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FOREWORD It all started at Fashion Week in Copenhagen, with a feeling of disunity concerning the spirit of the entire business. When these thoughts became spoken words, the first small but not infallible steps on the long dry road towards the concept of Less Magazine were made. Now, we are launching the first issue of Less Magazine, hoping to inspire others to take a stand, to buy less, and to care more. Moreover, we want to show readers a different side of the fashion world – it is not always shallow and superficial as its reputation but can actually be full of depth, intelligence, and above all, creativity. As a natural point of departure for us the theme of this issue is “Nordic” as it is something that lays deep in the identity of Less Magazine. We give you the opportunity to discover the North from a variety of perspectives, including Asian and American. Among other things, you will find a multitude of visual interpretations of ”The Nordic State of Mind,” and interviews with people rebelling against traditional Nordic esthetics and design tradition. A significant goal of Less Magazine is to promote slow clothing. We believe that slowing down will solve some of the biggest problems that the industry of fashion is facing, while at the same time encouraging creativity, and making way for quality over quantity. In our article Fast Fashion vs. Slow Clothing you can read about the effects of fast fashion and slow clothing, so you can make up your own mind on the subject. As you look through our magazine, you will discover that we are not afraid of looking back, rather than searching for the next trend. As a consequence we talk to designers about past work, as well as their new and you might not be able to find the featured clothing in stores very easily. Alongside this we also find it important to have our eyes on new talents emerging in the field, because of their fresh ideas and creative minds. When it comes to materials and fabrics, some might call us nerdy, but we feel that knowledge about the origin and the properties of materials is crucial for choosing garments of superior quality. Therefore we make an effort to focus on, and describe materials very thoroughly. Though we aim to contribute to the world of fashion magazines with more seriousness, a few of the articles will at times be humorous and self-deprecating as a way to counterbalance our at times serious tone in the magazine. With this first issue, we hope to bring you joy and inspiration. And remember: Less is sometimes more. - Martin & Pernille
Jan Paul Singson, shortened J.P Singson is a master in wandering the heights of fashion. The Manila-based writer and blogger shares his points of views, great social skills, and his never ending lust for fashion at www.jponfashionspeed.com
ILLUSTRATOR Roxanne LĂŚrkesen
Without a doubt, I am very fascinated with Scandinavian fashion. No wonder, I have been traveling to Scandinavia particularly to Sweden and Denmark, for the past five years. I never get tired from drawing inspiration from their effortlessly chic street fashion.Â I like the idea of looking polished without trying too hard. Scandinavians put a more relaxed spin to whatever you see on the runway, thereby, making the looks more relatable and practical.Â For most Asians like me, Scandinavian design has oftentimes been associated to words like simplicity, minimalism and functionality. Its design ethos lies on the less is more principle, attention to detail and utilization of quality materials concept. Functional innovative products with a progressive modern aesthetic greatly describe what Scandinavian design is all about. Scandinavians in general are perceived to have effortless sartorial style. In other words, they don't have to try hard to look chic. It is something organic, very casual and never contrived. Don't we all just want to look perfect without too much effort? Most Scandinavians are oftentimes clad in monochromatic palettes particularly blacks and whites. Perhaps the long period of biting cold weather has something to do with this. A flock of Scandinavians uniformly marching in style never escapes my attention. I draw inspiration from this clear vision. For quite some time, there has been a growing number of fresh talents from Scandinavia. And of course, their works undeniably reflect Scandinavian sensibilities. Because of this, more and more people outside Europe and North America are getting accustomed with what Scandinavian fashion is all about.
Statements on: Nordic Esthetics 6 Fast Fashion vs. Slow Fashion 11 Visualization – The Nordic state of mind by Peter Pohjola 16 Interview: Anna la cour 22 Anna la Cour 26 Moments and memories - a column by mr. Monge 33 Interview: Nom de Plume 35 Visualization – The Nordic state of mind by Marcus Bitsch 40 Focus on: Nordic materials 45 Anne vest 46 Utzon 48 Gudrun & Gudrun 50 Interview: Gudrun & Gudrun 52 White Lies 57 Hatching ladies from Margrethe-Skolen 66 Jane Munch 67 Amanda Magnussen 69 Veronica Neuhard 71 Soley Johansdottir 73 How we use clothing to express identity 75 The danger of having too much clothes 77 Interview: Nadja Meyer 80 Background: Erik Mortensen 84 Background: Moonspoon Saloon 88 Visualization – The Nordic state of mind by Henrik Silvius 93
NORDIC ESTHETICS What is Nordic Esthetics? To set the theme of this first issue of Less Magazine, we have asked the following question to some people we respect: â€?What is Nordic Ethestics to you?â€?. The interpretations of these people are all somehow different and a bit surprising some may think.
Adam Katz, American streetstyle photogapher who visits the Fashion Weeks in Copenhagen from time to time PHOTOGRAPHER Youngjun Koo
To me, there is no real definition, and I think that’s why I like it so much. There are plenty of stereotypes to what one sees on the streets of Scandinavian cities day to day, however, the actual fashion houses which have emerged from these same cities are very multifaceted. Acne is not Vibskov. Barbara í Gongini looks nothing like Whyred. Hope and Moon Spoon are polar opposites. It’s very much a microcosm, but I appreciate how open minded the designs are, suiting all demographics. I love shooting in Scandinavia for the sole purpose that I never really know what to expect.
Barbara í Gongini, Faroese designer photo from Barbara í Gongini
BARBARA I GONGINI takes its starting point in the Nordic preferences, where the aspects of form challenges and directs the focus towards a path breaking direction. The Nordic heritage in my design DNA springs out of the impossible living conditions up in the northern Atlantic, where the nature has an insisting impact on people which also resides in the Faroese culture and history - where I was born and raised. Based on this, the multi layer principle has been developed as a natural outcome of the rough climate at the Faroe Islands and further transcended into an expressive design message which is manifested in texture, shape and color. The wide range of combination possibilities given in my garments allows individuals to wear my designs according to their own universe. The sometimes dramatic and sombre tone set in the monochromatic color palette in my collections stems again from the Faroese climate and should not be confused with melancholia but rather with the endless possibilities of storytelling my collections grant. This is the sub element in me and what I bring into the already well-defined and established “avant-garde” niche of fashion.
Ivan Grundahl, danish designer PHOTOGRAFER Nicky De Silva
they are from the 50s or 60s. But the classics last of course. That is what comes to my mind.
To me, Nordic esthetics is something very positive. Clean, proper, neat, functional – just like a forest of birches. My mind is close to Japanese esthetics when I think of the Nordic. If you overlook all the electrical cables of Tokyo there is something simple and clean to the Japanese taste as well. Everyone that visits Tokyo must go to see the food department in the department store called Isetan. When you sit in a cafe in Nice you see lots of women walking by wearing tons of make up and gold jewelry – also the check out girls in the supermarket. If someone walking by is wearing a khaki coloured shirt or Bermuda shorts it most certanly is a Scandinavian – suddenly it seems clean and appetizing. You wouldn’t think that if you saw the same on Strøget in Copenhagen. It seems banal to mention Danish furniture, which I actually can’t stand if
WELCOME TO DEFINING SCANDINAVIA
AUGUST 8TH - 11TH 2013 ALL DAYS 10AM - 6PM COPENHAGEN
A fair for design and living on a clear mission to present our international audience to an incomparable variety of exhibitors, all dedicated to unite and promote the finest of Scandinavian design and living. Meeting the challenge, Defining Scandinavia raises the bar with a take on how existing trends in a new courageous yet functional context will be able to challenge the genre design and living. We call it ‘Functional Moxie’. Øksnehallen, Halmtorvet 11 1700 Copenhagen V
VS by Katalin Horvath
What is fashion? Fashion can be looked at through many different lenses, such as clothes, trends, identity, social group, economy or the environment. First of all, it represents clothes that celebrate style, glamour and beauty. Second of all, since this industry is strongly influenced by constant change, fashion trends refer to the most popular patterns that can be found in our culture. These trends are alive for one season or for an even shorter time. Furthermore, the word also represents the criteria of whether you are “in fashion” or not, referring to the ownership of the latest trends. Third of all, it stands for the physical manifestation obtained through our feeling of belonging, together with the need to present who we are as individuals. The fashion
items reflect our social status, identity and aspiration in society. The creative part of fashion is providing us with unique design ideas and wide variety from which we can choose in order to define our own personal style. According to the economical point of view, the industry can be categorized into two main product categories: high and mass-market. The first group is representing the exclusive and expensive clothes, including the haute couture, resort, cruise and ready-to-wear collections. And the second group, as the name suggests, provides clothes to its customers at affordable prices, yet still following the major fashion trends. Concerning the economy, there is the term: “democratization of fashion", which is commonly used and embrac-
es the accessibility of fashion to the audience that typically does not have the financial background for it. In order to achieve this, the mass-market retailers found the most suitable strategy: fashion collaboration, where famous fashion designers design a capsule collection for the mainstream company. Last but not least, regardless of our taste, there is an increasing consumer consciousness that concerns the environment and society. This concern is initiated through the increase in awareness regarding the differences between fast and slow fashion, these being the two main categories in which we can divide the fashion industry from an environmental and economical point of view.
simply copies or cheaper versions of the high fashion pieces seen during the fashion weeks. The word “fashion” has truly changed meaning; despite this let us appreciate and admire the talent of the designers by calling their work “fashion”, in this article, and not mass-production clothes. The problems created by fast fashion and the popular culture fashion, are related to environmental and social factors and overconsumption. The fashion retailers of today’s industry make us blind about what stands behind the curtain. It spoils us with famous designers’ collaboration; it feeds us with short-term trends, and all this for almost no money. The change between the collections, sometimes happens so fast that we can no longer keep track of which one is the latest collection. And naturally, our appetite for material consumption wants to be
fed with more and more clothes in our wardrobe. This is also influenced by the demand created through delivering low quality products, developing the need of purchasing more often. But what remains out of the public’s view is the economical growth of the company versus the high usage of natural resources. In order to produce these large amounts of clothing, the usage of resources are growing in parallel. In today’s consumption 20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the Earth’s natural resources. This production model became successful in the late 90s, because of the opening up of Asia. Thanks to this, fashion houses could transfer their production to low-cost countries, which is beneficial in profit making. The result of this was downward pressure on working conditions and environmental standards, which resulted in issues the
Fast Fashion The mass-market’s production model known as fast fashion is living its full success in the present. One aspect that is significant in evaluating between ourselves, consumers, is the meaning and usage of the word “fashion” in this part of the industry. Clearly, the high-end designers, who hold catwalk presentations in the fashion capitals, are gifted and full of creativity. They make the best out of themselves to create unique garments for fashion lovers, who are willing to pay the huge amounts, but are assured to have their own individual items. Contrary to this, the mass-market can be called anything but fashion in the creative sense. Regardless of this, mainstream clothes can be called “fashion” in the popular culture sense, being part of our everyday life. The various items are all similar from one retail shop to another and most of the time they are
child labour, unpaid overtime and so on. Limits were pushed regarding manufacturing time; today the average time taken to create a T-shirt in a production factory located in Bangladesh is 48.5 seconds. These matters are clearly having a direct impact as much on the environment as society. One recent tragedy that perfectly explains the time pressure put on clothing factories is this year’s event on 24th April. On this day, a factory building collapsed in Savar, Bangladesh, leaving around 1,127 dead. Because the mainstream companies demand fast results, crucial aspects like safety regulations are pushed to one side. It is not enough that the companies pay
Slow Fashion The slow fashion movement started as an alternative, rather than in opposition to, the fast growing mass-production model dominating the fashion industry. It was created by the need for sensitivity towards speed influenced not only by the products sold on the high streets, but also by our lifestyle, where rushing is a core element of our daily routine. The slow movement’s clear message is to slow down the pace in which we produce and consume. This also represents the shift from quantity to quality, requiring an awareness of the environment and society, motivating designers, buyers, and consumers to work more closely together. It is simply a different approach, which values choice, information, cultural diversity, identity and more importantly balance. And while the “fashion” cannot be found in the mass-market because of the many similarities, the slow movement is concentrated on
the minimum wage required by the country’s government, and not a penny more, they also risk people’s lives by not paying attention to and insisting upon these matters when signing the contract with the factory. The reason behind the collapse was that originally, the building was designed for house shops and offices. Additionally three times more floors were added illegally to the construction out of necessity. The cause of the collapse was the generators starting up after a power cut and the construction not being able to handle the vibration sent out by all the sewing machines. Fashion companies like Italy’s United Colours of Benetton, Spain’s Mango and UK’s
Primark were manufacturing their produce in this factory in Bangladesh. And because this product category is speed-driven, time does not allow the designers to focus too much on creativity, but rather on implementing the trends according to the target group’s needs. Not only does this production model represent cheapness, mass availability and volume purchasing, but it is also associated with the chain system of the greater the production, the greater the impact on the environment. Companies like H&M, Zara and Topshop, leading retailers of the mass-market, embody the above-mentioned production model.
diversity. This is achieved through focusing on creativity, thought and handicraft. Balance and transparency are significant elements of this approach, through sharing the information and raising awareness about how our clothes are being produced, also creating a close relationship with the customers. For this, it tries the same way as in the food industry, to support the local manufacturers by choosing them above the low-cost countries. The NICE initiative (Nordic Initiative Clear & Ethical) by the Nordic Fashion Association developed a web tool for designers and producers, including a forum where the users can exchange information about slow fashion. The purpose of this project is to inspire the participants into more environmentally safe and ethical consumption and sourcing. This opportunity would be beneficial for small designers, to work together with their producers and consumers in order to become more successful.
The slow fashion movement directs attention to the design process, rather than the end product, allowing designers to put creativity first, resulting in long-lasting products through craftsmanship. Because this approach requires engagement with environmental factors, the participants are motivated to improve each individual step of the design process and not only to use the organic version of the material. Again, this is strongly connected to the aspect of taking the time to create, rather than achieve fast results. That is why a large number of fashion brands, who are following this pathway, are taking interest in improving the life quality of workers as well as being strongly engaged with the environmental impact of their production of the garments. All of this is done naturally next to the use of the organic version. One admirable company that follows
these aspects is the Danish fashion label, Noir. The brand has the vision of making meaningful and desirable consumption possible for the modern fashion-conscious customer. The company is committed to helping the development of fair trade and organic cotton in Uganda, Africa also being a signatory to the UN Global Compact. Here, the appetite for material ownership is turned from lowest quality to the highest possible, which is maintained throughout its entire life cycle. These services, which were performed in the old days by tailors, bring back the reparation services and the new concept of recycling return policy. The Swedish company Nudie Jeans does practice these services, allowing customers to wear their pair of jeans longer through providing
maintenance at the retail stores and when they cannot be worn anymore, returning them and getting 20% off a new purchase. The slow fashion movement initiates the shift from the present situation in the fashion industry, dominated by the mainstream, to a huge number of niches and a small number of mass-market companies. This way new creative talents like have the possibility to become successful and not be pushed away because of the inability to keep up the competition with the established competitors.
Fashion Collaborations When talking about the democratization of fashion, the most commonly-used strategy is the fashion collaboration between mass-market companies and renowned fashion designers. The result is a capsule collection designed by influential names. This strategy provides accessibility to everyone, who cannot afford the high priced items from the fashion houses. Naturally, the clothes mention both the name of the designer and the company. One of the recent fashion collaborations is between the global company H&M and the renowned fashion house, Maison Martin Margiela. Although H&M collaborated with other influential names like Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Jimmy Choo, this last one is clearly a paradox or even ironic, according to some fashion
critics. Firstly, let us evaluate what the name Maison Martin Margiela stands for. The designer graduated from the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and although he has not been part of the Antwerp-Six revolutionists, who stand against the luxurious fashion world, he carries the same belief. Some of the most celebrated names from the Antwerp-Six are Dries van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester. Margielaâ€™s fame did not change his method of being as a designer and he kept a low personal profile throughout his entire career. This included remaining backstage after the catwalk shows, not participating in press meetings or interviews and undoubtedly the signature of his brand, which are the nameless hangtags. His design ethic is the antithesis of the mass
media and mass production model and he is the master of deconstruction. The paradox between the Swedish retailer H&M and the fashion house, Maison Martin Margiela is the value of Margielaâ€™s anti-fashion belief. This collaboration represents exclusivity versus mass-production and anonymity versus celebrity. Even though the garments designed for H&M were re-used from the labelsâ€™ archive, it is still an ironic collaboration that would most likely not have taken place if the designer was still present in the company. And the customers, who stood waiting for hours in the long lines to purchase the collection, had no idea what they were buying into.
So how can we, as fashion consumers, decide which direction to support? One aspect that both slow and fast fashion have in common is that the production of a garment requires natural resources, like the production of the fabric, growing of the seed, transportation, production of the garment, energy and human resources, which is seemingly inevitable. Beside this fact, each direction has their pros and cons: Although mainly provoking pressure on the environment, the mass production model, is the “cheap and chic” affordable availability for society. On top of this, we should recognize that fast fashion companies, such as H&M, took the initiative of compensating for the past by introducing environmentally con-
cerned campaigns. In this case, a conscious collection was launched where the conventional cotton was switched to organic, together with the introduction of the recycling returns policy, practising the same concept as the Swedish company, Nudie Jeans. Even though, some companies try to create a better image through creating conscious collections, unfortunately this part of the industry does not provide us with enough information about environmental matters. And these are encouraging customers, through the low price offer, to over consume with the help of short-term trends and rapidly changing collections. The slow fashion movement fo-
cuses on the design process, which in the fast fashion’s case is being rushed through. Slow fashion designers are allowing themselves to concentrate more on creativity, giving space for surprises that can pop-up along the way. The duration of the process is not restricted, permitting the possibility to be able to create handcrafted, long-lasting, and high quality products.
Above all this, the diversity drives this movement and the similarity is excluded as much as possible. Although offering a limited number of garments, this naturally being part of the movement’s calling, the designers try to broaden the lifecycle of the product by creating long-lasting pieces with higher prices in order to avoid the need for shopping too often, as well as the environmental damage. The main difference between the two directions is that, in slow fashion, the environmental concern does not only result in the usage of organic cotton, but also in the pushing of boundaries to improve each individual step of the design process. That is why it is important for us to admire this prudent attitude. And a commonly-used alternative is to re-use through the famous second-hand and vintage shops, which have affordable prices and/or designer clothes. This option can be easily accessed by everyone and can become an alternative to purchases of newly-produced clothes in the mass-market area. The production cycle here
is built on mutual trust between stakeholders where the true price incorporates ecological and social costs. All participants of this model are to be deeply connected with the impact on the environment.
people choose durability, thoughtfulness and creativity, above flashy designer bags and fancy sunglasses. The slow lifestyle is an alternative to getting away from the stress and rush of our everyday life, also reconnecting with nature. The slow fashion movement is not bad for the economy. This approach is simply a different way of thinking and acting. We can already see that luxury fashion brands are engaging with the environmental matters, sustainability and social responsibility. If each individual label would take the initiative to create high-quality garments, the impact on the environment would be significantly lower. And the cyclical aspect of higher quality, higher price, but longer life cycle, is empowering both the economical and environmental matters. And slow fashion could potentially result in the same level of profit as fast fashion.
“It’s about reconnecting with our clothes, rather than viewing them as quick trends or throwaway items.” (Elizabeth Cline) The slow movement has in the present become a lifestyle for a small consumer group, who instead of following the fast fashion consumption thread, searches for alternatives. The focus is around the concept of consuming less which not only lowers the number of purchases, but also raises awareness and consciousness around environmental aspects. These
VISUALIZATION - THE NORDIC STATE OF MIND
PETER POHJOLA When I think of nordic state of mind I think of coldness, solitude and conservatism. Cold winter nights and wrapping yourself in many layers of clothes to fight against the weather. People often have very strict ideas of what women and men should wear, but I donâ€™t really care about women and men having different clothes. In this editorial I used unisex pieces: jackets, blazers, combat boots, hakamas and dress shirts. Wardrobe basics one should have, wether you are man or woman. I like to think clothing more as an armor to protect yourself from outside world rather than something to show off with. I find it more important to create a certain mood with photos, rather than focusing on small details. I wanted to create a mood to show the darkness of autumn and winter, to create the feeling of solitude.
PHOTOGRAPHER & STYLING Peter Pohjola MODEL Mathilda M채kinen
Interview Anna la Cour
haute couture paris and the mood of nordic people
By Pernille Secher Mosbech
PHOTOGRAFHER Pernille Sandberg
It is a warm and sunny day when I meet up with Anna la Cour in the Harbor of Tuborg located on the fringe of Copenhagen city. We sit down at a small brasserie with a great panoramic view, sip black coffee and talk about Anna's experience in the world of Haute Couture, whilst listening to the jingling sound of halyards clapping against the masts of the small pleasure boats in the background. Anna is a Danish girl what is evident from her height, long blond hair and blue eyes. At the moment she is studying at Parsons School of Design/Paris college of Art in Paris, where she is respected and has already won a competition. Recently, she was given a place on the Dean's list as an indication of the fact that she is one of the most talented students at Parsons. But her journey in the world of fashion that now sees her in Paris doing Haute Couture, started out in Copenhagen and she slowly realized
that she wanted to do Haute Couture for a living. "When I first started sewing I realized that making clothes and sewing made me really happy. It was a way for me to express myself and gave an outlet for all the odd things that were on my mind. After a while I found that I like clothes and making clothes, but not at any cost. You see I like making clothes, but I often feel that it is too much about the money and how to produce fast to get profit whilst compromising on the materials, the quality of the craftsmanship and the conditions it is to be produced under. And for me the answer to this ambivalence was Haute Couture." On her way to this realization she went to two different schools in Copenhagen and had an internship at the menswear brand Uncommon Creatures, which creative universe is an odd, dark and gloomy world. Here she had her final clarification; if she was to keep
making clothes and have pride in her work, she couldn't do ready-to-wear. So as a consequence, she had to move to Paris where she attended the Paris American Academy, and it felt right. "It was fantastic for me to witness the possibility of spending so much time and money on one piece. No mass production tendencies here! It is completely normal to spend 300 hours making one garment even though it might never be sold and will only be of value to the Haute Couture House.. This is what I find so fascinating about this world of Haute Couture. It is nothing like how clothes are made anywhere else. In short you can say that the big difference when making ready-to-wear is that every minute you use is an expense. With Haute Couture it is different, every minute you spend makes the garment even more valuable."
According to Anna, it is more than just the different time perspective of Haute Couture that makes it special. The entire approach is different to what she was used to, and it is very interesting to hear her take on this as she has been part of both worlds and seen them both from the inside. "Before working with Haute Couture I used to flat pattern methods, where you turn your ideas into paper, move it around, cut and adjust. I have realized that this is a very production oriented angle of approach that makes it possible to send the work on to be produced somewhere else. Before I always had to confine and limit myself to whatever could fit the paper form of working, but not anymore. But it was a good way to start, and I don't regret that I learned those techniques." When Anna attended the Paris American Academy she learned a very specific technique developed by the Haute Couture Queen known as Madam Gres. Her former seamstresses worked at the school where the students were taught the
secrets of draping 60 meters of silk jersey into a dress and still have it look light and elegant. Anna explains more to me about Haute Couture.
“It was fantastic for me to witness the possibility of spending so much time and money on one piece. No mass production tendencies here!” "It is a bit like some kind of fashion lodge. The rules of Haute Couture are very strict. To be able to call your fashion house an Haute Couture house, you have to get three invitations to do so. A lot of designers get two invitations but never get the third one." To get the rights to buy Haute Couture, people also have to live up to some demands and be aproved. These approved people are a very small crowd. “They are a small group of
women. They live in an odd world with rich people who are always on a diet to be able to fit into the clothes while striving to achieve the most extreme garments in the world.” It fascinates Anna how it can be affordable for the fashion houses to use so much time and money to create beautiful things that might never be sold. This talk leads Anna to take out one of her dresses that she has brought to the occasion. She zips down the garment bag and pulls out a dress made of a heavy woven linen material in a dark grey shade. Down one side it is decorated with some kind of excrescences made of the same material. Anna tells me that they are inspired by whale barnacles, small crustaceans with cone-shaped shells made of chalk. She tells me that she spent hours and hours working out the right way to make them, and then hours and hours making them by hand. In total she spent around 300 hours on that dress.
“There comes a time where you have to choose who you are and how much time you want to spend in this field and my choice was to use unbelievable amounts of time. It is something that I have chosen to dedicate a huge part of my life doing.” Anna finds comfort and satisfaction in working meticulously with a project even if it means she has to do 300 extra hours in her spare time. “That feeling you get when something you wanted to make suddenly seems possible after trying and trying is so satisfying. Sometimes when I have been sitting, trying to figure out how to make something specific that just won’t work you can suddenly see me rush up and run around in excitement and nobody understands what is going on. That is when I have finally found a solution.” She tells me that when she has finished studying and has to start working, this is an experience that she will still enjoy in the field of Haute Couture as the designer is present throughout the entire process of production from idea to finished garment, unlike in the
ready-to-wear business. “I love that I have time and space to be childish and play around with my work. All fun and games”. She laughs and shows me a vest that she brought. It is made from soft black goatskin on some sides and knitted wool on others; and the construction looks very complicated. Anna tells me that the inspiration came from origami, the art of folding paper. Her overall style, which also includes menswear, is dark, gloomy and unfriendly; something she might have brought with her from her internship at Uncommon Creates. Her color palette mainly moves around different shades of black, grey and green. But even though she can be playful and inspired by children's toys, she is also heavily influenced by her Nordic roots, which shows not only in her own designs, but also when I ask her dreams and ambition for the future. ”Paris is not some kind of hideaway for me to get away from that (Nordic design esthetics ed.), but more like my way of bringing something new and more Haute Cou-
ture-like to Danish fashion. Personally it (French design ed.) is not nearly dark and strange enough for me. I think that might be to do with the cold and grey Nordic weather which affects peoples' moods here, and makes Nordic designers favour the dark and somber side.” Anna La Cours’ mission is to combine the Nordic esthetics with the quality, handicraft and work spirit of Haute Couture. ”During the last couple of years my dreams and ambitions have changed, not in theme but in direction. I don't want to become a designer in the Danish way. I have grown wiser now I know I could never sit down all day and draw 15-minute t-shirts to be sold for nothing. I would rather work as a checkout assistant in Fakta (local supermarket, ed.)!” Even after a short glance at the work of Anna La Cour it is crystal clear to everyone that the chance of meeting Anna in Paris during Haute Couture Fashion Week by far outweighs the chance of ever meeting her in Fakta.
anna la cour
PHOTOGRAPHER Pernille sandberg STYLIST Christoffer Mygind Juul MODELS Moe Brandi from Le Management & Mikkel Lystrup from 2pm MAKE-UP Nina Massara LOCATION TAP1
Junior collection at Parsons Paris School of art and design.
surrealism black mohair jacket draped upside down, to create irregular volume and boiled with foam balls tightly fastened into the fabric
Junior collection at Parsons Paris School of art and design.
surrealism grey wool jersey cardigan with incorporated tubes as a part of the pattern
Junior collection at Parsons Paris School of art and design.
surrealism Grey mohair sweatshirt with classical trimmings, draped upside down to put the emphasis on the volume under the arms.
Paris American Academy
Haute Couture black lace dress with grey knittet life vest inspired elements
Paris American Academy
Haute Couture Grey goat suede vest with mohair lining, the pattern made exactly as an oversize fortune-teller
PHOTOGRAPHER Pernille Sandberg STYLIST Christoffer Mygind Juul MODELS Moe Brandi from Le Management & Mikkel Lystrup from 2pm MAKE-UP Nina Massara LOCATION TAP1
Paris American Academy
Haute Couture black linen dress with gauze, inspired by barnacles
moments and memories a column by mr. Monge Phillip Monge is a young and unwise writer living in the heart of Copenhagen. His lack of fashion expertise is shown every day at his poorly curated board of inspiration www.superbial.dk.
A little while ago I went to the gym I once read an article in some depressive and self-destructive too-fool-for-cool-magazine that I wouldn’t be able to remember the name of, not even if I tried my hardest. It featured an interview with this one guy, Rick, who said something ’bout that I “should buy less clothing and go to the gym instead”. I was like: ‘this guy’s got the guts to say shit like this in a paper with all these skinny ass people, who haven’t smelled like a men’s dressing room since they quit ballet’. Also, a gym-membership costs me about €40 a month and even if I would want to buy some gear made by a poor child-laborer in a factory, or a prison for that matter, next to a nuclear reactor in the jungle of Bangladesh, I would definitely not get far with that amount of money.
Then I did what Rick had told me and went to the gym. All dressed up in that ”swoosh” and ”three stripes”, that I’d once bought and never worn, I looked like the fittest motherfucker in the room. Of course, my lack of skills made me just an Average Joe that day, but that’s not important. Nevertheless, suddenly something great happened to me. A young and inexperienced dude entered the gym and he was even worse than I was. Not only did his heart rate increase by a hundred percent just by looking at Abercrombie & Fitch fist-pumping iron in the corner; he also looked like a more misplaced fellow than Yelawolf does in the rap-industry. Google him, homie. Google him! I wore my gear looking like some elite, but still quite retarded, waterboy from the NBA while he looked like a mediocre evil character
from the Star Wars heptalogy. He wore a black, oversized dress inspired by the classic Detroitman-on-roids ‘wifebeater’, but he didn’t look anything like a guy who could beat up his own wife, or any other’s wife for that matter. Not that he should ever try of course. He would never even get the chance anyway. Who should his wife be? Padmé Amidala? I’m quite sure she’s already taken. Furthermore she’s not even into the dark side as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, underneath the dress he wore a pair of pants with a crotch that dropped to his knees. He easily could’ve worn up to seven diapers underneath that thing without anyone noticing. I was actually quite convinced that he did. I would’ve shat my pants showing up in the gym looking like that. Definitely.
When I got home I googled that wise guy Rick not knowing who the fuck to look for. I searched several times. ”Astley”, ”Gervais” and ”Ross” came up as suggestions, and after a short digression building up my self-esteem listening and repeating ”IMA BO$$” synchronic with the last mentioned Ricky, I came up with the name “Owens”. “Rick Owens”. I realized that the poor fellow from the gym must’ve read the exact same thing as I did. ‘Cause he looked just like someone who could’ve been Rick Owens’ baby brotha. The only difference was that Rick’s dress was much longer and his crotch dropped way deeper.
At this point I actually feel quite comfortable in the gym-area, but to my disappointment I haven’t The hours went by as I sat on a giant rubber-ball seen my unknown science-fiction buddy since then. He must’ve found some ‘religious-only’ with some disgusting protein-filthy snack in open-hours or maybe just realized that hitting on my hand, because some hot fitness-girl at the check-in-desk had told me that I would grow big girls would be getting much easier looking like if I ate it. I just stared at my new hard-trying brah, the lion king of the beach, spaceship, galaxy or who had made my day. Because of him I wasn’t whatever awesome place that was on his mind. the one who got abandoned and even uttered from the circle of gym-social acceptance. He was.
ILLUSTRATION Georgina Terragni
nom de plume art, theater, the beauty of natural materials
BY Kolbr煤n Erna Valgeirsd贸ttir
When taking a look at the up and comers of Danish fashion design, It would be a shame to overlook the beautiful, renaissance inspired designs of the brand Nom de plume, even though it might not fall completely into the category of the esthetics, people normally associate with Nordic design.
PHOTOGRAPHER Marco Ponti & Leonardo Anker MODEL Leonardo Anker
When taking a look at the up and comers of Danish fashion design, It would be a shame to overlook the beautiful, renaissance inspired designs of the brand Nom de plume, even though it might not fall completely into the category of the esthetics, people normally associate with Nordic design. While preparing for my meeting with Anker, the man behind the brand, I noticed that there was not all that much information about the designer himself. As I read on about the creative universe surrounding the brand, I became more curious about the person, whose fantasy I was reading about. Armed with my list of questions I headed towards downtown Copenhagen. We had agreed to meet at Ricco’s café. A small, buzzing city café where you can actually get a pretty decent cup of coffee. Since I was early, I ordered and found a seat. As I waited for him to show up, I was worried I wouldn’t recognize him. Although I had pulled my best Internet stalking skills while doing my research, I hadn’t been able to find a picture of him. After 5 minutes of sipping my latté, a guy appeared in the doorway. He smiled at me and without even thinking, I immediately introduced myself. He looked like a modern version of Leonardo da Vinci and sure enough I was right. This was the man behind the mask, the young designer Leonardo Anker. Eager to get some answers, we sat down and he told me how it all started. “My mom worked as a set designer in theaters when I was younger and I got really inspired by all the costumes involved in her work. I also used to play life action role-play as a child; again I was inspired by costumes and history. As I grew up, I wanted to translate my fascination of costumes into fashion. I think in 2007 is when I started the brand by selling jewelry. Basic, small designs and I just went out
to stores and asked: “would you buy my jewelry? “. People were very interested and that inspired me to start thinking about doing something bigger. In 2008 I got a freelance job designing costumes for the royal ballet in Copenhagen. It was a modern, very beautiful ballet and my first experience of bringing my fantasy to life in the form of clothing. The final push came in 2009 when I was working for Nag store in here in Copenhagen. I went to Copenhagen Fashion Week on behalf of the store and was very disappointed of the fashion shows I went to. All I saw was uninspiring T-shirts and jeans and that was when I decided to do my first collection, Phillip I. Phillip I was king Louis XIV of France’s brother. He was this crazy guy who among other things invented brothels and high heeled shoes.” After having a little laugh at the cost of Phillip I, we went on to talk about his pseudonym, Alberto Naselli. I wanted to know about Leonardo’s connection to this character and why he had chosen to use this name as his own.
STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY & EDITING Leonardo Anker
“Alberto Naselli was the creator of the Italian comedia dell’arte which was a theatre troupe in the 15’th century. The company was one of the first ones to tour outside of Italy and they even went to Paris in 1572. He was known for playing the character Harlequin. This guy worked himself up from practically nothing and is now a monumental part of Italian theatre history. In a way, that is how I see myself. Someone who comes from humble beginnings and is working his way to a different level in life. I’m also inspired by the patchwork costume of the character Harlequin. On my website I wrote a story about how I, as Alberto Naselli, take bits and pieces of people’s costumes and then put them all together into this unique, haute couture outfit. In a nutshell, my creative universe is all about capturing the essence of this character and bringing it to my world, the Scandinavian fashion world.” I finally started to get a real picture of whom this blue eyed, easygoing guy who sat across me was. As I wondered why he had chosen to drape himself in mystery, I wanted to know the initial idea behind the brand, Nom de plume. “Well, Nom de plume is a French phrase that means pen name and is something that writers use. Using a pen name
allowed me to go with this weird character thing I had created around A. Naselli. I could be more theatrical in my designs and if it were not well received it wouldn’t be such a big deal because I was
“protected” by my pen name. Now when I’m starting to design under my own name and promote myself, Nom de plume will serve more as my multi artistic brand. Apart from fashion design, I paint, do sculptures and act in artistic short films.” For any designer, fabrics and materials are a key focus point. They can often make or break a beautiful design. For Anker, that has meant a lot of experimenting as he explained.
“During the last couple of years I have experimented a lot with different kinds of materials, both concerning my art and my clothing. The link between expensive materials and good quality is often obvious. I have to confess that I appreciate quality like super 100, higher in wool or Italian wool, cashmere, silk, angora, viscose and leather. I also work with linen and cotton a lot as it often is less expensive. Cotton for instance can be transformed in so many different ways. It really depends on the design but I never ever use polyester or anything in that category. As natural consequences of working with expensive materials and always inquiring with the supplier, I can always vouch for its quality and durability. Of course there will always be materials that are more fragile, but I always give the customer advice on how to care for it.” Although important, the quality of the fabrics is not the only aspect that matters to the designer. Visual and functional features of materials also play a big role in the work.
PHOTOGRAPHER Leonardo Anker & Marco Ponti MODEL Leonardo Anker
“When I have a customer, I make sure to live up to their expectations about quality as well as ensure them that the garment will be comfortable to wear. Natural materials often fall more beautifully than artificial ones so I mostly work with them. One time though, I worked with metal. It is extremely beautiful in pictures but is rarely functional. As a designer, I think it is a part of the job to try different combinations of materials and qualities in order to come up with new ideas. Sometimes synthetic materials can be very nice looking, but personally, I wouldn’t like to wear them and therefore I wouldn’t want my customers to either.”
As I described before, Anker has a noticeable, personal style. He carries a part of his inner, creative universe on the outside but in a subtle way. I wondered what influenced him and his designs style wise.
just kept working on my visions.” After going through the past and the present of Nom de Plume, I felt it was time to talk about the future and the ambition of the brand.
“I really like the romantic periods from history, anything up until the 1920´s. Some of my inspiration comes from the Viking age as well but I mostly look to the Japanese culture for minimalism and structure to my work. It gives a certain balance. I think that the mixture of those two styles is something that is missing amongst all the sneakers and caps you see out there.“ For the longest time, Scandinavia has mostly been known for its product and furniture design. It is only in the recent years that the fashion industry has begun to expand and blossom. We discussed what it meant being a Nordic brand.
“Of course the ambition for the brand is for it to grow and right now I just did an art film under the brand´s name titled “The Narcissist”. Hopefully it will be ready soon but I’m currently waiting for it to come out of the cutting room. I’m also planning on doing more paintings and some artistic fashion collections. Recently I just got my first proposal from a financial patron and I’m pretty excited about that. In 2012 I created a sister brand to Nom de plume, called: Black Albino. The plan is to do wearable fashion, inspired by a darker, more minimalistic universe under that name. That way I can keep on expanding Nom de Plume as an artistic, concept brand and still be able to do wearable, high-end fashion as well. “
“In general I think that Nordic design gets a lot of attention just for the sake of it being Nordic but that has not been my personal experience. With all my heart I do belief that if I was an Italian or a French designer, I would get much more recognition for my work. The reason for that is what I do is not at all in the typical Scandinavian style. As a young designer, my experience with the Danish fashion industry has not been very positive. The first time I asked to be a part of Copenhagen fashion week, the only answer I got was that I could not afford it. In spite of that I have tried to build up my brand and
And with the future plans and the dreams in mind I realized, that the man behind the brand, is as multifaceted as the universe he creates beautiful things within. This creative universe is of another world, and that is naturally the reason why Anker, as the designer’s friends call him, needs a different name under which he can do his art. I thought I was going to explore who Anker was when I went to meet up with him, but the reason why I couldn’t find any information about Anker during my research was simply this; that the name of the designer is Alberto Naselli.
STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, MODELLING & EDITING Leonardo Anker
PILESTRÆDE 47, 1112 KBH K
Marcus Møller Bitsch
VISUALIZATION - THE NORDIC STATE OF MIND
The series is primarily inspired by the bond the Scandinavian countries have with nature – in this case the ocean as centrepiece, and how influenced we are by it. The Scandinavian people have always lived hand in hand with nature, and nourished by its amazing “I”. Our modern society has capitalistic blood running through its veins, but our mentality is still influenced by the old Nordic romantic spirit. In the series, the model is a symbol of the capitalism and it’s meeting with the aesthetics of the romanticism. The model is styled with a typical working suit from the 1900’s in mind, but embossed by the minimalistic and modern style the Scandinavian countries possesses. The model’s presence and bare feet symbolizes the contact with nature.
HAT Borsalino SUIT Day Birger et Mikkelsen SHIRT Calvin
HAT Borsalini SUIT vintage SHIRT Dior
HAT Borsalino SHIRT Ralph Lauren SILK SKIRT Dior
HAT Borsalino SUIT Vintage SHIRT Vintage PHOTOGRAPHER Marcus MØller Bitsch STYLIST Kristian Hindø-Lings MAKE-UP ARTIST Santi Kitipanya MODEL Kristian Hindø-Lings
At Less Magazine we are proud of our Nordic heritage and almost everything that comes with it. Therefore we are naturally proud of designers specializing in working with traditional Nordic materials. We sat down to have a talk with 3 of those designers representing each of their own area and material. by Martin Mitchell Anne Vestesen and her brand Anne Vest, explores the darker yet elegant side of the Nordic esthetic with inspiration drawn from metropoles such as Paris, and works in primarily skin and shearling. Anne Vest is a brand trying to withstand pressure from the mass market and is built around the premise of good craftsmanship and the right materials:
“It has always been a big issue for me to convey the good way of working. Good quality materials and good craftsmanship but also the process of pattern making to get the right fit of the clothes. That has sort of been the starting point for the company.” Working in expensive materials such as shearling, it is important for Anne Vest to have the right partners and to really trust those producing the collections.
PHOTO Oliver Stahlman
eather is made from the skin of a number of different animals, most commonly from the cow. It gets tanned and becomes what we know as leather, which is a very durable and flexible material. It can be treated in several different ways to achieve certain qualities. Shearling is a sheepskin or lambskin pelt that has gone through a limited shearing process to obtain a certain depth in the wool fibers. Typically, shearling pelt has leather on one side and the shorn fibers on the other. Shearling is great in bad weather and therefore the material serves as a great choice for winter wear.
“I work with a number of really talented people. I mean really, really talented. I don’t have to compromise in the technical area. That does not work when you are dealing with such expensive materials. I’d rather want the product to be too expensive but with top notch quality than to compromise on the quality to make it cheaper. If you have the great materials and start compromising it will not turn out well.” Though Anne Vest loves to work with the materials she usually only makes the first version in toile because it is too expensive to make three or four versions of a shearling jacket:
“The people making my clothes are so incredibly talented that I only make the toile version and send it to them. I don’t sew in fur anymore, sometimes in the
skin, but I always send it to them. What is actually hardest about working in fur and skin is the big difference there is between a sample in the toile and in the actual fabric. You cannot afford to do something wrong because the fabric is so expensive. You need to be precise when working with it. Does this material work with this or with that? And it all comes with experience. When working with fur and skin you need to be aware of the tanning process. If it has to be a rather natural tanning you need to think about decolorisation if it is dyed with a black color, for example. These are small things that you need to be aware of when working with leather and fur as materials and that is the same issue when working in wool. It obviously peels but people know that. You also need to take that into consideration when buying it as a customer. When selling and dealing with fur for example it is important to notice that every product cannot be alike. There will always be a slight difference from piece to piece which you just need to be aware of. It is a natural product and behaves like that” The fur that is used by Anne Vest comes from Spain and Italy in which the sheep live a cer-
PHOTO Oliver Stahlman
tain way that makes the structure special.
“ I use European skins and furs because it lives up to the standards I have concerning maintaining good conditions for animals during their breeding. It is easily visible on the materials if the animals have lived a good life or a bad life. In this area fine and expensive materials interconnects with the well-being of the animals.” Working in fur and skin is a risky business but Anne Vest seems to have found her path in the world of fashion. Keeping her work well-crafted and well thought out she speaks the language of the slow clothing environment fluently which can only be greatly appreciated. Hopefully she can inspire people to take a stand in this fast moving fashion industry.
eal skin repels water while allowing perspiration to evaporate and pass through. The synthetic material Gore-Tex was modelled
on the properties of seal skin. Benedikte Utzon, the designer behind the brand Est. 1995 Benedikte Utzon and graduate from Margrethe-Skolen, has made a career out of working with seal skin. Utzon worked with Great Greenland during the 90s and made seal skin a sought after product. She also helped the Inuits to improve their living conditions by making seal skin a desired product.
industry amongst people thinking that baby seals get hunted by poachers and are killed by the dozen, thus threatening their population. This is a completely wrong conception that Utzon tries to fight: “I work with seal skin as with any other product but for me there is a story behind it. In the fashion industry there is a lot of talk about sustainability and what Greenland and the Greenlanders stand for is in fact very sustainable. They are people who live by nature, for nature and with nature. They hunt to live.” Working with seal skin also provides Utzon with a lot of challenges as well as opportunities. It is not a common material with which to work:
“In the 90s I made seal skin modern. When I started it cost 6 euros per skin and no one cared to use it. Therefore I chose to color them in all sorts of bright colors and made them look like fake fur, but at the same time I wrote on the inside that if you bought the product you would support a thousand year-old culture with a population living in and with nature. Of course they could not say anything against that. At the same time I made the design modern and contemporary. After that everybody wanted to wear seal skin which ended up costing as much as 215 euros per skin.” After collaborating with Great Greenland in the 90s and again in 2013 Utzon has become a spokesperson for hunters of seal skin in Greenland. The EU has banned the import of seal products with an exemption for Inuits which has resulted in a decline in the image and market for seal. There is often a misinformed view of the seal
BENEDIKTE UTZON PHOTO PETER IRGENS
“Seal is tough working with as it only has one layer of hair. You need to really consider what you do and what to do with it. But I really love the velvet-like structure of the hair. It works really well when pairing it with other materials. For example in my latest collection I used stretch leather to make seal look light and sexy. And also silver fox to get the dramatic expression more out there. Another big challenge is the coloring of the skin which is a long process and requires a lot of work with the tanners to get the right colors out and to get them integrated in a fashion sense in my clothes. This collection is nougat, silver and black.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY COPENHAGEN FASHION WEEK.
“I also think that seal skin is the hardest to actually work with, simply because you see everything! The seal does not have that soft woolen layer under a layer of long hairs that fur usually have which means that you really need to know what you are doing!” Seal skin is a Nordic treasure to be proud of and it is of great appreciation that designers like Benedikte Utzon manage to incorporate this unique material into their collections. One can only hope that the effort made by Utzon and the Great Greenland team will convince people of the advantages of maintaining this Nordic heritage.
GUDRUN & GUDRUN PHOTO JETTE JØRS
ool is a material that comes from sheep, but also from goat, camels and llamas. The thinner and longer the fibers of the hair, the better the quality. Due to its long history, wool is often a benchmark for other fabrics and stands as one of the most important fabrics in the world due to its great absorbency, insulation and durability. Faroe Islands-based Gudrun&Gudrun has made a living out of working with wool. They embrace their culture’s history of producing wool and working with knitwear by specializing in the world of hand knitting:
“That is what is special about us – hand knitting. You are able to do things with hand knitting that you simply cannot do with a machine. For example, this very hairy hand knitted piece I am wearing, you can’t do this on the machine because the
wool has to be attached to the plates in the machine and the hair will be pushed down when working. Obviously, you can try to cheat your way by loosening the tension, but you will never achieve the same hairy look as with the hand knitted piece.” Working with wool, Gudrun&Gudrun knows the features of different kinds of wool from all over the world and for example describes their own Faroese wool like this:
“It is very harsh and perhaps itchy. It is known as “dry wool” and it is rather dark. The look is very matte. It is very, very rigid. It can last for years and years to come. This kind of wool is not available from any other place than the Faroe Island because the sheep walk in the mountains all year around in all kinds of weather. Because of this the wool gets really harsh on the outside and very fine close to the skin.
This makes it rain proof and very insulating. Further, the sheep develops lanoline, a kind of oil, to keep the rain away. When you take a piece of wool and hold it in your hand you can feel that it is very oily almost like hand lotion. If you treat the wool very gently when working with it, it will keep this feature in some degree when the product is finished. This is why wool is self-cleaning and why you should always be careful when washing it. Wash it gently.“ Even though the Faroese sheep are not exposed to fertilizer or anything artificial they cannot get the ecological certificate:
“We don’t have the ecological certificate on our wool, but I dare to say that it is far more ecological than most of those out there with the ecological certificate. The reason why we cannot call the sheep ecological is because once a year the sheep gets medicated with preventive
PHOTO JETTE JØRS
medication to fight worms and stuff like that. When dealing with ecological wool you can only treat decease, not use preventive medication. However, we think this is necessary because if the sheep catches infections or sicknesses they will die before they can get the treatment.” Gudrun&Gudrun really cares about the environment and they never dye the wool:
“We are very close to the nature when working with wool. No chemicals are used. What is special about Faroese sheep is that they are multi colored. The sheep can have all kinds of colors and are then assorted by color. They are not dyed.” Like an old Faroese saying goes: “Wool is the gold of the Faroe Islands”, Gudrun&Gudrun might be the gold of the slow clothing industry with their pioneer-like approach.
