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Talent Emerging: Larissa Hadjio

What do you get when you cross Fine Art with fashion accessories? London-based, German raised, Larissa Hadjio is the answer. Recommended by some of fashion’s biggest titles (Vogue, The Telegraph and Harper’s Bazaar), Hadjio has quickly gained recognition for her impeccable attention to detail and Fine Art inspiration; not a bad start for this talent who has transposed her artistic influences into wearable bags that aim to avoid clichés, such as overpowering and distracting logos and designer stamps. SS14 saw the launch of her monochromatic collection ‘Sugar White Series,’ based on inspiration from a sculpture she designed entirely out of sugar. Meanwhile, other collections, ‘Deep Sea’ and ‘Diamond Vision’ do exactly what they say on the tin—sculptural designs with functional elements executed in playful manner. Her otherwordly bags—crafted mostly from leather—are definitely worth carrying on your arm. See for yourself using the link to her website below this interview. 

Planet Notion: Tell us your story?
Larissa Hadjio: I grew up in southern Germany with Eastern European parents—an Azeri father and Czech mother—who raised me with their mix of culture, food and stories. So despite having grown up in Germany, I did not think of myself as being much of a German; in fact, from an early age I knew I wouldn’t stay there. As a teenager I went to high school in England, and spent a long stint in Argentina, before I returned to London to study at Saint Martins.

PN: So that was where you studied Fine Arts. How did you go from that to designing accessories?
LH: After studying, I wanted to create work that had more of a functional purpose than the world of fine art allowed for. I didn’t want to make creative objects for pure observation but wanted make work that people could use and take with them, so I started to create a fusion of my sculptural work and fashion.

PN: I always ask: Do you feel the fashion industry firmly supports emerging talent?
LH: Some parts of the industry do; others don’t. There are some great funds and competitions out there, but like any creative industry you cannot rely on the industry itself to welcome and support you with open arms.

PN: What is your key design aesthetic?
LH: I create wearable objects, both playful and elegant. And I love clear structures with a twist that go against the obvious. Could it be called “Dark Disney?”

PN: Interesting way of looking at it. So who or what inspires your work?
LH: When I design I try to look at anything but fashion. A lot of my influences come from art, like my heroes: Swiss Flischli and Weiss. And of course my beloved David Attenbrough is another influence. I am obsessed with wildlife documentaries. Bringing this inspiration back into fashion is a part of the fun.

PN: In your opinion, what is the difference between fashion and art?
LH: Both art and fashion are driven by originality and diversity. I have always been mesmerised by the power of fashion, how it can transform a person. I don’t think art has that power.

PN: What are you offering the accessories industry that it seems to be missing?
LH: Most luxury bags are black, square-shaped, nametag holders. I want to create luxurious items that fit different characters and moods; pieces that can be fun and still have all functionality and longevity.

PN: How did you come up with the ‘Sugar White Series’ collection?
LH: SS14 was my first season showing at London Fashion Week. In the past, I focused more on Paris. For the Sugar White Series I created all my favorite pieces in monochrome based on a piece I did a few years back, a sculpture of a palace built from sugar, all in white.

PN: What kind of person would be wearing your pieces?
LH: Someone that likes to experiment and likes to wear fun clothes and accessories; someone curious.

PN: I have noticed your choice of fabrics seem integral to your collections. What do you use and why?
LH: I mainly use soft lamb nappa that I back up to give it strength, so that I can manipulate the shapes. I also love Tilapia Fish leather, which is beautiful and durable.

PN: You also have a menswear line; how does it differ from your women’s line?
LH: The men’s line was a collaboration with Andrew McPhee, based on Southern German hunting gear. It’s quite a different style of bag, but it was fun to work on a line that was about pure practicality.

PN: What is the highlight of your career so far?
LH: I feel great satisfaction when I meet someone wearing a bag of mine that makes them look and feel good. An actual highlight is Fashion Week, when you see months of hard work coming together.

PN: What can we expect from you next?
LH: Next season will be quite colourful, fresh and light.

Visit www.larissahadjio.com to see Larissa’s latest collections.
Interview: Hardeep Gill

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