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Hederus For K-Swiss Interview

Date: February 03 2009

By: Sneaker Freaker

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Julia Hederus is on a fast-track to fame and glory. She not only oozes talent out of her thimble, she also had the initative to propose a collaboration with K-Swiss to blow up her graduating collection from the famous Central St Martins college. Setting a new standard and direction in footwear design, Julia based her collection around the architectural structures of her menswear, which also incorporated influences from the humble Lego block. She gained immediate kudos not only from the industry itself, but also from the man of the hour, Mr Kanye West! We caught up with Julia to find out what a difference a year makes... viva la white sneaker!

Hi Julia, what was the defining moment that made you realise you wanted to become a fashion designer?
I found myself constantly scribbling down ideas in my sketchbook when I was around fifteen, and found a strong necessity to get them made, and there was nothing else that could make me take my mind of things like this. So I thought, this really is my great passion! Just like when you get ideas, they are like revelations and all of a sudden they’re just there in front of your eyes. And that’s exactly how it felt when I understood that I wanted to be a designer.

Were you influenced by your upbringing or was it the move to London that set in stone your career path?
I think that my time in Denmark meant a great deal. I studied at a design school in Jetland before Central St Martins. It was just very good to get away and just start on something totally isolated in a pretty small town in the middle of nowhere. Then came the transition to London and the total change from countryside to urban city, where I felt more like home and got more inspired by people on the street. I think that’s the most important thing about London, the mix of people, styles, origin, design, and trash. For me, that meant freedom. I don’t think that any designer can escape their upbringing, that’s sort of a part of you no matter what.

How did London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design direct you in terms of your designs and personal style?

Well, I think they managed to remove a lot of weirdness! Haha. The minimalistic approach has always been there, but it came out much much sharper at Central St Martins, even though parts of the playfulness were still there. I think my style came across as distinct and dark, which made the shapes come out more clear, and sort of capsulated smart details, into a more hidden playfulness.

As an institution, what did they give back to you as a designer that you carry forth in your future collections?
Total professionalism and very high artistic level, with a great knowledge of the industry and the reality that you face afterwards. And even if you don’t know what you’re facing after school they sure make you feel like you’re not in school! So now, even after having graduated two years ago, I can still feel the strenuous and persistent feelings leaping through me at work, and a constant urge for improvement. It’s very focused on competition, and to be careful and devoted to your work, so I think Central St Martins definitely has set its mark on me.

How did the K-Swiss collaboration come about?

I think it was very much built on mutual curiosity. When I met with the K-Swiss Marketing Manager in London we connected quite quickly and I think that we felt that we found an opportunity for both sides. Everything was still quite new and it was still on a quite experimental level. And then it took about a year for it to gradually become a reality.

How did K-Swiss fulfil your vision for your graduating piece with the Hederus for K-Swiss collection? What was their role in the project and how did you both complement each other?
They made six different designs for me which I think was totally amazing! They just made the shoes out of my drawings, did the whole production and had them in time for the show. So in that way it was a very natural composition. For them, I think it was important as well to see some new approaches on their very classic LX trainer.

How does each style symbolise the Hederus vision and what inspired you on each of the silhouettes?
I made the designs on the same theme as my clothing collection, which was about moving bricks and Lego. I like the feeling of randomness in design sometimes, and a feeling of not being too thought out. I also like the idea of removing things from a garment or a shoe. Just like Lego!

Kanye West gave you props on his blog, which we predicted in our New Release review, considering you both share a love of architecture. Just how many flattering compliments swung your way once the collection started hitting the cyber world?
A lot! It’s really been such a great year in that sense… I am very flattered by all the attention and it’s so great to see that people understand what they see! I think that is the biggest compliment for a designer, when people like something with their eye immediately and get inspired!

We hear there is another collection with K-Swiss in the pipelines! What is about the brand that connects with you and what can we expect from the next instalment?
Yes, that’s very exciting, and it’s always the same challenge! But there will be some styles from the collection remaining, and some new! We don’t know yet exactly how it will look, but it’s not in white this time. That’s for sure. I am afraid that I can’t reveal much more. I also think that it means a lot to have a good personal chemistry. That is what I have experienced with the people at K-Swiss, foremost with Nick Crook. There are a few people that made this colab really happen.

You recently dropped your S/S 09 collection towards the end of last year, which was entitled ‘Kites’. Just how different is approaching apparel as apposed to footwear?
Well, I often approach it in the same way, with a concept that I work with. I think the biggest difference is the material, as you can work much more with stiff shapes on shoes. It is what it is and it doesn’t drape around the body like fabric does. I also like that there’s another timeline in shoes, there’s not really as many boundaries as for fashion. Fashion is a bit too fast for its own good. I don’t really appreciate this rush for something new, we are over-consuming new things every day. We should stay a bit more in the moment these days. Look at what you wear today, and what shoes you have on today. And hopefully you totally enjoy them.

What's up next for the Hederus line and what does the future hold for your label and yourself?
That’s under progress, as I am doing it a bit different this time. There will be some new jackets, still with an overall technical feel to the collection. Hederus will remain very limited for the next year while I want to push the jackets more and work with Swedish production and fabric. But as far as I felt I got in one year I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s double the size next year. I hope so!

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