Gudrun & Gudrun On burning wool, conscious consumers and family relations between knitted garments
Imagine walking in a beautiful Faroese landscape on the top of a fell with green grass under your feet and blue sky over your head. The sun is reflecting itself in the wild waters by the coast. Your hair is blowing in the wind. But in the middle of all this beauty a pungent smell finds its way to your nose. It is the smell of burnt hair – or to be more precise it is the smell of big bonfires of wool. This experience was the starting point for the creative duo of Gudrun and Gudrun. These burnings were the result of not using the wool that was cut from the sheep on the Faroe Islands where Gudrun and Gudrun both have their origin. They decided to make a change about this waste, and started their brand on this basis. First they worked mostly in sheep skin but time showed that hand knit were their true talent – especially according to a loyal buyer already by that time, Sabine Poupinel, who encouraged them to focus on what made them stand out and the Japanese buyers at the fairs, as Gudrun Rógvadottir, one on the two owners, outlines for us.
”Envision a fair. If you look at the swarm of people passing by our little stand you will notice that every single Japanese person will be drawn towards us. It is something about the handicraft that fascinates them, that doesn’t get the same attention from Scandinavians. The Japanese want to be unique in another way and we somehow give them what they
are looking for with our hand knitted design” One of the things that make Gudrun&Gudrun so innovative is actually the designers’ lack of real technical skills. This in some views ignorance gives room for playing with the materials without any rules. “We once tried to steam our loosely knitted wool and it went on to look much like a sculpture. And in knitwear there is a rule about never steaming the type of Mohair that we were working with. But we did it, and that just means that we are progressing and breaking some boundaries about what can and cannot be done. We are not using drawings or anything like that in our process of making clothes. It all starts with us experimenting with different materials in our hands. Maybe with six stitches and then perhaps we try to do it with three stitches instead. And what about trying to do this with it and maybe changing the tension? A lot of small samples all the time. And then try to solve it technically before trying to make it into
something wearable.” The inspiration for the collections is often from elsewhere than the Faroe Islands, but the things that serves as inspiration always has to be put into the context and universe of the brand.
”It is very inspiring to visit Japan for example. But we also feel like there is a limit because our creative minds can only contain a certain amount of new inspiration. Then we have to sit at home and absorb all these new impressions and interpret them in our own universe.” The universe of the brand serves to connect all the collections in a unity where it all comes together. The specific inspiration serves to vary the collections from each other but still create that unity within the collection.
”In a collection some garments are sisters and brothers and some are cousins, but they are all related you know. They have to be.” The collections are built up just like a family. As we talk I wonder with a smile on my face if this specific use of metaphor has something to do with the fact that almost everyone on the Faroe Islands are related in some way due to the small
population on the islands. Gudrun&Gudrun is a company pioneering in the field of ethical production. Mainly because a lack of working hands on the Faroe Islands but also because of great knitwear traditions in Jordan and Peru they have a project in which poor women can earn a living and a status in society by producing knitwear. In the past their Alpaca were delivered expensively from an Italian company who originally bought it cheap from Peru and manufactured it in Jordan before distributing it out to the world from Italy. Therefore, in order to go directly from the source they are now getting their Alpaca straight from Peru. Gudrun&Gudrun is a company pioneering in the field of ethical production. Mainly because a lack of working hands on the Faroe Islands but also because of great knitwear traditions in Jordan and Peru they have a project in which poor women can earn a living and a status in society by producing knitwear. In the past their Alpaca were delivered expensively from an Italian company who originally bought it cheap from Peru and manufactured it in Jordan before distributing it out to the world from Italy. Therefore, in order to go directly from the source they are now getting their Alpaca straight from Peru.
PHOTOGRAPHY by Jette Jørs
PHOTOGRAPHY by Ari Magg
Gudrun&Gudrun is a company pioneering in the field of ethical production. Mainly because a lack of working hands on the Faroe Islands but also because of great knitwear traditions in Jordan and Peru they have a project in which poor women can earn a living and a status in society by producing knitwear. In the past their Alpaca were delivered expensively from an Italian company who originally bought it cheap from Peru and manufactured it in Jordan before distributing it out to the world from Italy. Therefore, in order to go directly from the source they are now getting their Alpaca straight from Peru.
“If we say we want to be sustainable there is no idea in getting expensive Alpaca from Italy. Instead we are now giving the Peruvian people a chance to get paid properly for their wool. Now all our Alpaca production is made in projects by women in Peru. We have small courses in these countries for the women. For example one course is called “how to make a micro business” and we also try to help them gain control over their own lives. We think that the most important part of women empowerment is to be able to make your own money.” As soon as the Jordanian and Peruvian women have learned the techniques and can deliver the goods which they get paid for, Gudrun&Gudrun is having both a sustainable but also highly personal product as these women are producing
everything by hand in their own surroundings. Actually, Gudrun&Gudrun tries to personalize their products even further by putting a tag on the products saying “knitted by” and then the name of the person who made it.
”In reality, what we are selling is a dream of time - as in times past. When people had the time to sit down and knit their own sweaters. All those feelings that are knitted into our garments by the women we hire are a part of the dream that you buy. Actually, you can see on the garments if the woman who made it had a stressful day, because the knit naturally becomes tighter as a consequence.” Gudrun explains that it can actually take up to a year to get their projects in Jordan and Peru up and running because they have to teach the women how to do the garments from scratch. Further, they have to practice a lot before being able to deliver the perfect results. But Gudrun&Gudrun sees this as a necessity in building the business and also suggests that a change in the costumers’ attitude towards a long wait is happening.
“When the “Sara Lund-sweater” from the TVshow “The Killing” got popular everybody wanted it. We were so busy during Christmas time that we could not keep up with the demands so we had to inform the customers ordering their Christmas presents that in order to get the de-
sired sweater they had to wait for it to be made by hand and it therefore would not be able to be put under the Christmas tree. But because we make everything by hand and it naturally takes time we only lost two orders out of the bunch. People respected that. I believe that tells us something about the customers of today.” Perhaps it is this newly discovered respect towards their craftsmanship that convinced Gudrun&Gudrun to change the whole setup to shift away from standard fast fashion mechanisms dictating designers to come up with at least two collections each year. Now they are only doing a single collection a year containing everything they produce. It is a beneficiary way for fashion to progress, as it will allow more time for creativity to blossom as Gudrun also mentions.
“We have thought about taking this step for a long time but we never dared to. Now a member of our board encouraged us to do it, so we did! It has really freed a lot of energy not having to think about a summer collection that never really sells anyway. What we do is winter wear that people use all year round but do not buy in the summertime. We feel much more creatively freed now.” Gudrun smiles as she tells me about an encounter she had with a satisfied customer who, because he was so happy about his sweater, had patched all the holes it had gotten over time. This is in fact what Gudrun thinks is the true spirit of slow clothing.
“Fashion is a weird phenomenon. What is fashion? Fashion is ever changing. We don’t change. Our collections from 5 years back still
works today. They are time-less. When I saw this patched sweater I thought to myself – this proves that we are where we want to be.” Time has caught up with Gudrun&Gudrun as the shift towards slow clothing seems to be the next step in fashion. But as Gudrun explains they don’t have a ship to turn around as many others do. They have been doing this since the beginning unlike other companies which might not so easily be transformed into a slower context. “You have these companies like H&M and 1% of their collections being sustainable. They talk a lot about this “Conscious Collection”. But what about the other 99%? Should we take a look at those instead? Everybody buys it uncritically.” I am told that to be sustainable is not something they talk or brag about at Gudrun&Gudrun. It is the most natural part of their company and clothing to speak about sustainability in a toned down manner and let the clothes speak for themselves.
“We trust our customers to know better. We don’t want to be out there telling everyone how good we are in this field. It is a natural part of what we do but we never let it compromise with the design. People should buy our design because they fall in love with it – not with the considerations about the production – that is just a bonus that we take for granted.” After speaking to Gudrun it stands clear that the wool which before was wasted and burnt now is used to create garments which are highly valued by many people.
by Martin Mitchell & Pernille Mosbech
PHOTOGRAPHER Marcus Mb MODEL Amalie Kardyb, Unique Models STYLIST Kristian Hindø-Lings MAKE-UP ARTIST Pernille Reenberg
The idea is quite simple. The series i primarily s inspired by a few lines from the song "super rich kids" by Frank Ocean;
"Too many white lies and white lines Super rich kids with nothing but loose ends Super rich kids with nothing but fake friends" The room symbolizes the girl's destroyed personality. A ruined personality which is superficially improved, hidden for surroundings, by the white lines and white lies.
PHOTOGRAPHER Marcus Mb MODEL Amalie Kardyb, Unique Models STYLIST Kristian HindĂ¸-Lings MAKE-UP ARTIST Pernille Reenberg
m a r c u s mb p h o t o g r a p h y 2012
FUR VEST, BOUCLE JACKET AND SILK DRESS. BRAND Maria Palmerston. DESIGNER Maria Palmerston. FROM: Denmark. MATERIAL Rabbit fur, wool and silk. CHARACTERISTICS With raw edges and a clean cut, the fur vest is simple yet interesting.Like the vest the jacket is simple yet interesstering because of the fabric and cut. The jacket and vest together issomehow a contrast to eachother. Whereas as the jacket and vest is in to contrast to eachother, the dress is moreor less standing ot its own. The dress is made of 3 different fabrics, which creates the illusion of 3 differentdresses layered on top of eachother and the raw edges and non-straight cuts makes it an interested piece
m a r c u s mb p h o t o g r a p h y 2012
CRYSTAL EARRING BRAND îK. H. Lingsî DESIGNER Kristan Hind¯-Lings FROM Denmark MATERIALS Glass and wire. CHARACTERISTICS The length and the simple design. The idea behind the earring was to make a statement, but in a sort of invisible way.
ANGORA JUMPER BRAND ACNE DESIGNER Jonny Johansson. FROM Sweden. MATERIAL Angora, mohair and wool. CHARACTERISTICS The high neck, boxy fit and short length of it works perfect with silky materials. In collaboration with the silk shirt and stiff material of the skirt it creates a warm, but interesting mix, which was just what I tried to get as a contrast to the background.
SILK SHIRT BRAND Stella McCartney. DESIGNER Stella McCartney. FROM England. MATERIAL Silk. CHARACTERISTICS The cut and the material. The cut mostly, as it’s slouchy yet sophisticated and simple. As it’s only shown underneath the ACNE jumper it was important for me, to find the length that gave the expresion I wanted to and as I mentioned before this shirt has the right amount of slouchyness yet sophisticated feeling.
SKIRT BRAND Jil Sander. DESIGNER Heidemarie Jiline Sander FROM Germany. MATERIAL Polyester. CHARACTERISTICS The akward lenght, colour and most of all the material. I can’t describe what it is, but something is so wrong about this skirt that it just becomes right
PHOTOGRAPHER Marcus Møller Bitsch MODEL Amalie Kardyb, Unique Models STYLIST Kristian Hindø-Lings MAKE-UP ARTIST Pernille Reenberg
m a r c u s mb p h o t o g r a p h y 2012 SILK SWEATSHIRT. BRAND ACNE. DESIGNER Jonny Johansson. FROM Sweden. MATERIAL Silk and cotton. CHARACTERISTICS Something I really enjoy is the way ACNE always has some kind of twist in their designs, which in the case is shown by the classic sweatshirt in a new fabric. The sport look stands outbut the edge are still kept because of the white cotton fabric.
