Among the new children’s labels that will launch at Playtime Paris (Jan 25 to 27), Hilda.Henri caught my eye (and my brain). Founded in by Verena Wondrak, it proposes a sustainable couture made from milled loden, an Alpine farming fabric in pure new wool, that is normally used for traditional costumes.
Finely-crafted jackets, coats and capes for boys and girls are the centerpieces of this Fall/Winter 2014/15 collection, called “Snow Mountain Fairy“.
The inspiration is drawn form the romantic Czech folktales which enchanted children for generations.
Verena, what did you do before launching your brand?
After graduating from the premier design university ESMOD in Munich I gathered experience in the fashion business. Following professional positions as a fashion designer for a string of well-known brands, and working as a central buyer and manager in the retail trade, the next step to creating my own collection was almost predestined. With a grant from departure (the Creative Agency of the City of Vienna), I founded Hilda.Henri, a premium milled loden and knitwear collection with an emphasis on sustainability, at the beginning of 2013.
Where will you show your collection this season?
Last year I launched my first collection SS14 at kleine fabriek in Amsterdam and at kids in Munich. After these very different experiences I decided to put my attention on the (not German-speaking) foreign countries this year. Therefore I will show my next collection AW14/15 to an international audience at Playtime Paris and in March at Playtime New York.
Where are you from Verena? And where does the name Hilda.Henri come from?
I am German. I was born and grew up in Bavaria. As a child I`ve spent a lot of time in the mountains and in nature . In autumn 2012 I moved from Munich to Vienna. It feels a little bit like back to the roots- my grandmother, to whom I had a close bond was born in Vienna and was called Hilda! That`s one of the reasons why I called my brand Hilda.Henri. I wanted a name that has a meaning for me. The name Henri I like very much. Probably my child would have been called so if it would have been a boy.
Are you a mother?
I am a mother with a big heart of a gorgeous little daughter. She`s called Matilda and is almost four years old!
Why did you choose milled loden for your collections? What makes that fabric so special?
I know milled loden since I was a child. My mother put me and my sister in milled loden jackets already in the kindergarten. I remember my red milled loden „janker“ very well: it was edged dark blue and had little silver metal buttons. I loved to wear it together with my green kilt. My mother used to combine the traditional material with fashionable parts. Many years later, as a student at the Fashion school ESMOD – I rediscovered this particular natural material – during my internship at an Austrian dress maker in Salzburg. Since then, milled loden got my favorite fabric. After the birth of my daughter I was sure: Children’s fashion from Walk, that`s what I will make! I wanted to do it my way: authentic, especially high quality and timeless. My garments should be able to be passed through the family and live long.
How many pieces in the collection?
The collection comprises about 30 pieces including the accessories.
Hilda.Henri is currently available at Unikatessen (Vienna, Austria), Fee im Glück (Vienna, Austria), Birgit Geisreiter (Traunstein, Germany), Little Company (Zurich, Switzerland) .