The real name of the man behind Pellevävare is Per-Olof Almqvist. He was born in 1934 and grew up in the beating heart of the Swedish textiles industry: Borås. After a few years working at different textile companies, he took the leap and invested in his own collection of furniture fabrics.
Pelle was a whirlwind and an inspiration, and his furniture fabrics were a hit. Yet it was only when Pelle and two companions took over a large textile mill in Kinnahult, which had been in operation since 1893, that the real game changer took place. They introduced a terry material that had never before been seen on the Swedish market: cut terry with such a lustre in its colours and such a soft, velvety feel to it that the entire textile industry was completely taken – this was a far cry from the middling quality that Swedes were accustomed to. The product was marketed under the name of Pellevävare.
Customers loved this soft, plush fabric in bathrobes where ‘sensuality weighs heavier than functionality’ as Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet put it, and even today this velvety soft, colourful terry material is the pride of the brand, used in bathrobes and towels. Pelle also realised the importance of finding and hiring expert textile designers. Catharina Bramberg and Monica Hjelm were taken on directly from the University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm and together with Pelle, they created patterns that would go on to be hugely influential for the entire industry.
Per-Olof Almqvist passed away on Christmas Eve 1996, but his life’s work and his brands live on. Lisa Basilius is at the helm of Pellevävare as it moves into the 2020s with an uncompromising ambition to ensure the ultimate fabric quality and feel. Pelle’s innovative spirit and legacy live on and continue to challenge conventions. In fact, when faced with dilemmas or decisions, we often ask ourselves: What would Pelle have done?