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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