Rising fashion label Dhenze produce show their latest collection in collaboration with bondage artist Fabio Damotta at the Berlin Berlin Pride Special on Saturday July 6th a Egg LDN. Merging streetwear, and fetish wear with exquisite tailoring, Dhenze’s sharp designs are not gender specific aiming for a timeless style with broad appeal. From the design through to production, all their garments and accessories are made in the UK.
Here we catch up with Dhenze’s founder David Henze to find out where his ideas come from and what’s so special about the Pride weekend.
Great to meet you Dhenze and for those that haven’t seen your clothes, can you tell us where you come from and how you would describe what you design and produce?
The brand originates from London and has been growing in London since 2017 and we have created 4 collections. We produce well-made luxury clothing that is created for longevity compared to the fast fashion market. The overarching uniformity is elevated with using intricate pattern shapes and a darker colour palette to place itself at the highest level of Avant Garde fashion scene.
Your designs aren’t confined to ‘gender conformity’ and does that liberate you when it comes to design?
There has been a lot of situations that I have experienced where diversity is seen as an imperfection especially in today’s political and global situation so to give a stance and voice to people through clothing where they can feel confident and unique is the most liberating thing. It’s the same with social media, seeing the clothing on social media where creativity is endless and each individual interpret the clothing in such different ways.
In the changing landscape do you feel the fashion scene and people in general are more open to the whole gender fluid approach to fashion?
The fashion Scene has always been open to new concepts and individuality and I feel its been at the forefront of pushing bounder-less fashion – creating new trends that introduce gender fluidity to the rest of the world. We still have a long way to go as it’s a niche market still with only the luxury market approaching this concept however this is exciting to see how gender fluid clothing is approached by brands that are still not on board with this.
You’re opening up the Berlin Berlin Pride Special at Egg LDN, and how did you come to be involved in this event and is this your first show in a nightclub setting and what can people look forward to on the night?
Within the fashion industry there are so many people who are behind the scenes working to help bring brands and fashion to life, and within working with industry experts I met Ricardo Castro who is a Graphic designer and event organiser and approached me to preview the new collection at the event, Berlin Berlin as the brand image fits perfectly with the type of event. Berlin Berlin it is our first stand alone show which will allow us to have large brand exposure, which is really great as a small brand wanting to build recognition in London.
You’re teaming up with the concept bondage and flowers artists Fabio Da Motta, and what do you think this collab has bought to your designs?
It’s showing the brands transparency. The way Fabio Da Motta creates bondage performances translates through collection 5’s inspiration where it explores the manipulation of proportions through a bondage structure. For example key looks include tailored items that are rooted in submission and as the collection progresses, prints will emerge that involve ropes and chains.
What does Pride mean to you and do you consider you have a large LGBT fan base? Why do you think that is?
PRIDE means knowing and being proud of who you are, standing up for what you believe in and what feels right in your heart, taking stance for life’s biggest challenges. The majority of our community is the LGBTQ because our clothing is providing anyone with freedom of expression. Not only that but we are highly involved with creatives who portray this image, such as photographers, stylists and models. If you surround yourself with people that represent and support the values you support the outcomes will be powerful.
As part of the LGBT art scene and community in London, do you think you’ve ever faced setbacks in your industry because of who you are?
I haven’t come across any setbacks based on who I am as a person as I believe the fashion industry is very open minded, however as a start up business perspective there are things to look at such as building the brand with a small team and the limited studio space, you realise how much you have grown since the start.
It seems the starting points for your collections tend to be quite abstract and can you tell us where you take your inspirations from?
Dhenze always tries to push boundaries in designing pieces that won’t go “out of fashion” in just 6 months that’s why we keep things minimal, it allows individuals to create their own style. One of the main influences is the 90s techno scene in Berlin where I spend my teen-hood experiencing the diversity of nightlife which you don’t see on a normal day to day basis.
A lot of your pieces have a fantasy element, almost like they’re still growing into new shapes and is that a conscious thing?
I believe looking at the way a garment sits can have many possibilities, and with each piece there is a deconstructed concept where pieces are re-visited and changed to add a sense of Dhenze style.
Which designers and artists did you look up to when you were growing up?
Many designers that represent sustainable values and darker concepts were what and still are drawn to, such as Rick Owens, Maison Margiela, Helmut Lang. I could see myself in the brands themselves and how they create anti fashion and go against seasons.
How important is it for people to have the escape of clubland in this digital era?
The club scenes especially in London where everyone is too busy and social lives are tested are incredibly important. It offers an environment where individuals can be themselves in this very conservative society like a fantastical escapism, where social norms are different and a coping technique for those ostracised due to their sexual orientation, race and beliefs.
The Dhenze fashion show in collaboration with bondage artist Fabio Damotta takes place in Cell 200 from 8.30pm at the Berlin Berlin: Pride Special on Saturday July 6th at Egg LDN with DJ Wandson Maxx. Across the four rooms catch the Gegen Berlin Showcase with DJs Bloody Mary, Karina Qanir and Mar/us and resident DJ Luther Vine; Homostash with DJs Tafkanik, DK, Pavliné and DJ Jauche; Mønster Queen with Cocõ, Johnny Love, Matt Coulam, Parma Ham, Yami Spechie, Charity Kase, Mynxie, Luke Harris, Aarron O’Connor & Lais Pattak, Stella Marbles, Bling Bling, Raquel “Rocky.try” plus in the Kuntskammer Samantha Togni, Lewis G. Burton, Joy Less, Lucia Blake, The Crossy, Santi Storm, Mary Poppers, Kassandra Powell, Niall Candy and Bones. With Gogo Dancers & Performances from Alejandro Gocast, Kokaine Tyson, Luke Harris, Marnie Scarlet, Miss Calvin, Miss Jake and Salvia. All info www.egglondon.co.uk
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