An interview with Gitte JonsdatterWritten by Tayfun Yilmaz by Michaela Widergren
Fashion with Collaboration - MUUSE
It is a wonderful September day in Copenhagen, the kind where the drone of the metro construction at Nørreport Station is overpowered by a crisp, fall fluorescence. And somewhere, amidst the glow, is my destination. I walk further into the city centre, and there on a quiet side street, I find it: a huge door. The door opens onto an inner courtyard, where instead of flowers all I see are smiling faces. This is what I have been looking for—the place where creativity meets business; the place where design visionaries are born. Welcome to MUUSE.
MUUSE Co-founder Gitte Jonsdatter, all blond hair and warm smiles, comes to greet me. She introduces me to the staff and then pulls out a few MUUSE samples to show me. And in a span of a few moments, I get the impression that this chic, yet cozy workplace is a hotbed of talent, innovation and ideas.
An American with Scandinavian parents, Jonsdatter’s resume weighs heavily in work for research companies.
GJ: I have a design innovation background. In America, I worked as a consultant / researcher. My work focused on understanding the cultures, habits and ways of living in different parts of the world. While working with a Danish startup as a consultant, I moved to Denmark. Here, I found my future business partner David Dencker. Together, we launched MUUSE.
MUUSE is a company that attracts talented fashion designers and tastemakers alike, and where collaborations are essential to its DNA. It develops and produces quality collections in collaboration with design talents from all around the world, which are sold both online and through partnerships with independent retailers. Jonsdatter says that the foundation of MUUSE finds its roots in the future of fashion, in creating designer collections in small, curated editions that are made to last.
WE ARE THE FACILITATORS
TY: What is the history behind MUUSE?
GJ: First of all, we wanted to make a difference. During my years working as a researcher, I experienced a lack of communication between customers, companies and creators. I wanted to work on resolving this problem. There are so many inspired and well-educated fashion designers graduating from fashion schools, but most are unable to fulfill their dream of designing their own collections. Creating a piece of clothing doesn’t end by designing it, there is a much larger, often unseen, process that comes with it. If a design is to be mass-produced, it has to be washable, it has to be wearable, it has to be introduced to consumers, and much more besides. It is difficult for a young designer to do all of this alone. So with MUUSE, we wanted to create a space for new talent—a place where designers can express their vision and we take the responsibility for the rest of the work. You can also see that people are becoming far more interested in small collections from boutiques than those from larger, mass-produced labels. The curated collections, like those we create, give people unique, quality designs they will treasure for years to come.
Jonsdatter says that today, launching a brand means that the designers need to have design sensibility—the ability to hone all their knowledge to support the product. Designers must also have a good understanding of production, public relations, and marketing. MUUSE handles production, sales, PR and marketing for our designers so they can focus on their design. In the end, it is the designer’s name in collaboration with MUUSE that is attached onto the clothes of his or her creation. We work as facilitators for the designers and for consumers who not only want to discover new designers, but unique designs.
DESIGNERS ALWAYS COMES FIRST
TY: What is MUUSE’s motto?
GJ: Our motto has always been about prioritizing our designers. They are the most important part of our brand. Good design makes everything work better. MUUSE gives them the opportunity to focus on their designs and create something they will be proud of.
As it stands, MUUSE is the only brand that gathers designers and consumers in such an ingenious way.
GJ: It is true that we don’t have any competitors, because there isn’t any other brand that works as collaboratively as we do. Our way of doing business differentiates us from the rest of the fashion sector, MUUSE is a brand that works exclusively in close designer collaborations.
TY: How do you get in touch with the designers?
GJ: We contact fashion schools from all around the world. Besides that, we have the MUUSE x VOGUE Talents Award, which is a fashion design competition in collaboration with Vogue Italia. Last year, a Swedish fashion designer, Lina Michal won the competition, and we have already begun working with Lina to create a MUUSE Editions capsule collection for 2015. Competitions are one way in which we scout young, talented and inspired designers.
Although MUUSE is still emerging in some markets, the brand is known by many in Scandinavia and the United States.
GJ: There are many interested people from the fashion sector who want to wear pieces that are specially made and cannot be found in ordinary shops.
Jonsdatter says that many people discover MUUSE through the self-promotion of its designers. But the MUUSE x VOGUE Talents Award has also boosted recognition, and MUUSE often partners with international and Danish media too.
GJ: Our brand now appears on the trend pages of many fashion magazines, which such positive proof of how we are growing and thriving.
MUUSE both operates their own online shop and sells their styles in carefully selected independent boutiques. Their online shop enables consumers to meet the MUUSE designers from every corner of the world. But for some, there are worries about the digital shopping experience and feel it is still safer to shop the traditional way.
TY: How do people trust your service?
GJ: With the MUUSE shop the fear of regret from shopping on the Internet is redundant. We take care to ensure detailed sizing information and instructions are made directly available on our online shopping page. If something happens or there are additional questions, our customer care team is also there to help.
TY: What is your aim for the future? Where do you see MUUSE in the future?
GJ: We hope that MUUSE will continue to grow and be very successful in the future. Nowadays, people have the tendency to prefer clothes that give them a feeling of uniqueness, and large brands cannot satisfy this desire, but this is what we do. Our designers are carefully chosen and every item has it’s own identity.The enthusiasm for buying special products is evident, and here in Scandinavia, the movement is already on its way!
MUUSE offers superior service to customers from all over the world with its selection of design talents and original creations. The gateway to MUUSE: www.muuse.com