Pictures by Jesper Drejer
The appreciation of longevity in design is a core value for Less Magazine. Therefore, we often take our time singling out brands or designers fitting into that scope because we want to share our profound respect towards these artisans. This feature series is dedicated to highlighting the working phase of those honing the craft of clothes making, and the Copenhagen-based designer Jan Machenhauer is one of those. His designs are meticulously thought out; he creates solely when inspired, and works perfecting every part of his exquisite sculptural designs to achieve the Jan Machenhauer feel.
Jan Machenhauer works almost exclusively out of his Copenhagen atelier with a small, intimate staff. In the atelier this team of trusted tailors produce his local production. Jan highly emphasises taking the necessary time to create a perfect fit to enhance the life span of his garments. This has been the approach since Jan graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Arts in 1976, his oversized aesthetic has not changed either. This adherence to strict aesthetical principles, and the insisting on a refined material use is apparent in his classic two-sided jacket that has been in production the past 20 years.
This feature will examine the process behind the "Hella" jacket, though we are told the process differs from garment to garment. Sometimes garments are created revolving around a particular material, or because the Jan Machenhauer flagship store, Zone 1, is requesting certain styles. Mostly, the creation of the styles depart from the desire to explore the possibilities of materials and examine what methods and forms fit the material best. The particular idea behind this jacket occured with the urge to create a rain coat appropriate for all year usage. The result is a two-part jacket - an outer jacket and an inner lining - both perfectly wearable individually.
A huge part of shaping the garments depends on how materials can help define the volume, and therefore Jan Machenhauer chooses the material as the first step. Next, the toile jacket is draped directly on a mannequin attempting to create a balanced pattern, yet avoiding making use of standardised industrial patterns. Following this, the work in toile continues and the shaping and mending of the jacket is repeated several times until a satisfactory result is achieved. After this, the final pattern is drawn, and the experimentation with stitching details and trimming testing in the selected material initiate
A prototype in size 38 or 40 is then exhibited in the flagship store for the design team to examine whether modifications on the fit are needed. Based on observing a number of clients, potential adjustments are taken into consideration before the product is eventually ready to be adopted into the continuous product flow of Jan Machenhauer design. The entire process from the first prototype until the final product is ready for feedback in the shop takes 3 to 5 weeks.
Enjoy an exclusive look behind the scenes of the creative process from our visit to the Frederiksberg atelier of Jan Machenhauer.