The Next Generation of Designers: Louise Bach-Mogensen, Hoi An
Originally written for Word Magazine, February 2016 Fashion Issue
85 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hoi An
Originally from Denmark, Louise Bach-Mogensen has called Vietnam her home for the past 16 years, after falling in love with the country while travelling here after university.
Though Vietnam has captured her heart, Louise has found a way to honour her love of her two homes through her fashion label O-Thala, named after an old rune from Viking times that signifies a return to the sacred land. Her designs for O-Thala are about finding a blend between Scandinavian minimalism and simplicity with the detail and intricacy of traditional Vietnamese embroidery and beading.
Louise has not always been a designer, but has been a closet artist since she was able to pick up a pencil or paintbrush. “I’ve always been fascinated by human bodies and movement,” recalls Louise. “When I decided to move into fashion design it was a fairly easy move, I just drew on my passion for humans and put clothes onto them.”
Many dream of what Louise has managed to achieve with O-Thala in managing to turn her creative hobby and passion into her profession, helped by her background in sales and marketing.
Louise finds inspiration everywhere; she recently saw a Bjorn Wiinblad illustration that triggered a print, and it is the little ideas like these that start sprinkling in slowly in her day-to-day life. “The beading on a shirt in the collection was created after I saw water running down glass — just being exposed to visuals can help you create,” says Louise.
The pieces Louise designs often have complex beading and fabric work, but she has a production team of six people who help her develop her work.
“Some of the beading for one piece alone can take up to two days to complete,” says Louise about this hard but rewarding work.