Artist Spotlight: Fashion Designer Bibi Chemnitz

Born in Greenland but working in Denmark, designer and creative director of her eponymous fashion line BIBI CHEMNITZ answered our list of six questions. Read on to find out about the inspiration for her menswear line and how she feels about the influence of Scandinavia.

1aWhen and why did you start your line?

I started while I was still studying sewing techniques. At that time, I was a intern in a small design shop and started to make products at home for this boutique. After a few months it picked up and I got some more shops on as customers. It was not planned to begin with, it just grew from there. After the first year or so, I found out I need to have a bit more structure and started doing seasonal collections as well as did several exhibitions. This is about 8 years ago. I still learn new stuff every day.

2aWho or what inspires you in your designs?

There are two major inspirations sources to my designs: my native home Greenland and the people I see in the streets of my adopted city Copenhagen. I use the raw and beautiful nature of Greenland to give me the colors I like to use, then I mix that with the street element of Copenhagen. I also travel a lot and pick up things here and there. Greenland and Copenhagen, however, are the key elements in my brand and look.

3aWhat does being a Scandinavian designer mean to you?

The fact that I am both Greenlandic and Scandinavian gives me the best elements from two worlds. Scandinavia has a long and strong tradition of design, craftsmanship and creativity. Living and working in a city full of design and creative people helps to give you a strong base to work from. In Denmark, there are so many designers in a very small area. That means that the competition is extremely feisty. I have to admit that is has not always been that easy to survive as an independent designer. This sense of competition makes me stronger and brings positive challenges.

4aHow should a person wearing your clothes feel?

First of all, they should feel cool and comfortable. I like for people to have the feeling that they do not want to wear anything other than BIBI CHEMNITZ when they wear my designs. My designs are often very simple in the overall idea but I try to make small adjustments that make them special.

5aHow do you set yourself apart in Scandinavia and in the fashion industry in general?

I use my Greenlandic heritage, which is very close to my work, then I mix that with a strong urban feeling of street culture. I have a unique mix of sporty and street.

6aWhat’s next for your brand?

We are always trying to get better as brand and to be proud of everything that we do. I also try to do some different projects here and there. I went to Frankfurt to be part of an art exhibition with a special focus on Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. For this project I worked with Greenlandic seal fur from Kopenhagen Fur and Great Greenland Fur. I think it is important to tell the world that eating seal meat and using the seal fur has been a crucial part of their Nordic lives for over 4000 years. The seals live in the wild and the Greenlandic people eat the meat, so if we do not use the fur it would be a waste of resources and I am sure that the lives of these seals have been a hundred times better then all animals we breed for fur in the rest of the world. Of course we are in full swing with the new collection, comfortably morphing into SS15, for the lighter season here in the North.

To see her line and visit the webshop, read more here.





All photos by Hordur Ingason, courtesy of Marlo Saalmink

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Rebecca Thandi Norman

Rebecca Thandi Norman is a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief at Scandinavia Standard.