LIKE MANY KIDS growing up in a small city, leaving town to fulfill dreams of the bigger and the better, was Kenneth’s primary goal, while growing up in Gothenburg, Sweden. He took this dream into his own hands when he trekked across country before the beginning of gymnasium (final three years of high school) to attend a specialist musical theatre gymnasium in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm. While he hasn’t pursued this creative path, Kenneth does credit this time with building his confidence and public speaking skills, which are now employed while teaching styling at The Röhsska Museum of Design.
Kenneth’s search for something different took him to England and Manchester where he worked in a cocktail bar. He had friends here and old-lady regulars who arrived Thursday afternoons. From here, he moved to London where he worked in a café for a year.
Missing home, he headed for Stockholm in 2006, before settling again in Gothenburg. On arrival home Kenneth realised something: Gothenburg was what he had been looking for – less pretense than Stockholm, a great creative vibe and the ideal location for an up and coming creative.
Still not sure about what his career path, Kenneth started work at a lampshade shop, while returning to university to continue studying his masters in Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Gothenburg.
About a year ago Kenneth chanced upon a career he knew was his: “I made a chandelier necklace for a big music gala, just to wear something fantastic, but it was so heavy that it put me in a really bad mood. Anyway, people liked it and a few stylists asked to borrow it and that’s how I started doing accessories.”
A few shops have begun stocking his pieces, but Kenneth finds making one-off works more rewarding than selling to shops requiring bulk amounts. His favourite requests remain those for shoots.
Inspiration for his “fun and accidental” accessory style, usually follows the discovery of a new or unusual material. “I find things in flea markets and turn them into an accessory in my head. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t... but I never throw away anything I’ve started on, even if it feels wrong at the time. I often go back to old things and try to start work on them again with a fresh mind and new inputs.”
A side-step in his career was not far away. Creating and styling accessories for shoots lead Kenneth into a career as a stylist, with a particular flair for interior styling.
Today, Kenneth works under the name House of John Kenneth and his business covers accessories design, styling, art curating and visual merchandising. He still studies full-time, teaches and works the odd day at the lampshade shop.