The New Rebels

Fighting the system nowadays isn’t about smashing things up, it’s about sharpening your intellect and using it to change how we all live. Meet Stockholm’s digi pioneers — the modern-day revolutionaries challenging the status quo, here taking their stance in Dr. Martens, a brand that matches their spririt and drive.

Today’s Stockholm is home to many of the digital innovations that are making urban life more manageable. New ground is being broken and development is being pushed forward in areas as diverse as medicine, science, advertising, film and technology, to name just a few. We like to call these innovators the New Rebels. By putting their creativity, intelligence, passion and energy into finding new areas to develop in their chosen fields, this new generation is changing the way we live, unapologetically following their hearts, playing by their own rules and living their dreams. We gathered together seven of these New Rebels working in the digital industry to find out more about what they do and why they do it.



Name: Maria Nilsson

Job: production manager, Splay

Dr. Martens 1461 Wigan

Why did you choose to work in your industry instead of doing something else?

“Coming from working on traditional TV productions like [the style-advice show] Trinny & Susannah, I was intrigued by the idea of working with new media channels, since linear television is getting more outdated. Splay is giving me the opportunity to work with premium content on digital platforms that reach a younger audience.”

What motivates you in your work?

“To meet people from many different places and backgrounds, to be a part of digital development and to have the opportunity to have a holistic perspective, yet still be able to focus on the details, is what motivates me.”

The thing that makes you a New Rebel is…

“Fax machines!”



Name: Elina Nilsson

Job: producer, B-Reel Creative

Dr. Martens 1460 Mono

Why did you choose to work in your industry instead of doing something else?

“Everything started with me watching my big brother tinkering with our first computer. I was too young to try – at least my mother said – but as soon as I was home alone the exploration of the machine started. It was love at first sight. Later, my interest in photography appeared, and when I was 13 years old, I planned my own exhibition. Pretty quickly I realised that I was more interested in the entire creative process rather than the photography itself. I had the opportunity to study at Hyper Island, where I developed my skills even further. Next up was B-Reel, which is a perfect match for me, as we are always driven to find boundary-pushing ideas.”

What motivates you in your work?

“I love to be surrounded by great talents and together find solutions to combine the world of storytelling and technology. It really doesn’t matter what it is – a game, a website, a huge light installation or a brand platform. I love to make things happen.”

The thing that makes you a New Rebel is…

“Can I answer with a GIF?”



Name: Dr Ashkan Fardost

Job: I don’t have a job title

Dr. Martens Pilloy

“…I have a mission – to communicate how the ever-faster advancements of science and technology affect our lives now and in the future. My mission requires me to be different things each day.”

Why did you choose to work in your industry instead of doing something else?

“Some days I’m a global speaker, at events such as TEDx and awesome places like Hyper Island. Other days I’m a science reporter on Swedish Television, SVT. I also help companies to reap the benefits and navigate the challenges of new technologies. The freedom to be something different every day is why I chose to not pursue the traditional path in life.”

What motivates you in your work?

“Science and technology bring inspiration, hope and empowerment. Today, for example, anyone with a computer can take a world-class university course, create beautiful music, start a business or send a crowdfunded satellite to space – yes, Google it.

“Anyone can turn any idea into reality with little or no money. Advancements in medicine are taking us closer to cures than ever before. Contrary to the apocalyptic world we live in according to mainstream media, the world is actually becoming a better place, a lot of it thanks to science and technology.

“Having the opportunity to inspire and empower audiences, and convincing them that they have the power to do anything, change anything, with the help of technology, is the most motivating force that I know of.”

The thing that makes you a New Rebel is…

“I don’t wait around until I get picked by person or company. I don’t hope to be discovered by someone. I don’t wait for permission to do something. With the help of technology and hard work, I can become whatever I want and achieve whatever I dream of. So far so good.

“Living with this mind-set is largely thanks to the books and lectures by Seth Godin. Especially his book The Icarus Deception.”



Name: Hoa Ly

Job: co-founder of Shim; PhD in psychology

Dr. Martens 8053 Wigan

Why did you choose to work in your field instead of doing something else?

“I think psychology, the study of people’s minds and behaviour, is the most fascinating and powerful knowledge there is. However, presently, there’s no scalable way to help people apply psychological knowledge in their everyday life. I want to change that. That’s why I have chosen to work with Shim.”

