WORDS BY JADE BROCK & SOLRUNN PERSSON
From Kampala, Uganda, to Stockholm’s vibrant fashion scene, self-taught photographer Paul Edwards is making waves in the Swedish capital. Beginning his career taking pictures of friends, Edwards quickly became an authority in modern fashion photography — focusing on diversity as well as unique looks and styles. If you’re ever in need of artistic inspiration, you can rely on his Instagram feed to provide the goods.
We caught up with Edwards to get the low down on his style journey, his personal role models within the industry and the trends he’ll be keeping an eye out for in 2022. Notepads at the ready.
Paul Edwards (@paul_edwardss)
Photographer and creator based in Stockholm, Sweden
Tell us about the pieces you’re wearing. What do you like about these brands?
The big scarf is from Balenciaga, the belt is Diesel, these sick metallic pants are from HELIOT EMIL and the yellow boots are from Eytys. What I really like about all of these brands is that they’re all very different from one another in terms of aesthetic, yet what they have in common is that all of their pieces are high quality and timeless. Balenciaga especially inspires me beyond just style. I feel like it’s one of the brands that is leading the industry right now through all aspects of creativity, and as a creator it really stimulates me and all aspects of my personal creativity. Eytys and HELIOT EMIL really challenge my view on street style with their approaches to unisex clothing, textile choices and interesting garment constructions.
Can you describe your style and how it’s evolved over the years?
My style is definitely experimental and mostly ‘90s-inspired. For the past three years, I think my style has been very on-trend from following the streetwear movement, but I didn’t really add my own touch to it. Now I’m at a point where I feel like I’m actually finding my own fashion sense more. I think this has to do with the fact that I’ve evolved and matured as a person, and also my creative aesthetic, art and photography has evolved as well. For example, if you look through my portfolio, my artistic expression and the type of photography that I do has changed a lot over the years. In 2019, my art and aesthetic was very loud and experimental. Fast forward to now and it's cleaner, well-thought out, mature and very technical in its expression.
So when it comes to my style and the kinds of pieces I look for now, I consider high-end fashion as well as investment closet staples. I’m into more of a mature look, but I still like to play around with both feminine and masculine designs.
How would you define Stockholm street style?
I would say Stockholm street style is still very Scandinavian — in terms of minimalism and structures — yet I think it has become more colorful with brands like GANNI, STAND STUDIO and Rodebjer. This is especially relevant in terms of my generation and up.
However, I do see a new wave of street style entering the city. Gen Z is really leaving its mark on Swedish style with the reintroduction of the Y2K aesthetic whilst still adding its own modern twist to it, which I find very exciting. I also think that Gen Z has a great amount of influence on the older generations as well. I’ve noticed that those who grew up during the ‘00s are becoming a little bit nostalgic and are starting to dress like that again too, despite us hating on low-waist jeans only a couple of years ago.
Who’s your biggest influence when it comes to promoting diversity in fashion?
Edward Enninful and Virgil Abloh (may he rest in peace) have been huge influences on me. Not only in terms of promoting diversity and representation in the fashion industry — on the runway and in magazines — but also by expanding the palette in all aspects of art.
To be honest, I find myself and my team to be my biggest source of inspiration. I’m still just, you know, a young Black boy from Uganda living in Sweden, trying to make it big in fashion. I’m working hard so that other young Black creatives after me won’t have to go through the same struggle and can just focus on their creativity and talent. The people I work with and my community are also a huge inspiration. It’s very inspiring that I’m surrounded by a bunch of other creatives, most of them people of color, who are doing their thing at such a young age. We are so into our work and making it happen for us that we often don’t realize the kind of change we are making.
As a photographer and Insta pro, what’s your secret behind the ultimate Instagram shot?
I don’t really have a secret, I just post whatever I think is interesting and fun. I love photography and art so much, sometimes it’s just nice to post and share what I enjoy in a non-staged way for other people and creatives to enjoy too. Just be yourself and you find people that enjoy you and the same things. I think my feed has helped a lot with my personal growth — your Instagram feed is your business card, the face of your business. Behind every face, there is a personality and the content you create is that personality.
Lastly, are there any particular trends or designers that you would like to see more of in 2022?
Oh yes! I think that structured tailoring is very interesting and I would love to explore the ‘00s trend more — I particularly love what Miu Miu brought to the runway for next season. I also think that moving away from a Eurocentric view of fashion is important because there are a lot of parts of the world, like countries in Africa and Asia for example. These places are very innovative and forward-thinking, not only when it comes to their styles but also in terms of production and overall vision behind their garments. One fashion aesthetic that has inspired me for a while now is Korean, I’m hoping to incorporate more of this into my own personal style.
Inspired by Paul Edwards' closet: