Mark Jan Krayenhoff van de Leur

I was born in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada in 1958, and grew up on the west coast of B.C. I studied architecture and worked for 30 years, mostly in Toronto and New York City.

I moved to Berlin with my husband in 2013 and our lives changed dramatically. This is when I started designing clothing. I’ve always loved fashion and wanted to try my hand at it. I only had some vague notions when I started, and have been delighted to find more and more ideas appearing as I go along. I have no formal training, and apart from a few Youtube tutorials, am completely self-taught.

Since I’m an architect, an architectural, tectonic approach is evident in what I do. I’m interested in finding new ways of making clothes – thinking about a fundamental question: how do you take a flat piece of cloth and make it into a three-dimensional garment to fit the body? Most of my designs have an original concept and a logic, and most often, the decorative effects are a natural expression of the concept and construction.

I create new pattern concepts to make a garment as a three-dimensional, sculptural whole. My goal is to have a completely integrated design – one concept that defines every aspect of the shirt. I realize this can all sound quite abstract, but everything I’ve said has a direct correlation to aspects of my designs.

To date, almost everything I’ve done is a one-off prototype. I am happy to make pieces to order. Most of my garments are quite labour-intensive in pattern research, development and sewing, and the prices reflect this.