CHIFFON SKIRT. BRAND K. H. Lings DESIGNER Kristian Hind¯-Lings FROM Denmark. MATERIAL Polyester. CHARACTERISTICS The length of this skirt creates a silhouette that is long and flowy. Combined with the silk sweatshirt and the hair it creates a look of "silent contrasts".
m a r c u s mb p h o t o g r a p h y 2012
SILK T-SHIRT BRAND ACNE. DESIGNER Jonny Johansson FROM Sweden. MATERIAL Silk. CHARACTERISTICS As many of the other items from the "White Lies" shoot, this t-shirt is a contrast in itself, which can be said as my "mantra" for this shoot - something so filled with contrast, but because of the fact that everything was kept in white, nude and light pink colors it functioned in simple yet not boring. The t-shirt is made of silk, but cut like a basketball t-shirt with a deep v neck and a boxy fit layered on top of the IRO dresswith shoulder pads to give the volume that was needed and some extra length. SILK DRESS BRAND IRO. DESIGNER IRO. FROM France. MATERIAL Silk. CHARACTERISTICS The length, the cut, the color and the shoulderpads. Just the right balance between the three before mentioned characteristics, which creates a french feminine vibe that I saught after for while creating the outfits. HEELS BRAND Carin Wester. DESIGNER Carin Wester. FROM Sweden. MATERIAL Leather. CHARACTERISTICS With a shape that possible couldn't be more feminime or flattering, these shoes had everything I needed to contrast this look.
m a r c u s mb p h o t o g r a p h y 2012 LONG SLEEVED SILK SHIRT BRAND ACNE. DESIGNER Jonny Johansson. FROM Sweden. MATERIAL Silk. CHARACTERISTICS The slim fit, the structure in the fabric and most of all the hole in the back, which shows the material and color of the sleeveless silk shirt underneath which creates a depth in the fabrics.
SLEEVELESS SILK SHIRT BRAND ACNE. DESIGNER Jonny Johansson. FROM Sweden. MATERIAL Silk. CHARACTERISTICS In contrast to the long sleeved ACNE silk shirt, the fabric on this one is more sleek and silky with a length, that is just long enough to be shown underneath the long sleeved and therefore the colors andmaterials against eachother create the depth.
TURTLENECK BRAND MM6 Maison Martin Margiela. DESIGNER Martin Margiela. FROM Belgium. MATERIAL Silk and cotton. CHARACTERISTICS The tight sleeves and neck in opposite to the boxy fit around the body.
we love casting sĂ¸nder alle 6, 2nd floor 8000 aarhus c / kompagnistrĂŚde 9, 2nd floor 1208 copenhagen k www.welovecasting.dk / firstname.lastname@example.org
Hatching ladies from margrethe skolen
PHOTOGRAPHY Jane Munch JEWELRY KANTbyRAHBEK MAKE-UP ARTIST Hanne Emilie N. Tørseth MODEL Caroline Christensen
1.inspiration I find inspiration deep within myself and therefore my expression has become very emotional. I have spent a lot of time trying to work on myself. I have come to learn that I need to be self-contained and accept my weaknesses. With my collection “Alien Me” I wanted to transform these disparities into something beautiful because beautiful I have had problems relating to reality and I sometimes doubt things I experience. I have an enormous need to draw back and be alone. I find peace in nature and I am madly in love with wood. Besides wood being safe and comforting to me it is also incredibly beautiful both when it is blooming and when it is rotten. To move myself further into the “Forest of the unreal” I have listened a lot to the song “The Fox” by Niki And The Dove. The sound is eclectic and gives you
things are easier to relate to. I had an unstable childhood and my mind has shut down which means I find it difficult to express myself with words. Therefore I have found that it comes naturally to me to use emotions in this collection. The feeling of being a shy creature, more than a human. the feeling of travelling into one’s mind. In the video you see a human throwing himself over the edge of something. A turning point in life. While falling the human change his masks and flies through a landscape of mountains and trees. At the end of the video the human falls through the universe and discovers a light in himself as he softly lands on the ground. That is the journey I have been through.
2.materials My first encounter with materials for this collection obviously involved wood. I have photographed a piece of wood that was given to me. Coincidences suddenly worked in unison. I did not know the woman I got the piece of wood from but we met at a flea market and she was exhibiting her stuff on the wood. At the time I was searching for the perfect piece of wood. I have worked with the wood on my computer and made it more psychedelic while maintaining its natural wood pattern. Several techniques play a big role in my collection. I have been working a lot with pink ruffles to symbolize weakness. I have made a show piece that I like to call â€œfake-safetyâ€? because it is made as a kind of safety vest. But instead of saving me it functions as a burden. In many of my silhouettes there are different shapes on the back, some can be taken off while others are an integral part of the piece of clothing. And what I love about the blue suit is the fact that most people will find it incredibly ugly. It
stands out and you cannot avoid noticing the person who is wearing it. The things I create are part of a niche. I really like that there are only a handful of people who understand my work. To make my silhouettes strong I have worked on shaping hides. They serve as some kind of protection. The long studs make me ready for battle, my own battle that is. The manic part is expressed by the folded snake hide. I have invented the technique myself by looking at the origami I played with as a child. First I made a triangle and afterwards tried to find a way to make a line out of it. I had to cut the materials to find a way to place them next to each other. After some time researching it I can now make them in all sorts of ways. I can even shape them to make a raglan sleeve if that is what I want to. It takes a huge amount of time as each hide has its own measurement and requires multiple calculations. But it is all worth it in the end.
PHOTOGRAPHER Jonas Kekko MODEL Eugenia Diamond Appiah ASSISTANTS Line Munch & Sebastian Green
PHOTOGRAPHER Nicolaj Kofod Larsen MODELS Emilie Grum & Arnold Peter Kabuuza
1.inspiration My main inspiration was today’s fashion among Rap as well as R&B artists. From this theme I more specifically chose the rapper Angel Haze to be my muse. A strong woman both physically and mentally, she exudes femininity and masculinity at the same time. I tried to transfer this combination into my collection, which appeals to both women and men. I was also inspired by the newly established luxurious culture among rappers. Big names and rap icons such as Kanye West have, throughout the more recent years, been inspired by luxury brands and managed to become fashion icons
within the rap culture, all the while people have retained respect for their music. Partly due to this fact, it has over time become acceptable within the rap culture to be fashionable. I have always used music as my source of inspiration and have, with the help of this music, been able to create and thrive in my own secluded creative world. The trend of mixing rap and fashion is therefore natural to me and quite to my taste. In my collection I seeked to combine these two in my own unique way, and my collection exudes elegance while at the same time being “street” and “sporty”.
PHOTOGRAPHER Nicolaj Kofod Larsen MODEL Emilie Grum
2.materials I chose my materials for their beauty. They chose me because I couldnâ€™t take my eyes off them. I wanted them to be able to have different effects. To give me two completely different experiences and feelings. I wanted something luxurious vs. sporty/street, strong vs. fragile, thick vs. thin, dark vs. colourful. But they had to be beautiful together. The nature and animals in my prints was what I mostly associated with the aesthetic beauty. I also chose my materials for their ability to support movement.Â
PHOTOGRAPHER Joakim karlsson MAKEUP/ HAIR Linda Jonsson MODEL Sofie Bjerregaard Dam ( scoop models)
1.inspiration The SS2014 SarahNeuhard 'UnvieledPower' is a couture collection centered around a reflection on femininity; to be feminine is daring to be a women. It is about the power and influence of women through history and of today's modern world. I have been looking at the two sides of the female character; the delicate, beautiful, romantic side and the mystic, powerful, strong and almost dramatic side. I was inspired by this saying: Being Powerful is like being a Lady; If you have to state that you are - you are in reality not. Early in my research process I discovered a powerful woman that caught my attention, and still fascinates me today. The Ancient Queen of
the Mongolian Empire. She ruled possibly the greatest kingdom the world has ever known. With her powerful influence, ability to lead, striking appearance and extravagant decorative costumes, she was a woman of wisdom but also a tough warrior Queen. In contrast: I have been inspired by the traditional beautiful white wedding gown, and the psychological and historical reasons behind why women have been wearing the gown in white for decades. The collection exudes crisp modern and bold design inspired by the ancient Queen of Mongolia. Repainting the bridal moment in feminine power and alluring beauty.
2.materials I am featuring a contrast of sheer, shiny, and rough, matte panels; cutting and moulding soft curves into unrelenting strength. I'm using luxurious textiles of innovative design and technique; the pearl materials is made by European couturiers. I'm weaving dark and light colours, for a dramatic finish to a storybook romance. Speaking of an aristocracy story and the principle I have as a designer, I am using high quality fibers and materials. Basically; silks/silk-chiffon, stretch-cotton, leather and bridal/glass pearls. PHOTOGRAPHER Joakim karlsson MAKEUP/ HAIR Linda Jonsson MODEL Sofie Bjerregaard Dam ( scoop models)
Soley Johansdottir MODEL Marie Sander Bak - Unique Models PHOTOGRAPHER Anders Philip HAIR Simon Shaaban MAKE UP Nina Massara STYLIST Margrét Assa Karlsdóttir
1.inspiration My collection –Transformation, is all about a person‘s development and changes. I remember when my mom told me about the time when she, in her young adult years, moved from the isolated countryside in Iceland to big city life in USA. I find it interesting how people can change their style based on the community they are living in –they get into such a different feeling! It was in the 1980s that my mom moved, so that has been a part of my research and is reflected in the silhouettes. It was fun to see how my mom
used to be this rural girl wearing her bib pants and began wearing this effortless city style clothing –it was an exciting contrast to play with! My mom used to have this red leather jacket, a typical 80s jacket she used to wear all the time! I deconstructed the jacked into the black zipped leather jacket and it ended up being one of the key piece of my collection. The details and its form is reflected throughout my collection. Effortless, chilled but still high quality and well made garments.
2.materials All of the fabrics I used for this collection were high quality fabrics. –Leather, Silk, Acetate, Cotton Silk and Organic Cotton Sateen. I knew from the beginning of my research process that I wanted to make my own prints for this collection! The idea of the prints I got from putting the city versus the countryside and therefore ended up with this green grass graphic – lined
print. I ordered the printed fabric from a website called www.spoonflower.com – I picked out Cotton Silk and Cotton Sateen from the company's fabric list, because I wanted to obtain a shiny look in a good quality fabric. Besides the leather, all of the fabrics are really light and therefore perfect for spring and summer time.
MODEL Marie Sander Bak - Unique Models PHOTOGRAPHER Anders Philip HAIR Simon Shaaban MAKE UP Nina Massara STYLIST Margrét Assa Karlsdóttir
HOW WE USE CLOTHING TO EXPRESS IDENTITY by Camilla Franziska Bonne
Does clothing matter in your sense of identity? Well, if clothes didn’t matter teenagers wouldn’t beg their parents for the newest trend. We wouldn’t have hotheaded discussions about the Muslim women and their scarves. You wouldn’t feel different if you swapped clothes with your best friend for a day. And you wouldn’t dress up nicely for a wedding or a big birthday party. Some people might say that clothes don’t mean anything in particular to them, that they only dress themselves as a means to protect and keep their bodies warm.But even though you might be more or less conscious about what clothing means to you and how you use it to express yourself - it does mean something. Just like the old saying goes, ”It’s the clothes that make the (wo)man.” Through our choice of clothing and personal interpretations of and resistance to what’s trendy we show who we are and hope to become. This article talks about how we use clothing to form our identity and what role trends play in the identity formation.
