Kamilla Hoffmann, a recent MA graduate from the Danish Design School, reinvented functionalism with her contemporary collection inspired by the Danish painter J.F. Willumsen’s artwork Jotunheimen (1893).

Volt Café: Who is Kamilla Hoffmann, tell us a little about yourself.

Kamilla Hoffman: I knew from early age that I’d either do something with my hands – or own a children’s home. In spite of that it took me 10 years to finish my education.

In 2004 I graduated with a BA in Handicrafts & Clothes Shaping, -specialising in clothing and machine knitting. But I wanted to draw and wavered between continuing in the same vein, ending up as a fashion designer or becoming an architect.

I began an MA at the Danish Design School and have at the age of 33 just finished my MA in Fashion Design.

I live in Copenhagen with my 3-year-old twin sons, Karl and Ejler and their father Rune, who is a musician.

I love the diversity and the challenge of setting a goal, learning new things and solving a problem – while I’m solving my problem it can make me become perfectionistic and geeky.

VC: Your collection is called ‘Inside the Outside’. What do you mean by that?

KH: While I developed my collection I studied space around man and his existence in the world. I examined the way in which we perceive, experience, describe and reflect on the world. Particularly focusing on the Danish painter J.F. Willumsen’s artwork ‘Jotunheimen’, which he created in 1893.

With the title ‘Inside the Outside’, I wanted to draw attention to the way we move in an ambiguous tension. One in which one can simultaneously sense and be seen from the outside by oneself and others while one looks, feels and makes the world become true to one self. I like this quote as well:

“There is no vision without thought. But to think will not make anyone see. Visual experience is a conditional thought and is created when something happens in the body and so encourages it to think.” (Kølvraa, 1997.)

I have a general interest in classical and functional fashion design, challenging the balance between the feminine and masculine and the recognizable and the unfamiliar.

In my collection I wish to challenge perception of shape, texture and perspective by juxtaposing a machine-knitted pattern and a digitally printed textile that simulates photographs of the knitted patterns.

I derived my inspiration from imaginary moods and spaces with references to uniforms and outdoor activities.

VC: What is your goal as a designer?

KH: To make interesting, comfortable and sustainable clothes. To keep reflecting on why we are here and what we do. To think and make pictures of being. Hopefully I will make people think and wonder. To have fun and never stop learning. To create ‘slow’ fashion.

VC: Do you have any muses/role models?

KH: No, but I’ve always had a great interest in architecture, spaces and landscapes. I’ve studied the work of Zaha Hadid, Martin Margiela, J.F. Willumsen and Antonio López García.

VC: What is your relationship to trends?

KH: Trends are interesting because they tell us something about time and man right now and what the zeitgeist is. But trends also maintain a status quo and make fashion very specific and undifferentiated – and therefore so predictable. Personally I prefer creating my own images and perceptions of what is happening – which gives room for more abstract levels and layers than those who are often described and simplified to trends. I think there are much more interesting things to do than to study and pursue a fast-changing trend.

VC: What do you think about Scandinavian design?

KH: I like the functionality and rationality in Scandinavian design. I’m actually pretty crazy about it, but I think you could add a bit more character and imagination. With regards to womenswear, I feel that the functional and classic often excludes the sensual and changeable. I have tried to place myself in a space that embraces both qualities. I achieve this by creating flexible and sensuous clothing that is based on a classic functionality and vice versa.

VC: Minimalism has become significant for Scandinavian design.

What is your relationship to Minimalism?

KH: I like minimalism – I think it’s relevant and interesting and often very beautiful. Personally I think it’s interesting to work with the relationship between the minimalist and the complex.

VC: Is Minimalism a trend?

KH: Yes. It’s always present, just in different guises.

VC: Is fashion still fun, new and innovative?

KH: Yes, I think it is.

VC: How do you think fashion will develop within 10 years time?

KH: I hope it will become more sustainable.

Kamilla’s 8 favourites

Designer – Martin Margiela, Phoebe Philo

Style Icon – Michael Jordan and old people in matching clothes.

Garment – Thermo jumpsuit and my winter hats

Film – The City of the Lost Children, Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki), Lost In Translation and Zoolander.

Art – J.F. Willumsen, Antonio López Garcías and Ron Mueck.

Music – I Got You on Tape

Restaurant – Bento Sushi

City – Sarajevo/London/Barcelona

Photographer – Lærke Feld Andersen | Model – Carolina Thelin @ Diva Models | Words – Emelie Hultqvist


Emelie Hultqvist, Kamilla Hoffmann, Lærke Feld Andersen,