Nanna Isbrandt


Nanna Isbrandt, 27. The Danish Design School, MA Fashion Graduate 2009.           

– specialism: Fashion Womenswear.


Design Background: 

I have always known that I wanted to work with something creative (big kliché but that´s how it is). Since I was very young, I have been creating my own clothes, re-designing vintage clothes and customizing my own outfits whenever I had the chance.

After graduating from high school, I had a small detour to the Royal Architect School. I was afraid of the admission tests on the design school and scary to gamble on being a fashion designer. I studied there for one year, which reassured me that I wanted to do something in the creative field – and why not go for the highest dream? Somehow it pushed me further towards my dream, and I applied for The Danish Design School – and got in.

When working with clothes I am able to work in the scale 1:1 and the process and the result is very instant. The fashion circle is dynamic which fits perfectly for my temper.

In 2005 when I was at my 4th semester at the Design School, my boyfriend was offered a job in Saigon, Vietnam, and he accepted a position there for two years. I went there to visit him and found that a year in crazy Asia was too big of a chance to miss. Everything out there develops so fast and Asian people have this “everything is possible” mentality that I found extremely inspiring. A lot of the mass market fashion is being produced out there as well, so this was my chance to get to know much more about the outsourcing & production part of my field.

I had an internship at the bag company “Crumpler” who has their entire production in Saigon. That was a great cross-cultural experience and a great view into the crazy Asian business world, which I really learned a lot from.

Besides that I took the opportunity to design my own collection. I found a nice small and very diligent tailor workshop, who where willing to produce my collection in small quantities, which I could carry back with me to Denmark.

My biggest challenge ever was to sell my “virgin” collection. To go out and be outgoing is normally not hard for me, but doing a convincing sales job is more difficult than I thought… After trying several shops without luck, a small short cut connected me to one of my favourite shops in Copenhagen “moshi moshi” at Østerbro.  They bought it, and the clothes got sold successfully.

Since then my production has been on stand by. First of all, because I had to finish my studies, but also because shipping fee is literally eating all potential profits. However, having tried out creating and selling my own collection has definitely given me deeper insights into the fashion industry.

Upon returning to DK I finished my BA from The Danish Design School.

Then I had a super 6 months internship at Bruuns Bazaar, and suddenly there was one year left at School…

In my 9th semester, I had a student job at InWear doing print design. For me it has been important to somehow always have a link to the “real world” while studying. That really taught me to use and appreciate that big part of space to develop and to be experimental the Design School, which is absolutely the school’s biggest strength.

However, in my final semester I decided to make a deep dive into my final project and use all the opportunities the school offered, which means not doing anything else, than studying.




Project title:

Poetic Toreador



“Poetic Toreador” – Spanish icons in a Nordic light –
In my collection, the unpolished drama from Spanish bull fighting and flamenco tradition is intermingled with a Nordic white, poetic universe, where feminine romanticism is mixed with masculine power.

The inspiration is taken from the flamenco dancers’ straight proud attitude and volume skirts. Tight legs, high waist and short decorated jackets constructed, so it drops forward have been taken from the traditional bull fighter costume. Everything is created in pure, white nuances.

The poetry gets an edge when decoration, silver print and delicate
materials are combined with unrefined denim, rope, and pure, white hides.





Describe your collection with three words?

1) Feminine, 2) Unpolished and 3) Effortless




What techniques did you use: 

When starting a new project, I always start out by developing fabric techniques and fabric manipulations that visualise and support the look and feeling that I want to express.


The general themes I have been creating my techniques from are:

1) Decoration and 2) Volume.

Decoration is a central thing in the Spanish culture and the volume comes from my fascination for the dancing flamenco skirts that almost crackles when they dance.

My main materials are denim, hides, silk, chiffon and washed wool. It is decorated with rope, fringes, tubes and circles to create decoration and volume.

My intention was to create samples that looked a bit used and old with patina. I worked with this smoke-coloured chiffon layer, which I fixed on top of a rope decoration so I got this “hiding effect”. The technique was used on the collar of a short jacket. I did the same on top of decoration of small woollen balls on the side panel of a maxi length skirt.




To get the effect of patina, I have washed some of my samples. I have worked with decoration though layers that I have cut a motif in so that it got raw edges. When washing it the edges became “used fringes”.




To create volume with the effect of frills, I constructed lots of circles (around 600) on the bottom of this dress.




The same technique is used in my other version of a flamenco dress, where lots of small tulle tubes put together creates lots of volume.




The print is taking from a fan. I have scanned in a fan and softened up the lines so it looks like an old reprint. It is printed with a cold silver folio colour.




Which garment was most difficult to make? 

This skirt is first of all very tight and with a high waist. It took a lot of time to do the pattern cutting. I had a lot of fittings with the toils.

