Written by Stella Hughes April 9, 2022
1999 THE STUDIO is making waves in the fashion scene. Based in Copenhagen, the brand combines the chic minimalistic style of its home city with an enhanced understanding of streetwear codes: working in futuristic prints, silhouettes and styling choices to its designs and campaigns.
On the brink of releasing its SS22 collection, which formulates a creative expansion for the brand, 1999 THE STUDIO is set to offer its largest collection to date. Emphasising simple colours, shapes and silhouettes for the drop, the collection serves as a conceptual reflection on what its title, Futuristic Warrior, subjectively means.
Founded in 2018 by Kenny Kamba, 1999 THE STUDIO now works to inspire the future of fashion – producing meaningful collections that forgo current trends for an altogether richer return to authenticity and expression – something that the brand believes the fashion industry is largely missing at the moment. We caught up with Kenny to chat through his brand, his mum being his style icon, and how he’s engineering a modern challenge to the industry’s archaic operations.
Hey Kenny! Let’s just start from the top. How did you get started in designing?
Actually, it’s really easy to answer that. I started designing when I realised that I didn’t have to look for anything bigger than me – I just needed to pay attention to my own life and my surroundings. One day, when I was 17, I realised that my mum had the greatest style of anyone I’ve ever met. I was really inspired by her approach and the way she expressed herself, and wanted to adapt this way of thinking to my brand and the vision of my brand.
Can you take us through your creative process, how do you do things?
I would say that my creative process is about paying more attention to the things around me, appreciating it and giving it a voice in my designs and products. That’s the way I’ve always been creative, so if something caught my attention, I would probably use it. I always take pictures of the stuff I see which I find interesting. So, yeah for me it’s just about paying extra attention.
How would you describe the brand in your own words?
I would describe 1999 THE STUDIO as a challenge to modern fashion. I want the regular consumers and influencers who are working with us to express themselves; to have their own opinion on the designs, instead of being slaves to the brands. They’re as much a part of the brand and design process as anything.
What makes the SS22 collection different from previous endeavours?
I would say there’s a lot of things that makes this collection different – but if we’re thinking about the details, I would say that the multifunctionality, which appears in this collection, is one of the central parts that make this collection stand out. It allows people to be themselves and it allows people to express themselves with the clothing.
Also the concept behind this collection, Futuristic Warriors; it’s about embracing peoples inner warriors, embracing people’s way of thinking and being themselves. We have to give strength to people – that allows them to accept the way they are, or to accept their own way of thinking.
So, what would you say are the biggest influences for you?
The biggest influence for me is the people who are doing their own things, the people who are against the norms.
I’ll probably say Demna, who is at Balenciaga right now, and my mum, of course, because she didn’t even look like other parents. I couldn’t imagine women wearing clothes like she did at 40 years old you know, but for me it’s nice to see my mum wearing these kinds of clothes and expressing herself in her own way. It has always been people who are more personal about their style, personal about their opinions and what they stand for in general.
What’s your favourite piece from the upcoming collection?
My favourite piece from this collection is definitely the miniskirt we made. Actually, it made me think that the detail matters. This is the first time I’ve made a miniskirt for the girls and I really like it because the reaction I got from it really encouraged me to keep going with womenswear.
Three things that you’d like to make happen in the next five years?
Being allowed to dream bigger, and just have a bigger influence in the fashion industry. Allow people to be inspired from the bottom up, instead of pandering to the gatekeepers, or those already in the industry. You should be inspired by the people you’re surrounded with.
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