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Hund Hund - Radical Transparency

December 9, 2019 13:01

The brand ‘Hund Hund’ was born by the Arabian Sea in Bombay, India. Isabel Kücke had graduated from the University Of Fine Arts in Berlin and started a workshop in India which designed and produced hand embroidery for European clients. Rohan Hoole produced videos for Vogue & GQ India at that time. Both loved fashion but saw first hand the harmful consequences of the industry in terms of environmental damage and the unfair exploitation of workers less fortunate than themselves, so when their idea of an own label came to life it was clear that something was about to change.

“People are fundamentally good and believe that many of the harmful consequences of our clothing are invisible to us. We believe that by being transparent about the costs of creating each piece, you will know what you are paying for and can ensure that what you buy reflects your value.”

Whereas many mainstream fashion brands are undergoing the stressful process of trying to restructure their production circles, testing new materials or buying into outsourced quality control through various certificates just recently, ‘Hund Hund’ started their business foreseeing the challenges of future manufacturing and always believed in radical transparency. As a customer, you are given trust and control which creates consciousness and value naturally without the need to specifically name it ‘conscious’. It just is! 

They made it a focus to produce in Europe to cut down on transportation emissions and to ensure fair labor practices. They use environmentally sustainable materials such as Tencel jersey where possible. Also, they use high-quality finishing to ensure that each piece is durable and designed with a minimal aesthetic which will last beyond current trends.

“Design should fit your everyday life. Our Berlin-based design team starts with functional design before adding a series of subtle design details which only you may notice. We then spend months searching for materials that possess both a special touch and look. We like classic materials such as silk, leather, cashmere, and cotton as well as new eco-textiles such as Tencel and Micromodal. To bring the pieces together we work with small-scale craftsmen & producers around the world who share our ethical and aesthetic values.”

Launched in summer 2016, ‘Hund Hund’ (‘Dog Dog’ in English) underwent some challenges the business side held, and so they had to change the label’s name (former ‘Von Hund’) due to reported resemblance to a danish fashion brand in the market, just that they had begun to establish. What would have been big trouble for some, Hund Hund just took as small issue that they pragmatically solved. This is just the way, they handle things. 

“We appreciate that you work hard for your money, and created Hund Hund because we felt like there were too few affordable options for people who are looking to move beyond disposable, mass-produced goods. By skipping physical retail and offering our own-brand products directly to you at the equivalent of a wholesale price, we are able to spend much more than comparable brands on the highest quality materials and finishing and still offer each piece to you at what we hope represents considerable value.”

When they launched their online shop three years ago, they offered fashion for men, women, and accessories for dogs. By the time, some segments disappeared, some joined. At the moment you can shop for clothing, real art and handcrafted home accessories curated by friends of Hoole and Kücke. Also, the homepage educates about environmental challenges and problematic topics. As you consume you’re always reminded to do so consciously, but in a friendly, passionate tone. 

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The employees in the boutiques, in the design studio and in the backstage area at fashion shows wear white lab coats, as was common in the ateliers of the great couturiers, e.g. Christian Dior, and is still common today. The fashion shows for the high-priced fashion sometimes took place in the context of the Paris Prêt-à-porter shows in unconventional locations, up to shabby surroundings (construction site, metro station, dining room of the Salvation Army etc.). The boutiques are kept in plain white and gray. Margiela originally selected unspectacular locations such as a residential area in Tokyo and did not publish the addresses of the boutiques in order to require the customer to make an effort to find the store at all. The first Margiela store opened in Tokyo in 2000 and the first European boutique was inaugurated in Brussels in 2002. In 2008, a boutique opened in a basement on the edge of Munich's Maximilianstrasse. This was followed by participation in numerous exhibitions, including "Radical Fashion", which was shown in 2001 at the V&A Museum in London. In 2010 there were 36 own stores worldwide.  In 2015 there were over 50 stores worldwide, including boutiques, that only carry the MM6 collection.

The company followed a very restrictive communication policy. The designer can neither be photographed nor interviewed. Only his creations should speak for themselves and the designs should be perceived as the overall performance of the team. That's why the team always shows up in white doctor's coats after the fashion shows - nobody should stand out.

By recycling old fashion, separating, recoloring, reversing seams and zippers, both the origin and the artificial of the art of tailoring are shown. Margiela puts together what doesn't belong together: by hand, jeans turn into skirts, old army socks become pullovers. Baptized by the press as deconstructivism, this current is defined by an abrupt collision of different materials, which at first glance appear inharmonic in the sense of conventional viewing habits. Margiela herself rejects the term "deconstructivism". He resurrected clothes in a new form, he told ELLE in 1991.

Margiela was the unofficial 7th member of "Antwerp 6", a generation of fashion designers who all completed their training at the Royal Academy of Arts between 1980-1981 and shaped the "style of the Belgians". However, it does not belong to the actual group, but it became known in a similar period.

The Japanese "Street Magazine" dedicated two special editions to "Maison Martin Margiela", which were published in book form in 1999. Nicolas Ghesquière (Balenciaga) is a big fan of Maison Martin Margiela.

In July 2014, fashion critic Suzy Menkes exposed Matthieu Blazy via Instagram as Head of Design, after which he deleted his Instagram account and changed his profile in a career network. He left the company on October 1, 2014.

To this day, Margiela pieces, especially in the fashion industry and all fashion lovers, belong to the sanctuaries in every repertoire and archive. Getting vintage pieces from other designers may be possible, but Maison Martin Marginal Archives are a real hunt and that says it all about this art.