A note on Sustainability by London Based, Danish Designer Martine Jarlgaard
London-based Danish fashion designer, Martine Jarlgaard, launched her eponymous contemporary luxury brand in 2013, following almost a decade as headhunted creative head for fashion icons such as Vivienne Westwood and Diesel. While in Paris to show her AW16 collection, ND-World talked to the busy designer about the road towards her own brand, the meaning of luxury and how sustainability should be a given in the fashion industry.
Written by Charlotte Antschukov Kjær
Why did you decide to start your own brand?
Upon graduation from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2004, I intended to start my own brand, but then my graduate collection ‘Dress me until I disappear in Better Beauty’ was invited and sponsored by Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana, to show during Rome Couture Fashion Week, and I was headhunted for Vivienne Westwood Red Label during my time in Italy. This was my first job, and an experience that I will never forget. Following that I worked for All Saints and later as the creative head for Diesels women’s apparel in Italy, until I decided to launch my own brand in 2013, back in London. This was a dream, that I somehow always knew I would pursue.
What is the inspiration and aesthetics behind Martine Jarlgaard London?
The aesthetics draw on sculptural lines, innovative textures and a sense of poetry. I find my inspiration in everything from creased paper and abstraction to just observing the world around me. Our everyday life is full of curious elements, and if you notice them, they often make you wonder. The new Martine Jarlgaard London collection named ‘Drift Ice / AW16’ is inspired by Greenland, where nature is constantly in transformation, due to the global impacts of ice melting and disappearing. While the ice is changing its shape, the salty sea appears like a non-stop animation, surrounded by the kind of silence – A silence you wouldn’t know until you’ve experienced it.
What does luxury in fashion mean to you?
I believe luxury in fashion should be something special; something that surprises you and tells a story through shape, detail, fabric or cut, while remaining distinctive, wearable, timeless and long-lasting. Very importantly, it must be sustainable and uphold the highest level of quality and ethics throughout the production process. To me, luxury fashion is not just determined by how it looks or feels, since I have high expectations, regarding a responsible production, that incorporates care and respect.
How do you see sustainability in the fashion industry?
Sustainable fashion and sustainable business, in general, should be a given, as the alternative is a downward spiral, and I believe we have enough evidence of that. I do think that the fashion industry and consumers have become slightly more conscious of sustainable choices in recent years, but there is still a long way to go. We need to think about more sustainable ways of living, from consuming less, aiming for a better quality, to rethinking behavioral patterns and our perception of value such as e.g. the idea of ownership through renting, co-owning etc. We must think further and do more.
You have lived in London for the past 11 years, any recommendations?
Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea is my favourite place for art exhibitions. It is very well curated with a lot of new talent. Bistroteque in Hackney is great for a late dinner or improvised cocktails with friends, and Fierce Gracein Primrose Hill does brilliant hot Yoga classes with lots of great karma.