Meet the global nomads – the young people bringing their rich cultural influences and diversity to Sweden’s shores and changing the landscape for the better.
The connectedness of today’s world is often taken for granted and even viewed with slight suspicion. The ability to travel everywhere in a matter of hours, to plan trips on the internet and to view a multitude of destinations on your Instagram and Facebook feeds has almost rendered adventurous exploring a thing of the past. But it doesn’t have to be this way – the time of the global nomad is here.
The past decades have fostered a new generation of global nomads: curious, independent and open-minded souls who travel the world, absorbing the variety of cultural influences and experiences, valuing the journey more than the destination. For generations, these wanderers of the world have been settling in Sweden. Coming from various backgrounds, and carrying with them an abundance of cultural influences and references, they have brought with them the elements that make Sweden the multifaceted and bustling country it is today. And this continuous transition has changed Sweden from the blonde, homogenous stereotype to something much more.
To infuse a renewed sense of adventure and spontaneity into today’s global landscape, the latest Made & Crafted autumn collection by Levi’s, labelled The Nomadic Life, pays homage to these travellers who provide richness, depth and variety to Sweden. Whether it’s by making music, creating unique designs or influencing others, these individuals represent the core of the culturally diverse and perpetually evolving country that Sweden is today. And judging by the buzzing creativity and ingenuity of these young professionals, there is more greatness to come. The Forumist met up with some of the young creators who are inspiring others around them.
Ilkham Batrudinov, music producer
Creating new beats for various genres and artists while working as a music producer by day and DJ-ing at night, Ilkham Batrudinov makes sure that the dance floors and bars get the soundtrack they deserve. “When I set my mind to something, I’m very determined,” says Batrudinov. He’s dedicating all his spare time to creating music, an effort that is paying off since he’s taking big steps in achieving his dreams. “My goal is to be able to make an impact in the music industry by making beats and to get recognised as an artist and music producer.” We’ll undoubtedly be be hearing a lot more of those beats soon.
Behin Roozbeh, graphic designer
Describing herself like a star, Behin Roozbeh adds: “But I’m the kind you glue to the ceiling and that glows in the dark but needs to be charged with electrical light for like a week to be able to do so.” She currently works as a graphic designer, a title that came gradually. “I got admitted to a preparatory art school because of my drawings. I guess spending many years copying Sailor Moon comics and drawing my friends really trained my eye.” Now she has six years of artistic education behind her and has just finished a master’s in visual communication from the norm creative programme at Konstfack. “The programme is unique, sharp and filled with the most inspiring people. It truly shaped me as a designer,” says Behin. Hers is a truly curious mind, on a never-ending quest to explore visual communication.
Danno Tharmarajah, DJ
It was Danno Tharmarajah’s excellent taste in music that initiated her career as a DJ. She borrowed a friend’s controller and, since then, DJing has been the love of her life. For her, the best part of her life is being surrounded by creative people. “They inspire me. Watching them doing their work keeps me motivated. Also, I’m Tamil, so my mom makes the best food!” she says, smiling. Looking at her online activity it’s quickly evident that she engages in breaking boundaries and norms, being a true inspiration for others herself. “I’m a queer POC [person of colour], so it’s impossible for me to not engage in activism. These days, being a brown woman in Sweden is scary as hell. With racism being normalised in politics, it directly affects society. Everything is messed up. We have to fight the racists by showing the Swedish government we are angry. We have to organise and demonstrate. We have to fight for our trans sisters and brothers, for our disabled sisters and brothers, for our sisters and brothers of colour. White people have to use their privilege and be the best ally they can.” Tharmarajah faces the challenges of today’s society by drawing on the strengths that come from love and acceptance.
