Late last year, I met with Thora Valdimars in New York. We happened to have overlapping travel dates in NYC, so I was eager to meet in person to hear all about Rotate, a newly launched label she founded alongside Jeanette Friis Madsen. A fixture on the street style scene, Valdimars has a cool command on fashion that artfully blends streetwear with forward silhouettes. Madsen similarly has a penchant modern shapes and a masterful eye for bold color. Together, their fashion impulses inform their cool label.
On that morning in NYC, we sat down at The Butcher’s Daughter and chatted all about the brand. Soon after the breakfast, Rotate debuted on Net-a-Porter, and my Instagram feed became a steady stream of insiders wearing pieces from the label. The pieces are all between $250 and $560—a notably low price point compared to other brands sold by luxury retailers where they’re stocked. Interested to find out more about how the fashion insiders got their start and what we can expect from Rotate in the coming year, I chatted with Valdimars over food. Keep reading for our conversation.
As major fashion influencers, how easy or difficult was it to transition to the role of fashion designers?
Thora Valdimars: We were both working at the same magazine when we went to the meeting with Birger Christensen, so although we are influencers, I think because we were used to a 9-to-5 job with so many deadlines, research, and travels, it has made the transition so much easier for us.
Did you have any formal design training?
No, we don’t have formal design training—we just have a very clear idea of what is flattering and beautiful.
Where did you get your inspiration for your first collection?
We went to the ’70s and ’80s for inspiration with the first collection and mixed it with modern cuts and silhouettes. We wanted the collection to be like a candy store of all your favorite styles in beautiful colors and prints.
Who are you designing for? Tell me about who she is.
We design it for girls like us. At the time when we got the idea, we had the same monthly salary, but we were working in the fashion industry, so we were always going to all these different events and sometimes you really want to make an effort and dress up. However, everything was so expensive, and the things with the right price point were never really sexy or extravagant enough. So we thought if we felt this way a lot of girls were in the same situation, and that gave us the confidence to go out and make the brand a reality.
Launching your first collection at Copenhagen Fashion Week and nearly selling out in three short months, how are you keeping up with the demands for your brand?
We have an amazing team behind us that is working nonstop on the demands, and luckily everyone involved—even the ladies who produce the clothes—want to see this succeed. It’s really moving to see how everyone has just pitched in to make it a success.
What will we see next from Rotate?
We are working on an exclusive project that will be out in a couple of months, and then, of course, our second collection will drop in March. We are also currently working on our first on-schedule runway show, which is so exciting.