Denisa Nová currently belongs among top Czech clothing designers. She is known as queen of simple minimalism. In 2000 she was awarded for the first time for her work, winning Designer of the Season and launched the DNB brand, under which she has been creating to this day. This very timid designer managed to open two salons; one in Prague and one in Brno, and so it is not surprising that she is extremely busy. Even so she managed to make a time for an interview with Luxury Prague Life prior to the beginning of MBPFW.
How do you cope with the beginning of the fashion week?
I do not know, I am doing my best, of course one has to concentrate, but all in moderation. There is more stress, so that everything is finished within the given deadlines, and then there is also a lot to organise.
How many times have you participated?
I started with a teaser, which was at the Dox gallery, where I had a fashion show, then when the FW started, it was I think the year of 2014, but I have certainly missed some year, so you I cannot tell how many times it will be this year. The years fly by as crazy. I cannot count it. (laughter)
I have read somewhere quite recently that you still don´t know whether you will be at the Fashion Week this year.
I change it, I take this as part of the work. It is up too fast for me, because I am quite a perfectionist, I like careful preparation, so, of course, within the framework of this format, when you consider what kind of event it is, there must be some compromise.
Of course, the organisers try to assist the designers in order to meet their needs, also in respect of the various forms of the less standard shows. We have a time period, or some time block, or there are two designers in one block, so, there are nevertheless some restrictions that the designer has to cope with. I in the meantime I carry on implementing various projects that are easier to manage. Somehow, I now felt that I wanted to build on the collection and the subject on which I worked in the spring.
What kind of subject was it?
The theme of the spring collection was totally different, it was the wardrobe of my mother´s, and I discontinued that. But I continue in the sense that those fifteen women´s models, which will be in a few days to be seen at MBPFW, are very wearable, identically to the spring collection. I keep using words such as ´simple´, but they are very wearable pieces, which may not be so bold as to the cut, but there is a lot of detail and the whole, the puzzle, which I create, seems interesting to me. I want to work with it and it is actually an extension of the collection, which was presented in the spring.
And what will it be like?
At the moment I cannot tell you much about the collection, it must be a surprise. As the only one, I did not release any press report, I cannot disclose it before the actual show, because it would not be a surprise any more what will the viewers will see.
I thought that you design only for women, but in have also seen men in your salon.
I don´t just design for women. I have two boutiques, where you can really only see women's clothing, but from time to time I accept an order for men´s clothing and I enjoy it, I have been doing this for years. I was a natural process. These are individual orders and with regard to the fact that I enjoy it, I keep on doing them.
And what exactly do you design for men? Trousers, shirts…?
Sometimes we change the whole wardrobe, for a long term I have been working with leather, so there are a lot of leather items, or linen and cashmere coats.
How old are those men? Perhaps I cannot imagine a twenty-year old boy who needs to replace his wardrobe.
I think it is the same for women, from some thirty years of age. I use fairly complicated technological procedures, so the things are not quite accessible to someone who still studies. I would say that the age of those men is from thirty to sixty, most frequently between 35 and 50.
I cannot see any advertising of yours. Is it all done by word of mouth? Do people tell each other?
I think that I make a lot of presentations, within the framework of photo shoot campaigns and magazines, or via interviews. I also think that when someone is satisfied in the long term, he will come again. For example, for a long term I dress some woman and then I finish up creating some pieces also for her husband, because he liked it.
You have two salons, in Prague and in Brno. How difficult is it to manage it time-wise? Are you on the go all the time, or is it easy?
It is difficult, I am always on the move. It is demanding mainly because of the organisation, transporting of goods and managing of the time. You do not have everything in one place, but for example in five.
So, you spend a lot of time on the damned D1?
Of course, it is a disaster, but I move during off-peak times, so I have to say that I am fortunate. At four in the morning there are no traffic jams.
What about abroad? Here you do have a name after all, so how are you perceived by customers from abroad?
It is not simple, it is a question mainly of presentation abroad. I think that it would not be so difficult, in the Czech Republic there is a lot of hard-working people and good designers, we also have good schools, but investment is a problem, the business just simply does not work here. You need to do promotion abroad, someone must go with you, these are big investments, so that is why I think that so far nobody did really well in this respect. A lot of young graduates also work for well-known brands. But they don´t have their own brand. They only work for well-known salons, designers. Maybe it is just a matter of time.
Do you have some ambitions in this respect?
I thought in general. For my part, I try. I have recently been contacted by foreign magazines and media, I think that it was the German Marie Claire, where we sent photos published here. So, exhibitions, shows. These are one-off things, but then a lot of clients return, who are residents abroad.
Before that I have been with the collection at such an interesting exhibition in New York where there was a fashion show held simultaneously with an ongoing best-known exhibition of 3D printing in the arts and fashion. It was extremely interesting.
What about your private life? How do you relax?
One must relax. I spend a lot of time in nature, I exercise yoga, I run.
Where have you been on your last vacation?
Because I usually travel somewhere; business trips are mostly abroad, I am sometimes glad that I am not travelling. I have spent this summer in Moravia in a small village and I worked there, too. But easy does it! I alternated it for example with swimming, but everything in a nice, laid-back pace.
Do members of your family want you to design something for them, to tailor it?
In the vast majority of cases they choose things which are in the collection. I don´t have much time. From time to time I create something, but it is not that often.
Do they not want something original, that no one else has?
No, not that. I will explain it to you - I like about clothing that I cannot see any problem with it, that is why there should be just one piece. I think that with clothes it doesn´t matter that it is not an original.
Are you trying in the manufacture of clothes and choice of materials to be environmentally friendly, animal abuse issues?
The issue of sustainability is to me the biggest issue today, and not only in fashion. It is very important to me and I try to make quality garments. The worst thing for me is seasonality, speed in everything and the surplus which is produced here. Some of my customers say that even after ten years they like my garments, that the piece is not even ageing on the inside, the idea, nor the material, and that it is of such a high quality that it lasts a really long time. So, this I think could be the solution.
You create for others, how is it with shopping for yourself? Is there something that you "let yourself go"?
In a normal way, shoes, everything possible. I think that I don´t go crazy about anything.
In what direction, or where do you want to move your brand?
I am perhaps a fairly ambitious person. I would like to move things a step further. At the same time, I am not set on it, I simply enjoy it. I would like to make one more step, but I am not going to tell you anymore. However, the basis is desire, desire to create, so that you enjoy it.