Category Archives: Organic Fashion Designer

Set 6 from “The 12-Qs”


Livia Henne is a textile and fashion designer from Switzerland, living in London. She is the founder of the organic fashion label Komana.
We met her at her house with many paintings and funny quaint objects and  asked her 12 random questions – here are two of 12 with a random sketch that has something to do with her personality.


What turns you off? Arrogance
What is your favourite curse word? Shit

Livia_Papaya_Sketch_TheMinks

Political views on Britain from a swiss woman having lived in London for over 14 years.

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What similarities and synergetic potentials between Swiss and British culture did you encounter throughout your time in London that add to your work as an artist?
I came here as a very young person that was trying to shake off that reputation that a Swiss heritage comes with. Early twenties I didn’t feel like Switzerland as being the most exciting place to be coming from so it was important for me to go somewhere else to adopt and absorb and be influenced by other cultures. So maybe I lost my Swissness a bit. Though the funny thing is that I actually have the biggest part of my clients in Switzerland as of today. I guess I started to appreciate it more in that sense that people are quite interested in value based clothing. The ethical part seems to be rather important to them.

Though if there is still a part of Swissness in you, what would you say that part represents?
It’s definitely not my organisation skills. I guess caring about nature and other people are values that I picked up in Switzerland. But they are “rule followers” to a certain extent. In little aspects you can see that for example in term of their recycling habits. This conscience is not as developed in London. In Switzerland people carry their trash with them until they see a legitimate place to throw it away.

Is there a need that should be tackled politically in your community? What is it and how would you go about it?
Yes there is. Having a young daughter, I notice in this community that topics such as nature and looking after the environment are still not as important as they should be. People litter constantly and are not really aware of how to eat healthy. So all of that contributes to this cycle. You eat a bunch of junk food so you produce lots of rubbish, you’re prone to be unhealthy and possibly are not able to have your body work to its full potential. An increased awareness in these areas could have an immense positive effect on this community and the whole of society. I guess to go after the task the youth should be addressed in a way that is not patronising but informational and interesting. So young and cooler people should address the issues, not only politicians, whom nobody really cares about. So maybe artistic and musical sort of projects or festivals that try to implement a certain way of thought in this respect, could help. But also schools and teachers should talk about how to eat. Not having an ice cream car in front of the primary school would help. As a mother having to constantly explain to your child why it can’t have an ice cream everyday even though other kids can is tiring.

London_LiviaHenne_TheMinks

What does nationalism mean to you? How do you regard nationalistic tendencies in Switzerland and around Europe such as in Spain (Catalonia, Basque), UK (Scotland, Ireland), France (Front National), etc.?
Most of the time it’s definitely not a good force. I mean I understand if people are proud of their country but usually it doesn’t lead to the best. These tendencies are terrifying. Scary. Switzerland shocks and embarrasses me in that sense that international headlines pick up on the Swiss as foreign haters. For example the SVP billboards with the black and white sheep that are just unbelievably racist and yet still legally accepted. The Scottish referendum was motivated differently. As it was moreover motivated by a sense of need to separate themselves from the big capitol that London is. So independence was the driving force. They did not feel part of the bigger picture. So their decision to try to separate and nationalism in this sense I can understand but other nationalistic tendencies and parties such as the Front Nationale in France I find terrifying. I also don’t understand why people vote conservative anyhow as most people don’t profit from their rather rich people oriented policies.

Do you feel more Swiss or European? More European or moreover a citizen of the world?
Definitely more European. I would love to be able to say that I am a citizen of the world but it would not be true since I’ve only lived in Europe so far. I guess as much as I’ve travelled and understand different cultures it would not be appropriate to call myself a citizen of the world. But we should all see the world as ours and take care of it.

What’s your take on terrorism? à Isn’t one person’s terrorist another person’s freedom fighter?
It’s an easy name to put upon people that don’t fit your political agenda. I guess it’s mostly us putting labels around peoples necks in a way that suits our general understanding of the system. So yes it is a dangerous wording.

How do you regard today’s practice of counterterrorism?
It’s very scary at the moment what is going on. Things are obviously happening and people are in danger but it’s important for the west to keep in mind that possible interventionist actions might lead to an Arab vs. the west front. Especially looking at ISIS there should be emphasise on diplomatic rather than military ways to solve the issues if possible.

Do you believe in international cooperation?
In an ideal world that should be the case if people act rational.

Would you call yourself a realist, idealist or utopist?
Yes maybe even an utopist.

What’s a recent miracle you’ve encountered in your life?
Apart from my child haha. Nothing really.

Where and how will you be living in 20 years from now?
As a citizen of the world which I might be until then. I will hopefully live in a world that managed to resolve issues diplomatically and peacefully. Having an adult daughter that absorbed all this information out there and uses it to improve the world. I’ve tried to move to Spain for 5 years and I am still here so who knows. But yes Spain would be nice. Probably it will still be Europe to be honest because of the family.

