Danish designer Stine Goya @stinegoyastudio set up her own fashion house about sixteen years ago, after exploring some areas of the industry such as modeling or editing. Those experiences were the seeds that made her hedonistic brand blossom, with which she bathed the muted and minimalist Scandinavian scene in color, art, and eternal prints.
Since then, its sisterhood hasn’t stopped illuminating the system through fluid silhouettes that dance arrhythmically among unexpected patterns, flowers and evasive energies. Creations stimulated by artworks, films or sunsets that drink from the beauty that surrounds us, so we can feel the emotional connection with the pieces. Still, the great inspiration has always been and will always be Copenhague.
Stine Goya thus celebrates, through a horizontal and community-based model, self-expression and freedom in all its forms. Because beyond dressing the material in a poetic aura and a joyful aesthetic, there coexists what is often hidden in the fashion business: a whole system of values dedicated to creating a more ethical and diverse world.
We spoke to the creative director about the genesis of the brand and its development journey to become a global source of activism and inspiration.
VT: Before building the Stine Goya house, you studied at Central Saint Martins, worked as a model and as a fashion editor. Tell us about how all those experiences in the industry influenced you in shaping your vision and identity.
SG: It’s been a real privilege to be able to gain knowledge from so many different areas of the industry and I feel that I owe the success of Stine Goya to my experiences and training in becoming a designer. Studying at CSM is such a treasured period of time in my memory – from delving into the history of design to working among tutors and peers that encouraged me to explore my own aesthetic.
I feel so lucky to have had that experience. Meanwhile, modeling really help me understand how clothes move and feel on the body, seeing how editors pull together trends and looks – every step of this journey has informed my vision and enhanced my intuition. New surroundings change your perception of the world in an unconscious way. All these experiences have shaped me to who I am today and what the brand stands for. I don’t believe it is possible to design in complete isolation – designing is a process woven into my everyday life.
VT: Stine Goya blossomed in 2006, injecting color, prints and patterns into the Scandinavian design scene, hitherto focused on a minimalist aesthetic and a more sober palette. Do you think your brand marked a before and after for Danish fashion?
SG: It was definitely a conscious decision to establish a brand wherein my audience could unabashedly express themselves. I recognized that there was a hunger for more playful, artistically driven design with silhouettes that felt effortless giving the wearer certain confidence. The view of the rest of the world on Danish Fashion might have changed but I don´t necessarily believe there was a before and after with the founding of Stine Goya. When I founded my brand in 2006, it was a point of difference.
Scandinavian fashion had essentially been synonymous with minimalism – muted palettes, slick shapes and classic finishes – and I believe, print and color were and still are to this day an invigorating vehicle to joy. (Colour is king in Denmark and the Danes are definitely advocates for going all in. We like anything that’s full of personality but still easy-going and works when riding a bike or on a spontaneous trip to the sea. Playing around with mixing and matching with different colors, prints and styles is our credo – anything goes.)
VT: When did you start developing this passion for creativity and color? Which artists or creatives stimulated you to establish this fixation on design?
SG: My passion for creativity and colors has been present for as long as I can remember honestly. I have been curious about fashion ever since I was young. I think I was about 9 years old when I sewed my first dress. There is a great number of different artists and creatives that have influenced me throughout my life. Especially when I was studying in London. I spent a lot of time at galleries, music venues and flea markets that each inspired me in their own way. Art is something I´ve always surrounded myself with so my love for creativity and color has always existed.
VT: How do you empower women and/or people through your contemporary designs?
SG: With Stine Goya we try to empower people to make them feel confident in their own skin. I want my customers and followers to feel like themselves. Not a better version, just them. Fashion, I believe boils down to exploring yourself – the colors you like, the fit you like, the styles – free from judgment. My collections are not beholden to trends and more and more, I have realized they do not need to be prescribed to a particular gender – which has been so empowering and freeing. I design for what just feels right. Being distinctly comfortable and more importantly confident in expressing that is what drives me.
Stine Goya is a universe of color that is born of and rooted in the sheer joy of creativity and confident individuality. It is the foundation of our brand DNA and we want to spread our message of happiness around the world.
VT: The neo-boho narrative that you project through Stine Goya is often relegated to the background to give importance to other social issues such as sustainability, racism, diversity or mental health, as reflected in FW21. What values do your designs express? How would you like these artistic products to be interpreted?
