The super talented Copenhagen-based designer Martin Asbjørn @martinasbjorn @martinabjerre, who founded his eponymous label in 2014 after graduating from Menswear Design at the prestigious Design and Technical Tailoring Academy, talks with Vanity Teen online about the inspiration and creative process of the Fall/Winter 2022 collection. We also talk about how he presents collections that “balance masculinity, androgyny, and self-expression but never at the expense of wearability.”
Vanity Teen. Your Fall/Winter 2022 collection looks incredibly good, with a predominance of browns and earthy tones with some metallic blue accents and breathtaking tailoring pieces. Could you tell me more about the inspiration behind this collection, the creative process followed to create it, and more details about it, please?
Martin Asbjørn. The collection was designed through quite a difficult time – yet another lockdown and lots of restrictions on travel, meaning that I felt a bit starved of inspiration. So I decided to look inwards and not worry about a story as such but just design really great clothes. I’ve always been very keen on creating pieces that make the wearer feel confident and sexy and dressed up in some way so I concentrated on this feeling rather than outside influences.
I looked at how clothes are made – tailoring in particular – and used details such as basting stitches (the wide stitches used in the construction of suits to give shape) and linings and made them a decorative element rather than hiding them away as usual. For the first time too, I designed pieces such as dresses and skirts but didn’t reserve them entirely for women but instead allowed them to be ‘just’ garments that can be worn by whoever likes them and in whatever way they desire. So basically it’s a collection of great clothes, not a story-telling process or a personal viewpoint.
VT. After seeing your latest collection, I was wondering why did you decide to use such contrasting materials like leather and sequin and the earthy tones with brighter colors? How did you come up with this combination and how do you make it look so gorgeous together?
MA. I’m glad you like what you have seen! I’ve always been very interested in textures and the way they work with and against each other. The same goes with colors – I’ve never been a typical monochrome Scandinavian designer and have always been known for my use of color! This collection is no exception. I used fabrics strongly associated with men – heavy leather and Saville Row style tailoring cloth for example – and others usually seen as feminine – sheer nylon, sequins, etc – and then subverted them by putting them together or, in the show, on models you might not expect. I think the result is surprisingly easy and natural and it looks like it comes from the wearer’s own personality rather than dictated by me.
VT. I know you’re mainly focused on menswear but for this collection, your pieces are worn by men and women, and there are some skirts too accompanied by sequin tops and metallic fabrics. When designing a new collection, do you prefer to create womenswear and menswear separately or do you aim at creating genderless pieces for all types of people? Who do you design for?
MA. My collections have always been aimed toward men but were very often worn by women too and I guess this has always been in the back of my mind when designing. This was the first time that I sat down and explicitly looked to create new product groups like skirts and dresses but I absolutely didn’t think of it as womenswear. It was just to offer more options to be mixed with the tailoring and outerwear and I don’t mind who buys or wears it or how they put it together. Obviously, some styles are going to appeal to some groups more than others but we sell it as one full collection and it’s up to the buyers and eventually the retail customers what pieces they want. So for me, all clothes should be genderless or unisex. They are just building blocks to reflect your mood and personality.
VT. You have a very cohesive and refined style, but I’m curious about the evolution of your style as a designer and the future of your brand. How different or innovative would you say this collection is compared to your previous designs? How do you think your style has changed over the years and what does the future hold for you and your brand?
MA. I think there has been a long steady development since I very first started. I was always labeled as a menswear designer but to be honest, many of my customers were women so it was obvious to eventually include pieces created for them, even though I also love it if those skirts and dresses are worn by boys too! I’ve always championed individuality and loved people who express themselves by using my clothes but I think the time is right for me to start using that in my campaigns and runway presentations too. So it is a natural progression rather than a change of track – both in terms of the clothes themselves and in the way I show them.
As for the future, we live in very uncertain times so it’s hard to predict with any certainty, but I hope we will still continue to create great collections and also expand the collection to include more accessories.