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Jacob Birge Vision Resort 2014 Editorial (4)

Talent Emerging: Jacob Birge

Jacob Birge, at the helm of his pioneering womenswear label, Jacob Birge Vision, is hell bent on creating a functioning wardrobe for the modern human. Interesting enough? We think so, which is why PlanetNotion caught up with Jacob to find out just how technology and multi-media platforms have dominated the aesthetic behind his emerging label that has already gained much recognition from the likes of the Scottish Fashion Awards and WGSN to name a few. His captivating imagery combined with a refined, modernised silhouette all contributes to a label that is not afraid to be open minded and technologically conscious.

Planet Notion: Your high-end womenswear and accessories collection focuses on the modern human. Can you describe just what the modern human being is like today?
Jacob Birge: I look at the future more than the past. The modern human in my eyes is the most competent, skilled, forward thinking being than ever before in world history – this is what I would like to believe, but sometimes I have a feeling that the human race has became weaker; hidden in small cages thinking about [trivial things such as] what they are going to eat for lunch – is this really a sense of what life should be about?

PN: You studied at the Edinburgh College of Art; did you ever feel like you were perhaps missing out by not being in London, the center of it all?
JB: I was living in 4 countries in Europe [at the time], so Edinburgh was not my destination but just a stopping point.
I guess being in London or Paris was much more important ten or twenty years ago when a lot of cultural changes happened which were reflected in fashion  – today when every show is available live or five minutes after being shown makes fashion much more accessible.  On the other hand my living costs are much cheaper; I live ten minutes from my studio, so I can simply spend more time just focusing on my brand and design process.

PN: What is the aesthetic behind Jacob Birge Vision?
JB: Modern classic. Our clothes consist only of necessary elements in order to create our woman – bold colours displayed on a black or white canvas. Additionally it is chic, sexy, bold, brave and ultramodern. Hard vs. soft, light vs. dark, soft vs. harsh, long vs. short, oversize vs. tight, femininity vs. masculinity. As a brand we like to conflict the extremes.

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PN: What inspired you to incorporate multi-media platforms into your work?
JB: The combination of multidiscipline media has its roots in my general interests, I am quite geeky in terms of computers, my mum is an IT programmer, so I was always around computers and technology. When I was young I wanted to be a musician, but I was not gifted enough to play any instruments. Eventually I learned how to write music on the computer – using it as a multi orchestral instrument – with endless opportunities. A similar story happened with making movies for my work, I simply learned some editing programs and self studied how to capture and edit footage.  On top of that, I knew how to use graphic programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, so I have been responsible for the creation of my entire brand, as well the website which is also designed end executed by me. Different media platforms allowed me to express and communicate our vision and have naturally become a significant part of our DNA.

PN: Describe the inspiration behind your monochromatic Resort 14 collection and the transitions you have made from your previous collections?
PN: Jacob Birge Vision Resort 2014 collection is monochrome, a transition between all black for AW13 and all white for SS14. Our continuous research within technology had led us to get inspiration from a microchip and a computer integrated circuit. The structure and patterns from the microchip were translated into the collection as displayed on the monochrome clothes. The collection contains leather tight fit dresses, tops, and skirts as well digitally printed patterns on silk. The silhouettes refer to a woman’s body shape – tight and sexy with an open back or front. The collection reflects a core element of Jacob Birge Vision DNA – structure, extremes and beauty. The Resort 2014 girl is a modern rock chic with a sports twist.

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PN: Who is the Jacob Birge woman?
JB: My woman is strong, fashion forward, open to new ideas, brave, willing to break barriers when it comes to her look and most importantly, be willing to take a risk. She is typically in her thirties, but it is much more about the state of mind than age itself.

PN: What do you feel have been the challenges so far in launching your own label?
JB: I am always working and there are no breaks. Also the emerging designer industry is over-saturated today but that probably applies to everything in general nowadays.

PN: How much support do you feel that the British Fashion Industry provides for young emerging designers?
JB: Britain definitely understands how important support in the early stage – I was very lucky to be awarded sponsorship for developing my business from the ‘STARTER FOR 6 Program’ run by the Cultural Enterprise Office – so I can definitely see that. But talking about fashion industry in general, sometimes I question how is it even possible to build a brand. Many British designers apply for NEWGEN and Fashion East, and the same ones always; they just change from one platform to another. Maybe the support does exist but is for only a few people, I do not know. 

PN: As a young brand, do you feel your collection has made any sacrifices due to funding?
JB: I try to be realistic in terms of my collections. I know what sort of budget I can spend on them and try to find appropriate materials and techniques [in order to achieve this]. I guess restrictions always stimulate your creativity for e.g. for the Resort 2014 collection I made a micro-chip pattern that everybody thinks is laser cut, but it was hand made, so yeah you just have to put in a bit more effort to create new solutions sometimes.

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PN: What advice would you give to young emerging talent today?
JB: There will be many people who will try to take your money and values, so make sure you research deep into all of your opportunities.

PN: What have been the highlights of your career so far?
JB: My presentation at LFW in February 2012, being a Scottish Fashion Award Nominee and a WGSN Global fashion Awards Nominee.

PN: How important was your education in design in contribution to the work you are producing now?
JB: Quite essential. I developed my aesthetic before entering fashion school, but by being pushed I have understood the whole point of a label and what the business is all about.

PN: If you could dress anyone in your label, who would it be and why?
JB: Gaia Repossi, Anna Freemantle, Carine Roitfeld, Stella Tennant – strong, independent women who are chic and full style in their own individual way.

PN: What does the future hold for Jacob Birge Vision?
JB: I just started working on SS14, which I would like to present in September during LFW, so this is my main focus now.

PN: What is inspiring you for next season?
JB: SS14 is inspired by Scandinavian design and architecture. It is quite woody and bright, so please follow us to see the results!

Interview by Hardeep Gill
Images courtesy of Jacob Birge

You can find Jacob Birge Vision by visiting the following: Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Tumblr

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