Quintessentially Quaint

Signe Roedbro on Danish Design

By Lindsay Cooper

You can find the operations of Danish clothiers By Signe in a cozy residential neighborhood of the seaside town of Frederikshaven, Denmark. Inspired by her yearning for the comfort of childhood clothing, the brand was founded by head designer Signe Roedbro just last year and operates with only a small team. With the intimate crew carrying out everything from design to debut under one roof, By Signe has mastered minimalist Scandinavian design and the Danish concept of hygge. Pronounced hoo-gah, hygge is a uniquely Danish idea that has no equivalent phrase in English, but can be roughly translated to “providing physical and mental comfort”. Keeping this definition in mind, the notion might be best understood through the work done at the By Signe studio.

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Fanelle: Lets start with your beginnings in fashion: do you remember the first article of clothing you bought and fell in love with?

Signe: Hardly, but I do remember special favourite pieces of clothing from my childhood which I would wear until they were completely worn out.

F: Would you say those pieces are still reflective of your personal style today?

S: I would probably not say that they are still reflective of my style today. However, I focus a lot on the comfortability of our clothing and I find that the difference is in the small details of cut and fit. As a child, I think the comfort was more of a natural thing in your favorite clothing because you had to be able to run and play and move around anyway you wanted to. Today, we choose our clothing more based on looks than on what it feels like to wear it. I try to combine the two, and we constantly work on how to express the comfort and movement through visuals.

F: Speaking of style evolution, how do you describe your current aesthetic?

S: My current aesthetics are overall very Scandinavian and minimalistic.

F: Have you found that look reflected in By Signe’s designs?

S: My look is completely reflected in the brand’s designs. During the design process I am walking around the studio imagining how exactly the different fabrics and the final clothes will feel to wear. I would never design anything that I would not personally like to wear.

F: Could you tell us a bit more about what goes on in the By Signe atelier?

S: We have got the whole process gathered under one roof in our studio. We do our own production in Denmark in the same studio as our creative office and showroom, giving us great dynamics and the possibility to work more in season. Actually we are just moving into a bigger studio this month and we are very excited to create an inspirational and creative space in the beautiful surroundings of an old building.

F: And how does the environmentalist aspect of the company work into all this?

S: Our in-house production goes hand in hand with our sustainable image. To me, using organic fabrics would make no sense if the clothing was sewn by children, in a toxic environment, or under the minimum wage, just to name a few examples.

I have always liked the idea of an honest design process where the customers know exactly what they get. For fabrics to be certified as organic, all chemicals such as dyestuffs must meet both environmental and toxicological criteria. It is nice for the costumer to know what chemicals your clothing has or has not been treated with, but also that the people working in the industry have not been exposed to these.

F: What inspired By Signe’s sustainable skew?

S: I truly believe that sustainability is the future of fashion. We see most established companies trying to implement sustainable strategies nowadays and we kind of just chose to have it all covered from the beginning, hopefully always being one step ahead in the future.

F: Can you expand a bit more on the future of the industry? 

S: I hope that we will continue to see diversity in brands and designs in the future and, while technology keeps developing new and exciting kinds of recycled and sustainable fabrics, I think that the possibilities within the sustainable and ethical aspects of the fashion industry will only expand.

F: What do you think the future holds for By Signe?

S: We are looking at a very exciting future. As we are just moving in to a new and bigger studio, we can expand not only our production but also our creative space. This brings new energy to our work, which we constantly strive to improve and do better with every collection.

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Photographed by Kris Micallef
Find more on her website here: www.bysigne.com
Her instagram @bysigne