LEON LOUIS JOERGENSEN: " I THINK I HAVE A DIMMED OBSESSION WITH FINDING INSPIRATION IN EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE I GO."



Leon Louis Joergensen, designer and creative mind with his business partner Esben Leschly Blegvad (Sales manager) are the Danish duo behind the young, but with the bright future, brand Leon Louis. A brand characterized by the androgynous look, very meticulous work and artisanal craftsmanship.

Right before the Copenhagen Fashion week (that started yesterday), Leon Louis take some time to make this interview. He discovered to us a little more about his personal side, by talking with me about things he likes or not, his obsessions, inspirations, dreams and much more. Of course we didn’t forget to talk about his eponymous brand, on how he build it, about his last collection and future plans,… all and more about it in the second part of the interview, named “Work”.

PERSONAL

- Who is Leon Louis Joergensen ?
A humble, modest Danish designer who is working hard towards his goals.

- What is your current state of mind?
Focused and in tune with my surroundings, also have started to draft the first F/W 2014/2015 sketches.

- What is your motto?
Unfortunately, I think I may have adopted the saying “make it work” in a way, cause often it is very needed in my line of business.

- What is your obsession?
Personally, I think I have a dimmed obsession with finding inspiration in everything everywhere I go. Probably, this is the closest I come to having a proper obsession.
Next to this, I am fascinated by leather. I absolutely love working with the material. It is so intelligent, workable and moldable, one will always discover new skills/abilities within the process.

- Your last dream?
A rather serious subconscious encounter with approaching outside elements.

- What is your best quality and what is your biggest weakness?
I think my best quality is my eternal persistence and the biggest weakness is probably my rather flailing temper.

- Which talent would you most like to have?
I would love to master the French language.

- What would you change about yourself?
For the moment I am patiently trying to grow my hair. Never had very long hair, so simply need to go there once.

- What the word freedom means to you?
Freedom is actually quite important for me. I have never been good at being an employee, because I always want to do everything my way and therefore my own freedom in many ways is pivotal in this process. Also it is one of my main motivations for starting my own brand.

- Best and worst memory?
Best memory is when my grandmother taught me how to sew on her manual sewing machine. We ended up with a doll of each sex including theirs own detachable outfits.
Worst memories I like to forget and leave behind, as it is important to look forward.

- In what occasion do you lie?
Likely, this might be in the rare occasion when I was under pressure, which I can’t recall I have experienced for many years.

- What turns you into become a fashion designer?
That one goes out to my mom, who always told me I should do something with my creativity.

- What inspires you and what distracts you (turn you off) creatively?
I get very inspired by concerts, the set up and especially the experience themselves.
Nonetheless, I can easily get distracted if friends are trying to drag my attention to a social event etc.

- How much does intuition play a part in the way that you work?
A great part, because I have learned I should not doubt my intuition, because it seems to always be right.

- Top 3 designers?
Maurizio Amadei
Carol Christian Poell
Yohan Serfaty

- What about new way of communication like blogging?
I have my tumblr, but I think that is it for me.

- Do you follow any blog?
I do follow some blogs, but quite randomly tough. If I find a blog I like if think it is appreciated with a polite follow.

- Top 3 magazines?
StyleZeitgeist
Eyemazing Magazine
ID magazine

- What is your personal style and who do you mostly wear?
Black. A little avant-garde and classic chic in a way.
I mostly wear my own stuff, but otherwise I love my Rick Owens and Nico Uytterhaegen Boots.

- Your Top 5 essentials?
My sketchbook
My clipboard
My pen
My rings
A pair of my vintage glasses

- Best movie, track, album, exhibition or event?
A single man or Factory Girl (that’s is a hard one to choose between)
Best Album for me right now is Ólafur Arnalds – For now I am Winter
Next to this, I love the exhibition I came across last time I went to Berlin: Walking on Faces by Bernardi Roig


WORK

- What made you to establish your own brand? And how everything started?
As I talked about earlier I didn’t see myself as an employee anywhere especially not in Denmark and I have always loved being an entrepreneur, so therefore I actually just started the brand up before I even finished my BA in Fashion Design.

- If there is a student or anyone that would like to establish his/hers own brand, what would you suggest? Which things to avoid?
I would suggest to have a lot of money saved up or to find the right persons to finance your foundation. One has to be careful. It is the key to find trustworthy people, who want to advance your business. Also it is important to be patient, do research and grow organically.

/ all images below are from the upcoming Leon Louis S/S 2014 collection, photogrepher: Mikkel Völcker /



- How would you describe your aesthetic as a designer?
At first, I would say I present lush simplicity. For me it is crucial, one has to look carefully to discover all of the detailing and craftsmanship put into my garments.

