Why we all want to get into bed with Tekla
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“We grew by around 300 per cent from 2020 to 2021,” says Kristoffer Juhl, managing director of Copenhagen-based brand Tekla, which began life with a range of simple, organic bedding, then quickly expanded into towels, bathrobes and blankets. But it was the fortuitously timed pivot into pyjamas in early 2020 that Juhl credits as a significant catalyst for growth. “From there it just rocketed,” he says. “Almost as soon as the pandemic hit, our inbox was full of requests from the biggest e-tailers.”
This month, Tekla is moving into the high-end sphere with cashmere, wool and mohair blankets (from £169). In triangles and chequerboards, the designs are inspired by the tiles at the former home of modernist Danish architect Jorn Utzon. “They’re something to indulge yourself with,” says Juhl, adding that architecture is a recurring theme. “We’ve always been fans of Donald Judd, John Pawson and all the minimalist heroes.”
Pawson’s influence has become more direct. In 2019, he collaborated on two Tekla collections of blankets – one with a graphic design, the other in block colours. “They’re both based on the colours at Home Farm,” says Pawson, referring to his Cotswolds home, and adding that further collaborations are in the pipeline. “We’re working with them on linens for the bed and the table,” says Pawson. “I’d like to do a bedcover, although I hate seeing beds that you can tell people have slept in. It’s an intimacy that I could do without.” Tekla presents all its bedding in artfully slept-in scenarios.
But crumples aside, it’s easy to see why its ethos resonates with Pawson. “We strive to create functional, long-lasting designs, to provide a consistent good feeling,” says Juhl, who studied economics in Copenhagen before moving to LA and starting his career at a social tech startup.
Tekla’s founder and creative director, Charlie Hedin, cut his teeth at Swedish fashion label Acne Studios and co-founded the footwear brand Eytys. “Charlie had the feeling that there might be some sort of blue ocean out there for textiles,” says Juhl of his friend and colleague. “He grew up on a tiny, rocky island on the west coast of Sweden and spent the first 20 years of his life in the ocean, sailing.” As a teen, Hedin was a member of Sweden’s youth national sailing team, and his seafaring background is woven into the brand. Tekla – a girl’s name of Greek origin meaning “God’s glory” – is the name of all his boats; sailor stripes abound; and at Copenhagen Fashion Week in 2019, Tekla hosted a boat trip where passengers could test out the towels and robes after a sea dip.
At the heart of what Juhl calls “purpose over profits” is a mindful approach. “We just took on our first full-time employee to lead all our sustainability efforts,” says Juhl. “And now we’ve got to be bold. As a modern brand, we see sustainability as an obligation. Profit is ultimately what allows us to invest in our people, mission and vision, so we can remain ambitious.”
What was a team of six people in early 2020, has now grown to 16. “We want to open our first Tekla store,” says Juhl of their future goals. “And long-term, I could easily see us opening up hotels and spas.”
Tekla’s cashmere, pure new wool and mohair blend blankets will be available from 29 October, teklafabrics.com
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