HELIOT EMIL’S GUIDE TO CREATING A UNIVERSE
Words by Anano Shalamberidze; Interview by Timi Letonja
1: have an interest in creating a universe
2: have a great-grandfather with an incredibly euphonious name 3: download Skype
You have heard of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1978). Now buckle up for HELIOT EMIL’s Guide to Creating a Universe.
Deep in the uncharted backwaters of Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, lies the renowned atelier, HELIOT EMIL, a fashion label founded by brothers VICTOR and JULIUS JUUL. Aiming to create something together even as kids, in 2016 JULIUS and VICTOR finally started the brand, debuting with their first collection in Milan a year later.
Denmark’s most subversive, experimental fashion label started on Skype. While JULIUS plied his design expertise in New York, collaborating with other designers, across the ocean in Copenhagen, VICTOR was on the brink of completing his business studies when the two started discussing their joint venture. They needed a name.
In a nod to their familial bond, while maintaining a certain anonymity, their great-grandfather’s name resonated perfectly. The brothers embarked on a journey of commitment, laying the foundation for what would, a mere five years down the line, evolve into the shining industrial jewel of Copenhagen’s fashion scene.
Describing its style as ‘industrial elegance’, HELIOT EMIL emerges as a realm where the fusion of form and function thrives, a melting point where rigid tech materials and metal is combined with delicate fabrics and textures to create a unique harmony. With JULIUS at the creative helm and VICTOR managing the business side, innovation stands as the pillar of their brand. Via the use of pioneering materials, unconventional shapes or cutting-edge techniques, the JUUL brothers consistently strive to diverge from the ordinary.
‘I’m greatly inspired by things that offer a unique perspective on culture, whether it’s art, music, film, or architecture,’ says JULIUS. ‘It’s all about finding creative solutions. Technological advancements and their potential fascinate me. The possibilities with various types of machinery are constantly evolving. Consider 3D printing, for instance. At first glance, it might appear to be merely about bringing shapes to life. However, when you examine its application in the medical field, you see how technology is used to develop tools that previously didn’t exist, ultimately enhancing our lives. I find this incredibly inspiring, and it drives me on a daily basis.’
The brand’s initial claim to fame centered around garments crafted from liquid metal. Drawing inspiration from RICHARD SERRA and his sculptural series Torqued Ellipses, in which the American artist melds and molds metal into diverse configurations, the brothers emulated this process within the realm of garments. They sought to make bent metal wearable. Through a series of trial and error with fabric developers, HELIOT EMIL ultimately devised a fabric woven with a reflective PVC thread, giving the mesmerizing illusion of liquid metal in perpetual motion.
‘I’m greatly inspired by things that offer a unique perspective on culture, whether it’s art, music, film, or architecture’
The garments garnered considerable attention on social media, propelling the brand to new heights. But transforming a viral sensation into lasting success is no simple feat. ‘You don’t want to become a one-trick pony,’ JULIUS points out. Instead of taking the win and running with it, the brothers continued down the road of innovation, leveraging the visual allure of the liquid-metal pieces as bait to draw curious eyes into the world of HELIOT EMIL.
Beyond individual clothing items, JULIUS’ interest lies in the concept of world-building. The designer’s earliest exposure to the idea of crafting a unique visual identity for a community came through skateboarding.
‘My earliest memories of fashion were always intertwined with the cultures that thrive within communities. I’ve always been captivated by the notion of creating a universe, a visual language, and, as a result, a community that wholeheartedly embraces that world. This is why I found the skateboarding culture so fascinating. Through films and clothing, they were effectively defining and shaping their own community.’
As if guided by a fortuitous alignment of stars, or perhaps fueled by their unwavering talent and dedication, the HELIOT EMIL team appears to have effortlessly cultivated the precise sense of community they had envisioned. During COPENHAGEN FASHION WEEK in August, the brand proudly introduced a fresh beta store space nestled in the heart of their city. The celebration echoed for several blocks and, as you drew nearer, a sight awaited: hundreds of Copenhagen’s trendsetting youth in deconstructed apparel adorned with metal fastenings. Amid their collective similarity, each individual carried a distinct aura, akin to the dynamic diversity that characterizes the universe of HELIOT EMIL.