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  • Anette Frisch

Ida-Simone sews bubbles

Aktualisiert: 19. Mai 2022

The young Danish fashion designer Ida-Simone Brerup is working in Amsterdam at the studio of Iris van Herpen, widely recognized as one of fashion's most talented and forward-thinking creators. For her brillant collection "Bubbles" Ida-Simone used plastic and trash she found on a side and beach clean-up in New York. She dedicated her collection to the ocean.

The picture shows a piece of the collection Bubbles by Ida-Simone Brerup.
Lobster, fish, bubbles, caterpillar are some of the characters of her collection.

Before we get to your collection "Bubbles": Do you like swimming?

Yes, I love swimming actually. I started attending swimming lessons when I was little and hated it. I was extremely scared of the water and not being able to touch the bottom of it. I grew up in Taarbæk, a small town fairly close to Copenhagen. Taarbæk is a two minutes walk away from the sea called Øresund, which means in English "The sound". The idea of not being able to enjoy swimming, didn’t sit right with me. So years later I started lessons again and finally learned it.

Even when I didn’t swim I spent hours in the ocean at a time to play and such, but now I mostly enjoy swimming and floating around, feeling the power of the ocean against me. I do still fully respect it and have some slight fears about the animals within, but generally I love swimming around. I also enjoy swimming in a pool though, then the fear isn’t present at all. My grandmother is an all-year-around-morning-swimmer in Denmark. Which means, she gets up between 6 and 7 a.m. to go into the sea – even when they have to break the ice to do so. This has always impressed and inspired me to appreciate the soothing and helpful nature that swimming, sea and routine can have on your mind and body. I am not much of a morning person, but the idea of this is always something I consider.

You have dedicated your artistic collection to the ocean. It’s boldness and humour really impressed me!

Thank you! I believe with the language of art and design, it is possible to question or change someone’s mindset about topics that might not occur in daily life. For me one of the most devastating facts about all existing environmental, political and societal crisis’ is our neglect towards the ocean and the value it brings to human lives. This is a far bigger issue that a lot of amazing people are trying to convey, but not nearly enough, and unfortunately mostly not the politicians, have a bigger power to change it. The ocean is huge and humans only know a fraction of what exists and happens in the deep of the ocean. While most people know even less. For instance about our fishing habits or the interconnection and life circle of coral reefs with other life. I love the oceans power and I believe we owe it a lot more attention and help, since we are the ones who’ve abused and trashed it. I made the collection with the intent to start conversation about the ocean as a whole.

A ruffled dress in translucent colors.
Skirt and blouse reflect the translucent colours and fragile structures of oceanic life.

A garment of the bubbles collection: green trousers with ruffled legs.
Green trousers with ruffled leg: Ida-Simone follows the principle of slow fashion with the idea of versatile garments and its infinite ways to pair them.

What inspired your designs? A species of the ocean, the movement of waves, the colour of jellyfish, a movie or a fiction?

I have always admired Japan’s view on nature and their appreciation of its vastness and power. So a quote that often came up for me was: "I no naka no kawazu, taikai wo sirazu”, which translates that a frog in a well never knows the vast ocean. It essentially means that there are many elements and things beyond the world we live in, so we shouldn’t assume we know best. At the time of the collection I was studying the Japanese language on the side. So, I was often inspired by what I was learning. I was also especially looking at the colours of different animals, to begin with the jellyfish. Their bodies are 95% water. They fascinate me, because they are translucent and/or transparent, but also have the ability to carry vivid, beautiful colours.

How did you come up with the idea of the collection?

I usually question a part of our core surroundings. This is not always clear in the beginning of the creative process. But by research, sketches and small 3D experiments, I build my way closer and closer toward what I want to understand or achieve. In 2018/2019 I was doing some volunteering on the side and beach clean ups in New York, which lead me to experiment with what I found on the beach: Our plastic. The amount of plastic and the devastating impact it has on the ocean and animal life made me want to honour the aquatic life and build a conversation about it. I attempted to use many different techniques to develop the materials for the collection, some from plastic, and decided to focus on the beautiful and amazing nature of the ocean. This became an exploration of what the ocean offers.

Shown is a piece of the collection Bubbles by Ida-Simone Brerup.
Japanese pastel charcoals drawn to assimilate coral reefs.

Detail of a garment made with blue wool.
Locally sourced wool from mills in upstate New York, naturally dyed with dyes made from own food waste, leftover wool from feting on tulle, creating bubbles on bigger bubbles.

What particularly surprised you when working with the material?

I used recycled materials in multiple ways. I did everything from collecting trash and knitting with it to felting locally sourced yarn and roving, from upstate New York, into fish netting. I also collected plastic bags that weren’t used. Then I started weaving and knitting with it, which was a challenge, because plastic bags actually aren’t that strong and solid. So they kept breaking. I also sourced recycled fabric from Fabscrap, a company that fights excessive fabric production, and researched its properties.

Your collections often focus on the body in its different states: a body that is in pain, a body that needs a home, a fertile and infertile body. Does the body determine your design process?

That’s a good point. No, I don’t necessarily start with the body in focus. However, its relationship and power in a lot of societal issues is crucial to work with as a medium and consider, which is why I often find myself drawn to the story a body can tell. I also do think, as a fashion designer, I am often questioning the portrayal of a body.

To what extent are social issues reflected in your fashion?

I think social issues are a main driving factor for me to produce and pursue a collection and or a piece. I always intent to warp it into my work, however sometimes it starts as the initial proposal and ends up being completely different. The process changes but all of my works start by questioning a social issue.

Are you working on a new project right now?

Currently, I am prepping for a few different projects that I hope I can initiate some time during summer. A very current and evolved project of mine is breaking the boundaries between art and fashion design and through this I am exploring a bit of ceramics interplay with textiles at the moment. I intent to develop a series of sculptures acting as fertility goddesses, which is a continuous exploration of mine. And these are clay and textile based, which I am prototyping now. So I’m stepping a bit away from fashion for a little bit, while discovering new things.

The photo shows the fashion designer Ida-Simone Brerup.
Ida-Simone Brerup in her atelier.

Ida-Simone Brerup

Right before working on "Bubbles", the Danish watched the anime “Ponyo” by studio Ghibli, which she still loves. Ida-Simone holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design and is currently working for renowed fashion designer Iris van Herpen. As the 26 year old practices meditation and mindfulness she recommends "Walking Meditation" by Thich Nhat Hanh and "Forest Bathing" by Dr. Qing Li. She recently was inspired by "Braiding Sweetgrass" from Robin Wall Kimmerer and "Ikigai" by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles.

You can find out more about her wonderful work on her website or follow her on instagram @idasimoneb

© All photos by Ida-Simone Brerup


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