Katrine Leisner graduated from the Royal School of Design in Copenhagen with a focus on Shoe Design in 1990. “Just after finishing my education I was lucky enough to be hired by a very nice company in Copenhagen called BRUNO and JOEL. I worked there for 10 years and learned a lot”.
“When I was a little child I was always looking at the chic women shoes and at the age of 7 my dream was a pair of long red patent leather boots I had seen in Roma. After some time I got them from my grandmother- it was a big day!". Katrine Leisner’s passion for shoes, fashion and design has been cultivated since she was a child, a love that then thrived in a creature of her own: The Søstjernen Store.
It was 1999 when Katrine decided to open it in Østerbrogade, the street that overlooks the main canal of her beloved Copenhagen. Taste for simplicity, connection with nature and subdued colors typical of the Nordic artistic world. These are the ingredients of her collections, which blend thoroughly with Katrine's character. The knittings are made in Denmark and garment production in Tunisia.
For years she has been collaborating on a project that aims to help Tunisian women both personally and professionally through design education and the teaching of craft techniques.
"I spent my childhood in Tunis, and on Sundays we always went to the countryside, and I remember the feeling of collecting cork from trees to make my models. It was in the early 1970s" says Katrine, explaining what profoundly binds her to the city of Tunis. The project is based on a work of cohesion and solidarity, the key principles of Katrine who in this interview opens the doors to her artistic world, constantly in symbiosis with nature. “PèPè has been part of this universe since the very beginning. I have continued my very nice and lovely collaboration with Dario and Paola since then. PèPè belongs to my heart”.
What prompted you to create the Søstjernen brand?
I had become the mother of two girls whom I did not want to wear in clothes made of polyester and filled with logos. I thought there was a lack of something completely classic and simple, functional and of good quality on the Danish market.
Søstjernen means starfish, why did you choose this name?
My shop is located at the end of the lakes in Copenhagen, so it was obvious to find a name with a connection to the water.
Between clothes and shoes you seek simplicity and synergy, is it a concept that reflects your personality?
Yes. I love the simple and straightforward in my life.
Children are your brand protagonists, how much did becoming a mother influence in this choice?
I had such a hard time finding what I think was beautiful and useful for children in the market, so I had to start myself
Where do you find inspiration in your creative process?
I often find inspiration on travels where the focus may be sharpened, from beautiful floors and facades to shelled doors. Nature also means a lot, here I can also be fascinated by shape and colors.
What is fashion for you and what do you appreciate most about Italian fashion?
The concept of fashion has many aspects. Actually, I think aesthetics and good craftsmanship are more interesting. Sustainability I hope will fill more in our choice of products. I think many Italian brands are strong in their craft.
A famous person you would like to meet?
Maybe Michelle Obama or Audrey Tautou, there are many people I would like to meet.
The city you would like to live in?
Copenhagen, where I live.
The journey that has remained in your heart …
I have always traveled a lot. Many years ago I was in Damascus and it was such an adventurous city, with lots of beautiful colors and life.
Finish this sentence: I'm happier when I'm wearing …
A dream as an entrepreneur and a personal one …
I hope to be able to run my business model as before. Being so close to both customers and manufacturers is a great joy. I love my travels to Tunis where we produce the clothes and where I grew up as a child. I hope we will be able to live and produce more sustainably in the future so that our children have a better planet to live on.
What comes to your mind when you hear the word Pèpè?
From the first time I came across Pèpè, I loved the brand. My relationship with Dario and Paola is also part of the love, we have become such good friends over the years and I really have respect for them.
Thank you so much Katrine, we appreciate it!