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True Stories: Ilse Jacobsen of Ilse Jacobsen Hornbæk

It takes a truly bright spirit to inspire a sense of wonder on a rainy day. And that's just what Ilse Jacobsen Hornbæk does with her collection of sophisticated Scandinavian raingear featuring clean-lined Danish design in modern, urban colorways. Ilse has been designing for the label for over 20 years, which has grown to include flower shops and a luxury spa with an accompanying beauty line. Busy as she is, she was kind enough to take the time to chat with True Fit about her journey.

How did you get started in the fashion business and how has the industry changed? It all began to take shape after I had worked for another shoe brand for a few years. During these years I had a lot of ideas, which I started to believe in, so rather than selling other brands I wanted to sell my own designs. 23 years ago I bought a shop in my hometown of Hornbæk and launched my first own shoe collection. I launched my handmade rain boots some years later and my international success grew from there. After many successful years with designing and selling shoes, I wanted to complete the concept by designing a clothing line for women. The key look of the collections reflects a natural and relaxed attitude combined with elegance and femininity closely related to the Scandinavian lifestyle. I started all by myself, doing everything by hand and today I have around 200 people working for me. The biggest difference in the industry, from then to now, are the many digital solutions that make things much easier for us and give us many new possibilities.

What makes for a perfect fit? Which items do you turn to again and again? The perfect fit is the feeling of getting the perfect match in both look, feel and function for a specific occasion. For example, I love my rubber boots – I worked two years to develop the very first style and the specific fit of the boot. The result was a comfortable functional rain boot with a perfect fit. I always wear my rain boots all winter and during rainy days in the summer too. I live by the sea and that demands functional comfortable footwear and therefore it is a perfect fit and the best choice for comfort and function for my lifestyle. In my wardrobe I have a multitude of different dresses as well and I especially love my kaftan inspired dresses, which are perfect for everyday wear with sandals as well as for parties. I love when you can use styles for various different occasions. In my everyday life I often go directly from work to social events, dinners or giving lectures, so it is essential for me that my clothes are versatile. I often think of my dresses as ‘the perfect dress’ due to the many different styling possibilities, but the most important reason is that the dresses are perfect for the female body, in that they hide the things you want to hide and emphasize your attributes. Being a womenswear designer designing shoes, clothes, rain boots and rainwear, I work on creating that perfect fit and match for various occasions and different women.

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How would you describe your style? What inspires you to do the work you do? My own personal style is deeply rooted in the design philosophy of my brand and is based on relaxed luxury and smart casuals, underlining the distinct feminine style of my brand, merged with an urban city pulse. My main source of inspiration is the natural and raw beauty of my surroundings in Hornbæk but of course I get inspiration on all my travels as well, which adds an extra touch and nuance to the overall impression.

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What some of the mistakes people make when shopping for clothes? For many women it is actually quite an ordeal to shop for clothes. Most of us know exactly how to find clothes that complement our age and overall lifestyle, but the hard part is to find clothes that match and complement our shape. So instead of being all about the current trend people should be true to themselves. I think being honest about what we like about ourselves and what we want the clothes to hide and getting help in finding the right styles to do so, would help people buy their future wardrobe go-to-items.
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What do you see for the future of fashion – particularly related to the way people shop online?Studies show that more and more people will shop online in the future and that mono brand and flagship stores will characterize physical stores. Buying behavior is changing from people buying locally to increasingly buying globally via online stores. It is such an easy way to get the choice of all brands in just a few seconds and in our lives, where time is of most importance, shopping on the go on mobile devices will definitely increase.

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Shop Ilse Jacobsen Hornbæk at Nordstrom and Moosejaw and find your True Fit.