© Marius Knieling
04.07.2018

Berlin fashion spotlight: Designer Hien Le

As a leading fashion hub, Berlin flawlessly mixes art, film, music and fashion to drive the trends of tomorrow. The city is home to over 800 designers and labels, and approximately 60 industry events and networks. Boasting nine fashion schools, the spectrum of diverse design created in the capital spans from edgy streetwear to elite couture to eco-fashion – and more.

Alongside fashion meccas like New York, Paris and Milan, Berlin has hosted its own Fashion Week since 2007. Twice a year, the city transforms into a captivating catwalk of local and international talent. Showcasing the latest trends, innovative fashion-tech, and established and up-and-coming designers, it is the place to be.

So it’s no surprise that fashion-forward entrepreneurs like Laos-born designer Hien Le are making their mark in the capital. Since his Berlin Fashion Week debut in 2011, Hien has been an integral part of the city’s style scene. Fusing subtle cuts with delicate simplicity, his timeless designs perfectly embody laid-back luxury.

We caught up with the in-demand designer in the run-up to Berlin Fashion Week to gain insight into what inspires him and why he feels Berlin is an exceptional place for designers.

© Christoph Schaller
© Christoph Schaller

Hien, thanks for talking to us! You're an established designer of the Berlin fashion scene but what inspired you to become a designer?

I knew I wanted to work in fashion since I was 12 years old. I watched a documentary with Karl Lagerfeld about the supermodel era. From that point on, I was hooked. I watched every fashion programme on MTV. I liked the notion of dressing people – of transforming fabric into clothing.

My grandfather was a master tailor in Laos – and he also inspired me to do a tailor apprenticeship. Looking back, I’m glad I did because of his ten children and thirty grandchildren, I’m the only one who followed in his footsteps.

Why did you decide to remain and grow your business in Berlin?
I was born in Laos but I’m a Berliner. I grew up here. I studied here – and my family and friends are here. So why move? There’s always something happening in Berlin. It’s a big city with so much diversity, which is very inspiring. After I finished my studies at HTW, I worked in PR and sales – it was a great learning experience and it allowed me to build up my network of contacts in the city before I decided to launch my label in 2011.

© Christoph Schaller
© Christoph Schaller

What makes the city special for a fashion designer?
It’s an extraordinarily creative and inspiring city. And on a more practical note, Berlin is still cheaper than other places in Germany – and less costly than other fashion hubs in Europe like Milan, Paris and London. It’s a stimulating location for both new and established designers.  I decided to set up my business here because I knew I could develop my label locally but still also easily expand and promote my collections internationally – like at Paris Fashion Week. So it’s the best of all worlds – lots of opportunity and more accommodating when it comes to living and commercial costs. 

What inspires your designs?
Its everything. The city. The people I’m surrounded by. The book I’m reading. The music I listen to. The movies I watch. Other artforms. Other cities I visit. Inspiration never comes from a single place, it comes from everywhere.
Although Asia has been a theme in a previous collection, I wouldn’t say my cultural background or my lifestyle here in Berlin directly influences my designs. Typically my designs are more of a German or Scandinavian aesthetic. Perhaps subconsciously culture seeps in – but that’s true of most things in my life. People, places and everyday occurrences continue to inspire me.

Why are you interested in sustainable fashion - and how important is sustainability to you?
Sometimes sustainability isn’t quite as ‘sexy’ to some people – but there’s much more to it than just ‘eco’ fashion.  Sustainability isn’t just about what fabrics and materials clothes are made from. It starts with knowing where and how they were produced.

Although more designers are beginning to consider sustainability, it’s always been important to me. I constantly want to ensure my clothes are produced under fair conditions. That’s why I’ve chosen to make my ready to wear collections in Germany – it means I know exactly how things are produced.

© Christoph Schaller
© Christoph Schaller

What makes Berlin and its fashion scene so special?
It’s an innovative city where creativity flourishes. There are plenty of events and opportunities to meet people in the industry. Berlin has become an international fashion destination – yet it isn’t as costly as other fashion capitals. Over the years, working in different areas in the fashion industry has allowed me to build connections both locally – and beyond.

What makes Berlin and its fashion scene so special is because it’s a vibrant, ever-evolving city. That’s exciting. Even in just the last few years, it’s grown, expanded and advanced. There are world-renowned events like Berlin Fashion Week, and the selection of supportive fashion institutions like the German Fashion Council and calibre of new talented designers is extraordinary.

The next Berlin Fashion Week will take place 15 - 18 January 2019. Find out more about the berlin fashion events and exhibits.

Further information: Berlin as a fashion location


Header photo: © Marius Knieling
Text: Uhura Creative Media – Trish Elms

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04.07.2018

Berlin fashion spotlight: Designer Hien Le

As a leading fashion hub, Berlin flawlessly mixes art, film, music and fashion to drive the trends of tomorrow. The city is home to over 800 designers and labels, and approximately 60 industry events and networks. Boasting nine fashion schools, the spectrum of diverse design created in the capital spans from edgy streetwear to elite couture to eco-fashion – and more.

Alongside fashion meccas like New York, Paris and Milan, Berlin has hosted its own Fashion Week since 2007. Twice a year, the city transforms into a captivating catwalk of local and international talent. Showcasing the latest trends, innovative fashion-tech, and established and up-and-coming designers, it is the place to be.

So it’s no surprise that fashion-forward entrepreneurs like Laos-born designer Hien Le are making their mark in the capital. Since his Berlin Fashion Week debut in 2011, Hien has been an integral part of the city’s style scene. Fusing subtle cuts with delicate simplicity, his timeless designs perfectly embody laid-back luxury.

