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.
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
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.