Global Young Designer Spotlight: HELMSTEDT
The whimsical wardrobe of Danish designer Emilie Helmstedt is where art meets fashion. Talking us through her creative process, she lets us in on subverting trends, building the HELMSTEDT universe and creating connection in the age of distance.
10 November, 2020
A child at heart, Emilie Helmstedt debuted her first collection, Oceania, during Copenhagen Fashion Week in August 2018. Since its inception, HELMSTEDT has been a brand steered by quality, comfort and colour since its inception, and works extensively with sustainable fabrics in order to reduce its environmental footprint.
A hybrid of art and fashion, every print is hand-painted by Emile in Copenhagen - you'll recognise HELMSTEDT pieces by the highly visible, vibrant brushstrokes that adorn them. Taking loungewear out of the bedroom, HELMSTEDT's aesthetic centres around colour and playfulness. Expect sunny, statement comfies, majestic maxi dresses and an out-and-out, optimistic offering of clothing.
Type of Brand:
Womenswear and fashion brand (clothing, sculptures, poetry)
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you begin?
The creative process for me has different starting points and can stem from different impulses - things I read or see often drive the initial phase. Step one is never fixed. I respect that the creative process takes time and that the path towards the final version of the print and style never follows one set template. Yet quality, comfort and colour are at the core of every HELMSTEDT piece.
Where is your studio? What's the vibe?
The HELMSTEDT office and showroom is located in the centre of Copenhagen. Here, we always take good care of each other, working with an interdisciplinary approach to solve problems, communicate and share ideas. The office is decorated with an old set design we made.
What songs do you have on repeat in your studio?
Sade is always a hit.
How would you define your aesthetic?
HELMSTEDT's aesthetic is characterised by openness and playfulness towards the way colours, shapes and expressions can align. The happiness that colours can bring to everyday life serves as a mantra for each collection. When you put on the designs, it feels like you're wearing little pieces of art.
Your prints are hand-painted and you build your own sets every season - where does your DIY sensibility stem from?
I have always been drawn towards the tactile; building things with my hands and transforming parts of my imagination, dreams and desires into something tangible. It's very freeing. I do not work directly with trends. Instead, I navigate based on my emotions and impulses. We sell collections to people who appreciate art, individuality and emotional durability. We're not defined by age or our location in Denmark - we are building our own universe.
What role has social media played in your brand's growth?
Social media plays an important role in the way we communicate with and meet our customers. It allows us to extend the HELMSTEDT universe even after the collections have been presented. I think we all have increased our use and appreciation of social media during the pandemic.
The SS21 collection that we presented during Copenhagen Fashion Week in August 2020, revolves around that feeling of being connected even though being apart. We made a sculpture in celebration of love and connection - it has been travelling around different locations in Copenhagen.
Shop your own line. What are three of your favourite pieces?
For autumn, I reach for items from the AW20 collection, which is available now on the HELMSTEDT site: our knitted trousers, the Maid Dress in Berries and the Safety Mask - made out of deadstock from past seasons, it's particularly handy right now.