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Harald Lunde Helgesen's BC Vision

The young designer wowed the judges at Hyères with his interpretation of 2509 BC.

Harald Lunde Helgesen, originally hailing from Norway has just recently graduated from the Arts Institute in Bournemouth. His final year collection "2509 BC" also won him the Swarvoski Elements Award at the recent Fashion and Photography festival at Hyères, which entails a EUR15,000 prize as well as having Swarovski Elements at his disposal for his next collection. Helgesen looked to ancient Mesopotamiam digs as inspiration and took elements of clothing associated with the desert, like robes worn by Sumerian priests or modern day workers' outfits and mixed them up with the colours that litmus paper tests reveal.

Dazed Digital: How old are you?

Harald Lunde Helgesen: I’m 24
DD: How long have you been designing?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: I have designed clothes for 4 years, before that I designed houses and boats and an occasional car…
DD: How would you describe your own style?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: I always wear the same: black leather baseball cap, pink Adidas jacket and red Russian flower scarf. I hope non of it ever wears out.
DD: Who would you like to collaborate with?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: Someone with a strong history and heritage like Levi’s or Adidas. Brands like that have such a huge presence in our culture – in the culture of so many all over the world!
DD: Who do you have in mind when you design?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: I’m not sure, but I think it’s me. I always know the basic silhouette of the collection even before I start researching, so I guess it must be subconsciously personal based on what I wish to wear.
DD: What inspires you at the moment?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: I read an interview with Alber Elbaz in very glossy magazine today, he said: “After a rose, and maybe chocolate, a pink dress is the only thing guaranteed to make us happy.” Reading that made me happy and it made me want to sit down and draw nice clothes.
DD: What has winning the Swarovski prize at Hyeres this year meant for you and your label?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: For me it has meant that I now drink wine with diamonds in the glass (at least Swarovski crystals). For the label the exposure has been great, and the recognition at a level like this has meant a lot for my confidence as a designer.
DD: How do you juggle designing both clothing and shoes?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: I don’t think it’s a juggle, as long as the research and concept is strong designing is easy. Whether it’s shoes, a range of office supplies, a car, a perfume or clothing, if you have a universe for it all to appear in it all comes naturally.
DD: How did you create the coloured patterns that featured in your collection?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: The colours and patterns are made with chromatography. I collected all the brown, kids’ marker pens I could find and separated the ink with litmus paper and water.
DD: How did the archeological theme develop?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: The archaeology came from the colour separation experiments. I thought there was a link between separating the different pigments in the brown felt tips and the way an archaeologist carefully sifts through layers of sand and earth. Like the archaeologist discovers golden treasures and ivory figurines, I found the beautiful colour gradients hidden under the uninteresting brown.
DD: What is your vision for menswear?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: One step at the time.
DD: Who are your favorite designers and why?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: I love all the designers! The more the merrier!
DD: Were you interested in fashion while growing up?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: Not especially, I was interested in everything aesthetically pleasing.
DD: What are the difficulties faced being a designer today?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: I don’t know. I haven’t faced any difficulties yet, and I hope it continues like this for a while longer!
DD: If you weren't designing, what would you be doing?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: Perhaps I would be writing critical articles about theoretical issues in fashion and contemporary culture.
DD: What are your plans for the future?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: My plan for the future is to keep having fun in this industry full of dedicated and hard working people.
DD: Can we buy your collection?
Harald Lunde Helgesen: Sure! Just drop me an e-mail and I’ll let you know what’s available where.

Film for 2509 BC is part of ON|OFF Filmmaker Debut series