With a playful and lighthearted approach to menswear, London based designer Trine Lindegaard combines bold embellishment and innovative textile techniques with social projects and sustainable manufacturing methods. Here she tells us more about her background, and why she thinks fashion can make a small difference in the lives of others.
Born and raised in Odense, Denmark, Trine Lindegaard became interested in clothes as a timid teenager, realising she could use them to express herself.
– I was a shy child and didn’t say much when I grew up, Trine tells us. I quickly realised I could express myself through my appearance. I shaved my hair when I was fourteen, and it actually made me look really pretty. My parents loved it; I think they were very happy to see that I was independent. I started making my own clothes around the same time.
After courses in industrial pattern cutting and manufacturing at Istituto Carlo Secoli in Milan, Trine moved to London to do a Bachelor’s degree in fashion design at Middlesex, followed by a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Art. Initially studying womenswear, Trine soon switched to menswear, and shortly after her graduation in 2010, she started her eponymous menswear brand.
I shaved my hair when I was fourteen, and it actually made
me look really pretty
– I started making clothes for myself at a young age, and when I was studying womenswear I naturally made clothes I would wear myself. Somehow it became a restriction and I found it difficult to push the designs in more creative directions. By swapping to menswear I got a greater distance to the clothes; it became an object rather than just another dress. It took the focus away from me. Some of my stockists are buying my clothes for a unisex and female market though, which I’m very pleased to see.
Where do you find inspiration and influences for your design?
– Everywhere. An idea often comes from things I observe on the street. I love speaking to random people, with stories far from the ordinary… and some of these people might inspire new projects. For instance, today I met a homeless man who is also an artist in residence, working below my studio space. His work is great and it would work amazingly well as textile designs, so we immediately discussed working together. Many of my projects happen because I’m curious about weird and wonderful people.
Who is your ideal wearer? Do you have someone in mind when you create?
– Not really. I’m very surprised about the diversity of people buying my clothes. I thought it was mainly fashion kids, but I’m really happy to see that also the more regular blokes are wearing my clothes. Ideally, it’s someone who like the story of the garment and who perhaps don’t take themselves too seriously.
With social projects and sustainable manufacturing methods at the core of her design practice, Trine is working closely with Ghanian weavers, as well as UK prison inmates. The collaborations allow her to work with social issues and help make a difference in the lives of others, while pushing her own design in new directions. For her AW13 collection she brought together traditional West African textile crafts, known as Kente, with embroideries produced by UK prison inmates, a collaboration she continued to develop for her SS14 collection.
– Both collections were based on similar ideas and aesthetics, Trine says. I started working with UK based prisoners and Ghanaian traditional Kente weavers for my AW13 collection, projects that took time to develop due to locations and cultural differences. It was important for me to carry both projects through for my SS14 collection. That gave us the opportunity to develop the collection together, from early ideas to final designs.
– I ran a workshop in a UK based prison during spring, where I asked the inmates to draw and write on the theme of FREEDOM. Something they of course don’t have a lot of themselves, but they were all very positive towards the task and came up with amazing designs. I took the brief and their drawings with me to Ghana and came up with new patterns together with the weavers. It was a very difficult process, but also beautiful. Now we know each other well and work together smoothly, which allows us to collaborate on new projects also for next season.
I don’t think you can change the world through fashion, but I think it’s possible to make a small difference in the lives of others.
Do you believe that fashion design can bring about change in society?
– I don’t think you can change the world through fashion, but I think it’s possible to make a small difference in the lives of others. My work is about following key elements:
• Keeping traditional craft alive.
• Production methods that are well considered, resulting in alternative solutions.
• Working with social issues to help make a difference in the lives of others.
• Workers getting paid properly and being recognised for the work they do.
– These are all issues that I believe in and want to focus on. I believe that other designers could do a lot more in terms of more sustainable production, for instance.
Scandinavian design is known to be simple and minimalistic, but recently we have seen a wave of bold, playful designers, especially from Denmark. I think of designers such as you, Henrik Vibskov, Stine Goya, Wood Wood, and Astrid Andersen. What are your thoughts o that?
– I immediately think about furniture when you mention the term minimalistic traditional Scandinavian design. We have a very strong history of design throughout the whole of Scandinavia, but I think the diversity among the countries is bigger when it comes to fashion. In Sweden you do the minimalist thing amazingly well, and I don’t think the Danish designers can quite compete with that.
– You are right that some Danish designers are avoiding the clean cuts, however I still think you can see “the Scandinavian style” in their work. I think the designers you mention all respect the Danish design traditions but are keen to express something new. I think it is simply about creating a universe that is a bit more fun…
See the lookbook for Trine Lindegaard’s SS14 collection above.