Fashion designer, Jenny Schwarz, is the creator of bespoke menswear label Jenny Schwarz—an alpine infused collection influenced by her great grandfather and 1930s Bavaria.
During the 1930s, in the Bavarian town of Amberg, Jenny’s great-grandfather, Johann Schneider (nicknamed ‘the gentlemen daredevil’) ran a successful menswear atelier. When Jenny’s great-grandfather, wasn’t constructing coats in his workshop, he spent his time riding his horse through the woodland or hurtling down the Alps on wooden skis. By trade a tailor, for pleasure an adventurer.
Inspired by his rugged yet elegant style, Jenny’s merges nature’s architecture and bespoke tailoring with modern cuts and intricate panelling. Her clothing is designed for the creative man who seeks individuality, which is why Jenny showcases timeless, seasonal pieces, underpinned with raw materials.
Jenny stated: “The dichotomy between the two facets of my great grandfather’s personality is what drives the creative force behind the line. I use fabrics that bridge the gap between the function and form, providing a dual purpose and crossing the boundaries of usage”.
In the 1940s, like many other men, Jenny’s grandfather was called to war. This is where his journey ended.
Luckily his skills were passed onto Jenny, whose desire to create started from a young age. Jenny reminisces back to her childhood when she would sell her creations at school, motivated by saving up for a horse.
Listening to her mother’s advice to ‘master the traditional techniques of construction, to truly understand the art of garment creation’, Jenny undertook an apprenticeship with Gabriele Blachnik before studyinga BA in Menswear at Central Saint Martins, London.
Acknowledging that being a woman in the tailoring industry has had its fair share of challenges over the years, Jenny recalls being subjected to comments such as “I’m not sure I would buy a suit with a woman’s name in it. Maybe you should change the brand name…”
Today Jenny stands proud as a woman in the tailoring industry, reviving the courageous spirit and skill of her great-grandfather; she is proud to have her family name on her labels.
“Each garment is a fine balance. First and foremost, it must be practical but should also be interesting. The interest may come in the form of cloth used for an uncommon purpose, the positioning of a pocket or the line of a jacket. With careful thought and experience, it could be all three at once.”Jenny puts as much thought into the zip or the button as she does the fabric or the design.
Recognising that women have a more equal standpoint in traditionally male industries than ever before, now is a great time for women in business.
Jenny is currently in the process of setting up a womenswear label called Black & Fox and seamlessly divides her time between her role as fashion and textile course manager at London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA)and running her business.
“As a designer, when I had interns, I realised how little they were taught on the business side of fashion, sustainability and pricing garments. They just knew how to design. The fashion world is constantly changing, so it’simportant for students to be taught by people who are active in the industry—that’s the beauty of LCCA”.