BAUM UND PFERDGARTEN
It's 3 o'clock, and I am sitting at the Baum und Pfergarten head office in central Copenhagen. The environment is minimalistic, with white walls and wooden features, and I'm about to have a talk with the dual print-loving designers Rikke Baumgarten and Helle Hestehave. Accompanying us is their PR Manager, Christian Skytt-hansen.
JDM: How did you start Baum und Pferdgarten? Your first studio was in Nørrebro, right?
H&R: Yeah, that's right. In the beginning, we rented a space in a studio that was called “Waist of time” in Nørrebro, which is a very vibrant part of Copenhagen. We leased it with a few guys from our former school, The Royal Danish Academy, and it was in the studio that we started to develop our brand. We knew that we wanted to work towards becoming a fashion brand, but the fashion scene in Denmark at that point was pretty limited. So, our goal became to expand our business and make it worldwide.
Of course, we needed to get some knowledge about how to run a fashion brand. We produced a collection in a small factory in Denmark. Then we contacted some buyers around Copenhagen, and started going to meetings to present our collection. It was a very exciting time for us because everything was so new. When we released our fifth collection we realised that the clothes were actually selling quite well, so we started to look for opportunities abroad.
But it was after we'd shown the collection in Paris that we suddenly had a lot of new clients. We were in shock that so many found our designs interesting and wanted to sell them in their stores. And when we went back to Copenhagen our brand had expanded to a whole new level.
JDM: When did you feel that you got your first taste of success?
R&H: I would say when we had been in Paris and got so many potential buyers, that was definitely a success for us.
CSH: Also, Barney's contacted you.
RB: Oh yeah, that's right! And also our first runway show, we can't forget that. Then I think it's very important to remember the smaller things, like someone wearing our clothes. I really love seeing that.
JDM: What would you say separates your brand from others?
H&R: We see our different ways of thinking as something positive. Our ideas clash all the time because we both have very strong opinions, but instead of seeing it as something negative we use it to our advantage and form our ideas from the differences. It's the signature for our brand.
JDM: Prints are one of your most well-known features. Where do you find inspiration for making prints?
H&R: It can come from anything, but some things we like to look at are art, existing prints, colours or fabrics. We get inspired by so many different things, and it's always different what we find inspiring.
JDM: Are there some materials that you tend to use a lot in your collections?
H&R: We always use some kind of silk. Silk is a perfect material for draping. It also creates a beautiful surface for prints and contributes with a special touch to the collections.
JDM: Your choice of music for your shows has really caught my attention. Do you spend a lot of time finding the “right” music for your shows?
H&R: Yes we do, it's such an important part for us that the music goes well together with what we are showing. Otherwise, by our own experience, it's easy to
get distracted from looking at the clothes if the music is totally “wrong”.
RB: We feel that putting a lot of time finding the “right” music is a way to make your shows personal, and that's one of the reasons we have been using live music in our latest shows. Music is also a way to capture your audience's attention. You want to be able to give them goose bumps and create an atmosphere. When do you otherwise get the chance to get 800 people to listen to the same thing at the same time? Music is an interesting part of the whole process, and we invest a lot of time finding the music that will give us the right feeling.
JDM: Has there been something lately that has inspired you?
RB: Lately we have been very inspired by furniture fairs. We recently went to one in Milan and really liked the new environment. It's a totally new market for us, and we found that very inspiring.
JDM: How do you feel about the upcoming season? Is it possible to get a sneak peak of what you'll be showing?
H&R: The inspiration comes from a House in Italy called Villa Necchi. It was built in the 1930s, and a family lived there until the 80s. The house is very inspiring. One thing in particular: the house is built in a very “rich” way when it comes to the materials. All the bathrooms are marble, but without any seams in the stone – it's just one big marble stone that has been carved inside the house to fit the rooms. It's crazy! We found so many inspiring things with Villa Necchi and are looking forward to showing them in the next collection.