Danish designer Henrik Vibskov recently made the move overseas in opening a new retail space in New York. The designer on the cusp of his 10th anniversary has consistently offered a refreshing take on fashion with his avant-garde and playful approach. Interview Magazine caught up with the designer while in New York as he discussed more than just the opening of the store. Excerpts regarding his effect of his cultural upbringing and his insight into humor in fashion can be seen. The full interview is available here.
COLLEEN NIKA: You’ve finally erected your first American boutique in Manhattan. Why is the ideal time to do it?
HENRIK VIBSKOV: It might not be the right time, I just wanted to do it. [laughs] We sell to a handful of boutiques in New York anyway, but I always wanted to have my own space. A few factors came into place that made it possible this year. Why not now?
Did you design the space yourself? What was the process?
I designed it myself, the same as I designed the previous retail spaces in Copenhagen and Olso. The inspiration for the interior is similar to those, as well. Of course, I also build sets for my shows and other personal projects, so I think about how to design “space” often. I also do a lot of installations for other companies, have done pop-up projects, so transforming environments the Vibskov way is always a fun challenge.
What’s your mindset for spring 2012?
I’m just working on some new ideas in the studio. New patterns, new color ideas. We make the patterns on the computer, but we also paint them by hand—it’s a combination of digital and screenprints. I’m trying to do as much as I can myself in the studio. I’m thinking about doing dusty colors—we definitely are doing as much color as we can. It seems that fashion is back on track with color—I hope. It’s been very black for awhile.
Your designs definitely don’t fit the Scandinavian standard of grim monochromes.
No, I’m not really very Scandinavian in that way. I’m not a black, grey, beige type of guy. I was a kid on a playground that loved colors. But I can also do some dark-minded shit. [laughs]
What are the unique advantages of growing up creative in Denmark?
Because we’re on the outside of everything, and we’re a small group of countries, we have a unique vantage point. We are extremely good at focusing our ideas into art and music and design that fits a global state of mind. Being observers of the rest of the world allows us to express something pure that goes beyond borders, beyond planets.
How important is humor to fashion?
Very. Humor is a good way in general to get people together, I think. Of course, Danish humor is more ironic and sarcastic altogether.
What was your art school experience like?
I was educated in London [at Central Saint Martins] and had this whole thing about getting together with a lot of international students. Twenty-three languages were spoken during our lunch breaks! The school was very open minded, you could do whatever you wanted. Some people loved that freedom, others got lost. Gareth Pugh was a classmate, and so was Peter Jensen. The original Central St. Martins is moving its campus this year. I’ll be there for some lectures soon. I think the British government’s cutting back of arts funding is such a crime. I bet it will happen in Denmark soon, too.