Exploring Amsterdam Talent – Fashion Designer Lisa Konno

Time to learn about the new world of fashion from Lisa Konno, an upcoming fashion designer from Amsterdam.

Published by Robin on 16/02/2016

After studying fashion in Arnhem and working at an internship in New York for renowned Alexander Wang, she decided to start her own fashion label Lisa Konno.

Not just any other fashion brand, but a label with a vision, beyond the classic world of fashion, creating a different industry, breaking existing systems by using new techniques, in her own tempo.

Time to get to know this upcoming fashion designer from Amsterdam a bit better.

Image courtesy Tetsuro Photography

Hello Lisa, tell us more about your background and how you started ‘Lisa Konno’?

I studied fashion at Artez in Arnhem and graduated in July 2014. I continued working at FoamLab (part of Photography museum FOAM) for 2 days a week, so I could spend the remaining days focussing on setting up my own label.

I then launched my first collection during the Amsterdam Fashion Week in January 2015. An extremely busy time, but so much fun.

Image courtesy Tetsuro Photography

Have you always envisioned creating your own fashion label?

Not really, at first. In the second year of my studies I actually wanted to quit with fashion, because I couldn’t identify myself with the dark sides of the industry. But during an internship in year 3, I realised that I could change my perspective and take action, solely focussing on something I would 100% believe in.

And as part of my graduation project I started experimenting with fabric recycling techniques, on how new clothing could be made from it and to design in a more sustainable manner.

And that has been the moment of  “this is what I want to do and continue working on.” I decided to start my own business, since an existing company would never give me that freedom to experiment.

Image courtesy Tetsuro Photography

So you already have developed a mission for yourself?

First and foremost, my mission is to create an image around recycling and sustainability. To prove that it actually can be both, fashionable as ethical at the same time.

And secondly, next to finding new structures of production, to build a fashion company based on ethical principles, which is profitable at the same time.

And you’re positioning the label Lisa Konno as a high-end label?

In one-way, yes, high-end and qualitative, sustainable, but still very accessible. I don’t want sustainability to become elite.

Same as for our ‘Yours Truly’ concept. During my recent show a few weeks ago, one blouse was the pinnacle piece of the collection and after the show I offered a DIY-package from that blouse to the audience. Initially as a gimmick: “buy-now-straight-of-the-runway.”

The poster package containing patterns, my brand name and a poster. I’m actually selling the idea, which makes it accessible and creates a form of consciousness, so people can see how much time it takes to make such an item. I hope people will feel more attached to the products they buy.

Image courtesy Peter Stigter


Your focus goes out to recycling... how do you acquire the fabrics?

They are mostly recognizable re-used items such as scarves and male button shirts (with these common stripes).  I take these items from different places, like collectors and thrift shops. They are all clothes with a story to tell.

So your collection is only available through you? Almost Haute Couture?

Yes, I produce by request, since I really want to create couture which is more personal and not for the masses. But no worries, I will not be designing princess-like dresses worth €10.000.

Every item, whether it’s a blouse or a bag, varies from each other, due to colours and composition. Every item is almost a one-of-a-kind.

Imagery courtesy Tetsuro Photography

The Amsterdam Fashion Week has been a successful platform to launch?

Absolutely, so much fun and I already noticed last year that the story came across really well. People picked it up and wrote about it. Last year’s theme was focussed on the workers from Bangladesh and this year solely on recycling.

And have you already started working on a new collection?

Not really, I’m still in finalizing mode, especially with the blouse and the DIY poster package. A lot of people have bought the package and patterns, so I’m curious to see what they make of it.

Imagery courtesy Peter Stigter

Let’s start daydreaming for a moment: where will Lisa Konno be in 5-years?

By then, I hope to be dressing more people and that I have found a way to produce in a different way. Having an in-house production facility where we have full control, using different techniques, is something I dream of.

In production lies a personal greater ambition and challenge, which in retrospect also has a big impact on how clothes are designed. Every design needs to fit the production process and the use of materials.

On a short notice, it would be great to collaborate with likeminded designers, who also value recycling.

Image courtesy Tetsuro Photography

And Amsterdam is the ideal springboard for achieving these goals?

Yes, I’m convinced it is. There are a lot of interesting things happening here and designers get a lot of freedom to experiment. In New York, the industry is more focused on commercializing, whereas here it’s more about the purpose and after-thought. And without that I really would be a terrible designer.

Image courtesy Tetsuro Photography

Thank you Lisa for taking us on your journey and we feel inspired by your vision and conviction. We wish you all the best in making your dreams come true!



- Robin -

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