IN CONVERSATION WITH BAUM UND PFERDGARTEN’S HELLE & RYKKE
Interview by Anano Shalamberidze
From the vibrant inspiration drawn from Copenhagen's iconic landmarks to the fusion of contrasting elements in their designs, the founders of Baum und Pferdgarten, Helle and Rykke, share their insights on the brand's evolution over two decades.
Helle and Rykke, congratulations on the beautiful show in Copenhagen! Could you tell our readers a little bit more about the inspiration for the collection and the custom prints inspired by Copenhagen landmarks?
Thank you very much! We aimed to provide a real taste of what this city has to offer, with all its vibrant diversity. In the creation of this collection, we looked to a variety of sources for inspiration, like iconic landmarks, the pulse of the local community, eye-catching graffiti, and the picturesque harbor. You can see these influences in the designs and details that run across the entire collection. On top of that, we had the privilege of teaming up with some friends of the brand who came up with the graffiti print you’ll find on certain pieces. It’s been an exciting journey bringing all these elements together.
How was the show venue chosen?
Since the city of Copenhagen serves as the inspiration for this collection (a city that’s both our home and always inspires us), it felt like fate that we should have our show outside of our HQ on Amaliegade, right next to the Queen’s palace – one of the icons of the city.
Let’s go back to the beginning for our readers who might be stumbling upon the brand for the first time… what is the story of Baum und Pferdgarten and how did it first come about?
We founded Baum und Pferdgarten year 1999. The name is a fusion of our surnames, which symbolizes the blend of our contrasting elements when designing. We met in design school and were very captivated by each other’s talent, and aesthetics even though they were (and still are) very different. Shortly after meeting, we started to bounce ideas, and slowly but surely Baum was born. The same year we debuted our first collection at Copenhagen Fashion Week. The collection gained attention for its unique style, combining vintage-inspired designs with contemporary twists.
The brand has been around for more than two decades now, what has changed since the inception of the brand for you as designers in terms of values and work process?
As designers, we’re very aware of sustainability and ethical aspects. Our approach to work has shifted to put a stronger emphasis on responsible sourcing, the materials we use, and how we produce garments. Sustainability has always been a part of our DNA, but given the current landscape, it’s taken on even greater significance. We’ve upped our game to ensure we’re doing our best to contribute positively to the industry and the planet.
How do you balance staying true to your brand’s roots while adapting to current fashion trends?
First of all, there are many more people today to evolve and work around the brand. We have talented people around us to help us create the best possible Baum products
Our core value is still the same, to produce beautiful and long-lasting products. But the difference is of course that we today are trying to make responsible products not only by making clothes that you want to keep for a long time but also by being responsible also in terms of fabrics and production.
Last but not least the arrival of digital media changed the way we think of branding and marketing.
Can you share some insights into the brand’s design process from concept to final product?
We often start our design process with an inspiration trip to Paris, where we visit the fabric fair to source materials and qualities. While in Paris, we also love just walking around the city, visiting museums, art galleries, furniture stores, etc. to gather inspiration. Then we finalize a suitable theme, which is usually based on our gatherings from the trip. After that, the creation of mood boards and sketches starts. Later on, we receive the first protos that we have all been waiting for like children on Christmas Eve.
Can you describe the typical customer who resonates with the brand?
A person who enjoys dressing for themselves and feels good about what they wear. We see the person as a confident person who likes to stand out with their style and has a good eye for detail and quality with a hint of quirkiness.
Are there any signature pieces or designs that have become synonymous with your brand?
Yes, definitely, for example, our DORY coat made its debut in turquoise in our Pre-Spring 2022 collection. It garnered a lot of attention on social media and in magazines, and it was highly popular with our wholesale customers as well. To carry on the legacy of the coat within our Baum Family, we have introduced several different versions of it. In our AW23 collection, launched in July, you can find a longer one with a distinct collar and buttons, as well as a shorter version. We are thrilled by the appreciation for these jackets. However, the DORY coat is just one example of a signature piece that returns season after season. We enjoy adding a fresh twist to an already successful design.
Scandinavian design carries specific characteristics. How do you draw inspiration from these elements to shape your brand’s visual identity and message if so?
Traditionally, minimalism symbolizes Scandinavian fashion. We appreciate straight lines and understated elegance, yet we always incorporate playful and unexpected elements to it, to enhance the Baum identity to the designs. Over the past 15 years, Scandinavian fashion has evolved beyond minimalism. It now represents expression and thinking outside the box, which resonates with our brand. This was also something we explored when creating our SS24 collection.
Scandinavian brands are also renowned for their sustainable practices. How do you handle sustainability and ethical considerations in your brand’s manufacturing process?
These are the criteria we work with, in the design- and manufacturing process:
– Designing for long life and of high quality
– Aiming for materials with the lowest environmental impact
– Fewer chemicals
– Produced with transparency
– Produced under high social standards
Finally, any exciting drops/projects we should look out for?
Yes, definitely. We have an exciting collaboration in the pipeline, but more than that I can’t tell you at the moment. Besides, our longing sequins styles we just launched, we have our Pre-Spring 2024 collection launching in October, so stay tuned for that! 😉