THREE POINTS ABOUT CLOTHING AND IDENTITY
WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT ISN’T
Svendsen also states that clothing defines our identity by what it IS and in particular what it ISN’T. In fact, it is Lars Svendsen, a Norwegian professor of philosophy and author of the book: “Philosophy of Fashion”, often easier for us to define who we do not want to be points out three interesting things in how fashion plays or look like; not a hippie, not too provocative, not too conservative, than to define who we are, but defining a role in identity formation: who we do not want to be is not enough. To know who we aren’t we also need to say who we are. “I am THE PARADOX not an haute hippie because I am avant-garde.” The conclusion is that identity is formed by both a negative Fashion always contains two opposing elements. It differentiation and a positive identification. allows individuals to show something personal about themselves, and at the same time showing them as LABELS a member of a group. Svendsen states that fashion always contains the paradox of the effort to conform Finally Svendsen notes that we should not forget and fit in and as a lever to express individuality. labeling as part of defining our identity by who we So when it comes to the place of clothing in shaping ARE and who we are NOT; as part of the paradox of our identity the truth is that clothing is not just to keep belonging to a group and expressing an individual identity; the fashion world plays a part in your identity you warm or cover yourself up but it's signaling that formation with its branding. Are you an Alexander we belong to a group. At the same time it isn't just clothing, but signifies something personal about your- Wang girl? Karl Lagerfeld girl? Gucci self - who we are as an individuals, our feelings, and girl? Or are you NOT? I’m not a Gucci girl because I am an Alexander who we are on that given moment or day. McQueen girl!
Who am I?
ILLUSTRATION Mie Eg Damgaard
ARE YOU “IN HERE” OR “OUT THERE”? If you are trendy you know the “It-bag”. You know the label that creates this bag. You are the Alexander Wang girl because you are wearing his bag. That way labeling goes hand in hand with trends. To elaborate more on how labeling and in particular trends play a part in the identity formation a definition between trendy and stylish is helpful as I will explain.
TRENDS ARE THE RELATIONSHIP TO THE EXTERNAL Trends are concerned with what's in fashion at the moment and what items you can buy in the stores. It is a process that links what is “out there” to what you are wearing. If you consider what you are wearing to match what's offered on the shelves, featured in the magazines and dictated as fashionable. You try to adopt and assimilate trends. Labeling and trends are concerned with creating consumer preferences and making them want more and more and more. However the consumer is also concerned with newness. The new things on the shelf make you feel hip. Trends are coined with the term “fast fashion”; one minute it’s in, the next it’s out. Therefore being hip by following trends, you need to stay on track and buy more.
STYLE IS THE RELATIONSHIP TO THE INTERNAL
In opposition to trends we have style. You don’t follow what’s trendy and in fashion but you follow what you like and what makes you feel good; it is about the perception of who you are. It is a process that links what’s “inside of you”, your taste, and how you express it in your choice of what you are wearing. You are considerate of what you are wearing, and if it matches your sense of who you feel you are at that given moment or day.
If we look at clothing and identity within those two definitions - trends vs. style - it is obvious that there is a difference in the way our identity is constructed. Trends remove our attention from ourselves focusing on what’s “out there”; style brings our attention to ourselves focusing on our personal style. In other words, the definition is where emphasis is placed on how you express yourself and your identity. With trends, the emphasis is on the clothing that is in fashion, as it is to a greater extend showing what is happening in society. With style, the emphasis is on who you are.
THE HAPPY PURPOSE OF CLOTHES So, how does clothing matter in your identity formation? How do you try to fit in and at the same time express your own sense of self? What group do you feel you belong to through your choice of clothing and are you in favor of some labels? Keeping up with the newest thing and always feeling the need for being fed with newness can make you forget yourself. Taste is very subjective and what makes you feel good or beautiful isn’t always in fashion. Clothing is a way of expressing yourself. Many of us forget that. And that’s ok. It’s hard to remove yourself totally from trends because we are all part of the society we live in, influenced by it and often want to fit in. And removing yourself might not be the answer. But when we think about buying into a trend maybe we should take a second at ourselves and think about why we want it. Do we want our clothes to express and inform who we are? Do we want them to dictate and confine us? Can you even separate the two or is there a happy medium? What’s your “happy purpose” of clothing?
the danger of having too much clothes a critique of society
PHOTOGRAPHY Malthe S. rye thomsen MODEL Nina Bøgestrøm STYLIST Martin Mitchell
PHOTOGRAPHY Malthe S. rye thomsen MODEL Nina Bøgestrøm STYLIST Martin Mitchell
ON 50 YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY
I had a chat with Danish fashion agency owner Nadja Meyer about her long life in Nordic fashion spanning almost 50 years. We talked about all that has changed and how Nadja copes with this herself. by Malthe S. Rye Thomsen It’s a sunny day and I am walking around central Copenhagen. While walking I wonder about what kind of person Nadja Meyer is. Then I find the address on Vimmelskaftet . A small passage from Strøget reveals a little oasis of old houses where the agency is situated. I’m early, so I wait a little bit and even though the door is open, I press the doorbell out of politeness because we expect this fashion agent to be a bit strict after surviving nearly 50 years in the industry – but I was wrong. At the top of the stairs I am met by two smiling faces, Nadja and her daughter. As I walk in I notice all the beautiful clothing and quickly get a feeling that this is not a typical, boring showroom. On a shelf you see a number of funny hats, slightly hidden away and Nadja gives me a huge smile, when she notices that I’m looking at them. Nadja was, from her early childhood, interested in the different and extraordinary. From an early age she painted for a professional painter and her life before working with fashion was influenced by her husband’s professional work with shoes and their visits in fashion environments all over the world. Her work in Danish fashion started about 45 years ago when the first Danish fashion fair was hosted at the Hotel Sheraton - today the Scandic Hotel. She applied for the job as hostess and was employed as supervisor for all the hostesses. After some years the fashion fair asked her to sell the brands, products and items. Nadja took the challenge and rapidly succeeded with the work. At that time, there were very few agents who were women and it was a struggle to get noticed, but her talent was obvious. Nadja was one of the first agents to be responsible for several brands. She complemented her talent as an agent with Italian and French brands as one of the first in Scandinavia. As we talked she emphasised that she had always tried to do things differently and with humour.
“I remember a fashion fair in Oslo, where the more expensive brands were placed in a special room, which resulted in almost no customers. I wondered what I could do and took all the clothing from the brands that I represented and laid them out on the floor so people could see and touch them.” Nadja doesn’t want the experience to be so uptight, she wants to bring ease and feeling into the experience. Nadja adds fun to her fashion agency in many ways. The funny hats, for instance, she had worn for customers, and in her showroom customers can experience different installations. She even told me stories about how she ragged the other agents.
PHOTOGRAPHER Malthe S. Rye Thomsen
“I remember this fashion fair, I was so tired of all the agents only talking about how much they had sold. Unfortunately there was a small bar outside my agency’s showroom where they were sitting. Then I found this old ticket machine from a bakery in a shop nearby, which rang every time a customer took a number, so all the agents in the bar got a shock and jumped in their chairs. Another time I bought a pair of boxing gloves for two agents who were always fighting about everything: We need to settle this, I said.”
This is how Nadja manages to combine her very serious attitude and talent with humour and a creative personality. She underlines that in an industry like fashion where everything today can be bought online, it’s important to give the customer a special experience, making them have fun and feel secure. It seems like a well thought-out strategy compared to other agencies and especially fashion shops in Copenhagen. If the shops want to survive the increasing use of the internet they need to transform from formal experiences to making a purchase an interesting event, that can’t be experienced online, Nadja explains. She adds to the discussion that Swedish sales assistants often are appreciated by the shop owners in Denmark for their polite and genuine attitude to the customers. Why are they more polite than us (Danish people ed.)? she asks. Nadja adds that in Italy and France you don’t usually leave a shop without the sales assistant saying “thank you for visiting my shop” whereas in Denmark and many other places maybe they’ll look you up and down and judge you. In Denmark we miss creativity, fun and politeness.
“The buyers behind the shops’ assortment of stock are so boring, they only purchase the safe buys. They don’t buy anything different, inspiring or make any creative purchases. The same secure buys can easily be bought on the internet where you as customer won’t be looked up and down by a snobbish sales assistant which can be the experience in some shops.”
PHOTOGRAPHER Malthe S. Rye Thomsen
The fashion shops need to change their buying policy and their attitude towards the customer. If they fail to do so, their profession will become a thing of the past because they will be unable to compete with the internet.. The customer experience needs to be the focus rather than it all being about fast fashion especially if we understand fast fashion to be the buy and throw away culture. Exploring fast fashion further, I become curious about how people treat each other. I ask Nadja if she thinks loyalty within the industry has changed during her long time in the business and immediately surprise myself by the leading question.
“No, it’s not a leading question – you are right. Loyalty has changed tremendously over the years. Everybody thinks they can do it better and faster nowadays. People stab long term partners in the back to get a higher income and faster production because everybody is looking out for themselves. It has evolved more individually over the years. A number of people don’t understand the strength in a long term and loyal relationship. Stability and trust make a better product, because it makes everybody willing to give more to each other.” The idea of slowing down is important in the production, as Nadja explains. The general production is speeding up and has moved from Europe to Asia, Africa or South America or from countries like Italy or France to Portugal, Macedonia, Romania, Latvia and Lithuania, also for some of Nadja’s earlier brands. It has led to decreased quality as a result of the change in the business towards the cheapest solution to get the biggest income. Nadja explains that the production sites exploit every square centimetre of the fabrics for a bigger income. They manipulate with the grainline in the making of pants, arms in t–shirts etc., so the items lose form much more quickly than earlier when you didn’t exploit the fabric in the same way. But it is not only in this process that the higher speed minimizes the quality – for further profit the fabrics used today are available in a range of different qualities because everybody wants the expensive fabrics. Nadja explains how you can buy very cheap cashmere today, which in earlier times was a sign of quality. Nadja and her daughter tell me that they often don’t believe the cheap cashmere is in fact cashmere. In general the fabrics are not as heavy as they once were, especially wool and cotton. This has resulted in a drop in quality and a greater risk that the garments will not last. More care in the production and better garments would, according to Nadja, result in an increase in long-lasting items. A number
of people in the production and fashion industry form shortterm solutions which in the end makes it more costly for the customer but it is possible for this development to proceed because the customers do not demand it to be different. Nadja thinks that the evolving tempo of the fashion industry has also affected the general quality in Scandinavia, but besides that she finds that the region produces incredible clothing. She underlines that brands like Cos, Acne, Tiger of Sweden and Ivan Grundahl produce inspiring designs. Nadja is especially fascinated by the new Danish designer Anne Sofie Madsen, whose designs she often wears herself. Even though Nadja sees the talent and craftmanship in the Nordic fashion industry she generally thinks that it needs to be developed and transformed to meet the demands of the 21st century, which still includes a need for quality. The split between these demands is central to the 21st century fashion but fast fashion dominates and the customers accept this. They buy and throw away clothing all the time which is maybe difficult to change – Nadja does not approve of this tendency. She outlines ideas about how slowing down would improve the quality, choosing places where you can control and oversee the process, your choice of materials and the subsequent sales. Nadja gives life to the fashion industry with her extensive experience spanning 50 years in the business. She has seen much development during these years - maybe it shouldn’t be the Raf Simons way with four collections every six months. Maybe we should slow down in every part of the fashion industry and employ proper craftmanship that can overcome seasons’ colors and a garment that is not worn out after two seasons.
