Jonas Åkerlund x the HÖGDALEN

Jonas' stuff are not for sensitive types, but his humor and aesthetic world are some of the reasons why Efva became curious about what he would create if he got to design jewellery. Now his first collection is here –“Ditch by Jonas Åkerlund goes the HÖGDALEN”.
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It was a summer evening in the VIP section at the amusement park Gröna Lund in Stockholm. Robert Plant was on stage. The Led Zeppelin fans, Efva Attling and Jonas Åkerlund were watching with a beer in their hands. As usual, Jonas wanted to hear rock’n’roll stories from Efva's wild life in London in the ‘70s. But Efva only had her eyes on the fat silver rings on Jonas' left hand, thinking that Jonas would be perfect for her project the HÖGDALEN. ”He has such a clear aesthetic in his work. I became curious about what he would come up with if he created jewellery.”

Jonas has been wearing jewellery since he was a teenager, but he has never considered drawing his own. Already as a 16-year-old he got a skull ring from the legendary brand “The Great Frog” in London. His grandmother had gone to Carnaby Street and bought it for him as a Christmas present. Today he has, in his words, a crazy amount of rings, and a real bunch of leather bracelets. “They’re never completely perfect. So it was obvious that it would be bracelets with really heavy buckles. He touches the two bracelets he’s wearing on his left arm, a wide one and a little neater. “These are starting to look a bit shabby, that's good. I don’t like it when it’s too shiny, it should be a bit rough and worn, just like everything I own.”

He has such a clear aesthetic in his work. I became curious about what he would come up with if he created jewellery. Efva Attling

They started working with the design immediately. At the same time, his brain was spinning with ideas about the packaging, that it should look like an old jewellery box. Together, Efva and Jonas selected a bunch of ideas, made sketches and then left it to Efva's atelier and the silversmith Torbjörn Erstrand. The rings and bracelets came naturally. The necklaces were harder to come up with. Jonas has never really been comfortable wearing it before. “I wanna be a person that wears an unbuttoned shirt and slick necklaces, but it’s fucking impossible. But I've always thought that I want a small upside-down cross, in the size of a confirmation gift, just because it's a bit provoking. Then it became our theme.”

The crosses are found in all parts of the collection. Like in three different variants of necklaces in silver and gold: one small, medium and a really fat one. The leather bracelets are also decorated with crosses, as well as a small earring added by Efva at the last minute. “I wanted something to be a little easier to wear. Otherwise, it is everything but discreet. The fat cross is numbered and weighs a quarter of a kilo. Jonas thinks it would be perfect for Ozzy Osbourne. ”

Small crosses are also embossed with black diamonds in the ring, which is perhaps the most exclusive piece in the collection. Jonas wanted to make a really solid ring in the shape of a pyramid rivet, in black onyx. But that made Efva, with her craftsmanship, interfere; “It would have been too fragile, so I put a small silver rivet on top of the onyx, both as a protection and because it looks nice. I don’t want to get a lot of rings in return after wild heavy metal parties.”

The inspiration for the collection and for much of what Jonas creates, comes from the music genre that has permeated his life. For metalheads, and especially in the more extreme forms of metal, rivets and inverted crosses are a natural part of the culture’s expression. Jonas has been drawing crosses since he was a young rocker. During his time as a drummer in the black metal band Bathory, satanically charged symbols became important. Partly because of the aesthetic, but of course also for its controversial value. Jonas himself was surprised by the reactions at a dinner party when he wore one of the necklaces.
“People obviously got damn uncomfortable and didn’t know how to react. It was fun. To me, it’s just a symbol, just like a regular cross. I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that it’s possible to touch people with such simple tricks.”

Ever since the beginning of his career, the tricks have worked out, whether it’s a music video for Lady Gaga, a movie about black metal or the TV series about the Swedish bank robber Clark Olofsson, which he is working on right now. Like the heavy metal prophet Yngwie Malmsteen, Jonas lives by the motto “more is more” and when he gets to decide for himself, he sprinkles special effects on his work, whether it’s commercials, music videos or movies. Blood, sex, epilepsy-fast cuts – but always with sharpness and a grin. “I’ve seen so much humor in things that people have taken far too seriously. And it might have been for better or worse.”

Efva points out that humor is one of the reasons why she chose Jonas. And that this is Jonas’ way of expressing himself, his lifestyle, it’s not her business to censor it. The HÖGDALEN is a place where Efva herself takes a step back and makes room for people she is interested in. There are several common features of the people who have been able to express themselves through jewellery at the HÖGDALEN. Music, a certain dark aesthetic, high integrity. Jocke Berg in Kent. Joakim Thåström. “For me, music is the common thread. I live with music and I’m still inspired by it on a daily basis. Jonas has an incredible musicality in his entire system, to be able to cut edit films the way he does. What a sense of rhythm.”

The collection has been named “Ditch by Jonas Åkerlund goes the HÖGDALEN”. Because Jonas also has a platform of his own, where he can try fun ideas that don’t fit into his other duties. Under the umbrella “Ditch” he has made perfume, his own kind of absinthe and a collection of t-shirts. But his stuff is not for the sensitive ones. “It has nothing to do with my life and business, except that it’s fun to make an absinthe that tastes like shit and a perfume that stinks of ditch and an upside-down cross that might disturb people.” He laughs and says that he has no grey area. “You either like what I do a lot or you don’t. I have megafans and haters, that’s kind of my thing.”

By: Debbie Dallas