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Amélie Hentschel was born and raised in Paris, France. After studying fashion design at LISAA in Paris and at Central St. Martins College of Arts & Design in London she worked for several French and English designers, including Roland Mouret. In March of 2010, she decided to start her own label AH310, which includes her Handmade Caps project and a womenswear collection.
How did you come up with the idea to recycle old t-shirts?
Everybody has some worn out t-shirts in their wardrobe that they don’t want to separate from – because of their memorable history or the aspirations associated with them. Keeping a piece of the past by turning them into practical, casual accessories came as a matter of course. In order to connect people and their stories, I use a piece of the old shirt to compose the reverse side of the cap’s shield. This gives continuity and adds even more individuality.
Why of all things did you choose to make caps? Could it not have been any other garment?
T-shirts and caps have in common a simple shape and design, and the aspect of practical wear. They also both possess an authenticity of the classic.
And why cycle caps? Are you a passionate cyclist?
I quite like cycling but my husband is the passionate cyclist of the family. The first Handmade Cap was a birthday present for him.
How does one get one’s favourite t-shirt transformed into a hip cycle cap by you? Can people contact you with a request? How much does it cost?
To order, just write an email to email@example.com and include the measurements of your head circumference. Then send the chosen shirt to my address and within a few days I will return the custom cap. As everything is handmade, it’s €45 per cap.
How many requests do you get per month?
It depends on the season – from one to six or more. Summertime and the period before Christmas is quite busy.
Have you ever thought about expanding your collection and also making other garments out of old favourite t-shirts?
When my eldest child was born, I actually expanded the range of recycling t-shirts into babywear: so dads-to-be can have their favourite (but worn out) shirt transformed into some baby trousers, for example.
Apart from the caps, you also design clothing. What characterizes your collection?
Sophisticated simplicity, distinctive lines and functional style in combination with exclusive fabrics.
That’s in complete contrast to the caps. How does that work together?
It might seem far apart, but the concepts of both projects agree in some points: both are custom and handmade one-off pieces, both are made to last, both are in their way stylish pieces, comfortable to wear any time of the year. Sometimes customers even intersect!
You grew up in Paris, lived in London for six years and now you live and work in Karlsruhe, Germany – a fairly unusual development for a fashion designer. How did that come about?
Indeed. 😉 After having studied and worked in Paris and London for nearly ten years, moving to Karlsruhe was due to personal reasons. Metropolises are great for a certain period of time, but I wanted my family to grow up in a more lifelike environment. Also, by then I had gained enough experience to start my own label, a dream I always had. So I took the opportunity! … and I am still very happy about my choices.