Kopenhagen Fur works with the best

24 April 2012Fashion & Lifestyle

Emneord Kopenhagen FurDesignschoolsMichael Holm

For the fourth year in a row, Kopenhagen Fur opened Copenhagen Fashion Week in February. Each year we have presented a new concept embodying different designers. This year we invited the top up-and-coming talents from all over the world.

 

'New Talents' was the theme of Kopenhagen Fur's fashion show during Copenhagen Fashion Week. Seven newly graduated designers from various countries showed their preeminent fur designs. The designers graduated from design schools that work together with Kopenhagen Fur.

Kopenhagen Fur's Design and Production Manager, Michael Holm, initiated the partnerships with the schools.

The cooperation is now almost four years old. The schools number the renowned Chinese university Tsinghua in Beijing, the Royal College of Art in London and the London College of Fashion. Michael Holm knew exactly which schools should be selected.

- I targeted them specifically. I chose these schools because they are the best, he explains.

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FUR TRAINING AT THE SCHOOLS

Both schools and students welcomed the partnership idea with open arms. Eliana Dimitrakopoulou from Greece was one of the seven designers to show their designs at Kopenhagen Fur's show during the fashion week. She drew her first collection at the age of five and has studied at the London College of Fashion, one of Kopenhagen Fur's partners. She firmly believes that the partnership has greatly impacted her career.

- I could never have created the collection without Kopenhagen Fur. I feel that people know me because they've seen pictures of the collection that Kopenhagen Fur helped sponsor, she says.

The same goes for Jennifer Murray, another graduate from the London College of Fashion.

- Without Kopenhagen Fur, I would never have worked with fur, and my collection would have had a completely different look. This has been a fantastic opportunity, she says.

Many of the design schools are unable to teach their students how to work with fur. Fur is a costly material and hard for schools to obtain. This is why they find it difficult to accumulate knowledge about it. As a result, many of the graduating designers know nothing about fur and may therefore never incorporate it into their collections.

- The schools get a knowledge of a material that they wouldn't normally be able to lay their hands on, an opportunity they have keenly embraced. Very few schools have in-depth knowledge about fur, so we are pleased to be able to help, explains Michael Holm.

The Royal College of Art in London deeply values the partnership with Kopenhagen Fur. The head of the Fashion Programme, Wendy Dagworthy, knows how much it means for a designer's development.

- The cooperation is extremely important, and we truly appreciate it. Without it, our students wouldn't be able to realise their full potential as designers. Our students keep pushing the limits for what fashion can do, using fur in new and inspiring ways, she says.

TALENTS ARE MEANT TO PROVOCE US

The schools and their students are not the only ones for whom the partnership is productive. Kopenhagen Fur also gains from it. The schools provide a forum in which students are being pressed to think out of the box, a process that engenders innovative ways of using fur.

- I do what I can to provoke them to think innovatively. I would like to see something unexpected. They approach fur from new angles and see new possibilities in using the material. That's why it is so inspiring to work with new emerging talents, says Michael Holm.

The young talents have noticed that working with fur differs from working with other materials.

- With fur, it's actually best to lean back and let the fur do the job. Creating a garment like a suit jacket, you need painstaking attention on minute details. You need to focus on the lining and the lapel to achieve the ideal result. Fur as a material is much more impulsive. Fur has an indefinable factor, an 'instant' aura and status, says Danish Morten Underbjerg.

Eliana Dimitrakopoulou agrees that patience is a virtue when you work with fur.

- Fur is a unique material. It takes time to learn the new craft, and you learn something new at every turn of the process. You're not only working with another material, you're learning a completely new craft. The more you get to know fur, the more ideas you get, she declares.

Pushing the boundaries

Jennifer Murray thinks that shifting the boundaries of fur design into new realms is the key factor. She keeps in mind that experiments should ideally culminate in a saleable product, but to her this is more of an added bonus.

- The experimental aspect of working with fur is what interests me the most. We focus on constantly pushing the limits in our quest for new uses for fur. Even if the end-result is not always apparent in the initial phases. You can do so much with fur, exclaims Jennifer Murray.