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
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