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Danish designer Stine Riis is one to watch
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The danish designer Stine Riis [label RIIS} is very busy. She had only recently graduated from London College of Fashion when she won the international H&M design award, which attracted contestants from 14 of the most prestigious design schools in Sweden, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Denmark. Her future looks bright.

Tell me about the beginning of your brand. My brand is very much newborn and still developing. I graduated in June 2011 and my graduation collection – AW12 ‘Decadence & Decay’ – was my first collection.

What did you study? I studied Fashion Design Technology Womenswear at London College of Fashion.

Whereabouts in Denmark did you grow up, and did you feel inspired by the country at all for your collection? I grew up in the south of Jutland, just half an hour from the German border, in a small town of 4,000 inhabitants. I can’t ignore the legacy of Danish design; it’s a part of who I am, which reflects my aesthetics. I get inspired by Danish modern furniture. I like simplicity with subtle details, and I like to mix different colours and textures. I tend to invest in garments that I know I will love to wear for years – just as you can look at a couch by the designer Finn Juhl and never get tired of it.

Where do you manufacture your garments? At the moment I’m sourcing manufacturers in Europe for my next collection. Up until now I’ve made everything myself as I couldn’t afford a tailor and wanted to get as good at sewing as possible.

Do you get anything produced locally? No, unfortunately not. I would love to do some locally produced knits in the future, but at the moment my company is too small for that option.

How do you think young designers finance a brand like your own? They work hard!
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What has been the highlight of your career thus far? Winning the H&M Design Award 2012. It’s been a great experience, and I couldn’t imagine a better start to my career as a designer. The €50,000 has given me the opportunity to work towards my own vision as a designer. Hilary Alexander [at The Daily Telegraph], Christopher Kane and Kristopher Arden-Houser [at Vogue Italia] were judges in the competition and, by choosing me as the winner, showed that they believed in my vision, which has given me the recognition and motivation to start my own label. A part of the experience in connection with the H&M Award was my own huge fashion show at Stockholm Fashion Week. Iris Strubegger walked my show – a dream come true, as she was an inspiration for the collection.

Tell me about your working process. Where do you start when you need inspiration, and what happens then? My radar for inspiration is constantly turned on. I’m a very curious person and I like to explore anything new. I try to stay up to date on contemporary art, photography, architecture, lifestyle, food, politics and general trends in society. My initial ideas usually come from a mix of inputs from different channels and take form almost subconsciously. When I’ve defined a direction, I start to drape on the stand and toile the initial shapes. At the same time I sketch and do fabric experiments. From then on I develop details, such as a cuff, a collar, a button-stand or pocket, and perfect the shapes.

You are still at an early stage in your career, but do you have anything planned for the future? At the moment I’m really excited to be working on my first spring collection. Then at the beginning of fall my collection ‘Decadence & Decay’ will be sold in selected H&M stores in Denmark, Germany, Belgium, England, Sweden and the Netherlands. I’m very much looking forward to seeing my designs on the street.

(Interview extracts taken from Fashion Sandinanvia: Contemporary Cool, published by Thames & Hudson).