If Runway Gallery owned a designer label, we would like to think it would look a lot like Limitato.
The Swedish-born fashion powerhouse collaborates with some of the most esteemed artists and photographers on the planet to create pieces of ‘wearable art’ which, ultimately, creates a moving exhibition across all who wear their garments.
Notable works of art printed on pieces of high fashion? As a fashion-focused gallery, we have no choice but to approve wholeheartedly.
Nobody knows behind the scenes of this arty menswear label quite like the co-founder and Creative Director, Gustav Peterson, who launched the Limitato label alongside his old street hockey and soccer team buddy, Emrik Olausson.
“Emrik is Mr organised, he looks after the operational side of the business, and he does it very well. He’s the quiet, reserved part of the duo” began Gustav, in the discussion of his relationship with his childhood friend, turned business extraordinaire.
“I’m the creative director, and my moods are like a rollercoaster”.
“I’m constantly running ideas past people who are constantly telling me to slow down. Chalk and cheese, but the closest of friends”.
Labelling himself as a creative director, and not a designer, is essential to Gustav, who has been known to differentiate between these roles in the past, labelling Emrik and himself, not as fashion designers, but as “entrepreneurs in a fashion context”.
Gustav expanded: “I think what LIMITATO has to offer is something very new and fresh, bringing art to the masses, and to an audience that perhaps would never have seen these creative works, had we not brought it to them in this way. That is the driver, and I also think it makes us more entrepreneurial than straight-forward designers. It’s a carefully curated process”.
Born just outside the city of Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden, Gustav’s Nordic roots have an undeniable influence over his work; however, Limitato’s pieces do not exclusively mirror the brands’ nationality, as Mr Peterson revealed how some collections stem from worldwide influence, including the unmistakable spirit of nineteen-sixties London Town.
“Swedish design had a huge rise in popularity a few years ago, and it is still held in high regard now”.
“The features of Nordic design is in the straight lines and simplicity of garments, but also in the quality and perhaps the relaxed nature of how we achieve something. Limitato definitely has elements of those things, but we are own brand and do things our way. Some of our pieces lend themselves to a retro US vibe, and others, the rock n’ roll world of London in the Sixties”.
Among the garments in Limitato’s rock n’ roll collection is the timeless look of a band T-shirt, which, as Gustav notes, “goes around and around and never goes out of style”. Limitato remixed this immortal look with photographs of Mick Jagger, which stemmed from a meeting with a Swedish photographer “with a huge archive of old Rock n’ Roll images. The idea to produce our T-shirts with independent, limited edition imagery stemmed from there”.
Today, Gustav’s label dominates the same streets which his rock n’ roll collection pays homage to. As Harrods stocks the recent collection of the brand, Limitato dresses some of the most creative people across Mayfair, where their British showroom is based.
“Pre-pandemic, we visited London and Harrods a lot. Harrods was a great result for us as it stabilised us within that luxury apparel market and gave us kudos at an early stage of our development.
“We love being part of their retailer family”
Gustav then went on, revealing how the Limitato team unwind in the most stylish neighbourhoods in the capital: “There is nothing better than visiting one of the old corner pubs in the West End and maybe grabbing food and drinks somewhere later. We like to mix it up, so would be as happy in the Chiltern Firehouse as we would grabbing something in Kingly Court, Soho or equally down in Shoreditch, which has a great vibe”.
Partying in Soho and Shoreditch while their garments grace the marble haven of Harrods may be the final step in a new collection, but where does the process begin?
“Our network has evolved, and the exposure we have to new and existing artists and photographers has undergone a huge education process since we began”.
“We are immersed in this world and look for content that we find has a boldness, a narrative and is unique – all three is great. Instagram and the news agenda is fascinating to us so that we can understand where people’s interests lie and what is making people sit up and take notice from day-to-day”. The director then expanded on how Limitato scouts out those all-important works of art which appear across their garments, sharing:
“We have to like what they’re doing obviously, and I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. Everything is subjective, of course. It helps if we are working with strong pieces, but with creatives that are being talked about or have something to say, or equally those that are at the forefront of innovation. We love a legend too”.
It seems that nobody loves a legend quite as much as Gustav himself, who discussed Jimi Hendrix’s influence over his wardrobe when asked if his personal style mirrors that of his label.
“We are all different, and we appreciate individuality in style. Everyone is stylish in their own right”.
“I like to wear more bohemian pieces. I like the garments that mirror those that used to be worn by Hendrix with the velvets, pixie boots and long scarf. Others tend to opt for the T-shirts and hoodies for a more dressed-down preppy look and they both work. We cover all the bases and have a really cool new leather biker in the making which is so, so cool”.
While on the subject of the director’s personal favourite icons, the question of his favourite work of art featured on a Limitato piece was only inevitable. “I couldn’t possibly comment. We love all our collaborators and all for different reasons as they offer us very unique, independent elements between them” began Peterson, before paying tribute to Terry O’Neill, whom Limitato worked alongside for a collection of their famous tee’s, tote’s and hoodies.
“I can say that we were particularly fond of Terry O’Neill. He was our first well-known collaborator, and the pieces that we still carry of his work are always very popular. He was a lovely man, and we miss him”.
From to the iconic works of Norman Parkinson to the contemporary shots of Los Angeles based photographer, Giuliano Bekor, Limitato is collaborating with some of the most respected names in the fashion and photographic world. It is only a matter of time, therefore, before the subject of which Runway Gallery artist the director would like to collaborate with.
The decision is, according to Gustav, in our hands, and, to be honest, we couldn’t have wished for a better response. Where to begin, than with our very own French Cowboy, whose fashionable shoots have already graced the covers of their Paris based publication, IRK Magazine. A partnership with the coolest couple in the photography world and this arty Nordic fashion label is the collaboration we never knew we needed, until now.
Alongside French Cowboy, we believe the works of Gary McQueen are destined for rails of Harrods. Just picture McQueen’s Flayed Angel across a Limitato tee. It’s a partnership made by the literal angels in heaven. Though, that is before we even mention grAzie’s or SYRETT’s ability to kiss a Limitato hoodie with colour, or Sandro Hyams’ portraits, which are made for Peterson’s label, they just don’t know it yet.
On the subject of collaborations, Gustav continued to speak of his dream collaboration, while addressing the issue of licensing, which goes on behind the scenes of the label.
“The licensing issue is perhaps the part of the business that people don’t understand or ‘see’. It can be very time consuming, stressful and difficult to get things over the line.
“If the licensing wasn’t an issue, then I would have to say Picasso. I would love to create garments with his work”.
Now, amid a pandemic, questions turned to how Gustav and his team have adapted to continue designing throughout the uncertain time. “We are very busy all the time and the pandemic, with the halt on travel, allowed me, in particular, to let the juices flow to design and create what I really wanted” shared Peterson.
“Obviously, we had concerns as a business, and we were very distressed to hear how others were struggling. However, as a young, agile brand, we have been able to focus online and with our direct to market business, which has been strong”.
Looking to the future, Gustav concluded by filling us in with his plans for the future, which involves Limitato expanding the party from the streets of Soho in London, to the Soho of New York City.
“We are always evolving and always excited” Peterson began. “We have a new showroom opening in New York and are just waiting to sign the final papers, that will open the door for us to be doing some cool collaborations and events Stateside. We have also started working on a great partnership in London with some very senior, experienced industry people who are going to work with us to get the best out of us in the UK and further afield, so watch this space”.
By Megan Slack– Contributing Editor at Magazine by Runway Gallery.