As one of the first alumni to attend a seminar at Saga Furs Design Centre, currently known as the Saga Furs Creative Hub, Jens Laugesen uses the knowledge he gained there in the early ‘90s in his own collections and conveys it to his students at Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture as well as fashion companies he advises. The London-based designer’s visit in 1991 was at the beginning of Saga Furs ongoing efforts to support young designers who want to work with responsible fur.
“I discovered techniques and learned to view fur as a fashion material, just like fabric. At the same time I learned about the vision behind Saga Furs,” he says. The knowledge he gained at Saga Furs Design Centre helped him to introduce fur the MA curriculum at Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture.
“It’s a heritage thing,” Laugesen says, about Saga Furs role in the evolution of fur. “Saga has worked with the biggest luxury brands and therefore has a big place in the world, as the maintainer of fur.”
INRECON/SOLARIS documents Jens Laugesen’s AW22 collection on a wo/man styled in similar manners. The collection features an ongoing collaboration with long time creative partners photographer/film director Jean Francois Carly and film editor Maxim Young.
Gender-fluid practical luxury at the core
The idiom of Laugesen’s creations takes a Nordic approach to design, incorporating Parisian luxury tradition with a London design aesthetic. Put it all together and you have a concept-led design philosophy that finds the perfect balance between form and function in what he calls “hybrid reconstruction.”
In 2002, Laugesen launched his eponymous collection, which was quickly snapped up by high-profile shops such as Maria Luisa and Selfridges in a number of countries. He rode that wave for several years and then turned his attentions to consulting as design advisor and creative director for international corporate brands, including J Mendel, Calvin Klein and LG Fashion Corp in Korea. Today, he is open to collaborate with international brands that integrate sustainable natural fur in their collections.
But he was also a teacher throughout all the years, first at Central Saint Martins MA, alongside the legendary Louise Wilson. Since then, he was also been asked to help launch the 4th year MA at Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, that have subsequently merged with Institut Francais de la Mode. In the latter, he acts as a head design tutor. “In a sense, I design designers by passing on tacit knowledge and mentoring young minds. I help them enter design studios of the best luxury brands in Paris, including Chanel, Dior, Saint Laurent, Paco Rabanne, Chloe, Louis Vuitton etc.,”, the designer says.
”Saga Furs has been instrumental in educating students at a high level.”
Many a time, Laugesen has initiated collaborations with the designers and luxury houses he worked for, in the same way he has introduced his students to Saga Furs, where they could learn about the furrier craft and the sustainability of fur. He has revisited Saga Furs several times with his students, and has attended Fur Vision, which he describes as, “full of ideas about new fur design techniques and a big inspiration for designers.”
Craftsmanship is the nucleus of his teaching philosophy as well as his collections: “Luxury takes time,” he says. “Fashion demands artisan heritage, but you must be creative with it in a contemporary manner to interest the new consumer of authentic luxury.”
As to the future of fur, Laugesen says there is the “need to integrate fur into a garment, as a natural raw material for beauty and artisanal function.”
And he has done just that. After years of working together, Saga Furs and Jens Laugesen are continuing the cooperation – latest of which was released during Paris Fashion Week and in collaboration with London Fashion Week. The collection stays true to the Jens Laugesen style: re/deconstructing pieces with gender-free tailoring.
“I like to play around with what I have been taught and what I’ve learned myself. My training in haute couture focused on designing on an hourglass shape but I find it more interesting to shape and redesing the garment to be gender-neutral. And to have freedom to move and include layering pieces – as with my latest collection.”
For the AW22 collection, Jens Laugesen created tailored garments that are reworked/layered into metamodern looks built in a holistic, sustainable manner from existing found garments. Once again redefining what is tailored luxury – and slow fashion.
The film project and full look book can be viewed on the following digital platforms:
Photo: Jean-Francois Carly
Danish-born, London-based designer Jens Laugesen draws inspiration from uniform and generic garments … In an attempt of “understanding the semiotic of garments” he deconstructs and then re-assembles them generation what he subtly calls hybrid shapes. He is an award-winning fashion designer, consultant and video artist with 20+ years of international experience. His conceptual talent is recognised through many prestigious awards, including New Gen and BFC Fashion Forward in London, ANDAM LVMH Fashion Award in Paris and most recently, Fashion Design of the Year Gold award at the IDA Design awards in Los Angeles.
This article was first posted in February 2019. It has been edited to include the designer’s latest collection for AW22 in March 2022.