Q&A | HELIOT EMIL
Julius Juul and Victor Juul are the brothers of HELIOT EMIL— a Scandinavian, Ready-To-Wear brand created in 2016. Since then, the brothers have occupied the industry’s landscape with a unique design perspective and inclination for experimental approaches. The boundaries between form and function prompt exploration as each collection draws themes of curiosity and creative freedom.
Hailing from the industrial and monochromatic world of Copenhagen, Julius and Victor place importance in the details; custom developed materials, fabrics, and trimmings. Their most recent collection, ‘Referential Transparency’ encompasses such detailing with heat reactive thermo and water-resistant fabrics. Nontraditional, yet highly technical design. I spoke with head designer, Julius, to discuss the brand’s heritage, design process, and Spring/ Summer 2019 influences.
How did HELIOT EMIL begin?
We started HELIOT EMIL in 2016 with the first spring/summer collection showcased in Milan. Since we are brothers, and we both from a young age had an inept interest for the fashion industry, it was a natural choice for us to start something together.
We wanted to bring some heritage into the brand, and we did not want to name the brand after either one of us, so we went with our great grandfather's name. The name is for some people hard to pronounce, but we feel that it is a small and necessary acknowledgment of our Danish heritage.
How has Copenhagen inspired your monochromatic design aesthetic?
We have always been a part of the underground scene in Copenhagen, so for us it was a very natural source for inspiration, with the industrial and brutalist references are always present in the work, the SS19 show location and the significance it had in the industrial history of Copenhagen, the colorways, the materials and so on.
What experimental approaches further your exploration between form and function?
We develop custom fabrics that underpin the design process. An example is our heat reactive thermo fabric that changes color from grey to white when heat is applied. Our water-resistant fabric with a coated logo only appears when water is applied to the garment. The process of creating custom fabrics is much longer and more complex, but each season, it's important for me to develop something unique and innovative.
The pieces in the collection often transgress between different categories serving in a sense multiple functions but also offering shapes and forms that are non-traditional within their rigid categories. A hoodie with a technical jacket overlayer. Cropped and layered jackets. Knitwear with technical details and so on.
All of our designs have extreme attention to detail — everything from hidden pockets and messages in the clothes to different technical styling features. I use countless hours to develop these features, and even though I know that people may not notice or use some of these features, it is something I value a lot, and in the end, it is the thing that differs HELIOT EMIL from all of the other brands out there.
How does the emphasis on detail thread commonalities between each collection?
I am developing a familiar HELIOT EMIL silhouette that carries over from the different seasons. The custom developed materials, fabrics, and trimmings also carry over from season to season but are presented in relation to the theme of the collection.
The attention to detail in every garment is something that is a commonality between each collection and a core value of the brand. The familiar trimmings underpin each design and are often part of an exploration of the functionality of the garment in relation to the final form.
What does your creative process encompass for each season?
Each season is inspired by an overarching theme which is being referenced throughout the collection. While still continuing to develop the significant silhouette and voice of HELIOT EMIL.
Curiosity plays an enormous part in the thought process. I am always getting super into the different inspirations. I try to study all the subjects as much as possible, and I truly value learning new things. The AW19 collection titled 311FPS was inspired by the test given to AirForce pilots in their final training. It was amazing to read and learn about a subject which I knew very little about.
Explain the influences for the latest SS19 collection, 'Referential Transparency.'
The SS19 collection is titled 'Referential Transparency.' Referring to a computer programming expression, the function is said to be referentially transparent if it's replaceable. The collection explores how much of our personalities are replaceable, how much is transparent, and experiments with the balance of form and functionality. The fabrics range from a semi-transparent white to heat-sensitive thermo greys to deep black. The location of the show is significant due to its role in the industrial history of Copenhagen.
The next phase for HELIOT EMIL™ will be to continue the development of the company and further cementing our core values of the brand. With more financial stability, we are now able to develop fabrics and trimmings from scratch completely; we have less of a barrier in the creative process. We are at a stage now, where we are approached with new opportunities for collaboration in every branch of the company. Here it's vital for us to be as selective as possible, in order to have sustainable growth and to stay true to the brand.
The innovative nature of the brand has been receiving more attention than ever, and we plan to meet this attention with even more exciting and innovative projects in the future.
We are taking over an old machine factory in western Copenhagen and turning it into our new HQ. Our team has expanded rapidly, so naturally, we need more space. We are allocating a big part of the space to do a studio with the focus of developing innovative experiments.