Blog 1701 E92A9672

Hien Le x neubau eyewear: exclusive glimpse behind the scenes

After the great success of the collaboration with Rochambeau during New York fashion week, neubau eyewear teamed up with another talented creative mind, Hien Le.

Being one of the most impor­tant Ger­man brands since its found­ing in 2010, the Laos born and Berlin raised design­er Le won sev­er­al pres­ti­gious awards and quick­ly became a go-to address for blog­gers and jour­nal­ists when show­ing his lat­est cre­ations at the capital’s fash­ion week. The mix of sporty ele­gance, play­ful adult­hood, refined details, relaxed sil­hou­ettes and a sober col­or palette, give his per­son­al fash­ion hand writ­ing mem­o­ra­bil­i­ty. Local­ly pro­duced’ and high qual­i­ty’ also are terms that need to be added. As well as the fact that he cre­ates clothes for women and men, long before the estab­lished fash­ion hous­es even thought about sep­a­rat­ing the two dur­ing their fash­ion week pre­sen­ta­tions. For his autumn/​winter 17 col­lec­tion Hien Le trans­lat­ed the skate­board­ing cul­ture into his own lan­guage, using den­im for the first time ever. We vis­it­ed the design­er in his stu­dio when the final­i­sa­tion of the col­lec­tion, the mod­el cast­ing and fit­ting took place and back­stage, right before his run­way show.

What’s the sto­ry behind your AW 17 col­lec­tion?
I was always fas­ci­nat­ed by skate­board cul­ture, even though I nev­er skat­ed myself. In the last years I start­ed hang­ing around at skate parks, just to watch the board­ers. I always want­ed to pick up that scene in my designs, but had the feel­ing it wouldn’t quite fit, also I thought it might be a bet­ter top­ic for a sum­mer col­lec­tion. How­ev­er this time I was hard­ly influ­enced by all the videos I’ve seen the last cou­ple of months, Man about town’, the Her­mès clip. It got stuck in my mind, so that I decid­ed I’d have to do it now, if not it might be too late. It felt so right! After­wards I start­ed my research and dis­cov­ered that skate­board­ing orig­i­nat­ed in the 40s and when it became big­ger, means in the 50s/​60s, peo­ple dressed real­ly posh while rid­ing the board – the exact oppo­site of what you would relate to the streetwear heavy scene nowa­days! I trans­lat­ed this style to our time with my per­son­al hand­writ­ing; every­thing stays Hien Le.

You already dropped some hints on your Insta­gram account that the skate­board top­ic might be impor­tant for you this sea­son…
I indeed uploaded a few skate pho­tos that were direct­ly relat­ed to the world of fash­ion. Then I post­ed moods that were more focused on the col­ors. A blue skate park, a pink land­scape, col­ors that also appear in the collection.

Pas­tel col­ors usu­al­ly play an impor­tant role in your designs. This time it seems as if you fell in love with dark­er col­ors. What’s the rea­son for that? Do you choose the col­ors only by aes­thet­ics or is there a deep­er cause?
In win­ter col­ors tend to be dark­er in gen­er­al, how­ev­er I always pre­fer fresh tones. Usu­al­ly I choose by aes­thet­i­cal rea­son, by feel­ing. I don’t look at trend fre­casts, I think most of the design­ers don’t. The col­or con­cept devel­ops by by inspi­ra­tion, means that I pick a top­ic at first and then the fab­rics in the par­tic­u­lar colors.

Would you say that your cloth­ing fits your Kreuzberg neigh­bor­hood?
Berlin is a big metrop­o­lis that can keep up with Paris, New York or Lon­don, but there’s no typ­i­cal Berlin style’. That’s the rea­son why the neigh­bor­hood where I live and work doesn’t have an impor­tant influ­ence on what I’m doing. Berlin and Kreuzberg are my home and I’ll prob­a­bly stay here for­ev­er, how­ev­er I don’t think that my fash­ion needs to fit the sur­round­ing here. In oth­er inter­na­tion­al cities it might be eas­i­er for young design­ers to get dis­cov­ered or to sell their gar­ments, although in Berlin are the liv­ing costs cheap­er what makes me exert my pro­fes­sion. Fur­ther I go to Paris twice a year to present my col­lec­tions in show­rooms, you can’t wait in your Berlin back­yard and expect to make it’, you have to work yourself.

Nonethe­less you con­tin­ue work­ing con­stant­ly and became an insti­tu­tion at Berlin Fash­ion Week. Now, before the com­ple­tion of your lat­est col­lec­tion, what’s your favorite part of the whole cre­ation­al process?
Def­i­nite­ly the idea gen­er­a­tion. In gen­er­al: the whole process of the col­lec­tion devel­op­ment until the real­iza­tion, look­ing for ideas, choos­ing the fab­rics, think­ing about a col­or con­cept, cre­at­ing the first sketch­es. Of course I also love sewing – that’s why I made a tai­lor appren­tice­ship – but most of the time the tai­lor­ing hap­pens at the last sec­ond so that I can’t real­ly enjoy it. I like such moments like today, when the cast­ing and fit­ting take place and I can see the final results worn by models.

Being a self-employed cre­ative mind it’s easy that the bor­ders between work live and free time become blurred. How do you han­dle that prob­lem’? Do you have a cer­tain safe haven?
I love the Botan­i­cal Gar­den in Berlin, I just love plants. It’s like an oasis to flee from the dai­ly rou­tine, espe­cial­ly the palm house is real­ly calm­ing. How­ev­er I try to not being stressed all the time, to see my fam­i­ly and friends more often, to lis­ten to what my body tells me. For exam­ple I wean myself from set­ting the alarm and just wake up when my body thinks it’s ok. For one and a half years now I inten­sive­ly doing yoga which is great as I know in these 1,5 hours I can focus only on me with­out hav­ing to think about work. I do some­thing good for my body and soul.

The Botan­i­cal Gar­den was also a set­ting for neubau eyewear’s new look­book! What else made you think that both brands would be a great match?
I was real­ly hap­py when neubau eye­wear asked me to col­lab­o­rate! Glass­es always fas­ci­nat­ed me, how­ev­er I nev­er thought about inte­grate them on the run­way as they can eas­i­ly influ­ence the styling and can often dis­tract. At neubau eye­wear I imme­di­ate­ly admired the frames and the con­cep­tu­al visu­als, it real­ly fits to what I’m doing. Every­thing at neubau eye­wear is real­ly sleek, clean and focused on the essen­tials. Also it’s an Aus­tri­an com­pa­ny that pro­duces local­ly what’s pret­ty sim­i­lar to how I pro­duce and work. The glass­es real­ly fit my collection’s top­ic because I want­ed to style it a bit nerdy so to say. The classy style would be bro­ken by the glass­es, so that the whole image isn’t too perfect.

Is there a wear­er of glass­es that influ­enced you in this idea?
I can think about a lot of peo­ple wear­ing glass­es, but not a par­tic­u­lar icon. It’s more peo­ple that occa­sion­al­ly wore glass­es like David Bowie or Brigitte Bar­dot who I find very inspir­ing in general.


Pho­tog­ra­phy by Marlen Stahlhuth, Videog­ra­phy by Hen­drik Thul

20 Jan 2017 · neubau eyewear