Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Braille AW11 Our Damn Hands

Braille burst on to the scene at Vauxhall Fashion Scout back in February of last year and they've since gone from strength to strength and deservedly so. The London based design duo, Benjamin Vorono and Samuel Kientsch, are able to design garments that can effortlessly slide in to any man's wardrobe.  In just twelve months, the pair have carved a covetable reputation for creating reimagined wardrobe staples that have a strong but delicate touch. The discovery of the label was one of the real blogging highlights of the year and we've kept a close eye on their development ever since. To mark the launch of their third collection, Our Damn Hands, we catch up with one half of the design duo to learn more about the collection before excitedly sharing a preview of their video look.

SS: What was the initial starting point for the collection?
Samuel Kientsch: We were initially drawn to imagery from Detroit and New Orleans, a certain beauty in the decomposition of these historically important cities. In our minds these places are ripe for entrepreneurialism, this enthusiasm is at the heart of Our Damn Hands.

SS: During Fashion 156's insightful Designer Track series I read that you took inspiration from a road trip around the UK. How did the British countryside inspire the collection?
Samuel Kientsch: Nature offers a real sense of freedom it allows the creativity that we have been kicking around in the city to blossom and come to life. After getting out of town it becomes much easier to understand the collection we've have been dreaming about. In more straightforward terms the colour palette, especially the celadon and slate are a direct reference to the environment we encountered on our walks.

SS: British Fabrics and manufacture are a fundamental facet of the label and I know that you've searched for the craftsmen to help make your designs a reality. What does Made in England mean to you?
Samuel Kientsch: We think it's unfortunate that manufacturing has been economically forced out of the United Kingdom. A factory that we are currently using is in real danger of going out of business and if this continues to happen 'Made in England' will only carry a greater premium. We don't champion 'Made in England' because we feel the quality is necessarily better but rather it is simply about supporting the community. There are enough designers in London and we feel the production side should be better served. Long-term opening our own factory is definitely a goal but only if the government is serious about creating jobs. Funding is desperately needed for small businesses of all kinds.

SS: The collection showcases a wonderful sense of texture. The fabric combinations in the outerwear are particularly stunning. Could you talk us through a few of your favourites?
Samuel Kientsch: The Reversible Bomber uses suede and wool, the suede is elegant and the wool more utilitarian, we used cording to add texture and to emphasize the masculine shape. The Duffle Coat has gotten the best reaction so far. When you pick it up you can sense from its weight that it is going to keep you nice and warm, we used leather binding as a bridge between the softness of the wool and the hardness of the fireman's clips.

SS: In only three seasons, you've managed to forge a clear design signature but how would you describe it?
Samuel Kientsch: We have always strived to have a real balance between strong and delicate in each individual garment. It's important that our clothes are inherently masculine but genteel details go a long way.

SS: What would you like to see Braille achieve in 2011?
Samuel Kientsch: This year is all about stabilising our business, it was really great to begin selling right at the start but it was also overwhelming at times. Our Damn Hands is a direct reference to the fact that this collection was completed up to the sampling stage with minimal assistance from interns or pattern cutters. It was a great learning experience but definitely not how we will operate in the future. Come Spring/Summer 2012 we will be in a good position to start selling to the international boutiques we have had our eyes on since the beginning.


As with the two previous collections, Our Damn Hands is driven by textile. Here, Braille once again showcase a heady mix of breathtaking fabrics. Textural highlights include a waxed belted silk poncho, a textured wool pocket overcoat and a suede reversible corded bomber. To help showcase the collection to the full, the duo set sent through their motion look book for your viewing pleasure...

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