Power. We need a bit of vroom-vroom, to spice up our Spring time coffees. In the past months, a lot has been said about this industry of ours, with luxury transfers and seasonal clashes dominating the fashion headlines. So much for all that. We almost forget that fashion remains a most wonderful incubator of fresh talent. Novel aspiring creators, that simply want to make garments. Pieces to be worn. By you, me or any discerning punter. Bang Bang!

Former RCA graduate ELLEN PEDERSEN, is one of those makers, that still finds herself placed of the proverbial beaten track. There is no need for ELLEN to play hide and seek, as she clearly has her own voice. Now, several seasons in, her silhouette is becoming more and more defined, adding a fresh chapter to the book of menswear. In a brief quick-fire-round. She speaks passionately to us about Mod dancers, casting real characters, curious subcultures and The Big Smoke’s merry-go-round….

So let’s chew on some positive design; the PEDERSEN way!



Zero. What was the first chapter of your journey like?

I grew up on a dairy farm in Øster Brønderslev, in the Northern part of Denmark with my parents, two older brothers and a sister. We had a very safe upbringing with a lot of space to roam in. During these years, I got my own sewing room when I was about 12 years-old or so, which probably started my design dreams. My parents have always been very supportive of what I do, even though I do not think they always understand the merits of fashion design. After high school and a half-year spent wayfaring around Latin-America, I moved to a Herning (ed. a small town in Jutland, Denmark), where I did my bachelor at the TEKO design school. This is a really great school, where I made my first steps as a designer. It was also here where I met a wonderful tutor, called Ike Rust, from the Royal College of Art (RCA), who inspired me a lot. During these years at TEKO, I ventured upon several internships; one with a knitting company called Rows and Stitches in Hanoi, Vietnam, and another four months with yarn spinner Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgosesia in Italy. These were very diverse experiences, but both of them had a very strong impact on the technical part of my work. Finally, I got to know Astrid Andersen, who offered me an internship with her in London. I always dreamed about going to this city so after my BA I went to pursue my MA in menswear at RCA and graduated in 2014. This were definitely the best and toughest years of my life until now!


Stepping Stone. What first made you want to create?

My family plays an important role in this. My grandmother brought me along to sewing classes in a larger city nearby with many other elderly ladies. These were organized like weekend courses where we would sew, cut patterns and simply talked. The elderly ladies all loved me, as I did them. It was a very special time. In my younger years, I had these dreams filled with huge dramatic gowns. Things have certainly changed a lot since then and I am not that interested in womenswear or dresses anymore. Menswear certainly liberated me!


Londonite. It has been a big chapter in your career, learning and working with others. What does London mean to you?

London is the place, where you can dream, meet people and things simply happen spontaneously. I just love London, especially the energy and speed that the city has. The city is a mix of so many industries, which really make things possible – you have all the magazines, press, designers, conceptual shops and so on, gathered here in one place. This gives way to so many opportunities. For me, this is the place to be!



Tall tales. What typifies your own take on menswear?

Menswear for me is all about style and attitude. I put my detailed mind into the clothes to create fashion and garments that are cut around the body. When I design, I love to work in 3D and I believe this creates more exciting garments. My personal take on the menswear silhouette is centered around cutting and developing new patterns myself by dissecting the body and developing detailed focused garments. My muse perhaps is this typification of a better male with a very refined and cool style, I admire him and want to dress him really well. It is about stepping onto new horizons and inventing new style solutions.


Construct. This also certainly means researching a lot?

Indeed, I constantly research, which means I always have something arranged on my computer or in a folder, which I can use for the next project. For many years now, I have been collecting second hand garments with lovely details, styling images in magazines, art pieces in books and place these together in various storyboards. I like to print everything (which is bad I know), but I am a visual person and I see the story more clearly with good images placed together. I think that i is important to be aware of ones’ surroundings and to realize that there are things that can inspire you everywhere. For me, it is always key to organize what I find and somehow find a narrative to tie all the visual inputs together, when working on a new collection.




Culturally so-so. You mention subcultures a lot in your collection notes, what do they mean to you? 

Subcultures are that important for my brand, because I find inspiration when researching these. I feel dragged to groups, who have a “secret community” together. As an example, if we look at the Mods and how they dressed, smoked, walked and danced, all together moving and expressing themselves in a similar manner. They looked amazing and as an outsider you simply had to be drawn to their mystique. A subculture for me is when small groups manage to do just that – create their own language, style, appearance and making people from the outside feel either pulled in or revolted by them. This dynamic returns often in my work. The narrative is not always central, it is more about exploring the dynamics that exist between various social groups.


Powerpointing. Your recent AW16 presentation in Copenhagen was surprisingly relaxed, what was your thinking here?

During the AW16 collection, I worked with some great people. Oliver Fussing as a stylist was essential for everything that could happen and we worked with model agency MateManagement, who found some cool and quite unknown models for the presentation. We wanted to create a very young and fresh vibe, where it was a bit more informal with the models just casually standing around, whilst we provided the audience with free beers. Thomas Artiguenave mixed the music for the show and we were happy to host it at the beautiful Round Tower in Copenhagen, which is a truly iconic Danish building. The atmosphere, loose vibe, music and the characters that wore my designs, all contributed to this laissez-faire attitude, which went well with the collection.




Dansk. Whilst we are on the topic. Your homeland. What are the things you appreciate about Denmark and what are the things you would gladly leave behind?

When it comes to Denmark, I must say that I love the healthy food, rye-bread and that things work really well over here, because we are with so few people. At the moment, there is such a good support system for creative people, which feels very encouraging. On the other side of the medal, our country also is very safe and rather homogenous, which can be quite boring compared to the wonderful diversity you find in London.


Surveyor. What sounds, artworks or visuals are currently triggering you?

Constant interaction, I am always look around for new inspiration. Actually, I just visited this amazing exhibition at the Louisiana museum, North from Copenhagen, about OpArt called ‘Eye Attack’. This is an art form, that I previously have found inspiration from and it was so liberating to see all these works from the 60s presented there together. It was majestic to realize, how these visuals still play with your eyes and mind! There was something eternal to this experience. On a more understated note, I find myself looking at Mondrian and Calder too. When it comes to music, I can be brief, as at the moment, I simply love a Danish band called Liss, they have such a cool sound and original look.





Persistence. What would you tell fellow young talents, hungry to make their mark?

It is important to keep focussed. Work hard and also try to never say no. Everything is a possibility and you never know who you might meet! Always be open!


Self-ness. What will the ELLEN PEDERSEN path be like in the coming years?

My path…..that sounds rather formal. When it comes to my work, I have many plans. As we all know, it is important to keep your momentum going. The next season is coming up so soon and I am fully immersed in working on the next collection. It would be great to show this collection during London Collections Men, as I would like to share my perception with a more diverse audience. In general, I like to stay humble too. As I am always hoping for good things to happen and to meet interesting people to work with. So far, I feel most excited to be on this journey!