Martin Asbjorn Is Putting Individuality at the Forefront of Dressing
14 April 2022
When we think of Scandi fashion or even just Danish dressing, the vibes that come to mind are typically free-spirited, girly and polished. Thanks to brands that turned global like Ganni, Stine Goya and Saks Potts, Copenhagen has become a style capital in its own right.
Of course, not all brands ascribe to this way of dressing. Designer Martin Asbjorn has long rejected the city's fashion stereotypes in favor of a more grounded wardrobe rooted in tailoring.
His namesake label, launched in 2014 after Asbjorn graduated from The Design and Technical Tailoring Academy, is one of the few Danish brands playing around with smart menswear staples. His tailoring-meets-leisurewear sensibility translates into loose fits, lush knits, textured coats and wide trousers. .
Now armed with a more "anyone can wear anything" outlook on building his collections (he added women's look for the first time at his most recent runway show during Copenhagen Fashion Week), his creative approach is freer than ever., unrestrained by gender tropes. Below, an interview with the designer.
What is it like being a brand based in Copenhagen, away from the main fashion capitals?
You can get a lot more attention here in Copenhagen, because when people go to Copenhagen Fashion Week, there's not a lot. It's not the same schedule as in Paris or New York or London. I've lived here my entire life. But I feel like the Danes are more used to buying into this midsection market in terms of fashion.
So a lot of my first retailers were international retailers and I still don't have a really strong market in Denmark, even though I've existed since 2014. So that's kind of a challenge and I feel like compared to other, bigger fashion capitals, they're more eager to support young talents. So if you just graduated from Saint Martins, you could get picked up by a really big stylist right away, where here in Copenhagen, the Danish mindset is you need to prove yourself.
What have the last few weeks been like since your February show?
Crazy! The show was really well received and it was so great to be back on the runway as part of Copenhagen Fashion Week but we didn’t really have time to catch our breath and relax. We had the sales to finish and production to sort out and of course, personally speaking, I had to go straight into designing my next collection. Luckily I have a great team to help me.
You emphasized gender-fluid dressing with your last collection. How do you plan to evolve that concept?
My collections have always been about dressing up, feeling sexy and being confident so it was a natural step to push this a bit further in my presentation this time. I don’t really think I design gender fluid clothing, I just design great clothes that can be worn by whoever likes them and in whatever way they like. If a girl buys one of my tailored jackets, then fine. If a boy likes one of my skirts, also fine. I like to celebrate individuality and I give my customers credit for being creative and showing their personality. They don’t need me to tell them how to dress!
Martin Asbjorn (Courtesy)
How will that translate in future collections?
Going forward I think I will continue to design collections that include all product categories - from jackets and coats to dresses and skirts - and of course some things will appeal generally more to one group or other but for the shows and the styling, we treat it all as a fantastic dressing up box and just see what suits each model as a person, not as a particular gender.
What’s the next step for your label this year?
I want to continue to expand the tailoring part of the collection and we will be completely updating the MA sportswear line which has proven very popular. Recently we also introduced a couple of bags and I think it would be cool to develop this area too and build up a great selection of accessories.. On the back of these commercially successful projects, I have the freedom to be creative and sometimes challenging with the main collection. Finally, there might also be an interesting collab coming up but I will tell you about that next time!