We caught up with the in-demand designer in the run-up to Berlin Fashion Week to gain insight into what inspires him and why he feels Berlin is an exceptional place for designers.

© Christoph Schaller
© Christoph Schaller

Hien, thanks for talking to us! You're an established designer of the Berlin fashion scene but what inspired you to become a designer?

I knew I wanted to work in fashion since I was 12 years old. I watched a documentary with Karl Lagerfeld about the supermodel era. From that point on, I was hooked. I watched every fashion programme on MTV. I liked the notion of dressing people – of transforming fabric into clothing.

My grandfather was a master tailor in Laos – and he also inspired me to do a tailor apprenticeship. Looking back, I’m glad I did because of his ten children and thirty grandchildren, I’m the only one who followed in his footsteps.

Why did you decide to remain and grow your business in Berlin?
I was born in Laos but I’m a Berliner. I grew up here. I studied here – and my family and friends are here. So why move? There’s always something happening in Berlin. It’s a big city with so much diversity, which is very inspiring. After I finished my studies at HTW, I worked in PR and sales – it was a great learning experience and it allowed me to build up my network of contacts in the city before I decided to launch my label in 2011.

© Christoph Schaller
© Christoph Schaller

What makes the city special for a fashion designer?
It’s an extraordinarily creative and inspiring city. And on a more practical note, Berlin is still cheaper than other places in Germany – and less costly than other fashion hubs in Europe like Milan, Paris and London. It’s a stimulating location for both new and established designers.  I decided to set up my business here because I knew I could develop my label locally but still also easily expand and promote my collections internationally – like at Paris Fashion Week. So it’s the best of all worlds – lots of opportunity and more accommodating when it comes to living and commercial costs. 

What inspires your designs?
Its everything. The city. The people I’m surrounded by. The book I’m reading. The music I listen to. The movies I watch. Other artforms. Other cities I visit. Inspiration never comes from a single place, it comes from everywhere.
Although Asia has been a theme in a previous collection, I wouldn’t say my cultural background or my lifestyle here in Berlin directly influences my designs. Typically my designs are more of a German or Scandinavian aesthetic. Perhaps subconsciously culture seeps in – but that’s true of most things in my life. People, places and everyday occurrences continue to inspire me.

Why are you interested in sustainable fashion - and how important is sustainability to you?
Sometimes sustainability isn’t quite as ‘sexy’ to some people – but there’s much more to it than just ‘eco’ fashion.  Sustainability isn’t just about what fabrics and materials clothes are made from. It starts with knowing where and how they were produced.

Although more designers are beginning to consider sustainability, it’s always been important to me. I constantly want to ensure my clothes are produced under fair conditions. That’s why I’ve chosen to make my ready to wear collections in Germany – it means I know exactly how things are produced.

© Christoph Schaller
© Christoph Schaller

What makes Berlin and its fashion scene so special?
It’s an innovative city where creativity flourishes. There are plenty of events and opportunities to meet people in the industry. Berlin has become an international fashion destination – yet it isn’t as costly as other fashion capitals. Over the years, working in different areas in the fashion industry has allowed me to build connections both locally – and beyond.

What makes Berlin and its fashion scene so special is because it’s a vibrant, ever-evolving city. That’s exciting. Even in just the last few years, it’s grown, expanded and advanced. There are world-renowned events like Berlin Fashion Week, and the selection of supportive fashion institutions like the German Fashion Council and calibre of new talented designers is extraordinary.

The next Berlin Fashion Week will take place 15 - 18 January 2019. Find out more about the berlin fashion events and exhibits.

Further information: Berlin as a fashion location


Header photo: © Marius Knieling
Text: Uhura Creative Media – Trish Elms

Why should you start a business in Berlin?

Welcome to Berlin – the buzzing city at the heart of Europe! Berlin attracts businesses and startups from every industry. Science, research, and creative industries also love Berlin. True innovators love living and working in Berlin, as the conditions for setting up a company in the city are outstanding.

Infrastructure

Berlin offers the ideal infrastructure for setting up a company. The city’s airports make it quick and easy to reach from all over Europe, and its public transport network is extensive. Office space is also plentiful. Few cities have as many co-working spaces as Berlin. Although rents are rising, they are still lower than in most other European capitals.

>> Berlin - Heart of Europe

Innovative industries

In Berlin, you can build a network and discover businesses in all the key innovative industries, including high tech, healthcare, life sciences, service economy, mobility, and logistics. Berlin startups such as Zalando, DaWanda, and ImmobilienScout24 are influencers in the German market, and venture builders like Rocket Internet and Project A are also located in Berlin. There is potential for fruitful partnerships with research facilities and other companies in Berlin. Feel the spirit of entrepreneurship in Berlin!

>> Doing Business in Berlin

Research & sciences

Berlin is the main capital for researchers and scientists in Europe. You’ll find research on the hot topics in fields like bio technology, medicine, communication technology, mobility and transport and more.

>> Brain City Berlin - research & science in Berlin

Living in Berlin

Finally, the large pool of highly skilled specialists from all over the world is a key reason to start up a company in Berlin. Thanks to its relatively low cost of living and vibrant cultural life, Berlin attracts many highly talented people, which also benefits businesses located in the city.

>> Living in Berlin

A growing German economy – good times for entrepreneurs and investors

The GDP is rising and unemployment is low. Consumers are spending more. It's a great time for investments and market entry in Germany. Reason-Why.Berlin offers useful background information on the German economy.