|“This year has been a very different year for the Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize. In the foundation, we decided early on that we would invite Danish designers who were previous winners and finalists in the Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize to participate. We have done this in light of how hard it is for young designers to survive in such a difficult market. Therefore, we wanted to support those who were already in the business. We believe that the award can inspire and support talented designers to find new ways to succeed. The focus this year was therefore on handling the many Covid-19-related challenges and on the necessary, sustainable adaption – without forgetting the core, the original design. The 14 jury members’ choice of Cecilie Bahnsen made me incredibly happy. Cecilie has, in particular, managed to adapt her design and won on both design, originality, sustainability, and her business plan”
– Nina Wedell-Wedellsborg, initiator of the prize and board member of Wessel & Vetts Foundation
|My team and I are so incredibly grateful and proud to have received this year’s Magazine Du Nord Fashion Prize. Creating this brand has been the most amazing journey and I am so touched by the support we have received along the way from the foundation, the fashion industry, and all of our partners.
– Cecilie Bahnsen, Designer
INTERVIEW WITH CECILIE BAHNSEN
CB: 34 years old
CB: I grew up in a small city just north of Copenhagen, surrounded by both nature and the pulse of the city. My grandmother was my first introduction to style and crafts. She was such a beautiful and stylish lady. She taught me to hand embroider, crochet and knit. She used to make the most beautiful dresses for my sister and I.
As a child I initially joined the local school however I felt it was way too big and the teachers and other children didn’t quite understand that I was more fascinated with drawings and art than mathematics and languages. After 4 years I transitioned to what the Danish refer to as ‘a little school’ and finally found some of the best friends and inspiration I have ever had.
At the age of 12 I did my first internship or work experience for a week at the Danish Design School and fell in love. From that moment I knew I wanted to study fashion. Seeing that you could fill your life with drawings, beautiful fabric and design was something I felt was too incredible not to pursue.
I started my BA in fashion design at Denmark’s design School in Copenhagen in 2005, graduating in 2007 before receiving an MA degree from London’s Royal College of Art in 2010. Whilst studying, I worked in the design teams at the likes of Erdem and John Galliano.
CB: Cecilie Bahnsen is a Danish womenswear label that offers an unexpected and timeless expression of modern femininity. Drawing on a rich history of design quality, Cecilie Bahnsen combines sculptural silhouettes with couture techniques, reinterpreting this with a modern approach.
Each season we evolve the brand’s DNA, it is never about chasing trends, it is about creating a universe of its own, out of time. During this creative process the signature silhouettes have naturally evolved to key pieces in our collection, beautifully showcasing the unique and delicate fabrics.
We have also started to develop a lower waste model, being considered about how many units we produce and to ensure every metre of fabric is utilised.
What convinced you to start your own brand?
CB: Ever since I was a child, it has always been my dream to start my own brand, but I also knew that it was important to learn and gain as much knowledge as possible beforehand. Running a fashion brand is not just designing it is so much more complex. My experiences living in London and Paris taught me so much about what it takes to establish yourself as a designer, it also gave me so much inspiration and passion for design and quality.
When it came to choosing the base for my brand it has always been Denmark and Copenhagen, it is my home and I love the pace and design tradition.
INTERVIEW WITH CECILIE BAHNSEN
What’s usually the starting point of your design process?
Cecilie Bahnsen (CB): I always start with creating the colours and the fabric first. Then I start building the theme and mood of the collection.
Describe your collection this season in 5 words?
CB: Journey, hope, unity, texture, sculpture
Please tell how you’re preparing yourself for the jury presentations?
CB: I am doing the presentation first for my team to get their thoughts and input.
I get very nervous when presenting to a lot of people so it is a good way of practicing.
Is there one jury member you’re particular excited to meet?
CB: Nina. I am so truly grateful for what she is doing for young Danish designers. The prize has already meant so much to me and the brand. I look forward to thanking her in person for thinking of us all with this year’s prize.
Design, sustainability or business – how do you plan to prioritize your efforts?
CB: I think it all goes hand in hand.
But design and long-lasting quality are always at the heart of everything we do.
What would be the first sentence you say at the presentation?
CB: Not quite sure yet, but working on the presentation for this year’s MDNFP has been so inspiring to see the journey the brand has been on since first entering the prize in 2016. I am sure I will reflect a little on this in my presentation as I am truly touched to see how far we have come.
INTERVIEW WITH CECILIE BAHNSEN
Could you please describe your studio?
Cecilie Bahnsen (CB): My studio is based in Østerbro. It is my second home and where I feel most creative.
How would the daily routine look like at your studio?
CB: I don’t have a daily routine, but my favourite days are when I get to work on the collection and develop new ideas
Do you have a guilty pleasure (snack, music, etc)?
CB: Bows – I somehow always find a way to add them to my designs.
What has happened with your work routines during the pandemic?
CB: It became much more digital with all meetings and creative processes done online.
I missed seeing my team during this time as a big part of my inspiration comes from the people around me.
How do you get inspired at the moment?
CB: I just had a baby boy so I walk a lot, and think and sketch on the move.