An in­ter­vi­ew with Hen­rik Vib­skov

Odalisque - - An Interview With Henrik Vibskov Written By Tsemay - Writ­ten by Tse­maye Opubor

Get­ting a chan­ce to in­ter­vi­ew Hen­rik Vib­skov at his stu­dio in Co­pen­ha­gen fe­els a bit li­ke win­ning a gol­den tic­ket to vi­sit Wil­ly Won­ka’s Choco­la­te Facto­ry, with a se­ri­es of tests in­vol­ved be­fo­re you get the pri­ze. To be­gin with, to get to Vib­skov’s uni­ver­se on Pa­pirøen (Pa­per Is­land) you have to pass Christi­a­nia, the fa­mous self-proclai­med Da­nish ”free sta­te” that is ho­me to anar­chists, ar­tists, hip­pi­es, and recre­a­tio­nal drug users. I tell my­self that in the na­me of jour­na­lism it’s my du­ty to Oda­lis­que re­a­ders to ta­ke a de­tour to Christi­a­nia. Af­ter a quick wal­ka­bout ob­ser­ving the brisk tra­de in can­na­bis be­ing pur­cha­sed, tested, and smoked by groups of “ma­riju­a­na tou­rists”, I po­wer walk my­self away from Christi­a­nia. A few mi­nu­tes la­ter I am en­te­ring Pa­pirøen and I find “Den Plette­de Gris” (The Spotted Pig), the café whe­re Vib­skov has his stu­dio, just steps away from se­ve­ral ot­her buil­dings that ma­ke up his spe­ci­al uni­ver­se. The buil­ding that houses the café is a few cen­tu­ri­es old and the ceilings are ve­ry low. Vib­skov is in the do­or­frame, wai­ting for me to ar­ri­ve. He is a slim man who is near­ly two metres tall. He is good-loo­king in a Scan­di-ar­ty way, wea­ring a be­a­nie, a track su­it, a jump­su­it and a big scarf. He has ve­ry in­ten­se blue ey­es, and he is near­ly bent in half. “Are you hung­ry? I’m star­ving. Let’s eat in the stu­dio kit­chen with the rest of my team”, he says. Da­nish chee­ses of dif­fe­rent ty­pes (and va­ri­ous le­vel of stink), den­se Da­nish rye bre­ads, smoked sand­wich me­ats, fish, fruit, sa­lads, ve­ge­ta­bles, and a few ba­ked la­sag­ne ty­pe dishes are all put out on a small wooden kit­chen ta­b­le and the coun­ter tops in the not-so mo­dern kit­chen. Slowly, mem­bers of Vib­skov’s design team, Team Vibs, wan­der in­to the kit­chen and ser­ve them­sel­ves so­me food. The team is made up of young de­sig­ners from Den­mark and ot­her parts of Eu­ro­pe and the world. Con­ver­sa­tion flows about eve­ryt­hing from how the la­test­col­lec­tion is coming along to the best pla­ce to buy or­ga­nic bre­ad in Co­pen­ha­gen. The at­mosphe­re is fri­end­ly and fa­mi­li­al. When eve­ry­o­ne has had enough to eat they wan­der back to their desks, and back to work. Vib­skov is now smiling. It’s ob­vious his blood su­gar le­vels are back up, and the in­ter­vi­ew can fi­nal­ly be­gin. TO: Are you the har­dest-wor­king man in fashion?

HV: Well, I’m not su­re about that but I al­ways work on th­ree col­lec­tions at the sa­me ti­me. It’s ex­ci­ting how fast things mo­ve in fashion, but so­me­ti­mes we can lo­se track of whe­re we are and what se­a­son we are wor­king on becau­se we have so ma­ny col­lec­tions be­ing de­ve­lo­ped at the sa­me ti­me.

TO: Why work on so much at the sa­me ti­me? I’ve seen your team and the­re aren’t ma­ny pe­op­le he­re so I won­der, how do you get it all do­ne?

HV: Things are de­fi­ni­tely in­ten­se. If I worked for Di­or or anot­her one of the big

houses, things would be a litt­le dif­fe­rent with mo­re as­sistan­ce avai­lab­le. Yes, the team is small but ve­ry de­di­ca­ted. They al­so li­ke hard work.

TO: But you don’t on­ly work on your col­lec­tions, you do ma­ny dif­fe­rent kinds of pro­jects?

HV: In ge­ne­ral when you’ve been do­ing the sa­me thing for a long pe­ri­od of ti­me you need to find pas­sion and ener­gy and things to keep you ex­ci­ted. My brain needs to be en­ter­tai­ned and chal­leng­ed, and I need to do dif­fe­rent things. Ma­ny of the pro­jects that I am do­ing are the re­sult of re­quests from dif­fe­rent pe­op­le who ask me to do stuff for them. I most­ly say yes so I guess you re­ap what you sow. For in­stan­ce, if you work with in­stal­la­tions for spa­ces pe­op­le no­tice and sud­den­ly you get mo­re re­quests to do work with spa­ces.

TO: I know that you are a mu­si­ci­an as well as a de­sig­ner?

HV: Mu­sic is ve­ry im­por­tant to me. I’ve play­ed the drums for mo­re than 30 ye­ars and I have a band cal­led Mountain Yo­ro­ko­bu. I’ve al­so tou­red for 6 ye­ars with a fri­end of mi­ne, Tren­te­møl­ler, who is a Da­nish electro­nic mu­sic act.

TO: Are you hap­py with the way your work is de­ve­lo­ping? With the suc­cess?

HV: I think it’s im­port to re­a­li­se that not eve­ryt­hing one do­es is a suc­cess. I’m de­ve­lo­ping what I do, thanks to the fact that so­me­ti­mes my team and I ma­ke mista­kes. Even the mista­kes can bring so­met­hing positive. It’s not on­ly ne­ga­ti­ve, and so­me­ti­mes it’s li­ke a bonus. You get a fond me­mo­ry of that thing you did that went wrong. And it hel­ps you learn so­met­hing va­lu­ab­le for the next ti­me.

TO: You’ve tri­ed so ma­ny dif­fe­rent things – is this just pre­pa­ring you for the day you de­ci­de to stop be­ing a fashion de­sig­ner?

HV: I still li­ke fashion, becau­se clot­hing and fashion are the fas­test forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. They are ac­tu­al­ly al­most fas­ter than the In­ter­net. It’s a ve­ry in­te­re­s­ting idea, and that’s why I’m still do­ing fashion and not do­ing so­met­hing el­se!

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