A portrait of a man in a dimly lit stone-walled space.

Curious about Chris Stamp

What can a more active, casual and sporty urban lifestyle mean for homes? IKEA has teamed up with U.S. fashion designer Chris Stamp to create SPÄNST.

I know there can be sharks in the water when I’m surfing, but it’s the nature of the sport. Luckily, the big guys and girls rarely go after people. They are smart animals and I guess they prefer seafood.

I grew up in Aspen, Colorado. My parents settled down there after a pretty interesting drive that began on the east coast. They rented a van in Rhode Island, which is the tiny state between New York and Boston, and drove off to find a nice place to live. They found Aspen and fell in love with the mountains. We lived in Aspen for many years and my mom ran a design business there. I guess being close to her business inspired me to one day have a design company of my own. It also made me aware of the amount of hard work you have to put in to succeed.

Failure isn’t the opposite of success. As I was starting up Stampd I failed so many times. Looking back, I believe that the screw ups made me a better designer. A harder working, more determined designer with a better understanding of how important it is to develop a unique brand identity.

A clothes rack, a desk with glass top and four lighting rods attached to a wall.

Pieces from the SPÄNST collection on display at the IKEA Festival during design week in Milan.

Four metre-long lighting rods attached to a wall.

It felt a bit unreal when IKEA first contacted me. I got an email from them, then we met a few times and all of a sudden this project, the SPÄNST collection was born. It’s a huge opportunity for me and the design crew at Stampd. We get to work with an incredibly professional team at IKEA. They are super open about everything and I truly believe that we are both learning a lot from this collaboration.

Failure isn’t the opposite of success. Looking back, I believe that the screw ups made me a better designer.

The SPÄNST collection is an attempt to reach young people by looking at home furnishing products from a slightly different angle. As a fashion designer, I know that people want to show other people the clothes, shoes and accessories that they have. Why spend $300 on a pair of sneakers and hide them in the closet? This collection will enable people to store and show their belongings at the same time. It’s a new mindset and I hope that the minimalistic design, inspired by modern lifestyles will be a fresh addition to the IKEA range.

A portrait of a man in front of a concrete wall.

I’m 100% into hip-hop and I guess my dad’s partly to blame for that. When we had left Aspen and were living in San Diego, he used to drive me in his car with the windows down and hip-hop music on the stereo. We made frequent trips to LA like that.

Fashion and furniture are different animals but the creative process is similar. You have to burn to be good. You have to be inspired and be able to inspire people around you. The tricky part, whether you’re designing a hoodie or a shoe rack, is to get the details right. The details tell people what your brand is all about and make your product exciting and sought after.

I’ve sacrificed a lot to reach the point where I’m at now. If young people want my advice for how to make it in the fashion industry, my answer is simple. Work hard, be honest and believe in your ideas. It might sound like I’m from the 50’s but I think that’s the only way be successful. Just don’t forget to go surfing every now and then.

A man standing in profile in a dimly lit, rough space.
Leading the way in the fashion industry with his cool, minimal style – Chris Stamp.