Designer: Jenny Schwarz AW12

3 May 2012

“A whole lot of tyranny goes by the name of protection.”

We recently had the opportunity to work with some wonderful styles from Jenny Schwarz' collection, so wanted to present this fab collection and present an exclusive Boys by Girls interview to our readers.

Effortlessly cool and understated, Jenny Schwarz always nods in minimalism’s direction with her tailoring, while demonstrating her own, masterful innovation in detailing and juxtaposition of textures and colors. Her collection for the autumn/winter 2012/2013 season is, in fact, such a testament to her Central Saint Martins cultivation and her new directions for menswear.

The occasional, rusty rose or burgundy, contrasting against hushed hue upon hue of slate grey, complements the understated design and the extraordinary attention to detail in the form of mother-of-pearl buttons, leather trims, and side panels. The streamlined silhouette and the copper yoroi armor bespeak of the simplicity of modern design.

The pieces in this collection are easily recombined to produce a dressy affair. Consider a textured, cotton tuxedo jacket, paired with a rose cotton-and-viscose T-shirt over a button-up, and completed with a pair of dark, cotton trousers. The effect is a quietly beautiful sharpness – an effortlessly sleek look, to be sure, but subtle in color and design. A black melton wool overcoat with a toscana collar and mother-of-pearl buttons, likewise, upholds the minimalist refinement of the modern, dapper man.

Schwarz’s designs are just as easily adapted to construct a casual wardrobe. For instance, pair a grey, wool cardigan, over a cotton shirt, and brilliant, crimson trousers with side panels to create a classic look for fall. A black, nappa jacket with a toscana collar is paired with some pinstripe trousers, some combat boots, and a rose T-shirt or copper chainmail jumper for a day off.

Schwarz’s collection for the season is, for certain, refreshing. Detailed and thoughtful in design, it fulfills the minimalist sharpness sought after by the modern samouraï. It is quietly brilliant, yet boldly beautiful.
Make sure to check out this week's exclusive Boys by Girls editorial "The 4th Floor - Chapter 7", and also next week's editorial that both features some of Jenny Schwarz's pieces!

We recently had a chance to work with some of your wonderful pieces from your latest collection which we adore! What was your influences and the overall inspiration for this collection?
I stumbled across the quote, "a good deal of tyranny goes by the name of protection" whilst reading one day and after having finished it thought only of the quote and how throughout time this statement can be easily attributed to many countries, many situations, many people. We like to think of ourselves as a civilised culture and far advanced of medieval times yet you dont have to look far to see examples of this quote still existing. From here I looked at other elements of protection and its inherent irony. I was intrigued by modern romantic depictions of knights and medieval chivalry when there was no doubt a much wilder, aggressive and tyrannical element to these times.

What are in general your overall inspirations of what you want to express through your collections?
With each collection I want to create wearable pieces with interesting details that allow a man his individuality yet stay close to what a man is accustomed to. My inspirations often come from history, music, literature but I dont limit myself as inspiration can really come from anywhere. I dont want to be a fashion cliche but I can inspired by the most random things. Because I have garments on the brain when I see something interesting I translate it into something that might work on a garment.

How did your interest in design come about in the first place?
My great grandfather was a bespoke menswear tailor. My grandmother, his daughter, and my mother used to help me make clothes for my teddies. By the time I was 13 I was designing and making clothes for people at my school. I was convinced that this was the route I wanted to take in life but I wanted to understand the technical side of things and be a designer that knows how to make the things I draw. I did 6 months work experience with a fetish designer in Berlin and loved it. I wanted as much knowledge as possible and moved onto a 3 year tailoring apprenticeship with Gabriele Blachnik before studying Menswear at Central St. Martins.

And how did you decide to design for men?
After having been accepted into Central St. Martins to study womenswear had I had to defer my foundation year as I was in hospital. A year later I was due to start but I had been put in the wrong group! I found myself with menswear designers and ended up loving it. In general, in menswear, designers help each other out a lot more. I find that in womenswear everybody stands on their own and everything is a secret. In the first term all course derivations studied the same thing so we all did a bit of menswear, some womenswear and some accessory designing. I was told that I could change to my original choice of womenswear after the first term had ended at Christmas. By the time it came around I was so happy to be designing menswear I stayed on that course. Menswear allows me to design with detail in mind, something I am very fond of.

What is your proudest piece?
From the latest collection there are a few things that are close to my heart. I thought of a technique to create my own fabric which I have used on a jacket and a pair of trousers. I particularly love the copper jumper because I wanted something that gave a sense of chain mail while remaining masculine and wearable in the winter.

Talk us through your colour choices for your latest collection
I have used a lot of dark colours and colours that look slightly battered and worn. I wanted to use a primary palette of dark greys and blacks with rust as an accent colour, just as you may find on armoury. I was very taken by Russian artist, Sveta Yavorsky's paintings and I managed to collaborate with her on this collection. She uses a lot of dark colours with very dramatic accent colours.

Do you have any obsessions, and if so how do they effect your work?
I have an obsession with trinkets, treasure and Tintin! You can find little bits of them as details in my garments if you look close enough.

Your collection both classic and trendy with a twist at the same time. Where can people buy your clothes?
We are currently stocked in 123 Bethnal Green Road and online at Nelou.com.

Do you have any muses?
I dont have a muse. I dont design with someone in mind. I design things because I like them. I dont think there is a perfect person to design for and nobody should be idolised except Tintin.

What can we expect next from you?
The SS13 collection is well underway and I am very excited about the pieces. As inspiration for the collection Im going back to my roots and delving into my family's past. I am using lots of interesting textures and fabric techniques to create a mix of tailored and fluid pieces.

For more about Jenny Schwarz visit www.jennyschwarz.com.

Words by Robin Chen.
Collection images courtesy of Felicities PR.

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