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Swedish bag brand Sandqvist can be spotted on the backs of city dwellers all over the world and for good reason. Their bags combine the clean, uncomplicated design common to Scandinavia with durable, premium materials and everyday functionality.

Since their humble beginnings in 2004, the company has grown quickly with a newly opened shop and studio in Stockholm’s hippest neighborhood – Södermalm. We recently had the opportunity to speak to the company’s founder, Anton Sandqvist, about the company’s beginnings, inspiration, Scandinavian design, and more. In the gallery above is the upcoming Fall/Winter 2013 collection featuring bags for every purpose imaginable and below is the full interview.

How did the idea to design bags come about?

It came from me having a career in the electronics business and getting fed up with that, so one day I sewed a bag for myself and got nice feedback about it. Then, I met with some Stockholm shops to show it off and got my first small order and had to start production. That was in 2004 and since then a lot has happened. We now have around 350 retailers worldwide and a collection of 150 products. But the idea first came from wanting to do something different in my life.

Your bags have a certain Scandinavian aesthetic yet are popular the world over, why do you think that is?

I don’t know, but Scandinavian aesthetic seem to be popular over the world in general.
Like many Scandinavian designers we try to keep it simple, focus on basic functionality, and not getting lost in technical details. We also like materials that age in a nice way and design that lasts for a lifetime – so we tend to keep it quite classic.

What serves as inspiration from season to season?

The Swedish nature is always our main inspiration. We are quite dedicated outdoor people, yet we also get lots of inspiration from people in the streets. Simple things like that.

Will we ever see a clothing collection from Sandqvist?

That would be fun, but we have too much to do in the bag world. So if we did, it would likely be far in the future.

Do you foresee a shift in bag design as things become smaller and digitized like books?

(laughs) Maybe in Korea or somewhere they are working on a patent where you can zip your stuff and fit everything in a small purse. But that’s not our thing, we like the good old-fashioned way of making beautiful and classic bags in leather and fabrics.

What can we expect from Sandqvist in the future?

We’re expanding our collection a lot; there will be around 40 new styles and new colors ready for Spring 2013. We’ll continue to work on small improvements for our classic styles and for Fall 2013 we’ll widen the outdoor range with some very nice bags – one large backpack for hiking and a rolltop bike messenger.

My favorite project at the moment though, is our small production of bags that are 100% made in Sweden – in central Stockholm actually. We’ll let you know more as the project develops.

Director of Content Strategy

Brock Cardiner is Highsnobiety's Director of Content Strategy. He oversees Highsnobiety's editorial approach across platforms & mediums. Brock splits his time between Berlin, Los Angeles and New York.

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