Beginning in late 2019, student Madeleine Frandsen started soon-to-be-cult upcycling brand, Havre Studio, shortly after her boyfriend, Phillip, moved to Mexico City and she began spending half of her time there. Discovering a wealth of tailored vintage gems on her travels, it sparked the idea for a new way to wear them - with a cut-and-paste technique that creates something new, timeless and chic. It's since been worn by the likes of Emily Ratajkowski, Elsa Hosk, Kendall Jenner - and now you! To celebrate the brand launching it's first ever rental collection on HURR, we sat down with Frandsen to get to know the brand a little better.
How did you decide to start Havre Studio?
Whilst exploring Mexico city, I came across a lot of special vintage suits and blazers. I’ve always borrowed them from both my father and boyfriend and love wearing oversized blazers. I bought a few and met a seamstress, Lupita, who I began practicing Spanish with. She thought my fascination with men’s suits was strange, but fun, and we began experimenting. Twice a week, I’d bring her coffee, we’d practice Spanish and ponder what to do with the excess fabrics and silhouettes of the suits.
It was very much a hobby and my friends would wear the clothes in Copenhagen. After a couple of months, I had three seamstresses that I worked and practiced Spanish with. Then, when Covid broke out, my seamstresses immediately lost all of their income. As some of the suits had gained some attention on Instagram, I decided to take the chance and begin making more, and eventually I was able to sustain all my seamstresses. Now I’m working with 15 families, so I think Covid actually gave me the drive and motivation to take it more seriously - now we have an office and Phillip is my business partner.
We love the creativity and sustainability behind your design practice, what inspired you to work this way?
It started by me just having some suit pants taken in to fit me, I thought it would emphasize the silhouette well if we cropped the blazer. I have always been a bit stressed out about waste, so Koko (one of my seamstresses) and I tried to use the discarded fabric from the blazer and turn it into a skirt. From then on, I’ve always tried to expand our horizons and think of upcycling in different ways. I think in many ways, in modern times, clothing has gone from a durable good to a disposable good, which often reflects the quality of a lot of newly produced clothing.
Vintage fabrics are so beautiful and in such lovely quality, it’s truly rare to come by similar quality, which is made to last.
How do you decide that a piece is truly special and perfect for your collections?
Now it has almost become an instinct. I get inspired by the smallest details of a garment: the silhouette, lining, fabric composition, pockets, details - everything! One of my favourite things about Havre is the sourcing.
Why are conscious practices important to you?
We went from clothing as a durable good to a disposable good, and waste has in many ways become an assumed unavoidable cost of doing business. We have such a scarcity complex and are used to so much abundance.
I think the word, sustainability, is very misunderstood and misconstrued, and it’s easy to disagree on the semantics of the term. But I think the overall consensus regarding sustainability is that there’s a sense of urgency. We produce more than we consume, and we consume more than we’ll ever use. We’re extracting a finite amount of resources to produce an infinite amount of stuff.
Often in consumption, we only speak about where things come from, which is a very positive thing, but there is a disconnect when we get rid of things. Oftentimes our discarded clothes just end up in landfill or get shipped to third world countries to become their burden.
Where do you get your inspiration?
From everywhere, in the smallest details! People on the street, materials, vintage, everything. I live between Mexico City and Copenhagen and I find so much inspiration in both places and the people there. I also find a lot of inspiration in the process of making the pieces with my seamstresses, trying to perfect the silhouettes and seeing it come to life.
What are you most excited about when it comes to renting out your pieces on HURR?
I love the idea that a lot of people get to enjoy the pieces and the thought of different people wearing and experiencing them. We’re a small four-person office, so it is really special to see other people in the pieces still.
What is your hope for the future of fashion?
I hope that we’ll all start consuming less but better, stepping away from micro trends and purchasing pieces we will love and wear for years, that perhaps we can pass down to our children one day.