[Mikara] Bridal fashion is not a popular industry to get into when you finish fashion school, what made you decide to get into this particular industry? Did you always knew you wanted to design bridal?
[Hanne] It was something of a natural move – I had clients asking me to make their wedding dresses and therefore I had to confront the entire process; from the design of these important, once in a lifetime dresses all the way though to the tailoring of them. Something which is certainly a special and beautiful challenge. Slowly I started to realize that these ever so special garments gave me the freedom of playing with the different textures and materials involved in the dress design which allowed my creativity to shine through. This has enabled me to make dresses which convey the uniqueness of each and every bride. No, although I’ve always been interested in women’s fashion design whilst I was studying I would never have imagined myself in the world of bridal dresses- in the beginning I was somewhat more attracted to experimental fashion. Over the years however, after much investigation and lots of hard work I have found a way of combining the two styles which initially seem polar opposites.
[Mikara] How did you get introduced to fashion? And what age were you?
[Hanne] From a young age I have always been interested in fashion. This is mainly thanks to my aunt who taught me how to sew when I was only 5. She taught me how with a little bit of fabric, imagination and thread I could make my own dolls. This was eye opening for me- I was able to make with my hands that which I envisioned in my mind. From making dolls I moved on to making their clothes and as I grew older I started to design and make clothes for both myself and my friends. When it came to making a decision on what I wanted to study strangely enough I decided to opt for Graphic design. I was studying in a design school sharing space with a number of fashion design students. Seeing them at work made me quickly realise that I needed to switch courses. I successfully managed to do this and have never looked back since.
[Mikara] Many brands/designers struggle with creating a brand name that stands out and is not too difficult for people to remember, how did you come u with ‘HANNE RÜTZOU’? And what was the process of developing this name?
[Hanne] It was an easy choice. I simply used my name and surname 😉
[Mikara] Strong statement details on garments always caughts my attention. In your images on Instagram, the detailing on your gowns are greatly executed (I’m very curious to see how the gold dress will look like. The picture caption says Fabrics and more fabrics… a place to dream!) – what’s the inspiration behind your gowns?
[Hanne] This is a photograph of some fabric samples from a very exclusive fabric shop in Barcelona. I wrote “A place to dream” because being surrounded by so many materials, fabrics, colors and embroideries it is truly a place to feel inspired and let your imagination flow. For me it is very important to be surrounded by elements that feed my creativity. Before designing a dress, the first thing I do is create samples of different textures. I need to feel first hand the different materials, manipulate them and mix them to see how they combine. Only after having done this does the dress design really begin.
[Mikara] Describe the HANNE RÜTZOU bride in 3-5 words?
[Hanne] Powerful, Strong, Creative, Confident and Feminine (although not perhaps following the mainstream norms)
[Mikara] How different is it compared to RTW or luxury fashion?
[Hanne] The principle difference between my dresses and luxury fashion is in the materials used; some of which you wouldn’t ordinarily associate with luxury- for example, eroded stones and porcelain. These are elements which you wouldn’t expect to find on a wedding dress- manipulated correctly however they can easily be elevated to the same category of jewelry that we typically associate with bridal design.
[Mikara] Being in the bridal fashion sector, you have a different way to approach your clientele. One of the ways you used was showcasing your gown at Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona during Valmont Barcelona Bridal Week. Has the outcome and awareness of your business benefit from it? What way?
[Hanne] It was a great way to obtain more visibility. It allowed both potential clients and people who were simply curious to see the dress up close and personal. The dress was displayed in the front window of the hotel which allowed for many passers by and guests of the hotel to take a closer look. It helped create a link between my work and future potential clients . I’m very grateful for having been given this opportunity.
[Mikara] How has the experience of being an entrepreneur been in this fast pace climate of digital age? Has it been helpful or hindering you?
[Hanne] Quite honestly, I feel very fortunate to find myself working in this digital age. It allows us to communicate quickly and efficiently with people from all around the world and opens up new opportunities to explore. It’s thanks to the digital age that this interview with yourselves has been able to take place and for that I am truly grateful and happy. We’re living in an age in which I believe we should be taking maximum advantage of the benefits and opportunities which we have at our disposal. The technologies of today’s modern era have made it so much easier to be connected with one another as would never have been thought possible some years ago.
[Mikara] Let’s say you have a wedding coming up this year. Which bridal dress of yours would you wear and why?
[Hanne] Without a doubt I would be wearing my “Agua y Piedra” dress. The dress is unique- each individual piece was handmade and when it is worn the pieces come together to make a beautiful sound. The dress has style and presence- when people see it they remember it.
[Mikara] If you were not in designing, what do you think your career would be?
[Hanne] I think i’d probably be a biologist. My second passion is the environment and all that goes with it. When i’m not designing or sewing I try to spend as much time as possible outside connecting with nature.
[Mikara] Do you admire or look up to a bridal designers? Who? Why? Or have a favorite bridal collection?
[Hanne] Within the realms of bridal design I really like the works of Krikor Jabotian and Ashi Studio. They have a way of playing with volumes and textures which is simply exquisite. On the other hand I also like contemplating the works of avant guard designers who really push the boundaries, trying out new ways to understand the different forms of fashion. I find the works of both Ines Van Herpen and Hussein Chalayan fascinating. I like the tremendous amount of work and investigation that goes into each one of their collections and that they stay true to what they do without following the mainstream norms. For me one of the designers who I most admire will forever remain Alexander McQueen. His creativity was marvelous and on so many occasions I was simply left in awe by his collections.
[Mikara] Do you feel bridal fashion is a hard industry to get into?
[Hanne] It’s certainly not the easiest sector within the fashion industry. It’s a very specific field with a lot of competition. To stand out and make a name for yourself involves a lot of hard work. Bridal fashion doesn’t follow the norms which you would associate with fashion in general and the customer base is much more limited. These aspects of the industry make it all round more challenging.
[Mikara] Would you ever consider venturing into a collaboration line with another brand, like a limited edition line?
[Hanne] It’s definitely something I would consider. I think it would be an experience in which both parties could learn and feed off of each other. I believe you have to take advantage of all opportunities that come your way especially if they promote the growth of your brand. Being in contact with other designers and working collaboratively with them is something I see as a very positive move.
[Mikara] In the next 3-5 years, where would you like to see yourself, personally and professionally?
[Hanne] In 3 to 5 years i’d like to have consolidated my brand and be able to live solely from doing what I love the most. With regards to my personal life I see myself continuing to share my life and my passion with my partner and my family- the two pillars of my life.
[Mikara] If someone was interested in becoming a bridal designer, what word of advice would you give them (that many people don’t speak on).
[Hanne] I would advise them to put all their energy and passion into accomplishing their dreams. The path won’t be easy but don’t allow that to dishearten or distract from the goal. You have to work hard and focus on the objectives. There’ll be nights with little sleep and you’ll have to think fast. More than anything though know how to design, do the pattern making and do the tailoring. It’s very important to have wide range of technical knowledge even if afterwards certain parts of the work can be delegated to others.