Monday, 29 April 2013

Trine Lindegaard AW13

Peering through Trine Lndegaard's ever dazzling prism of print, colour and texture, you could be forgiven for merely admiring her lighthearted and playful approach to menswear but you would be missing a hidden beauty. Beyond the embellishment, deeper than the innovative textile techniques and behind the beaming smiles, there's so much more to discover. There's a substantial seriousness, honesty and integrity past the fanfare. For me, that's the real beauty of her work. This weekend I delved past the showy surface by dropping by her East London home-turned-studio.

"I'm really inspired by working with different people and growing relationships," Lindegaard purrs as she quietly but excitedly introduces her autumn/winter 13 collection. "It's important that the relationships are beneficial for all parties involved, they need something out of it, more than simple commerce." In her spring/summer 13 collection, we were introduced to the first harvest from the carefully cultivated relationship with West African textile artisans and manufacturers. To this kaleidoscope of Kente which has been explored and developed even further, the passionate talent adds equally colourful and intricate textiles from the Ivory Coast and embellishment hand embroidered by prisoners here in the UK. It is a heady and heart warming mix. In some hands such a combination could jar but in Lindegaard's it's an intriguing and inspiring ménage à trois of craftsmanship. 

Entitled Happiness, the collection is firmly rooted in the embroidery of Fine Cell Work, a social enterprise that trains prisoners in paid, skilled, creative needlework undertaken in the long hours spent in their cells. Up until my last chat with the Danish born, Dalston based designer, I had no idea that  in prisons all across the UK, inmates are filling their hours embroidering highly-crafted cushions, bags, pictures and patchwork quilts. Lindegaard explains:

"They've been around for fifteen years or so, they do amazing cross stitching with prisoners. Wonderful work. Their lives are so basic and Fine Cell Work offer a distraction, a purpose and the opportunity to discover a more constructive and reflective side to themselves. As you'd expect all of the guys are young and tough but they hand embroider cushions and are in complete awe of their teaching aunties, the volunteers from the Embroiderers and Quilters Guild. It's so strange and surprising. I've visited a group at Wandsworth and it is such a rewarding experience going in to the prison and seeing their pride and excitement in what they're doing. It's refreshing and I'm pleased to be a part of it.

Right from the very beginning I wanted the inmates to be part of the process. I wanted it to be really free for them. The first workshop centred around happiness and I wanted it to come from their point of view, evolve out of their interests which are so mixed."

The work and interests of one inmate in particular, Ziga, a keen painter, helped inspire the collection. For someone confined to such a small cell, cut off from the outside world, his sketches were amazingly imaginative. Naive yet confident. Familiar yet surreal. Uplifting yet a little dark. "It was love at first sight," Lindegaard fondly recalls and she strokes an embroidered bleeding heart that now adorns one of her sweatshirts but was dreamed up by Ziga. Developing elements of this artwork, working closely with the talented Jessica Ball from Yours Sustainably for the first samples and integrating the embroidery work with the developed African textiles, autumn/winter 13 is a colourful concerto. Listen with your eyes below...

My own detail shots alongside... 
sketchbook shots from Trine and look book photography by Ivona Chrzastek.

"At the beginning of the season I wanted there to be an obvious link between the continuation of the work with Kente and the introduction of the embroidered pieces with Fine Cell Work but logistically that was quite difficult. In a way, I like that I don't have complete control. It's the same with the work that comes from Africa when I was working from London, sending images and notes which were sometimes lost in translation. For examples the colours at times differ wildly from what I had envisaged because of how my sketches have been printed out over there but it's fun! I'm going to Ghana next month though which will help push things forward. This initial work has remained quite traditional but having just had a little dialogue with them and researching it from here, I'm beginning to realise just how varied and detailed they can be. So we will really push it next season, I'm very excited."

Trine Lindegaard is always excited and with good reason. Always pushing and hungry to learn, season on season we are treated to a surprising evolution. Whilst savouring this collection, our excitement for the next enthralling stage is already beginning to grow.


Fashiondacci Melbourne said...

thanks for sharing . best collection ever !!! Must have !

TSOH said...

Loving the last sweater.

fashion cadet said...

awesome collection

S said...

LOVE the embroidery work. Great!

Mensu said...

They look great, not my style though!!

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