Leonie Hanne is one of the biggest fashion influencers in Germany. Her life changed fundamentally during the pandemic: no more trips, no fashion shows, no more parties. How does a job like this work from the sofa?
It should be cozy: Leonie Hanne in the new Marc Cain collection
Leonie Hanne sounds deeply relaxed on the phone. A few hours earlier, the fashion influencer posted a photo of herself on a walk in Hamburg on Instagram. She has lived there for a few months with her boyfriend, the photographer Alexander Galievsky. Every day she looks for an idea what she could do outside in order to leave the apartment during the lockdown, she says.
Leonie Hanne is one of the most internationally known German fashion influencers, around three million people follow the 32-year-old on Instagram. During the pandemic, her life, which was previously characterized by constant travel, changed significantly; much has shifted to the digital. See fashion shows, network, find inspiration.
Hanne also only followed the Berlin Fashion Week via the screen, such as the Marc Cain show. The label presented the autumn and winter collection 2021 in a film, which focuses on a casual, cozy look in earth tones. In addition to the trend outlook, the film also provided another insight: The digitalization of the fashion industry has also arrived in Germany - at Marc Cain, the new outfits were staged on "real" models and avatars.
D Fashion: Ms. Hanne, how did you experience the hybrid film made up of a fashion show and a digital work of art?
Leonie Hanne: It was a creative experiment that was implemented well. However, I love the living. The subject of fashion is very passionate and emotional. I think people can best convey these emotions. I hope that models will remain part of fashion in the future, even if we shift more and more to the digital. Physical shows also offer a different brand experience, for example how fabrics react to movement and light.
In Marc Cain's fashion film, models were seen alongside avatars
D Fashion: Hand on heart, what do you enjoy more: sitting in the front row on site or watching a fashion show from the comfort of your sofa on your laptop?
Leonie Hanne: I've never seen a show so stress-free and well rested. Of course, such a Berlin Fashion Week, which only takes place digitally, is more relaxed. For the Marc Cain show, my boyfriend and I had a lot of time to shoot the outfits provided by the label and we were able to relax at home to prepare for the evening. But I miss fashion shows in real life, I've always loved them. I can still remember the first time in Berlin before I started working as a fashion blogger. I saw the Fashion Week tent and wondered what exactly was going on in it. It's exciting to sit on the catwalk and be the very first to see the collections. I think the whole industry is hoping to get together more often in the future.
D Fashion: Do you think that the shift to digital can also offer opportunities for the fashion industry?
Leonie Hanne: The fashion scene can often seem quite isolated from the outside. So I prefer to share my experiences. The increased digitalization means that people outside of the industry can also participate, I find that much more inclusive. At the same time, the digital also brings challenges.
D Fashion: What challenges?
Leonie Hanne: For example, to clarify the difference between a commercial and a digital show. The designer JW Anderson solved this very cleverly by sending fabric samples to influencers and fashion bloggers before his show. So you could not only look at something, but also feel the fabrics. That gives the whole thing more depth.
D Fashion: How has your daily work as a fashion influencer changed as a result of the corona pandemic?
Leonie Hanne: Before Corona, I was out and about 320 days a year - at photo shoots, on red carpets and other events. I took my followers with me everywhere on social networks. All of that is gone now. I knew I wanted to keep making fashion even in times of pandemics. But I was also aware that I had to be informed and sensitive to my content. At the beginning in particular, it was not easy to assess the situation.
D Fashion: Are you one of those people who, during the forced Corona break, finally had time for long-planned but never implemented projects?
Leonie Hanne: Corona has led me to rearrange myself. I could see what I enjoy and where my strengths lie. My friend and I started our video training during the first lockdown. We looked at TikTok, the app was new territory for us, and we tried out how fashion works on the platform, how it can be made approachable.
We are currently in the process of launching a digital agency with a focus on videos, because we noticed that there is still a lot of room for improvement in this area in the fashion industry.
D Fashion: How has your private life changed since the beginning of the pandemic?
Leonie Hanne: We have lived in London for the past three years, but during the first lockdowns we noticed how important our home in Germany is to us. We finally moved to Hamburg and bought our first apartment. We are in the process of setting up ourselves, planning a kitchen. I'm also a passionate foodie. We started cooking in lockdown. We go to the market, buy the wildest types of pumpkin and cook up recipes that we discover on Pinterest.
And I've developed a morning routine: I write down what I'm grateful for or what goals I want to pursue, I meditate, I do a workout every now and then. I used to find walking very exhausting, but now I've come to love it. It inspires me to be outside and to perceive the surroundings. I've learned how to slow down my everyday life and will try to keep it that way.