Anfa Lashari, rapper
Anfa Lashari is one half of the rap duo Lash, which has been taking Sweden by storm. But the way to the success hasn’t always been straightforward for Lash. Growing up in Hulta, Borås, was not that easy, but music fed her dreams. “I have always been a little rebel,” says Lashari. “I spent my childhood dealing with drugs, gender confusion and hopelessness. Everything was a struggle – school, life, home – and that’s when I turned to music. It helped me escape reality and allowed me to dream of a better future for me and my friends.” She is a true creative, fiercely driven by her wish to see equality in society. “Fitting in just wasn’t my thing. I shocked my parents by shaving my eyebrows when I was eight. Everyone wants to be different in today’s society. Disrupting the norm is trendy and ‘cool’. Growing up and breaking norms at a very young age was a struggle and a blessing, it still is. Yes, I was bullied, I was threatened and I was treated differently by society but I also got a lot of love and support from family, friends and random people.” Today Lashari is thankful and proud of where she comes from: “Hulta is in my heart! I will never forget where it all started.”
Beri Gerwise, musician and rapper
Music has always served as an escape for Beri Gerwise. Concerned that it might sound clichéd, she stresses it’s nevertheless true. “I think everyone has their own escapes and solutions to their past and present. I became my own therapist by writing down whatever I was feeling, no matter how dark it was, and I just sat there and had to face it,” she says. Growing up, she wasn’t considered as belonging to the norms set by society and came out three times to her relatives, yet explains that she doesn’t know any other way than being who she is. “I think it is the most scary, strengthening and beautiful thing. Most of all I think being gay has really raised me into understanding that norms are just boxes made to separate people from each other, making us think that we are different when we’re not,” she says. Gerwise is proof that wisdom doesn’t necessarily need to come with age.
Fanny Amelita, social-media manager
A true creative mind, Fanny Amelita not only works as a media manager at a clothing brand but writes music and sings, something she wants to do more of in the future. “I enjoy working with things where creative minds can meet and create together. I’m also very engaged in how society deals with mental illness, as well as women’s and black people’s rights,” says Amelita of some of the things she is passionate about. She gets her energy and inspiration from discussing with others. “I feel powerful when I’m with people who respect others as humans, and when we are working together. I feel powerful when we talk about the future and life the way we want it. Then I feel blessed, hopeful and not alone.” For Amelita, strength and energy is found in togetherness and friendship.
Nora Fazel, influencer
A digital native, Nora Fazel goes her own way. At the beginning of her career she thought that working as an influencer automatically meant she was supposed to fill her life with seemingly interesting activities to please those who followed her, sharing stories from a continuous flow of events and receiving clothes – which is exactly what she did until she decided to stop try pleasing others. “A normal day for me now consists of studying journalism, dressing comfortably but still feeling confident in what I wear, eating well and taking care of myself. I make my own path and, honestly, I only need to influence myself,” she says. Fazel dreams of contributing to society and wants to publish a book. “I want to use my mind and body to make things better for those who need to kick back and relax. For now it seems like I’ll achieve this through journalism.” She already uses her space online to share warmth and strength, and she despises inhumanity. “Sweden is for everybody,” says Fazel.
Words by Amanda Båmstedt
Photography by Johan Nilsson
Styling by Nathalie Olenheim (Rockson)
Hair & Make up by Helen Borg (Agent Bauer)
Casting by Helin Honung
Talents: Ilkham Batrudinov, Behin Roozbeh, Danno Tharmarajah, Anfa Lashari, Beri Gerwise, Fanny Amelita, Nora Fazel
Special Thanks to Levi’s
#1 and #2 Love Letter Trucker Jacket and Boy Tee T-shirt
#3 and #4 High Standard Shirt, Boyfriend Trucker Jacket (around waist) and Passenger Jeans
#5 and #6 Crop Cherpa Trucket Jacket and Hombre Mist Tunic
#7 and #8 Type II Worn Trucker Dark Blue Jacket, Type II Worn Trucker Light Blue Jacket, Boy Tee T-shirt and 501 Jeans
#9 and #10 Boyfriend Trucker Jacket, Pop Over Sweatshirt, 501 Original Jeans (around waist) and Steam Flare Jeans
#11 and #12 Trucker Jacket and Barrel Jeans
#13 and #14 Trucker Trench Denim Jacket, Traveller’s Knitted Jacket, Greaser Straight Jeans (around waist) and Track Trousers
All looks by Levi’s