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Rebekka C. Nielsen – Fashion designer

Rebekka’s Selfportrait

Was born the 20th of May 1982 and lives in Vesterbro, Copenhagen. She has started her own fashion label; Norgmark with her good friend Terese. She studied fashion design at Copenhagen Academy of Fashion Design. Creative people have inspired her since she was a baby. Her Grandfather painted and drawed and worked as an interior decorator, her mother was creative with sewing, drawing and painting. Her childhood-home had a room with a sewing machine and everything she needed to experiment. Her cousin makes children clothes and has started the brand “Katvig” and her other cousin once had a fashion brand called “Rosanna Julie”. She herself has worked in the fashion business for a long time as a buyer, seller and a manager for several shops. Last but not least she designs jewelry in her sparetime.

What is the best moment of the day?
The morning because I’m never grumpy. It’s important for me to have enough time in the morning, and I would rather get up too early than too late.

Also the small breaks in the middle of the day. They give me an opportunity to sum up the day and a gives me a break so I don’t get stressed. I think it’s important to take these breaks and find a balance to figure out how you work best instead of stressing through the day.

The evening is also a good moment when I’m together with my friends or family. It’s important for me to remember to get these small breaks where I do something else than my work. My job is very important to me, but my friends and family means everything to me.

What’s design to you?
Design has to tell and create a story. I like when my designs have depth and provokes peoples senses and makes them curious. We try to do that by the way we choose materials, construction of the clothes and the details. I like to get peoples attention this way. Norgmark is what I would call “Intelligent design” because there’s a story behind and the story fits together with our inspiration and our mood board. If the story weren’t there it would be the same as making basic-clothes that only have to function and be practical.

It’s important to find the connection between which products you design and how your market is. It’s also important that your designs can be sold. Even sometimes you might have to compromise with the designs, but that doesn’t have to be a negative thing, it’s more a thing about learning to see things from another angel. It’s important so stick with your own design-style and still be able to make it sellable.

When you were a child, did you want to become a designer?
I’ve always known that I was meant to do something creative, and I always subconsciously knew it had to be something with clothes. My passion is to inspire people and tell a story.

When did you start?
Therese and I both went to Copenhagen Academy of Fashion Design and we did some projects together. At the time we had our exams we both knew we wanted to do business together. Our exam-project in 2006 was about Norgmark and it was therefore very brand/product and sales-focused. We’ve only just then figured out it should be named Norgmark. The name came up after hours of phone-calls when my boyfriend was tired of hearing about us discussing about what name we should use. Then he just said: “Why don’t you just call it Norgmark?” and we though it was perfect because we wanted to play with the fact that we are from Denmark (Danmark) and Norway (Norge) to give it more depth and meaning.

What’s the main objective for your work?
It has to draw your attention and at the same time be sellable. It’s okay if it’s provoking, but not in a sense where the customers can’t see themselves wearing it. Not too avant-garde.

Do you see yourself as a Danish designer or a designer in a global context?>
I feel like a Scandinavian designer. Our vision is to inspire as many people as possible.

Describe your style, like a good friend of yours would ?describe it.
Mixed and sophisticated-feminine with a raw edge.

Where do you seek inspiration?
Through feelings and thoughts. I’m very fascinated by things that many people define as ugly, because I think there’s beauty in everything. I once made a “showstop-project” where I was inspired by a scarecrow. I made five different set, where I used the Psychoanalytic way to analyze the scarecrow about how it is, what’s behind the way it is and why it seems so scary on the outside, but isn’t on the inside.

In our A/W 2009 collection we were inspired by the minimalistic and not a certain mood. We have a architectural approach to fashion where it’s more clean and simple. There will still be details though, but details with a function.

What’s your favourite magazine?
DANSK magazine because of their fashion reports which are a great inspiration.
Cover Magazine & Vogue, especially German Vogue. I also read the sister magazine to Wallpaper; Spruce.

What kind of music do you listen to at the moment?
It’s very different. I like soft rock-pop and folk like – Charles Kelley, Bruce Honseby, Ray LaMontage, Eric Hutchinson & Nathan Angelo. Country like Bob Dylan and I have a big passion for house and electro music.

Do you have a muse?
No, I’ve never been inspired by an actor or a person.

Who’s your hero?
My Grandmother. She meant very much to me and I’m fascinated by the way she always was filled with love and gave me a lot of warmth and strength.

Anyone you would like to design anything for?
I would love to create something as a couture showstop for Björk and also Jessica Biel, because of her personality.

How do you start on a new project?
It varies. I always have my sketchbook with me, so when something inspires me I write it down immediately. I’m also always working with future projects because that’s the way the business of fashion is.

Where do you work on your designs and projects?
It varies a lot. I work really well in our studio, but I also work great at home, because it’s a personal/safe environment. I also sometimes go down by the water or to a café to sketch by myself. I like to be out alone in places where I’m surrounded by lots of people.

Do you discuss your work with other designers?
Yes about practical things and their experience. We can all learn from each other.
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How do other designers work affect yours?
I don’t seek the other designer’s trends, but I get inspiration from the trends that are in the industry. Norgmark is not based on following the trends in the market, so they do not control me in my work.

Which challenges have you met in your work?Many, but it was a huge challenge to get the production-setup to work. We have hired a production-manager so everything is sorted out.
It’s also a challenge to go into the fashion-business with your designs — It can sometimes feel like your little babies — and have to deal with negative reactions that might come.

Describe an evolution in your work, from your first projects to the present day.
We have learned from our first mistakes with the production-setup, choice of materials and priority of PR. I have a new approach to the different aspects of the processes.

What project has given you the most satisfaction?
The Autumn/Winter 2009 collection because of our new production-setup. It has with that been possible to focus directly on the design process. That new setup makes it easier to get closer to the concept and also makes the collection more sellable.

What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?
Don’t rush things. When we were shortlisted to the fashion award “Den Gyldne Pelsnål” in 2006 everybody said they thought we should hurry up and make a collection, but I didn’t think that was the right thing to do for us at that moment of time. Get know-how about the business of fashion and make a business strategy are the key words. Therefore we got an entrepreneur course where we learned about how to start a business. Strategy and network and preparedness are the key words.

What’s your next project?
Our Spring/Summer 2010 collection. I’ve already begun sketching and getting inspiration.

What are you afraid of regarding the future?
I would not use the word afraid, but I’m excited to see how the crises will affect the fashion business and Norgmark. But I think everything will work out fine.