Gestern Abend lud Weekday in Berlin in die Delight Rental Studios, um hier sein neues Brand „1440„ zu präsentieren – ganz im Sinne des sportlichen Selbstverständnisses der Designs von Nhu Duong: im Boxring und zu Sportdrinks. Lange, enge Kleider mit raffinierten Details, mit Cut-Outs und Metallic, mit Seidendetails oder sportlichen Streifen waren hier in der Frauenlinie zu sehen und auch für die Männer wurde eine ähnliche Ästhetik in die Menswear übersetzt: Hoodies und Shirts bleiben schlicht, aber bekommen abgerundete, teils reflektierende Prints, die in ihrer Formgebung an Sportshirts erinnern. Dann wieder wird die Retro-Sporthose in einen schmalen Schnitt gebracht und mit Streifen versehen. Kurzum: 1440 zeigt sich als urbane Mode mit sportlichen Einflüssen und kombiniert athletische mit eleganten Elementen.
Anlässlich den Launches der ersten 1440-Kollektion, die weltweit in 19 Läden zu bekommen ist, haben wir außerdem Nhu Duong, Designerin hinter der neuen Linie und sowohl in Berlin als auch in Stockholm zu Hause, vorab zum Interview getroffen. Im Gespräch hat sie uns den Gedanken hinter 1440 näher gebracht und uns von ihrer eigenen Designarbeit erzählt.
ArtSchoolVets: You are the first designer for Weekday’s new brand 1440. The line will be quite sporty, or inspired by sports. What else is there you would like to tell us about 1440?
Nhu Duong: The collection has everything you need for an entire day – 1440 minutes. All the garments are quite minimal and basic, but at the same time multi-functional and transformable. The way you can wear the collection is a quite open and allows you to adapt to your environment. Inspired by extreme sports and high-performance clothes, the design can be characterized as „ergonomic“, which describes the relationship between technology, the body and the environment.
ASV: What are your favorite pieces of the first 1440 collection?
Nhu Duong: There are body-conscious dresses, track suits and anorak, but then there are also perfect styling pieces such as the runner’s tights, sweat shorts or the racer gloves. Most of the garments may seem quite minimal and classic at first, yet all the garments are multi-functional or have technical applications. For me the perfect garment is the all around runnertights well as the body con dresses with ergonomic graphical stitching. They are both very effortless, but you still look extremely dressed.
ASV: With the the return of the 90ies and the Millenium years to the current fashion zeitgeist many other labels refer to a certain sportiness at the moment ( Wood Wood, Cheap Monday, etc.) and even brands from the era like FILA and Reebok return to the scene. On the other hand there are more and more running shoes coming out from the big sneaker brands, which are designed keeping street wear in mind as well.
Would you see 1440 as a reaction to this development and if so, how?
Nhu Duong: When we were shooting the lookbook of the collection, a lot of us got a strong 90s nostalgia. I did not really consciously plan this when designing the collection, but I definitely think today there is a certain re-examination of our relation to the body. Sportswear is an important aspect of contemporary culture and at times be a seismograph for deeper change. What makes the 1440 collection interesting is that the lines between sportswear and fashion is rather blurred.
ASV: Your regular collections are based on very classical and clean cuts with a lot of silk. How does that play into the sportiness Weekday dedicates 1440 to?
Nhu Duong: Actually the collection may look classic, but the cuts and materials are rather experimental. My work is always an exploration of a certain lo-fi technique or material, that I than push towards the point where it looks „sophisticated“. In the process I often use materials and details that one may recognize from sportswear, streetwear or „cheap“ fashion: patches, pastel-colored mesh, neoprene or metal knitwear. It is all there, just applied in a completely different way.
ASV: It is not the first time that you work with Weekday. In 2009 you have done a collaboration with Weekday, and won us over with sporty minimalism and premium textiles. 1440 is a little bit of sequel of that collaboration?
Nhu Duong: The first collection was based on my graduate collection, where I used safety pins as a way to make my own material and play with the idea of embroidery. The concept for 1440 is in a way completely new and is related to my interest in functional clothing.
ASV: How did the design assignement for 1440 come along?
Nhu Duong: When Weekday approached me to design a concept line for them, I was thinking about the kind of garments I am currently interested in, but also I wanted to create something that Weekday did not already have. We agreed early on the direction of the clothes. With a collection that is based on functionality and minimal design, most of the work is actual in the details. Production plays a big part: the kind of zipper or seam you choose can make a big difference.
ASV: Your vita tells us, you were born in Ho Chi Minh City as a daughter of a Kung-Fu Master and a tailoress, who moved to Sweden with you at age 7. Later you studied fashion in Stockholm and Florence and worked as design assistant at ACNE. All in all many different influences.
How do they all come together in your design aesthetics?
Nhu Duong: These are all things that influence me personally. You may even recognize them in aspects of my work, however this is not really something I really think about or try to thematize in my work. My points of reference are much more complex and fragmented. Moving to Berlin has allowed me to break away from the category of swedish minimal design and situate my work in a larger cultural field and younger generation of artists, musicians and designers.
ASV: You still oscillate between Berlin and Stockholm. Why did you decide to live between those two cities and what are the main differences?
Nhu Duong: Hardly any of my friends here work in fashion; most of them are artists, musicians and writers. I can choose freely which scenes I want to be part of. For me this is the real strength of Berlin. However, Berlin’s strength can aslo be its biggest weakness. Sometimes it feels that the lack of pressure makes time stand still. To make things happen, I think you need the energy from another place. This is where Stockholm comes in.
ASV: You were the first winner of the Mercedes Benz Young Fashion Industry Award and showed your designs in 2009 at Stockholm Fashion Week for the first time. Furthermore H&M granted you a fellowship (as Emerging Talent in Design at the Swedish Elle Awards in 2010) and in 2011 you became Head of Design of Elin Kling’s Label Nowhere. One can say you already have achieved a lot and made great progress regarding your work.
What else is planned except for 1440?
Nhu Duong: This year I want to focus more on my own collections and experiment with different ways of presenting and selling my clothes. Collaborations with the art world have become an important part of the way I work and and I have several different projects lined up in the next coming months. Also, even if I live in Berlin, I have hardly done presentations in Germany, this I also want to change and my project with Weekday is a good start.
Vielen Dank für das Interview, Nhu Duong!