SG: Sustainability and inclusion really is key for us. These are agendas that have been important to us from the very beginning. As a brand with numerous platforms, we have an obligation to use those channels for good and to raise awareness on topics such as mental health, sustainability, and diversity and inclusion. We realize that it is not enough anymore to just make clothes. We have to communicate a compelling and relatable value system that we believe in – and to stand up for it no matter what.
(With our AW21 film, we wanted to represent these values through three incredibly inspiring women, and give them a platform to tell their story to the world.) Everyone deserves the opportunity to excel and experience the joys of what our industry has to offer – no matter your background, no matter the color of your skin. This is an integral part of our value system as a brand and we want to stand up for it and use our voice as loud and as much as we can to support a more diverse and inclusive industry.
VT: We see how your studio draws inspiration from art and design to create the visual narrative that elevates the brand’s DNA. The aesthetic and ethical importance of all this content, from campaigns to films like House of Goya, represents the visual hallmark of Stine Goya. How do you come to build all these stories? How do you carry out these creative processes?
SG: It is very much a group effort, a team designing and creating concepts rather than only me pushing my ideas onto the team. We´re a small and very close unit and every time we start working on a new collection, we try to go to inspirational places to get started. We hold brainstorming sessions and that is where the first creative ideas and concepts really start to shape the story for the upcoming collection.
Of course, everyone´s own experiences and emotions have an impact in this process. The atmosphere during this little get-away really sets the mood for the whole season. My team and I usually find inspiration in the most unexpected places. It can go from being in nature to being inspired by friends and family, to seeing a certain artwork, movie or exhibition, to witnessing a sunset.
VT: The idea of community has become one of the main pillars of your brand. Tell us about the creative and emotional connection that exists at Stine Goya between the team and/or family that makes it up.
SG: In 15 years of business, we have collaborated and partnered with so many amazing creatives – through dance, music, art, design, food and more – evolving into this amazing and inspiring community of individuals that lift each other up. I think every individual has gone through different life-changing experiences, especially if you happen to don’t fit into a specific conformal and very privileged box. Out of this reason, our House of Goya was born – we wanted to dedicate our brand to everyone who wants to be part of our universe and reflects our values. It is dedicated to a culture of diversity and inclusion. No matter who you are, you can be part of our community – just come as you are.
VT: Big icons such as Kendal Jenner, Kristen Stewart or Hailey Bieber have worn some of your designs, which are now understood in the universal language. What has this meant for you and how has it influenced the positioning of the brand?
SG: It had quite an impact on the brand – we saw a lot of new people discovering Stine Goya from all over the world and the Adonis sweater Kendall Jenner was wearing was sold out immediately. On top of that we´ve relaunched the Adonis sweater in two new colorways and it is now one of our best sellers. It fills me with joy to see celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Kristen Stewart, Kristen Annie Bell and Lily Allen rocking our prints and to know that Stine Goya as a Danish brand is loved and cherished all around the world by such stylish women. All these women, for me, represent everything we strive to celebrate through our collections – strength, independence, and confidence.
VT: Tell us about your latest pre-spring/summer 2022 collection, and all the personalities you are collaborating with to keep it alive on Instagram.
SG: Our collection ´How much can we grow´ is an homage to the beauty of creative collaboration and creative communities. We´ve worked together with Julianknxx, a British poet and filmmaker who directed a fashion film, filmed during our off-schedule CPHFW show in August 2021 and turned into a film within 24 hours. An original spoken-word piece was created by the Danish poetry collective Blod, Måne, Søndag, inspired by the Bloomsbury group, and performed live at the show. After seeing the heartbreak and devastation this pandemic has caused the creative industries, we wanted to dedicate our SS22 collection to emphasizing the importance of creative communities and the power of individuals coming together in creative collaboration and unity. (SS22 IS A LOVE LETTER TO THE WORLD’S CREATIVE COMMUNITIES. TO THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR CONTRIBUTION. TO VISIONARIES AND VOICES, OLD AND NEW.)
VT: In the midst of this kind of post-cathartic fashion renaissance, where do you think Stine Goya is heading to?
SG: Our focus will definitely be building and growing our Stine Goya community. We realize now more than ever that we have to be more than just clothes. We have to form and support a value system dedicated to creating a more ethical and diverse world. Our community is what keeps me going. When I see Stine Goya being worn on the street, when I meet a new artist who wants to collaborate, when we host events bringing together a group of talents from across the industry – there is a flurry of activity and energy, and ideas that drive me. During the time of global crisis, community is also what provides support. Seeing that our vision is valued, that our designs are cherished, that our company can go on – doesn’t happen without the people you care about by your side.