What motivates you in your work?

“Building and creating something meaningful and relevant for a lot of people.”

The thing that makes you a New Rebel is…

“While everyone else in the tech world is working on building tools and services for optimising people’s lives, me and my team are working on building a service for people’s minds. That’s what makes me a digital rebel.”



Name: Martina Elm

Job: co-founder and CEO, Confetti

Dr. Martens 1B60

Why did you choose to work in your industry instead of doing something else?

“I didn’t really choose to work in this industry, I ended up here by accident.

“Three and a half years ago, I didn’t have a smartphone and I had never owned a computer. I was working as a chef, and one of my best friends, Jonatan, was in the midst of doing his first start-up with two other partners. One night, Jonatan and I met to prepare a DJ set, and I randomly met one of the other founders, who I guess thought I had something. I got offered a job interview for a community manager role. I don’t know what happened, but I managed to land the job!

“After that, I completely fell in love with the start-up scene and I’ve been in it ever since. I love technology and what it enables me to do, as well
as the openness and inclusiveness of the tech community.”

What motivates you in your work?

“Learning new things and having fun motivates me, as well as creating great products and experiences.”

The thing that makes you a New Rebel is…

“I do what I want, not what people expect from me.”



Name: Anton Holmquist

Job title: tech entrepreneur at Dreams

Dr. Martens Adrian

Why did you choose to work in your industry instead of doing something else?

“The choice came naturally for me, since there are really not that many things that interest me. Since I was a kid I have always been interested in technology, and programming in particular, so doing something else seemed far-fetched.

“When I’m by the computer I get that almost manic urge to create something. It’s so much fun!
It’s all about problem solving and finding good solutions. I really enjoy the industry and all the great people I get to work with, so I can’t imagine leaving
it anytime soon.”

What motivates you in your work?

“First of all, it’s very rewarding to see a project grow, bit by bit every day, until it becomes something usable. Often it’s not until shortly before launch that a project actually looks decent. That vision keeps me motivated throughout the process.

“Second, I love the idea of creating something that other people would want to use. Just finding out that there is some traction to what you are doing is an amazing feeling.

“Also, learning is a big motivator. There are so many things to know, and working with people with different knowledge and experience from mine is
very developing.”

The thing that makes you a New Rebel is…

“My naivety. I’m not afraid to try new things or jump into fields, not knowing what awaits there. The worst thing that can happen is that you fail, learn and then try something else. It’s not that bad.”



Name: Abraham Asefaw

Job: founder-director, The Pop Up Agency

Dr. Martens 8761

Why did you choose to work in your field instead of doing something else?

“I studied law and politics, and the only reason I’m in the creative industry today is thanks to my younger brother. He told me I should give it a try since I had been doing projects in my free time and I clearly enjoyed it. I gave it a shot and did it for a while, and it went well. From there I decided to study on an Interactive Art Director course at Hyper Island and it was an amazing experience. Things kind of fell into place after that. It was a long journey. I did a lot of things to get to where I am today.”

What motivates you in your work?

“This is not a 9-to-5 job for me, it’s a lifestyle. I keep learning things and challenging myself by working with so many talented people. I am sticking to my passion, and connecting with my passion, on a daily basis. I keep re-evaluating myself and asking is it still interesting? Am I still passionate about it? This is important on all levels, not just in terms of this industry. We are all complex individuals and the key to staying motivated is holding on to our passion.”

The thing that makes you a New Rebel is…

“I don’t box myself in. I came into the game late and from a different perspective, and I knew jack shit.
My various experiences have made me who I am and that is reflected in the way I approach what I do in this industry.”


Words by Tsemaye Opubor

Photography by Felix Swensson

Styling by Josef Forselius

Special thanks to Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens store, Katarina Bangata 15 Stockholm

Fashion credits:

1 Leather jacket from Stand, t-shirt by Commes Des Garçons, leather trousers with patching by Rodebjer

2 Top by Altewai Saome, faux fur by Stand and trousers from Rodebjer

3 Jacket stylist’s own, sweater from H&M, knit from BACK and trousers model’s own

4 Faux fur from BLK DNM, tie from Pierre Cardin, trousers models own and sweater from Helmut Lang.

5 Skirt from BACK and cape from H&M

6 All clothes from H&M, vintage hat

7 Trousers from Gant, leather jacket from Blk Denim and sweater from Monki