NN: How did Vane become a reality?
V: The idea started when we met in college, we played around with screen-printed t-shirts and quickly realized the industry desperately needed creativity and design. We had some sort of involvement in fashion and the desire to do something independently and creative on our own. We all shared a similar entrepreneurial drive and saw a great opportunity in bringing fashion to streetwear and vice versa, and we felt that collaboratively we could pool our talents together to do something special.
NN: Why the word Vane?
V:”Vane” is a play on the word “vain,” and we thought it only appropriate to be a clothing company with substance in an industry generally known for its vanity. A “vane” is generally something that is an indicator of things to come, while the more commonly association of self-loving arrogance is known for “vain.” Much of our brand has to do with juxtaposing conflicting ideas and messages, and we felt that Vane had a certain ring to it. Coincidentally, we found out later that Vane also has its origins in the Latin word fanna, which means “cloth,” something we thought was accidental but really cool in the context of our brand.
NN: Do your diverse ethnic backgrounds influence your designs?
V: Directly and indirectly, they do. The three partners are from India, Pakistan, China and our friends are from all over. Inherent in this fact are many of the themes Vane adheres to when designing garments: conflict, diversity, city life, attention to detail and an ethic of hard work. This is also why, regardless of the financial benefit of producing garments overseas, we chose to stick with a midtown New York City production house. No exploitation of third world countries and a more hands-on approach to our designs.
NN: The “We are all Vane” Pendant/Necklace is hands down one of my favorite pieces from your line! What were you trying to convey by meshing these three drastically different symbols?
V:A lot of today’s world issues stem from religious tensions. Religion is one of the world’s most powerful forces that can divide us, but can also unify us. The pendant addresses this issue by juxtaposing symbols of the major religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. We take these ideas further to reference city life, a place where these cultures coexist together. It is our first jewelry piece and we are very proud of it.
NN: I really love the details and fit of the Little Vane Dress. Did you GUYS consult with any females on any aspect of the women’s line?
V: We wanted our first women’s piece to be clean, unique and flattering of a woman’s physique. Behind the scenes we know a few important women with whom we consulted about the dress, namely our girlfriends and mothers. We definitely plan to work on more women’s garments in the future.
NN: What is one of your most valuable lessons learned since launching Vane?
V: We have learned so much and are still learning! Regardless, one aspect is true. With the proclivity of young entrepreneurs and access to information today, competition among upstart designers is at its fiercest. The market is saturated with brands all trying to make their mark in fashion. We respect everyone’s hustle and just focus on our own. We have found our niche in creating a product in which fabric and content dictate the luxury and price of the garments, not limited-edition hype or artificially-imposed factory minimums. Hopefully it’s enough for us to stick around for a while.
NN: Who is the designer behind Valhalla Brooklyn?
VB: The designer behind Valhallabrooklyn is me, Karin, an immigrant from Denmark who started out in New York 9 years ago, re-designing vintage clothing for a store in in SoHo, I now run this little whole sale business by my self with help here and there from my husband.
NN: What types of materials do you use to create your designs?
VB: I particularly love to work with leather, I use new leather and sometimes re-cycled leather coats. I’m often being handed old fabric pieces from friends or family, and like to incorporate these in the pieces for lining etc.
NN: Can you give us a short summary of the process it takes to create one bag from start to finish?
VB: I’m not a skilled drawer, but I am a pattern maker so when I come up whit a new Idea I usually measure it out directly from a thought to the pattern paper and then cut and sew. I base my bag and wallet designs on what needs to go in it, I like to be organized so pockets, zipper compartments,spring hooks and such is a must.
I try to do slight variations on each piece to make it unique and keep sewing fun and challenging.
NN: As a designer, do you feel that it is your job to help create a social awareness of recycling?
VB: I think anyone regardless should spread the word of being aware of recycling, and yes, I very much feel it’s my job to bring recycling in to the world of design and fashion, where large amounts of clothing and accessories are being purchased unfortunately only to be worn once or twice.
NN: Do you plan on expanding your line any further i.e. clothing ?
VB: I also do clothing, I make winter jackets, shirts and dresses, and print on pillows, t-shirts and bags.
Since I sew everything myself, it’s hard to find time to do everything. Once spring comes, Valhalla shirts and dresses will appear on Etsy and my web page.
NN: What can we look forward to for spring/summer 08 from Valhalla Brooklyn?
VB: Spring and summer: lots of dresses, printed t-shirts, women’s cotton shirts and lots of detail with piping. and as always: leather goods!