Exclusive Interview with Edwin Europe’s Pascale Koehl

The Fall/Winter 2013 women’s collection from Edwin brings with it the introduction of Pascale Koehl as its new designer. We sat down with the designer to discuss her debut collection for Edwin and her passion for denim.

Edwin has been at the forefront of the Men’s denim market since their conception in 1947. In recent years, the Japanese brand has become increasingly popular throughout Europe, thanks to the Edwin-Europe counterpart that has seen the brand expand beyond its humble denim beginnings to a full apparel line. Fall/Winter 13 sees the brand expand even further with the progression of their womenswear line and the introduction of the newly appointed womenswear designer, Pascale Koehl.

Prior to joining Edwin, Pascale built her passion and knowledge of denim while working as stylist and head designer at Parisian label, Aprill77. Alongside this, in 2010, Pascale launched her own label MOONCHILD, a fair trade line inspired by the Peruvian artisanal communities, where all the garments are handmade.

With this extensive knowledge, Pascale has confidently stepped into the womenswear role, bringing a broader appeal and identity to the feminine counterpart. Like the menswear line, the women’s collection is based on functional and commercially appealing contemporary clothes, rather than high-minded design. Fall see the introduction of a number of new denim fits, including sleek high-waisted pants, mulled colored leather biker styles and leather look coated cotton shorts. Colourful jacquard prints, cashmere, silk, wool blends and soft flannels lift the line while subtly nodding to ethnic influences of the designer’s own line. Meanwhile, items like heavy knitted ponchos, oversized cardigans, and retro-inspired slub tees present the subtle, nuanced codes of Edwin in a new, simple way.

Here, we speak to Pascale on her debut collection, inspirations and developments for the womenswear line:

What is it that inspires you most for denim design?

I am inspired by all that surrounds me, nature, animals, citys, travel, my friends, my family and peers…Music is a big influence on my creativity, it is part of my daily life. My boyfriend is a musician and collector! I am surrounded by more than 1,000 vinyls and CDs, a dozen guitars, effects pedals of all kinds, amplifiers, collector boxes and a music library …I listen to a lot of 70s psychedelic rock, progressive, blues and folk … I’m fascinated by Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd, they influenced my brand MOONCHILD.

I also love to discover more current groups (Tame Impala, ALT-J, Beach House …). Movies also have a lot of impact on my vision of fashion. I am particularly sensitive to contemplative cinema and directors such as Andrei Tarkovsky, Gust Van Sant, but also surreal cinema like Kenneth Anger, Alejandro Jodorwsky.

What is it that brought you to Edwin?

Initially, I just think I had a very good feeling about Rey Gautier and the Edwin”team”. The Edwin lifestyle and products speak to me and inspire me.  

In my opinion the Edwin’s men’s collection joined on many points that I created for my own line. I found there this need for large spaces, trips with friends, adventure, travel, contemplation, introspection, freedom, a vision, rock’n roll ….Today, I feel implicitly trusted, it is very important to move forward and impose a vision. I feel more and more invested and involved in the collaboration … the best is yet to come!

With menswear and dry denim as the core business of Edwin, how do you approach and counter this with your womenswear designs?

Creating a collection for a woman within a brand that has masculinenety already heavily inked in its DNA is a very interesting opportunity, stylistically speaking, and a real challenge! The Edwin woman’s line was previously a small collection, so I had an opportunity to create a true identity, a soul for the Edwin woman.

Who is the Edwin woman? 

The Edwin woman is a free spirit and knows her own mind, she travels along the same path as the Edwin man, occasionally running parallel to one another. Built on solid Edwin foundations and utilising the same values and techniques that have been refined over the years, the Fall/Winter collection takes a new direction, redefining itself, making it a complete and feminine collection

How have you built the womenswear line? Are their female equivalents of the menswear pieces or have you created a new voice the for the womens line?

My role in this collaboration is to create an identity it own image while retaining the existing foundations and lifestyle, to communicate the same values and the same vision. It’s like taking two different paths to reach the same destination, and sometimes the paths cross and meet. It is not always easy to implement, but the process is very interesting.


Photography credit: Fred Mortagne

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