Even if you don’t immediately recognize the name, chances are — especially if you’ve ever looked at pictures of Swedish fetish models — you will already be familiar with some of Nik’s work.
His photography has been published in a host of magazines including Rolling Stone, Marquis, Dark Spy, Skin Two, Bedeseme, Sinical, Gothic, Kingsize, Metalhammer, Teen Spirit and, of course, The Fetishistas.
Among latex designers whose work he has photographed are Naucler Design, Atsuko Kudo, House of Harlot, Inner Sanctum, Bondinage, Isabeau Ouvert, Am Statik and Christian Gschweng — all of whom are represented in the this article’s galleries at the bottom of the page.
A founder member of Swedish underground EBM act Chaos All Stars, Nikdesign is also known for his music photography, and for directing music videos.
He cites one of his most interesting projects in this area as following the legendary Beach Boys on tour through Sweden. He has also enjoyed working with Ben Christo of The Sisters of Mercy and the metal band Wolf.
He likes shooting live gigs too, and his live showreel covers a diverse range of artists and bands including Wayne Hussey, Alannah Myles and Immortal.
He particularly enjoys working with new talent, and has collaborated with such emerging Swedish bands and artists as StrongHeart, Ninedee and Mona Roukachi as well as established metal bands like Naglfar and Amon Amarth.
Nikdesign’s fetish fashion photography received early exposure from us on the original Fetishistas website (now our Archive site) in a profile of Swedish latex label Naucler Design, a brand with which he enjoyed a close association right up to its closure in January 2013.
In the early days he photographed many of the Swedish fetish models we now think of as being at the top of their game, not least Sister Sinister, with whom he had a personal relationship as well as a creative partnership.
His current partner is multi-talented Swedish-Norwegian musician/model/actress and German Fetish Ball MC Kari Berg. Kari joined Chaos All Stars five years ago and, unsurprisingly, also features in quite a lot of Nikdesign imagery.
Given his track record and knowledge of Swedish fetish scene history, Nik was an obvious person for Heidi Patterson to include in her investigation of the ‘Swedish invasion’ for the cover of The Fetishistas’ relaunch edition in November 2014.
Since he shared with Heidi his theories about why a small country like Sweden is able to punch so far above its weight in terms of fetish talent — especially fetish modelling talent — a year has passed in which even more Swedes have been making their presence felt on the international scene.
So I begin my interview by asking Nik if he thinks the Swedish fetish phenomenon will just keep on growing in the way it has been recently.
“I don’t know how high that wave is going to climb, really,” he replies. “When I started there were a few models and a few photographers in the scene in Sweden.
“But I think that the pioneering work of, especially, Naucler Design, Elva, Club Dekadance and Nocturnal Agency paved the way for the ‘Swedish invasion’.
“I think we all owe a lot to the early pioneers in the scene who dared challenge the outside world, and I speak of people 30-40 years ago rather than my own generation.
“I see myself as part of the millennial wave but I also know I would not be doing what I am if not for those who probably had the toughest journey.
“I think there are more waves coming from Sweden since I see more and more new models coming up. But,” he adds, alighting on an interesting fact that I have also noticed, “one problem could be that we have not seen the same wave of clubs and designers.
“I think the more important question would probably be why other countries have not followed, or maybe if there are more waves coming.
“I think for example The Netherlands is coming on strong and that maybe countries like Finland, Estonia, Switzerland or maybe even Iceland could well have the potential of renewing and flooding the scene with new talent in the future.”
His point about there not being no equivalent explosion in the Swedish clubbing scene chimes with a question that’s in my own mind.
Which is: instead of sticking to small local-style parties, when is Stockholm or Gothenburg going to stage a proper international fetish event that the rest of us cannot resist coming to?
I mean, do promoters in these cities not realise what a fantastic draw it is to have all these top latex models right on their doorsteps? Answers Nikdesign:
“I do believe that the bigger cities certainly hold the potential for throwing one of the biggest parties in the world, also featuring talent close at hand.”
“Still, I don’t believe we have the infrastructure for doing so when it comes to attracting the audience, ’cause there is still competition, especially from the big events in Germany where people do not have to travel as far.
“Living in Sweden, we are used to the long distances [to big European events] and we are prepared to travel. But I’m not sure that people from, say, UK, France and Italy are as willing to go to Stockholm when there are so many good events within closer range.
“If I did not come from Sweden I would probably think that our country is the paradise of the scene, considering the amount of talent that comes from our small kingdom.
“We do have some really nice clubs, some up-and-coming designers, new photographers and models that pop up. But the truth is: in the past 20 years, Sweden has also become a conservative and narrow-minded country to live in.
“We have on the one hand become more aware, more educated and more wise. But on the other hand we also see quite the opposite.
“Maybe we should look at the ‘Swedish Invasion’ rather as ‘Swedish Migration’, since I believe that many of us travel abroad because that’s where the scene really comes alive more frequently.
“Maybe that is the true nature of the phenomenon,” he muses.
“That said, I really do believe the people who organise events in Sweden do a really good job — and it is
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