Unveiled: Hannah Jinkins for H&M
What (and why!) you need to know about H&M’s Design Award capsule collection.
It was in December last year, on the grounds of Kensington Palace in London, that Hannah Jinkins was crowned winner of 2016’s H&M’s Design Award. A jury consisting of Olivier Rousteing, Nick Knight, Kate Bosworth, Katy England and many others decided to award the 25-year-old Brit the €50,000 in prize money and the opportunity to develop key pieces from her celebrated collection in collaboration with H&M’s design team. Now, re-worked items based on her originals are being made available in selected H&M stores and at HM.com. But even though it’s reaching wide, the number of items is limited – meaning this is a rare chance to get your hands on pieces by the up-and-coming designer.
Defining for the collection are oversized silhouettes, an extensive use of selvedge denim, and garments that appear to be held together with pins, patches and staples. Although it’s labelled as womenswear, its aesthetic is genderless with baggy jeans and sweaters, dungarees and top-stitch jackets. That’s perhaps also why androgynous model Saskia de Brauw was chosen to front the campaign.
We sat down with the designer to find out what differentiates her original collection from H&M’s reproduction, when her own label is coming – and what she wants to see more of in womenswear.
THE COLLECTION CENTRES AROUND AN IDEA THAT VALUE IS ADDED IF
SOMETHING OLD OR BROKEN IS GIVEN NEW LIFE. HOW IS THAT VISIBLE?
“I actually got that idea from a book that I read. I was intrigued by the concept of finding beauty in old things and that mending something old into a new form or shape makes it even more beautiful. It’s quite difficult to bring that into a new garment, but I used the fits, the shaping and the staples to do that.”
WHEN DESIGNING THE COLLECTION, DID YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR PERSON IN
“No, I didn’t envision any specific person wearing it. It was rather a mood or an attitude that people have: the effortless kind who’s not trying to look cool. I wanted to take everyday garments like a denim jacket, a bomber jacket, a pair of jeans, and play with those and make them feel special without making them look over the top.”
THE JURY WAS MOTIVATED INTO CHOOSING YOU BECAUSE YOU TAKE THE FEMALE
FORM INTO CONSIDERATION IN YOUR DESIGNS. WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT TO
“Because if you don’t feel good in something – why would you wear that? A fitted garment isn’t necessarily comfortable. I wanted to create something that was almost ergonomic in the way it was formed, being practical and functional but where you could still see that there’s a body underneath.”
WHAT’S DIFFERENT BETWEEN YOUR ORIGINAL COLLECTION AND THE ONE COMING
“My original pieces were so, so oversized. We’ve pulled them in here and there to make them a little less extravagant for H&M. Other from that there aren’t very big differences. I’ve been overwhelmed with how good the qualities are. The denim is a bit softer and easier to wear than the very heavy fabric I used originally. Otherwise, the cloths and the fabrics are all really true to my original things.”
I wanted to create something that was almost ergonomic in the way it was formed
YOUR ORIGINAL COLLECTION WAS SPONSORED BY A JAPANESE DENIM MILL.
AFTER WINNING, YOU SAID YOU WOULD USE SOME OF THE PRIZE MONEY TO VISIT
AND THANK THEM. HAVE YOU DONE THAT?
“I have and it was amazing. It’s one of the oldest denim mills in Japan and it was so generous of them to sponsor me. I would have felt very rude if I had gone to Japan without saying thank you to them face to face. It was partly because of them that I my original collection got attention from the denim community in London – which I think is a reason that I won this award in the end.”
ASIDE FROM GOING TO JAPAN – WHAT ELSE ARE YOU DOING WITH THE PRIZE
MONEY? STARTING A LABEL?
“I want to find a way to produce ethically and sustainably before I commit to starting my own label. I don’t want to be just another person producing things adding to what’s already out there. I hope it’s sensible to wait till there’s more development in materials before I do that.”
“Right now I want to meet more people and work with other houses and studios before I start my own thing. The industry is so vast; I want to explore it more before I make any serious decisions.”
ANY SPECIFIC LABEL YOU DREAM ABOUT WORKING FOR?
“So many. I can’t say right now, though.”
HOW WOULD YOU FINISH THIS SENTENCE:
“I WISH WOMEN’S FASHION WAS MORE…”
“Different. Being in Japan or being in Europe – everyone is wearing the same thing. It’s the same wardrobe. I guess it’s because everyone is more aware of fashion and that we see less variation between brands. There’s a lack of creativity.”
H&M’s Design Award collection lands in selected stores and online on October 20.
BACKGROUND: London’s Royal College of Art, The University of Salford, internships at Burberry and E. Tautz.