Per Holknekt

Per Holknekt - Skateboards, Homelessness, and Fashion

There are a lot of stories in the fashion industry. Some are rags-to-riches stories, others are people who were born into wealth who became fashion designers. 

Per Holknekt’s story is unique. It includes professional skateboarding, drug addiction, recovery, success, failure, and life as a fashion icon and personal inspiration. 

Following Per Holknekt’s life story is a view to the triumph of the human spirit and a commitment to personal success.

Per Holknekt Skateboarding

Early Life for Per Holknekt

Per Holknekt grew up in Falun, Dalarma, Sweden. His mother was a school principal and his father a police officer.

At 20 years old, he moved to Hermosa Beach, California, and made his living as a professional skateboarder. 

A serial entrepreneur, Per Holknekt has started many companies over the years. In 1984, he created Transworld Skateboarding, a magazine dedicated to skateboarding. 

He then returned to Sweden and attended IHM Business School studying economics. His next business venture was a skateboard company, Street Style, which he started with his brother, Thomas. Soon, he founded Svea, a skateboard and clothing company. 

At this point, his life took a hard turn. Holknekt became a drug addict. By 2000, he lost everything. He was homeless and made his living selling a Stockholm street newspaper. 

Eventually, he was able to get treatment and kick his drug habit. Only four months into his sobriety, he applied for and was accepted to Swedish Big Brother. He finished second, outlasting all but one of his housemates on the show. 

In 2002, this serial entrepreneur found himself working with fashion designer Kim Jimfelt-Ghatan. Together, they started a successful clothing company, Odd Molly. In the final quarter of 2020, Odd Molly posted total revenues of 36.41 million dollars. Per Holknekt left Odd Molly in 2013.

He lists several successes and some failures over the years:

  • He was the editor-in-chief of Miss World magazine, but it only survived two issues. 
  • In 2010, Jimfelt-Ghatan and Per Holknekt were named “Founders of the Year” at Sweden’s annual, Entreprenörsgalan, a gala for Swedish entrepreneurs.
  • Per Holknekt is a successful pinball player who has competed and won at the national, European, and world championships of the Professional Amateur Pinball Association. 
  • He was a host of Sommar, a radio show on Sveriges Radio.
  • He works as a branding consultant and a public speaker for different brands.
  • In 2016, Per Holknekt was arrested and fined 30,000 SEK for drunk driving and speeding in his motorboat by the Coast Guard. 
  • He has started over 34 companies, with a variety of successes and some failures.

Per Holknekt looks into camera

Per Holknekt and 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic was not kind to Per Holknekt. As a lecturer and entrepreneur, he saw his income dry up when the pandemic shut down much of Europe and the rest of the world.  Cancellations hit him every day while he struggled to make a living. By summer, he was simply overwhelmed. The former drug addict went to a pizzeria and had a beer. That was the first of many. His wife, Linda Holknekt, whom he married in 2018, applied for divorce. Perhaps that was the shock he needed to stop the downward spiral. He stopped drinking and sobered up. Though the marriage dissolved, he’s still in there fighting.

“When life comes to you and pokes your waist from all directions, you get tense. It affects the family, and then that part of life is broken,” he told Expressen.

His life is filled now with women reaching out to him shopping to attract his attention. Nonetheless, he’s still single. 

When you are a small public person, it becomes easy for people to hear from you. It is very often. It’s everything from Bible quotes to nude pictures. Usually these are very nice greetings,” he says in ‘Livshjulet’.”

Life Lessons

Per Holknekt speaks on a regular basis about his life. The ups and downs of success and failure, love and loss, that color everything he says. 

In his words, you can hear his pain as well as his faith in his ability to recover and rebuild from each difficulty. 

In 2017, he was nominated Speaker of the Year. He’s easily one of Sweden’s most popular speakers and influencers. 

Per holknekt and Oscar Thelin Snowmobile Ride

Per Holknekt and TIDLÖS

In November 2020, it was announced that Per Holknekt was getting back into fashion in a novel way. He joined the new watch company TIDLÖS on the Board of Directors. 

“More recently, the famous entrepreneur and fashion designer, Per Holknekt, co-founder of Odd Molly, also joined the Board of Directors having been impressed by the passion and vision of both Henry (Salmela) and Dennis (Sammelin).” - WNTZ Fox 43

The TV station goes on to describe exactly what Per Holknekt saw in TIDLÖS:

“The name TIDLÖS is the Swedish word for ’timeless’, a description that the team at TIDLÖS says captures the essence of their brand perfectly. TIDLÖS has worked diligently to realize designs that reflect the stunning beauty and timelessness of the northern regions of Scandinavia, whilst abiding by the core attributes of Scandinavia design – simplicity, minimalism, and functionalism. These designs are then brought to life by Swiss watchmakers who have passed down their skills over the centuries and whose watches uniquely bear the ’Swiss Made’ brand.”

With Holknekt’s decades of experience and his passion for success, he will help guide TIDLÖS to its place as a distinctively Swedish company. 

Per Holknekt and Fashion

On the runway in New York’s Fashion Week, the red carpet in Hollywood, or the streets of Stockholm, Holknekt can be seen in casual styles. Leather jackets, white t-shirts, A-shirts, and jeans, he portrays a look that’s clean, but very casual.

His greatest success, Odd Molly, has created the same styles for women. Along with co-founder, Kim Jimfelt-Ghatan, the styles are flowing, loose-fitting, and comfortable. 

With traditional Scandinavian whites and blues as the dominant colours, Odd Molly is a cross between the old styles of Sweden, a bit of 60s hippie influence, and the relaxed beach fashions that are associated with skateboarding culture. 

Per Holknekt sitting down

The Future

Per Holknekt is Sixty years old and having seen almost everything one can expect to see in life, there are few assurances in Holknekt’s life from the outside.

It’s guaranteed, though, that he will be an influencer, a fashion icon, and someone worth watching for decades to come.

His life, with its ups and downs, is an inspiration not just to skateboarders or fashionistas or business people or entrepreneurs, but to everyone who seeks someone whose flaws and triumphs are visible to the world. Someone so resilient that we even his fortitude.