Set 5 from “The 12-Qs”

Livia Henne is a textile and fashion designer from Switzerland, living in London. She is the founder of the organic fashion label Komana.
We met her at her house with many paintings and funny quaint objects and  asked her 12 random questions – here are three of 12 with a random sketch that has something to do with her personality.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Circus artist
What profession would you not like to do? Work as a CEO in a big company or work for any big company in any position actually
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? I hope that we all get together as the dust we used to be before. 

Livia_Dust_Angels_Sketch_TheMinks

Art piece inspired by Komana

The Minks painting progress_Anjo“At Livia Henne’s Victorian house I was inspired by the headless boy – (mentioned in an earlier post), her various collector’s objects and her art books.” One book was of the ABECEDA, by Karel Teige (1900-1951), a Czech avant-garde artist of the 1920s. His 1926 photomontage of a Czech dancer forming letters and typography are an enduring masterpieces of Czech modernism. See two of his letters below.
Karel-Teige-Abeceda-1926The print designer Livia Henne, was inspired by these letters in the past and has created an even more abstract textile print version of Teige’s typography for her label Komana.komana print photo by the minks“What inspired me for the painting was a mixture of Livia’s house, Victorian objects and Teige’s typography.”TheMinks_London People Project_Art_sketchLivia-1brainstorming for the painting
“Another topic that often came to my mind was creativity and where it originates.” In the 19th century physicians tried to measure the skull to localise different areas of the brain and their functions. The German physician, Franz Joseph Gall was the inventor of the discipline of phrenology. Livia has a couple of such Victorian Phrenology statues sitting up on her shelf overlooking the bay window living room.
Phrenology chartsLeft image:  1848 edition of American Phrenological Journal published by Fowlers & Wells, New York City, right image: Webster’s Academic Dictionary, circa 1895
TheMinks_Phrenology_London PeopleProjectart - anjo The MinksAt her house there are many pretty keys, but what do they open, which treasures do they unlock?
TheMinks_London People Project_Art_sketchLivia-2Sketch: “key holes and lonely keys”
The Minks headless boy BoyThe headless boy – there’s a story behind him read more about him here.
the minks art anjo

The final piece is a detached floating of inspiration – the Teige Letter “K” as a reference to the print designer’s label Komana, lonely keys, the french headless boy, the thinker type phrenology statue and edged glass windows common at Victorian houses. It is a bit like a dream, where single objects come and go, but are not really connected but sort of flash into our inner mind. Maybe that is where creativity roots.TheMinks_London People Project_Art-18


 

Join us to see behind the scenes of the fashion label Komana

Komana is an organic clothing label characterised by its bespoke screen printing. The striking patterns mostly in black and white are a creation of Livia Henne a Swiss textile designer living in London for over 14 years who has been building the brand KOMANA together with her sister Nina on and off for about eight years. She graduated from Central St. Martins in London majoring in textile design. Ever since she has been inspired by victorian oddities, her mother and various little objects and print masters from the past. Komana is in fact a phantasy name from Livia’s childhood games, which in our opinion is reflected in her prints – a combination of hand painted patterns and phantasy creatures.

We met Livia Henne in her airy studio in an old victorian house with sunbeams catching her hair, stacks of fabrics and inspiration on her wall. Her newest collection was inspired by african face paintings. To get a feeling of the black and white dot scheme watch this image clip directed by Robert Hackett.

The Minks at Komana Studio meeting Livia Henne

What comes naturally when designing, Livia said, are paintings that are a personification of nature. A bird becomes a person, the moon turns into a face which then is the shape of a little white round backpack.

The Minks at Komana Studio meeting Livia Henne

The Minks at Komana Studio meeting Livia Henne

Her favourite pieces in her new collection are the ponchos. They are easy and fast to wear and have a striking black white pattern of birds and other fantasy creatures. We helped her print a set of ponchos at the printshop with big screens 150cm x 60cm large. See the post on the komana printshop production here.

The Minks at Komana Studio meeting Livia Henne

The Minks at Komana Studio meeting Livia Henne

Since 2013 the two sisters are involved in a tree planting project in Dosso, Niger. For each garment produced a seedling has been bought to help fight against desertification. If you buy an organic Komana piece you get an URL directing you to the specific tree you planted with buying the shirt or leggings. You can find more on tree-nation here.

The Minks at Komana Studio meeting Livia Henne

Set 4 from “The 12-Qs”

Livia Henne is a textile and fashion designer from Switzerland, living in London. She is the founder of the organic fashion label Komana.
We met her at her house with many paintings and funny quaint objects and  asked her 12 random questions – here are two of 12 with a random sketch that has something to do with her personality.