THE LEGACY OF ERIK MORTENSEN By Veronika Doroscheva PHOTO by René Gurskov
Reinterpretations of Erik Mortensens work created by Jane Munch
rench Haute Couture is the one of its kind: the epitome of exclusivity and luxury, an institution that sets high standards in creation and production of the garment, and a celebration of craftsmanship and savoirfaire. Haute Couture encourages the designer to stretch the limits of creation, exploring the limits of wearability and function of the garment. It nourishes creativity, and sets free dreams and fantasies, by not being focused on costs and expenses, sales quotas and marketing strategies. But do you know how many helping hands are required in order to create all this lavishness of multi-layered, richly embossed and embroidered, extensively beaded and embellished pieces that is Haute Couture? A dozen or so tailors, seamstresses and assistants, as talented as the couturier himself, who do their daily job and thus contribute to the
designer’s success and glory... But who knows the seamstress at Christian Dior or the assistant of Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent Paris? Even razor-sharp fashion critics, who usually know everything about the designers, might not know this. The assistants stay in the designer’s shadow unless they manage to take over and replace the master. Then they become public figures, celebrated by media and fashionistas. Let’s look closer at one of these creative heads behind a celebrated couturier, the one who took over the reins of French Haute Couture house Balmain after the death of its founder and who persuaded both media and clients of his talent and craftsmanship, Erik Mortensen, Paris-based designer of Danish origin, who was born in 1926 in Frederikshavn in Denmark and died in Paris in 1998. He apprenticed with Holger Blom, one of Denmark’s finest court couturiers, at his atelier in Copenhagen. Then, in 1948, at the very young age of 22 he left for Paris and entered the French Haute Couture house, founded by Pierre Balmain in 1945. He soon became Balmain’s personal assistant and his right hand man, and assisted him at fittings in the atelier, at the rehearsals of the shows and at the meetings with the art director Ginette Spanier. He accompanied Pierre Balmain and the in-house models to the shows abroad and to the openings of the stores in USA and Asia. Mortensen worked “behind the scene” assisting Balmain for more than 30 years. After Balmain’s death Mortensen took over the management and ran the house of Balmain until 1992. In the same year he left Balmain to join the house of Jean-Louis Scherer, which he managed until 1994. The talented designer was twice awarded the Golden Thimble of French Haute Couture, the “Oscar” in the world of fashion, for his AW83/84 and AW87/88 collections for Balmain. At Less Magazine we look closer at the work and the achievement of this Grand Homme of Haute Couture, who stayed true to tradition, elegance and artisanship of the house Balmain while adding his personal touch to the label’s DNA, rejuvenating the look and creating new shapes and designs. Erik Mortensen’s debut collection as a head of the couture house Balmain was an immediate success and consolidated his position as a dignified successor to the Grand Couturier. The Golden Thimble of being awarded for a collection of elegant evening wear and chic and sophisticated daily wear was a good example of the ever‐present elegance and style, which the
Reinterpretations of Erik Mortensens work created by Jane Munch
Haute Couture house Balmain was known and respected for. Taken as a base, Balmain’s signature looks such as elegant evening dresses and sumptuous gowns were transformed to canvas for lavish floral appliqués and patterns, and rich golden embroidery whilst meticulously cut two-piece suits were spiced up with fox fur trims. To make sure that the richness and the heaviness of the embellishment wouldn’t overload the looks, Mortensen juxtaposed it with the semi-transparent sheer fabric or bare shoulders and one-shoulder cuts of the dresses. Sometimes chunky, yet elegant earrings, feather headgear and ostrich plume trims put a coquettish spin on the classic silhouette.
a penchant for dainty and elegant looks, and would suit any occasion, be it an official royal reception or a private cocktail party.
It’s the power and the appeal of female beauty that Mortensen seeks to enhance. He skillfully creates a flattering silhouette in a simple way: by draping sumptuous velvet or shiny satin around the body, by cinching the waistline or by wrapping the body in waves of red velvet, and he creates seductive and sensual looks, without showing much bare skin. Mortensen’s AW87/88 collection, also awarded the Golden Thimble of French Haute Couture, was the continuation of the concept of sophisticated sexiness that he successfully launched in his previous AW83/84 collection. This time his focus was the The collection showed classic Balmain with a light, length and the draping technique that allowed the playful twist “made by Erik Mortensen”. Compared to typical Balmain designs Mortensen’s creations have couturier to shape the silhouette and to adjust the a distinct playfulness to them and an unmistakable lengths of the garment. In contrast to the AW83/84 collection, which featured full‐length floor-sweeping sensual note. They make the women look sexy and desirable in a subtle, not too obvious way. This is gowns, the dresses of the AW87/88 collection became why Mortensen’s collection pieces are so special and shorter, exposing the leg high up. Even Mortensen’s versatile. They could be equally worn by princesses as most daring models that revealed more bare skin than usual never lost the sense of modesty and dewell as opera divas, actresses and women who have
cency that is Haute Couture. While exposing legs, Mortensen added long sleeves or wide-brimmed hats and draped hoods to cover the torso, the shoulders and the head, and thus achieved a well thought-out balance between seduction and elegance that became Mortensen’s trademark which he developed while working at Balmain. Mortensen wasn’t just the guardian of Haute Couture tradition, he was also an experimenter and a forward thinker. Mortensen’s AW 87/88 winter looks introduced a new flattering silhouette that resembled the shape of a chess figure: accentuated waistline, wide padded shoulders and wide brimmed fur hat over the headscarf. Already, even in 1987, Mortensen realized that black leather thigh boots could add a distinct sensuality to the usually quite modest, practical winter clothing; a discovery made years before Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel RTW Fall 2013 collection.
that consisted of elegance above all, he still respected and maintained the genetic codes of the brand. Mortensen’s greatest achievement was the creation of Haute Couture collections at its best with a hint of youthful playfulness. The result is the perfect mix of sophisticated elegance and understated seduction.
Mortensen played the same role at the French Haute Couture house Balmain as young Yves Saint Laurent at Dior, one of the talented disciple who revealed himself as a master and who kept intact the image of the Haute Couture and the savoir-faire. For this achievement Mortensen deserves his own place in the starry sky of successful talented designers and Grand Couturiers and he should be remembered and celebrated as one of them. By telling this story of the talented Danish designer Erik Mortensen and his work at Balmain, we at Less Magazine pay homage to his talent and make ”He is more Balmain than I am,” said Pierre Balmain sure that his glory and his triumph as the successor to Pierre Balmain and as an independent designer of his personal assistant and successor. Mortensen stayed true to Balmain’s tradition while refining and with a strong vision and a distinct signature, won’t be forgotten. refreshing the iconic silhouettes. While conveying some striking interpretations of the label’s DNA, Reinterpretations of Erik Mortensens work created by Jane Munch
BACKGROUND MOONSPOON SALOON BETWEEN ALIENS AND ORIENTAL DISCO by Pernille HammershĂ¸j
In a universe of ballet dancers, clowns, aliens and oriental disco queens, Danish label Moonspoon Saloon creates its very own concept, as a label different from the simple and often commercial fashion design tradition of Denmark. Based in Los Angeles and Copenhagen, dressing stars like Bjork and Lady Gaga, Moonspoon Saloon continuously plays with the limits of how we understand and interpret art and clothing. Less Magazine spoke to front figure of Moonspoon Saloon, artist and designer Sara Sachs, as she reflected upon how the artistic approach to fashion is brought into play, and how she manages to combine this with the fact, that the clothes have to be appealing to consumers.
DARE WALK INTO THE ALLEY
To many, it looked more like a circus performance than a fashion show when the Danish fashion label Moonspoon Saloon, showed their very first collection during the Copenhagen Fashion Week in august 2008. On the beautiful rococo scene of The Royal Danish Theater, ballet dancers in patchwork bomber jackets, clown costumes, and joker outfits jumped and danced their way through the show. Five years later, Moonspoon Saloon continues to express its concept through performances, video installations, photographs and fashion shows. Sara Sachs, explains to Less Magazine that Moonspoon Saloon continuously tries to “run from its own tail”. One season, aliens are thus center of inspiration while oriental disco steals the spotlight the next. “To surprise” is therefore the concept, if the label has such a thing. “ Moonspoon Saloon can be described as a city with few streets and many alleys. Those who dare to walk out of the streets and into the alleys are met with celebration, invited to take part in the universe of Moonspoon Saloon.”
A CREATIVE COLLECTIVE
It all started out as a collaboration between the prominent Danish artist Tal R., photographer Noam Griegst, artist and designer Sara Sachs and stylist Melanie Buchhave. The talented team worked together in what they referred to as a collective of creativity and a place to live out ones wild ideas and initiatives. Here more or less everything was possible, as long as one was able to convince the others about some brilliant idea, which just popped into the mind. The collective contributed each other with creativity and personal expression. In an interview with the Danish Newspaper Politiken, Tal R states that the four of them, all had their own, individual character which created a fifth. This fifth character was found only in the Bermuda triangle, that was Moonspoon. Tal R. and Sara Sachs were the ones with the wildest ideas, Noam Griegst and Melanie Bucchave the ones who knew when to stop, think in sales and take into account what people actually would want to wear. According to Noam Griegst it was he who protested if Tal R. and Sara Sachs wanted to use a fabric that was too ugly. Likewise, in order to have just a little chance for sales, he would point to the fact, that there are more sales in a blue color, rather than a green.
PHOTO BY FREDERIK JACOBI
PHOTO BY FREDERIK JACOBI
from Moonspoon Saloon
THE CONCEPT OF 99X99
The vision of the collective was to create 99 unique designs, or characters that were to be sold, in a limited edition of, 99 styles per design. When item number 99 was a reality, the label would close no matter how much international media attention it had achieved. Tal R. explained that this idea was the result of a wish to close the label before the fashion media forgot it. Taking into account the fast moving fashion industry, this idea seemed reasonable. As fashion designers of our time constantly are confronted with the pressure of an industry in constant change, where pre- fall, spring, summer and winter collections, cruse collections, new labels, etc. are fighting for survival. In the fall of 2012, the 99x99 concept was fulfilled, however, instead of closing down Moonspoon Saloon, Sara Sachs decided to continue on her own, changing the description of the label from “collective” to “fashion house”, although still focusing on characters and the parallels between fashion and performance. Moonspoon Saloons concept, to create a universe with the characters in focus, remains the same and on a cold Friday afternoon in November 2012 Sara Sachs opened a Moonspoon Saloon concept store, close to the Royal Danish Theater, similar to the one in Los Angeles. Here atelier, store and studio is gathered under the same roof and collections, movies, concerts and performances are brought together in a cocktail of creative expression, that has its starting point in the characters of Moonspoon Saloon. On the opening night of the concept store, dancers were hired to move around people, dancing in the windows and even perform complicated moves on the floor, wearing colorful jumpsuits, big headpieces, black and white makeup and a signature piece of the label; moonboots. Sara Sachs explains that the reason why moonboots has this role as a signature piece is that Denmark is a flat country and therefore she feels a need to become a little taller and be lifted up from the flat land. But why chose to work in Los Angeles and Copenhagen, two so very different places, far from each other? To Sara Sachs it is a wondering that inspires her and makes her feel like working, as she simply cannot understand how a city like Los Angeles, so full of contrasts can exist: Very close to the rich Hollywood, around 80.000 homeless people live in the district of downtown Los Angeles, home to the studio of Moonspoon Saloon. On the other hand, Sara Sachs finds certain calmness in Denmark that she cannot get elsewhere.
HOW GOD CREATED MAN
The design of Moonspoon Saloon is so experimental and unique that you will never find anything like it in a high street shop or anywhere else where “the sales factor” is prioritized over craftsmanship and creativity. Anyway as a fashion designer, one has to take into account factors such as the human body, sales and economy when creating new styles. These factors are probably Sara Sachs biggest challenge “I continuously try to tell myself that people have to be able to wear the design, but to say it nicely, I simply keep forgetting this.” To Sara Sachs there is almost no limit of creativity. “The limits of creativity lies in how God created us; two arms, two legs, a head. Moonspoon Saloon believes that the body is the largest and last scene for creativity, and our clothes are brought to life the day somebody wears it and walk through the streets in it.” The visual identity of Moonspoon Saloon is so different and atypical from the common idea of Scandinavian fashion, something that is first of all minimalistic. Sara Sachs explains that this happens unconsciously, though the label tries to differentiate itself from this common and accepted idea. “From the very beginning we have been messing around with the seasons, creating shorts for winter and fur for summer.” Moonspoon Saloon is the cheeky child in the playground that always does the contrary of what it is being told, messes around with seasons and dares to challenge our understanding and interpretation of contemporary fashion design. With these words, Less Magazine is excited to experience what the label has to offer in the years to come.
VISUALIZATION - THE NORDIC STATE OF MIND
Perhaps we all love the cold north Perhaps we all love the dark north Perhaps we all love the minimalistic north Or perhaps we all just love to dream away
HENRIK SILVIUS 93
Clothes from Times Up & “Prag” PHOTOGRAPH Frederik Heide STYLIST Henrik Silvius MAKE-UP & HAIR Lou Ditlevsen MODEL Marius/Scoop