J S SHIN is a womenswear label created and owned by the emerging designer Joon-sik …
“You have to be passionate in what you do, every plan needs more time than what you imagined at the beginning.“
Kilenz is Hanna and Anna’s delicate concept. It was a warm afternoon of summer when we decided to have a friendly chat with Hanna, 28 years old from Munich, in order to get to know their brand better. After 6- 7 years of studies and traineeships in several ateliers to gain experience, she pursued her dream with a friend, the other Anna, a former fellow student. In 2012 they launched Kilenz in a cellar in Munich, mainly friends and family were coming in, the main strategy was organizing parties to entertain and attract new clients and get known, was really though attracting more clients. In April 2014 they moved into the current atelier in Glockenbachviertel, since then their growth has been fast and stable.
Currently Hanna Wolf is leading Kilenz alone since Anna Hinterdobler left the business at the end of last year.
Let us talk about your marketing strategy.
The promotion of the brand happens most of the time by word of mouth, people have a look at the windows and come in, sometimes we produce small handouts and other times we throw nice parties so that our clients may have a drink, get to know the place, being intrigued by the product, the downside of this strategy is the small budget available, it is not easy to do everything we’d like to.
Second of all, it would be great to be a green company, regrettably it’s really expensive. More important: it’s hard to get the desired materials in organic or fair trade quality. The fact is that I really care about this issue, my mother who had an organic shop had a significant influence on me this is why environment is important to me.
How did you start to work together with Anna?
We started working in different companies but the fashion world is not an easy world, that’s why we decided to try to push ourselves beyond our limits and create something together. We spent half year thinking and discussing about the project, in January we started and in April the opening occurred presenting our first collection. Usually we work independently, each one of us on its own, in a second step we merge the ideas and it is definitely thrilling how they always fit.
Why the name Kilenz?
It means 9 in Hungarian: we started 9 years ago, me and Anna met 9 years ago. We changed the name a little bit, “Lenz” in German means Spring, we also tried to find a combination of different things that makes the name sound original.
Generally you opt for a static photo shoot, why?
I prefer to keep it simple and easy. I love it pure and straight, it shouldn’t be too much.
What are the people in Munich looking for?
Some people don’t know what they are looking for and most of the them don’t know what they’ll find by us. They come because they need a dress for a special day so we try to give them what they need, we showcase several options, starting from the colors for instance. We can customize everything or just details but we always stick to our style. We usually need around 6 weeks to realize a dress, but of course it depends on the specific case.
Do clients really realize how long it takes to make a dress?!
Usually they try to get earlier what they want! The first appointment is just to decide what the final desired product should be, after that my research focuses on the fabrics needed and eventually their purchase. In the following phase they come in to wear it on so we can start to make the right adjustments. Around 2-3 appointments are necessary to get the job done.
Which kind of customers come here?
They are so different: it could happen to be my neighbor or a princess!
It’s always exciting to find out the result of the combination of our style and their style. At the end of the day what matters is that we have both to be happy. If I think that the dress is not suitable for the customer, I just say it and we proceed only to produce something that both we appreciate. It is a collaboration; if I do something that I don’t sincerely approve to be worthy, then at the end of the day nobody will be content.
From which fashion designer are you inspired?
I really love Dries van Noten. He is still independent and I think that this is great, he is really cool and successful. The whole concept is good, you can always notice when the clothes are from him.
How do you think you can inspire somebody?
“Less is More”, I want to show that simple things can be the right option. Fashion is often too much, too overloaded. A lot of people would look better if they rather choose the “Less”. I try to suggest to some of my friends for example, by telling them what they could try on, sometimes a person doesn’t understand alone what look is better for itself.
What would you say to somebody who show a dream like yours?
You have to be passionate in what you do, every plan needs more time than what you imagined at the beginning. Work very hard for a long time and later maybe you’ll get famous. I think that you need at least 4 or 5 years to see some results. It’s always a risk but you have to try. If you have a lot of money it can be easier, but otherwise you need a lot of creativity and work.
Our families strongly supported us, not financially but by doing for us everything they can, all the way until now they did everything necessary to make our dream happen.
What do the people say of your job?
Most of the time they only see the brightest side: they think that our job is amazing, they envy the fact we are able to spend our time doing something so creative, but they don’t realize the downside: for example, the struggle with the money, at the end of the month we have to count every penny because we don’t have a real salary, we need time and patience to get there.
Do you have time to travel? Where do you get your inspiration?
Unfortunately I don’t have so much time to do it as often as I would like. I often take my inspiration from the daily life, my environment and the people. Traveling is a way to get more and more inspiration, but anyway what I design is what I would like to wear and what my customer could actually wear in the daily life.
Any project for the future?
I would like to expand the brand and take the basic collection in more cities but what it is important for me is to lose not the contact with the reality, we like the glamour of the international world of fashion, yes, but our main goal is to have always real people wearing our clothes, I won’t ever sacrifice the connection with our regular customer.
To get more information, please visit: http://kilenz.com
The shop is in Jahnstraße 52, Munich.