What’s your favourite colour? Orange
What colour do you believe to represent your personality most accordingly? Hopefully orange

Livia_Orange_Sketch_TheMinks

The story about the headless boy

Livia Henne grew up in a grey sand stone stone house with lovely art deco coloured windows on the sunny side of Lake Zurich in Switzerland. She moved to London in her early twenties to work and study. We met her at her house in London to talk about art, design and the stories behind one of her many collected objects.

How has art and design effected you as a person?
I grew up with a mom collecting art so its been from my birth on that there has always been crazy drawings and painting hanging in our rooms, so it has always been a part of my life.

You also have a lot of art pieces in your house…
Yes we do and we are actually very unsnobby about it. There are paintings that were maybe 3 pounds at the thrift store and others we have that are worth a number that includes a couple more zeros but they all have their adequate space. Each piece has a story attached to it and it’s not necessarily the materialistic value that’s important.

You have a house full of beautiful gadgets. Please tell us a story about one of them.

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How about that little boy over there, Phil Plymouth a mannequin made in Paris. A few years back when I was running a concept store with my best friend Elise called Bacon Street Project. We were hosting music and general entertainment events and also collected and sold interesting art and gadgets from thrift stores and wherever we could find something on flee markets. That’s how I ran into him apparently. He came with a head though he looked extremely freaky and that’s why it got taken from him at a certain point. We kept him. For some time he used to have a trumpet sticking out instead of his head and now he’s wearing Felix’s hat, which he forgot here. So during our time that we used to run our concept store we at times got so attached to some of the things we originally planned to sell that we ended up keeping them. So when a potential buyer actually came along we would make up silly numbers just so the person wouldn’t buy the pieces. Needless to say we eventually had to close our concept store. Maybe for that reason. That’s why I own so many gadgets from that period today.

Where was that store at?
Bricklane, Bacon Street. The actual reason to close down was, that we ended up doing many more events than originally planned and the space was just not right for it. 

The Minks_Photography_Komana_East London

Here is a very old Link to the Bacon Street Store/Art/Event Project.

 

Set 3 from “The 12-Qs”

Livia Henne is a textile and fashion designer from Switzerland, living in London. She is the founder of the organic fashion label Komana.
We met her at her house with many paintings and funny quaint objects and  asked her 12 random questions – here is one of 12 with a random sketch that has something to do with her personality.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? City life

Livia'sLivingRoom_TheMinks_web

 

Set 2 from “The 12-Qs”

Livia Henne is a textile and fashion designer from Switzerland, living in London. She is the founder of the organic fashion label Komana.
We met her at her house with many paintings and funny quaint objects and  asked her 12 random questions – here are two of 12 with a random sketch that has something to do with her personality.

What sound or noise do you love? Silence
What sound or noise do you hate? Gower’s repeats from the studio for the 100th time

Livia'sLivingRoom_TheMinks_web

Set 1 from “The 12-Qs”

Livia Henne is a textile and fashion designer from Switzerland, living in London. She is the founder of the organic fashion label Komana.
We met her at her house with many paintings and funny quaint objects and  asked her 12 random questions – here are two of 12 with a random sketch that has something to do with her personality.

What is your favourite word? Schnuggi or habadasheri department to buy all craft things and such
What is your least favourite word? I don’t have a least favourite word

Avocado_sketch_TheMinks

May we introduce to you the owner of Komana?

The Minks met a Swiss print and fashion designer at her house in the east end of London for an interview. She is founder of the fashion label called Komana (more about the label and the production at a later point).

What is your full name?
Livia Henne, I don’t have a middle name since my parents kept it short and sweet.

How would you describe yourself?
Mhh. Shy.

What creative content do you add to the existing with your label Komana and your creative work in general?
I hope to be adding a humanitarian touch to it. For me the story behind the whole production has always been very important. So overall I hope this completeness that Komana in a sense represents is influential. I know there are others out there but I still hope this to makes it stand out.

And in terms of your art and/or design work, which gap do you fill?
My designs are quiet dreamy and inspired by the past but there is always a personal touch that also builds upon my humour, which I find important since the fashion world should not take itself too seriously at times.

The Minks at Komana Studio meeting Livia Henne

What kind of design do you enjoy most?
Playful design or new inventions that have a certain “wow”-factor. In fashion design I regard good design in a sense that a piece of clothing does not wear the person, but that the person actually wears the piece. There are lots of incredible designs but often you are worn by the dress and you almost disappear behind it.

So what kind of person should wear your clothes?
Fun loving people who are conscious of the earth. Travellers from age 20 to 50 but basically there is no age limit, it is rather about their personality.

It must be rather challenging to design clothes for such a diverse field of people. How do you go about this?
It’s a process that you learn with time if you sell to the public. Every time you design a new collection you keep your best sellers and feedbacks from your last collection in mind. In this process you might have to step down from a view of purely trying to express yourself creatively but to actually keep peoples body shapes in mind and therefore attract more people since more people look good in your clothes.

The Minks at Komana Studio meeting Livia Henne