- Could you please describe your work process (the process of building one collection)? And what is the best and the worst part of your work process? Do you have any person, muse that inspires you while making a collection? Is there any ritual?
The worst thing for me has been during these collections where I haven’t had the time to be totally satisfied with my process. As a conceptual designer, I could always use more time to build the two annual collections. By doing side seasonal projects in between at one point you simply have to go on with the next step of the process.

Personally, I love my sketching process, collecting all my inspirations, shooting stills, watching movies etc. I love when I can immerse into my world of inspiration.
I always form a new muse for each collection, who has the right expression for what I want to define with the collection. My own ritual-like thing is that I always fill my pin board at the office with the primary mood board pictures to get in the right mood each morning when I come to my studio have the first coffee of day.




- From the beginning your design is androgynous and unisex; that means that every piece of garment you made is meant to be for a man and a woman (same piece for both genders).Why is that? Don´t you have some limitations into process of construction (if we mind that women and man bodies are proportionally a bit different)?
You said it to yourself; I am designing for more androgynous type of people in the population. Of course it brings certain limitations while constructing the patterns, but I always think we find our way of making it work for both sexes. Of course some garments are more feminine and some more masculine, it is all about striking a balance.



- You are known that all materials and then final pieces have been subjected to artisanal craftsmanship, workmanlike tailoring. So we can deduct that every piece somehow is unique, that there´s no like two totally the same pieces?
Almost every piece, also the lighter pieces, has something incorporated that is made by hand etc. So I strive for each garment to be unique in a way. This is more prominent on larger and heavier garments with a larger array of detailing etc.

-Do you collaborate with local artisans and how did you build your "work net"?
My line of jewelry is built together with, Kim Vestergaard, a great friend and great sculptor, currently working as a goldsmith in his own small shop, called toForm.
Otherwise I would say I am quite a social person, when you get to know me.


- Your brand is really young (from 2011), but it is quite impressive to know that you do not produce only clothes, but the whole package - that means shoes, bags and accessories. This is really rare, especially for so young brands. Why is that? Isn´t, in financial terms, quite risky to start your own brand with full selection? Tell me more about it.

I simply wanted to present the whole universe from day one. That was pretty much my philosophy and therefore I have built on to the universe from one collection to another. I don’t think it is that risky to be doing the whole package if you do it in the right way and you keep in mind that we do a lot of development in the house at the LEONLOUIS studio.

- Does "Leon Louis" have a signature look? And if yes, could you please describe it? What makes your brand, aesthetic unique?
LeonLouis is all about versatility and allowing people to pick and shape their own silhouette. We offer layers, armor and comfort for our day to day, without restricting our clients on how to present or interact with our garments. It is an open sartorial canvas.


- Who is your customer? How much influence on your vision and your work has your customer?
The customer …..
I will always listen to my customer’s needs and desires and I have to take these into consideration. Actually we sometimes customize garments or make special installations for some exclusive clients, if they have special requirements. I think it is very important being able to listen and interact with your audience.


- Tell me about your last collection, S/S 2014 "Obsessive pain"? What is the red line of the collection? Where is the inspiration point?
I think the main point was the deconstruction, taking an element apart and putting it together in a new way or simply trying to assembly it correctly again. E.g. the off white spinal cord leather jacket which has been used in the campaign pictures was one of the more main pieces showing what the collection was all about. A lot of hand stitching has been used for this collection as-well as the previous ones. This has become a part of my brand and the design DNA.

- Your favorite piece from that collection?
I would pick the spinal cord leather jacket or the large heavy silk short. Also shown in the SS14 campaign pictures on the stairs.


- For now you promote your brand through campaign photos, videos. What you should do more? What are your plans? Runway shows? Showrooms?
We are showing in our Paris Showroom, Void Showroom, where we have been showing the three past collections and now we are showing our SS14 collection for the first time during the Femme fashion week in Paris as well, this September, so I am seriously looking forward to see how the collection will be received. In the future we will be looking into doing a runway show or some form of presentation. It has to be at the right time and with the right collection.

- Quite a lot of brands have their own online shop. Will there be the "Leon Louis" online shop soon? Beside that where we can find the brand? What are your plans on how to expand the brand?
We have considered the online shop, but we are not there yet. In this moment you can find the brand in 12 different countries. Mentioning cities e.g. Paris, Berlin, New York, Italy, Denmark, Hong Kong etc.

How I am planning to expand my brand with the next collection, it is a secret for now, but I will let you know as soon as there will be close to its release. Currently I am working on improving the shoe line that we just presented with our S/S 2014 collection.


- What is next? And how you see your brand in ten years (2023)?
Right now I am just looking forward to start the inspiration for the next collection, which will be for F/W 2014/2015. I thinkt it has to include heavy masculine shapes and to have a raw feel to it or at least that is how I feel right now.
2023 I can’t even imagine – Hopefully adding several lines and doing meaningful presentations in Paris.

Photos courtesy of Leon Louis

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