Second, the side panels are made of six layers of chiffon between two layers of raw silk. The layers where sewn together, and the decoration was cut up and then washed. When the raw chiffon got washed and unravelled it made the finest small thread, and looked liked used decoration.

The centre front and centre back part is hairy calfskin… and that was quite a challenge to sew those two parts together. But I love the result.




Which garment took the longest to make?

My two flamenco dresses took a loooong time because of the 1200 separate circles and tubes…




Which garment is your favorite?

This simple pony skin skirt with western belt is defiantly one of my favourites because it is so simple. It is my version of a Nordic gaucho style. I love it.

When the pony skin is tightened with the belt, big soft pleats create an oversize puffy skirt in this unpolished material.




What technique is your favorite?

The ornamental decoration with the rope covered with chiffon, is my favourite.




How long did you work on this project?

Six long months.


Is there something you regret not doing in your collection?

I almost used every minute I had that semester, which of course sometimes made me a bid narrow minded. But in light of the circumstances I don’t regret anything…. But when I look reflectively at it now I miss a long jacket…


fashion illu -


What made you pursue fashion?

My field of expertise is fashion design, trend forecasting and styling. I do not think I have directly chosen it, but my personal intuition can not stop generating ideas… Whenever I finish a project, I always get a bit restless because then the design in my mind is already ready for the next alteration, and the I feel like going on with something new…




Which designers inspire you?

I am very inspired by Balenciaga and Givenchy and I am always so excited to see their next collections. Somehow that always becomes my personal benchmark for what is modern.

John Galliano is the perfect storyteller, and I admire the way he creates these universes around his collections. The latest collection, Fall 2009, show Russian folklore style with ice princesses at an ice-landscape. It is amazing and I can go to and watch it again and again. It is my favourite from him so far.

Isabel Marant is so feminine, bohemian and modern and her clothes are so wearable, which I also find very inspiring.


Which designer would you like to work for in the future?

I am crazy about Isabel Marant. I think her clothes are so effortless and feminine and wearable. I would love to work for her.


Why did you choose the Danish Design School?

I have chosen The Danish Design School because aesthetics is in a very high priority! The school gives the students a lot of space to be experimental and to think outside the box. It has a lot of great workshops that support the creativity and at the same time, it has a high theoretical level, which forces the students to be very clear when arguing. 

At same time it is located in the great and inspiring city of Copenhagen.




What did you think of the education? 

My final semester has absolutely been my best semester. The final project is the biggest in the school, and it is a fantastic feeling, that I have done “everything on my own”. I have been the catalyst of every single part that has been made. It has been extremely tough but left me with a new self-confidence.


How were the school? Facilities? Teachers? 

It is great that it is a five years education, because it gives you time to explore almost all sides of the design field. The difficult thing is that it can be very unstructured and frame less. It really requires the students to build up structure and frames on your own. Not always easy, but very useful. 




What advice would you give new students?

Instead of being frustrated, practice your self in being structured the creative way.


Which fellow students would you like to highlight? 

Julie Broegger did this cool project “This woman was once a Punk” where she has “punked“ ladylike dresses, hats and short jackets. I love it. I love the silhouettes and the woven fabric that she used. She is also very good at knitting techniques-check it out.

Camilla Lastrina is a half Italian girl that studied fashion as well. She has this soft spot for elegance and bling bling – and she is so good at using it. In her collection “Tales of a savage” she has integrated tribal inspired jewelleries and along dresses, and furthermore she has given them a morbid “Apocalypto”-look. The result is very very elegant.

Both of them will be in Designers Nest this year, and you can check them out at The Danish Design School’s web page / graduation projects.




Have you ever been nominated or won a design competition? 

I have not applied for any competition this semester, but I am nominated for the “Designers Nest” competition at the Copenhagen Fashion Week 2009.


Will you be selling your collection? 

I have had a few enquiries from women who have seen my clothes and been very excited about it, nothing serious. I am willing to sell parts of my collection. At the right price…




Contact info: 

Nanna Isbrandt

Krusaagade 35, 2 tv

DK- 1719 Copenhagen


+45 40195092



7 Responses to “Nanna Isbrandt”
  1. jenjarvis says:

    I love these interviews, brilliant. it’s so good, well done!! I have a new source of inspiration now!!

  2. jenjarvis says:

    p.s i forgot to say, if you ever need to fill a gap in interviews i’m happy to fill that gap!

  3. birdeyes says:

    Hi Jen, thank you so much! I’m really glad that you like it!!

    I thought about doing a series of “what are you doing now?”-interviews in the autumn, and I actually though you would be perfect!! So thats a definite yes!

  4. ElenaLisvato says:

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  5. buyvigrx says:

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