I shot these in December, a day I went wandering around Stockholm before opening hours. I happened to end up in Östermalm, the more affluent area of our capital. As I peeped into one of these rather intimidating luxury brand shops I caught a glimpse of a person. A flash of velour among silk and lace. Instinctively I grabbed my camera, snapped a photo and started to search. I was looking for the cogs in these seemingly perfect corporate machines. Cogs they hope that we never see.
A pair of cleaners, a window washer. A team meeting where all the elegant sales attendants were huddled up on foot stools, probably hearing the same speech every store manager gives to boost sales and morale, but mainly just sales. It was like seeing a flash of a card in a magician’s sleeve; I always knew it was there, but it still felt disappointing to spoil the trick.
I like the stark contrast of these workers in places designed to induce desire and indulgence. Places full of goods that promise to improve your life, give you confidence, respect, admiration, even love. Places that present unattainable objects as the ultimate goal to work towards. After that first glimpse behind the scenes, the magic around these powerful brands faded just a bit. We’re all just human, and they are just shops. Shops that get dusty and windows that get smeared and displays that stand empty waiting to be filled. And all the things these stores sell are always going to be beautifully unattainable. But their power only ever lies in what meaning you allow them to have.