and smoother than conventional cotton fibres.
What role has social media played in your brand's growth?
In light of recent events, the landscape and priorities of traditional PR for brands have dramatically changed. During the COVID outbreak, we have refocused our communication into digital, which gave us much more freedom in finding ways to tell our story. With digital platforms and influencers, communication is much more fluid too - there are so many possibilities with which you can really have fun.
Tell us about your latest project, Sacred Places…
Sacred Places is a photo book made by our dear friend and prominent photographer Philip Messmann. We've been working with Philip since we started Tekla and we really admire his aesthetics; this project was really something we've wanted to do together for years. It unpicks the photographer's idea of capturing the dream of a sacred place. These are places - both past and future, fictive and real - to which we travel to when we want to escape.
The photographs that make up Sacred Places are shot on Anholt island in Denmark. Why did you and Phillip choose to shoot there?
The decision to shoot at Anholt came very naturally. It's a small island between
Sweden and Denmark and it's inhabited only by 150 permanent residents. We've shot in and around Fyrgården, a beautiful house eight kilometres from its nearest neighbour. Surrounded by reefs and shoals, it was the perfect place to shoot Sacred Places. This is somewhere you could escape and feel content.