Friday, 3 December 2010

Interview: Trine Lindegaard Jensen

Trine Lindegaard Jensen is within good company. The Danish-born designer graduated this year from an MA at The Royal College of Art where previous students include James Long, Carolyn Massey and Katie Eary. As Jensen joins them in the ranks of Britain's greatest emerging menswear design talents, she reflects on her final collection which wowed the industry crowd at this year's graduate show and delves into the future of her eponymous new label launching S/S 11.

What was it like growing up in Denmark?

I grew up in a Danish town called Odense, it is the third biggest city in Denmark, but really it is just a small town. There isn’t a lot happening there, everyone moves away by the time they turn 18. Growing up in Odense was very safe, and I was given a lot of freedom and trust from my parents. Denmark is such a comfortable and easy country to live in, the system supports you from the day you are born, the taxes are very high but people don’t really moan about it as you always get something back. I could never have experienced what I have if it wasn’t for the support from the Danish Government. We get the tuition fees paid for and even get money to live for while studying, which is fantastic. It really scares me here, how expensive it is to go to university, and it is only getting worse...



Was it anything in particular that led you towards fashion design as a profession?

It kind of just happened. I did not know what else to do and I really enjoyed making clothes. We had this programme in Denmark called ”the free youth education” back then, where you could get support from the government to do any course anywhere in the world. I spend a couple of years trying out different things. I went to cooking school and art schools before I went to Milan at the age of 18 to study fashion. I did not learn that much when it came to fashion but I really grew up that year.

Which iconic designers past or present inspire you?

I went to see 30 Years of Japanese Fashion at the Barbican the other day, which was so inspirering. There was a film of Issey Miyake’s shows from the mid 90’s and all the models just wandered around on the catwalk in bold colourful clothes with a massive smile on their face. It was so refreshing to see, and I couldn't believe I hadn’t come across this before. When did fashion shows become so serious?



What was it like studying at the RCA? Do you feel like the RCA has a particular trait that makes it and its students stand out from art/fashion universities of the same calibre?


The RCA is the only university with a separate menswear course, and it is tiny, there were only eight of us, all with a different approach to fashion, which was really being pushed and challenged through out the course. The facilities and support you get from the tutors there is amazing.


Your final collection for RCA was inspired by your "interest for passionate people with unusual hobbies and obsessive collectors". Who were these people and how much did they influence your collection?

I started out approaching people I had known when I was I child back in Odense. One a car magazine collector who lived in the flat upstairs, he had the whole loft full of all these glossy magazines with sports cars, and then he had an old Skoda parked on the street. Another one was my friend’s dad who was obsessed with books. I remember being fascinated by them when I was a child and it was so nice to go back and see them again and discover that they were both still as passionate as ever. The only difference was that the car magazine collector now had a Volvo.


Do you yourself have any unusual hobbies?


No, and that is probably why other peoples passionate hobbies interests me so much. It all started with me being a bit bored of fashion from spending a year at the RCA doing quick projects for one company after another, and by the end of the first year I felt drained and slightly lacking inspiration and motivation. So I decided to go on a journey to rediscover my passion for fashion. This is how I got the idea of looking at people with passions and hobbies that had become these people’s obsessions and lives. I decided to focus and work in a similar matter, which resulted in painfully time consuming work, by for instance hand knitting tiny gold rings into a jumper which probably took me about 300 hours to make. But I really enjoyed every minute of it, I just sat there in front of the fireplace dreaming away with a set knitting needles in my hands...




You also incorporated a lot of "found" items from your journeys into the collection. Can you tell me a little more about these pieces and how they added to the collection?


I went to se these eccentric people at a model train fair in Enfield and everyone was so proud to show of their recreations of real world train tracks. I really wanted to bring some of their universe into my collection and that is how the little men and cars came about and appeared as playful patterns on white shirts.

I also started a collection on my own, and collected gold bits through out the year. One of the jumpers has got hundreds of different gold items all found from different places they wouldn’t mean anything to anyone but I remember where I got every button from and the jumper is full of personal stories and memories.


Do you feel embellishment has become a signature characteristic of your designs overall?


To some extence yes. But I don’t want that to take over. I also love clean and simple shapes and silhouettes, I think this is what makes my garments work. I love embellishment, patterns and textures and will keep on challenging that in the future.

What are you currently working on?

I was really lucky after graduating and received so many nice requests and interest in my work and I quickly decided to start my own label. I have reworked a couple of the pieces from my RCA collection into a small range of coats (three styles, three colours), which will be on sale from early Spring 2011.

It is important for me to be producing my clothes within the UK but at the same time to keep my prices affordable and the coats have been a good test for me to research manufacturing possibilities and get the whole identity of the brand right.

And now I am full of energy and really excited to start working on something new...

For more, Click Here.

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