LET’S TAKE A STROLL AROUND GREENLAND. MEET: BIBI CHEMNITZ
There is something unique about a place one has not visited yet ; it comes with a special sense of wonder. For me, this would be Greenland. It speaks to me in many ways, most directly through its ancient historic connotations and intimidating raw landscapes. So any way to get closer, would surely be welcomed. When I recently caught up with Bibi and David of Danish outfitters, BIBI CHEMNITZ, to see their SS15 collection, something clicked. Their profound connection with Greenland was one of the first things they mentioned-a good way to get us acquianted. A combination of fashion and this mystical icey land, seemed unlikely at first. We went for a proverbial stroll to find out more.
Dear Bibi and David, nice to speak to you both. Can you tell me a little about challenges and how you got to where you are today?
Well, the beginning of BIBI CHEMNITZ was most humble. Bibi was still in school when the brand was founded, and she started to sell a little bit in a local store in the city we lived in at that time. She slowly started to sell more and more-also to other shops in different cities in Denmark-and she had to have some help with a lot of different things, mostly graphics. So back in 2005, David (ed. Bibi’s partner) joined the brand and it became BIBI CHEMNITZ. Today, we are still only two people in the company, so one of the biggest challenges is finding time to do everything we want to do with the brand. Over the years, there has been a lot of trial and error. But we think this is one of the things that really makes our brand strong. As a small brand, for us, sales and money are not the most important thing. We feel that if you start to focus to much on money then there is a huge risk of loosing your sense of creativity.
You have a special connection to Greenland-a most unique place. What does this land symbolize to you?
Bibi was born in Greenland and her parents are both from this majestic land. Greenland is a very unique country and very much unlike any other country in the world. The nature is extreme, the distance between cities and other countries is extreme. We love Greenland and the people of Greenland with all my heart. It is a space that serves as a key source of inspiration within our DNA. We think it is important for a brand to have a strong identity, so people can recognize your design and separate it from the masses. Next to this it is also VERY important for us that there is much more to our design than just Greenland; our design has to be able to connect with people that do not know about this land. Therefore, BIBI CHEMNITZ also has strong roots to more Scandinavian design traditions with a minimalistic look on design. But to get back to the question, Greenland symbolizes beauty, isolation, kindness, the raw power of nature, freedom and much much more that we simply cannot describe with words.
Your collections add a dose of freshness to an otherwise quite understated Nordic fashion landscape. Could you tell me a little about the latest chapter (SS15)?
Our collections are pretty much always a continuation of our previous work. For our SS15 collection we used the ´´Lost in Navigation´´ theme as a moodboard. Ever since the very beginning our garments have been quite sporty and street,. So our SS15 collection is sporty in its core-we incorporated basketball inspiration, oversized styles and lots of prints and patterns. What is perhaps a little new for us is that we are using more woven materials. Gender is not important for BIBI CHEMNITZ, so most styles are unisex. We wanted to have a light collection with, as you say, has some freshness to it; to make something that is very comfortable to wear. We used white, black and subtle blues and a dash of beige to maintain a relaxed look. All the graphics for SS15 were inspired by Greenland.
I would like to single out this idea of crafting collections to be worn by both sexes. How do you look at menswear and womenswear?
Well, we believe that if you think about the shape of the garment and the silhouette of a man or woman, you can make strong designs that can be worn by both sexes. Often the same style just has different characteristics. Like our oversize tees, for men, they are more like a big t-shirt and for women, they function more like a dress. However, we always have some styles that are more gender specific, which is one of the areas we try to work on more in the coming seasons. Like we said before, it is also a lot about how you wear the clothes we design. So often unisex can be a little bit misleading, maybe the term SHARING is more correct, since it is more about using the same styles in different ways.
Obviously sport and music play an important role in your work. What types of music can we catch you listening to when developing new garments? And what sports might you play on a leisurely evening?
Bibi simply loves a lot of pop music and Greenlandic music and some hip-hop. David absolutely LOVES hip-hop. He used to be very much into the underground hip-hop scene here in Denmark. In the workshop there is a good chance that you might hear some Drake, Wiz Khalifa, Shivas (Danish artist) or Robyn, but often the radio is just playing. As for sports, Bibi tries to run a few times a week, but sometimes wont find the time. David has played basketball all of his life, and he still tries to play about two times a week if his ‘‘old’’ body allows him to.
Street- or Urban-wear, both have a profound connection to the streets. What is your connection to your surroundings of the Copenhagen studio.
Indeed, we find a whole lot of inspiration in what we see on the streets. We used to live in the West of Denmark and it is no secret that everything is just more fun in Copenhagen. We try to be as creative as possible when creating new things, so we pick up on ideas when going to parties at clubs, attending concerts or simply by just riding our bikes around Copenhagen. Copenhagen is a true mekka for cycling, so that is something we often do on our day off (Sundays).
And a final one: what would you say to younger talents, wishing to make their mark. Any last words?
Work hard, be humble and be patient. Everything worthwhile takes its time.