Units of Thebe sources from the strong communities within breakdance and hiphop. The streetwear is taken into tailoring, commercial sportswear and leisure, mixed with fine crafted fabrics. The brand is focusing on a few designs that refers to classic army and vintage pieces. The dancers’ movements comes about in the pattern pieces.
For the Swedish founder and designer Julia Hederus, Units of Thebe started with a 1980s film clip of a breaking crew in the Bronx. Street fashion and graffiti in combination with sportswear and futuristic modernity have always been the main inspirational element. The name’s origin is the place Thebes of the city of Luxor in Egypt, though mainly based on imagination rather than actual history – a concept to free creative space as well as a search in human history for union. The units are the confined spaces in the underground chambers of the temple of the Theban Necropolis. Every collection consists of well curated pieces that together connects to various units. There is also a currency called Units of Thebe in Botswana.
The work is based around street boxers at the main square in Bissau, capital of the west african country Guinea Bissau. A small film clip of the boxers during a trip became the source of inspiration for the sportswear pieces. The community of sports is important for a sustainable society at large, and in the small communities new ways forward are created. The materials are repurposed fabrics and/or organic and all buttons are non-plastic or surplus. The red colour used in the hand screened prints is chosen from the flag of Guinea Bissau, originally the same as Ghana’s flag, representing pan-africanism which stands for african power and independence.
The collection Peace combat is about the communities in the banlieu in Paris. It’s about the resilience and resistance coming from the outskirts – where a battle for peace and solidarity unifies the community. The military clothes are repurposed when used by dancers breaking and moving freely on the grey concrete.
Units of Thebe is a slow fashion brand where clothes are made in small series and then produced on demand. Whenever possible the production is local, and sometimes for bigger quantities it’s produced close to Sweden at factories with the highest skill and craftsmanship.
Design is important to inspire and contribute to human progress, and so is sewing and the making of clothes – something that also is an art. Units of Thebe wants to level up the consciousness of how clothes are made and the time that goes into making them.
For the first collection ‘Peace combat’ we’ve used hemp fabrics, sometimes it’s 100% hemp and other times 55% hemp and 45% cotton. Hemp is a plant that requires less water compared to cotton which drains the soil on nutrition. We also mainly used saved / upcycled fabrics from deadstock that hasn’t been used. The t-shirt jersey in our first t-shirts is knitted in Sweden and Units of Thebe wants to in that way contribute to a sustainable society where jobs are created locally in the textile industry.
Units of Thebe is currently a small tailoring atelier in the heart of Stockholm. We want to make clothes on demand for our customers and not risk to have any unsold stock left. In this way we save resources and make sure that the materials that we use becomes something useful, functional and beautiful.
The design aim to encompass styles that we will always come back to, timeless vintage pieces and other clothes that has longevity, such as classic mass-produced military pieces that has great functionality. Some of our design is new in details and cut, but developed to free the movements of the person who wear them.