Hoff – Novis Armis


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Fashion really started with dancing. I danced freestyle disco jazz and ever since I was little, I loved the suits of the older girls. I spent countless hours drawing the costumes that I wanted."

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By [ FASHION FANZINE ]

Tanja Hoff, Designer and pattern graduated from Esmod Oslo

All images courtesy of Tanja Hoff

 

For me fashion really started with dancing. I danced freestyle disco jazz and ever since I was little, I loved the outfits of the older girls. I spent countless hours drawing the costumes that I wanted when I became good enough dancer. I combined details, colors and effects I liked the best about the different outfits. I twisted and turned on all the ideas I could come up with. The day my parents allowed me a outfit made from my own design, it really lit a passion for design in me. We chatted and discussed about the design and what actually would work. I was young, but ever since that time I have wanted to work as a designer. After that, one thing lead to another with fashion magazines and art. And here I am today, graduated with my first collection.

 

 

My inspiration for this collection comes from stories such as Norse mythology. I am very weak for stories, whether they are true or fictional. Being able to make my own universe around a setting or a feeling. I think that's very inspiring. For me, it's often about pulling out a selected story or era, and make it into a universe and build a story around that. A good story makes it easier to dramatise. I like to deep dive into it and distort it, that's what I find fascinating and also to take an escapade along if I were to get an inspirational barrier or to bring in a slight variation on it. Also emotions or psychological illnesses I find myself drawn to as inspirations. Certainly those gloomy, ugly and awful things is what I really want to highlight and make something beautiful out of.

Those gloomy, ugly and awful things is what I really want to highlight and make something beautiful out of.

 

Your biggest mistakes may become one of your best ideas!

 

The development of my collection really started with this wave that has been around game of thrones, vikings and the hobbit. I'e always loveed fantasy worlds and it's something that I've gotten really in to.

You learn a lot through such a process, for me, one of the most important things I've learned might be how to handle those creative barriers that come and go from time to time. Another thing is that it's important to speak out about their ideas, you do not exactly yell them out but certainly not sit over your papers without putting them down.

To get them to work you're going to need advice, tips and others opinions to create the best possible design. I have learned that you have to step out of your box, you have to get out of it and see the world from the out side and in. In the process I've learned a lot about myself, one must simply trample out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Is there anything you fear? Are you afraid to create because your considering others oppinion or if you can actually manage? Thats when its important to try, to stomp out of your comfort zone, you will not get far if you always just hide behind the wall in your box and stay safe. Communication is gold, and to discuss, either your own or someone else's design, is in a way when you need to put into words all you feel and think, and that's when you learn a lot. And your biggest mistakes may become one of your best ideas!

The development of my collection really started with this wave that has been around game of thrones, vikings and the hobbit. I'e always loveed fantasy worlds and it's something that I've gotten really in to.

When I was to decide on a theme, it was very important to me that it was something I could relate to, therefore Vikings became a huge inspiration for me.

Norway was one of the countries where the vikings came from and lived. But to develop clothing that has no cuts or shapes was hard I struggled really finding a story that could fit into my fantasy world and in modern fashion. In addition, there are few illustrations of vikings from the time, the only thing that I got really hooked on was the armour they wore.

Chain mail armours defended them during their raids and expeditions. It is very important for me to have a good story with me right from the start, so that the clothes can reflect the story in a good way. If only I had made up a story at the end of the process it would have been more difficult for me during the construction of the collection to create something that tells you the the story.

I once found a star-washer (a kind of small disc used on trucks) and I fell in love with it. I put it in my wallet and had it there, and every time I opened my wallet I saw it. And with the idea around the chain mail armour, I decided, I WILL get this to work. Way too many hours of testing different techniques, different compositions of fabrics, I came up to the "substance" which currently only consists of metal and which have created my haute couture showpieces.

I love working with alternative materials, because there is so much more you can do with them. There is a story behind the metal material, the idea of using tiny rings became something huge and time consuming and getting it to work and function as a fabric was very difficult. It took hard work and great passion

I have been working very hard for the clothes to look the same in reality that I imagine them. In many ways I think this is the part that is most exciting. I'm from Scandinavia and here fashion has to be clean, neat and simple, but still the highest quality. It is to be sewn, which is what I've done in my case or be produced in a factory. To find out the right technical solution for the garment has been difficult, I reworked one of my jackets 7 times before I could get it to work the way I wanted. I had such a clear picture of how I wanted it to be that I could not let go until it was exactly as I wanted.

 

 

Then there is the best and worst part, that's when you have to let go of the "baby” you've been working on for so long time. I look at the catwalk show as a fantastic ending to this collection and as a hello to the next, a hello to the future.

The photo shoot, to create create magic. Finding locations and see the whole entirety for the first time, it's the most amazing feeling in the world. That is when go through your whole range of emotions in seconds, and an immense feeling of happiness that I had never felt before! My team was fantastic. The models were unique and a reflection of my vision. They had read the story and were very into the whole setting. It was MAGICAL!

Then it's over, all you have worked and struggled for, night and day to bring out your vision . You are somehow supposed to just let it go. I knew that I never could quite let this collection go, emotionally. It is and will always be my first and I choose to believe you can never completely get over it.

Q&A

 

What is your inspiration?
I am incredibly fascinated with history and myths, and I'm like many people part of the "Game of Thrones" wave. That was how I got into the viking theme. To read the old stories of the Norse mythologies made me find an absolutely stunning take on my story. "It's about the last surviving viking which is the only one left after the war. He is so tired, so exhausted and he fights towards his sword but he knows it's over. He saw a raven earlier, it is the sign that he will die now. He kneels and leans his head against his sword and as he feels that someone grabs him, he feels his body dwindle and with the Valkyries he goes. It is finally his turn to dine at Gods table. the Valkyries are the servants and slaves of the Gods. They are the ones who decide who falls in battle. They come down to retrieve the Vikings who have fought well in combat and who deserve an eternity in Valhalla.
My inspiration is the Valkyries from the Norse mythology, they are said to be the ones deciding who does, and who doesn’t get to go to Valhalla. It is said that if you see a Valkyrie before a battle, you will die in that battle and are allowed to dine with the gods.

Why did you choose to base your collection on Valkyries?
The Valkyries are said to be the great strong women with armour. They were the lovers and servants of the gods. For me it’s important to modernise these figures and bring fourth how strong they were.
I chose to base the collection on this because I want to bring out the strength in women. I want to show a strong, confident and misty woman in my designs.

What is fashion for you?
Fashion for me is art, it's fun, it's exciting, it's a challenge and a way to express yourself!

A detail/details you wish people could see in your collection
The detail I would rather people should notice is the creative fabric that I have spent countless hours making! One by one metal ring is assembled into a new expression of the old armour. This dress is made of metal washers used for cars and jewellery units. It is a 100% haute couture look, which I hope will be noticed.

A dream for the future… 
One dream, Oh I have so much I want to do, so many I could imagine working for / cooperate with. But Gareth Pugh has been the dream since the first time I saw his work, so must almost say that it had been the biggest dream of the future.

What is your vision for the future? Establish your own independent label or would you like to work for a brand?
I want to learn a lot. I want to see several different aspects of the industry. I dream of having a wide range of experience with everything from commercial to the more artistic part. Eventually a part of the dream is to start a brand on my own. But there is so much I want to learn and so many talented people to learn from! Abroad could be extremely exciting for a period. I am very ready for the next challenge!

 

Design, Tanja Hoff, Esmod, Vikings, Fashion, Metal,

 

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