"Introducing an emerging designer creating captivating leather fashions."
MARIA HEDMARK INTERVIEW
Although Swedish transplant MARIA HEDMARK has only been in New York City for three years, her line, LINIE NYC, takes its name straight from the city that never sleeps. Featuring form-fitting, structurally constructed garments for women and a color-blocking scheme, LINIE NYC is Hedmark’s female response to the simplicity of menswear.
HEDMARK originally began, and has spent the majority of, her career as a menswear designer, working with high-end brands.
1. You created LINIE NYC to provide women with the same type of clothing construction available in menswear pieces. What events led up to this inspiration?
Working with menswear and tailoring made me think about the lack of construction and subtle details in womenswear. Womenswear at the market has a lot of stretch- and poly materials, focusing the design to cuts and embellishments. There are often very conventional, yet rational solutions where the seams are placed, thinking of the body as flat. In menswear, especially in traditional tailoring, the patterns and the construction are made to create shape and form the body.
2. Which designers, brands, or style innovators particularly inspire you?
I mostly look in to art to wake up the “inspiration nerve.” Abstract art is what attracts me most. For the SS15 collection the starting point was when I discovered Robert Goldman’s work. When it comes to style, I look a lot into late 90s/early 2000s to see shapes and cuts. But, of course, the style of LINIE is affected by the trends around us.
3. Since you moved to New York in 2011, what has been the biggest change in your own personal style?
When I moved to New York I was only able to bring one bag with clothing and all other necessary things you need in life. The wardrobe got pretty limited. During that time I learned how to style the few clothes I had differently every day. That also made me think about the quality, cleanliness and simplicity about my clothes, something you can also see in the aesthetic of LINIE. I haven’t done any shopping for the last 2 years. Luckily, I can now wear my own clothing.
4. LINIE NYC mainly features darker shades and color-blocking. What was the intention behind this color/style palette?
Starting a new collection, I usually have one fabric, color or texture that I work around. For the FW14 collection the grey heavy felt was that fabric. Since the fabric had a lot of weight I wanted to take in some different textures and materials to make it interesting. That it was darker shades has more to do that I like a monochromatic color story. I don’t like when something feels too off, but I love if the colors and fabrics are a little bit “scary.” You don’t know if it’s pretty or bad.
5. You also use a variety of textiles in your pieces. What kind of aesthetic do you think this accomplishes?
The fabrics are one of the most important factors for LINIE. It creates depth, flow and an exciting ensemble. I put a lot of work into selecting the fabrics. They all have to have something special and make a difference but still live in symbioses to the other fabrics.
6. There is a definite consistency in FW14’s construction and style that is uniquely LINIE NYC. When you were designing the line, what basic principles (or underlying theme) did you keep in mind for each piece?
Working with each collection I want to develop my construction concept of the one-piece pattern. Most of the garments are made that way. What stands out with LINIE is that even though it’s a one-piece pattern (garment) it’s still form-fitting and tailored. For the FW14 collection the fabrics had the most saying in what the collection should look like. We used a lot of heavy felts and I wanted it to look like armor. But then of course to mix it with silky draped pieces to make it interesting both for the eye and the hand.
7. When you’re designing, where do you like to be? What’s your ideal setting?
Ideally at home, later at night with a glass of wine.
8. What has been the biggest moment for your career? How has this affected the success of LINIE NYC?
Eva Chen, Editor in Chief for Lucky Magazine wore LINIE’s skirt in their latest September issue. We are still a new brand and all those small acknowledgements are so touching and I’m so grateful. I have to thank our press representative OMEN PR for making this happen.
9. Growing up, did you always want to be a designer? Or did you have other dreams?
I have always wanted to work with my hands. When I was a kid I wanted to work as an artist, dancer, gardener, architect or as a fashion designer. I didn’t really start “doing” fashion until I was 19 and started university. I had a strange belief that you can’t be something unless you know it (a lot). So I was in school for 6 years becoming a menswear tailor, patternmaker and got a Bachelor Degree in Fashion Design that made me get a scholarship from H&M. Not until I started LINIE I called myself a designer.
10. Are there any specific people or places that fuel you to do your best?
Taking walks and meditating gets me super psyched and excited.
11. What advice do you have for budding designers, or artists in general?
Try to have a good knowledge in all different stages of your art. That gives you respect and confidence.
12. In other interviews, you’ve mentioned that you really love gardening. Does this connection to nature appear in your work?
I think gardening is a dream I have, but haven’t really done the hard work for real. I grew up in nature with a big garden, spending a lot of time in our backyard. Maybe it has more to do that I feel safe there. The clothing in LINIE has a clean and sharp cut, but if you look in the lines, they are very organic. That’s where my nature comes in.
13. What are you looking forward to for NYFW?
We are not doing and show or presentation yet, so when NYFW starts, the SS15 collection will be complete, sales will start and hopefully I can relax and go to some party!
14. Do you have any special things planned for LINIE NYC?
At the moment my biggest focus is to get the brand visible, meaning getting more sales accounts. For next season I have a thought to do a collaboration with an artist.
15. What do you think is one of the most common misconceptions people have about designers?
That you as a designer only sketch and someone else makes everything else happen. In a big company that’s maybe the reality. But in a small company you have 7 positions in one. You are a designer, print designer, pattern maker, sample maker, production manager, sales representative and the accountant.
16. What’s the strangest thing that has happened to you since you’ve been in NYC?
I met a man during a job in 2011, realizing we met 5 minutes 8 years ago in Sweden. We got married this summer.
17. What do you have in store for spring of 2015?
My favorite piece in stores for SS15 is a floral structured stealth dress.
18. Do you have any life mantras or mottos you live by? If so, what are they?
New Hour, New Power. Something I believe I created myself. No time to sag, just do it!
19. If you had a spirit animal, what would it be and why?
I’m a lot like a cat in many different ways; even dogs chase me.
20. Are you in love with any fabrics or textiles? Which do you think you lean toward when you design clothing and why?
I like structured fabrics that have a great, rich hand feel and something special or weird about it. Could be a coating or a brush. I want it to feel new and interesting even though it could be an industrial felt used for ages. For SS15 I’m using a lace that is coated in polyutheran (rubberlike). That for me is a new take on an old traditional fabric.
21. Do you have any strange hobbies or habits that help you when you’re designing or thinking of a creative strategy for a line (e.g. maybe sitting outside gives you ideas or you work best late at night, etc.)?
When I make a new collection I stay inside for days to focus on making the line up. I have before that gathered all the information I need, bought a lot of fruit and tea. When the ideas are coming very slow, I sometimes put on my dad’s old college cap to let them grow and blossom to something wonderful. The result you will see in LINIE’s SS15 collection.
INTERVIEWED & WRITTEN BY: JANE HERVEY
PHOTO CREDIT: LINIE