How Stine Goya went from a model to a fashion editor to a designer with her own label on Net-a-Porter
Some kind of fairy tale
Even if we take the (slow and long overdue) industry shifts into considerations — especially where body positivity and racial inclusivity is concerned — the modelling industry still runs on an unforgiving engine that spits out more than it sustains. It's the reason why Tyra Banks began building her television empire at the height of her catalogue and runway career in the early noughties. Some also say Karlie Kloss' tech venture, Kode with Klossy, is a reflection of the same outlook, that modelling is not forever. There is hope, as these silver goddesses defy that very sentiment, but every smart woman (and man) with a vision will echo this: there's no harm in a plan B.
Or a plan C and even a plan D for that matter.
Stine Goya left Copenhagen for Central Saint Martins around the same time as Tyra Banks' chapter two began. As a student, she decided to model on the side to pay for the bills. When that alternative picked up, she pressed paused on school, leading her to a stint in fashion editing at Danish magazine, Cover. A year of pushing pencils later, she launched her eponymous line, lauded for its inexorable administration of colour and print, now available on Net-a-Porter.
Her secret is really no secret at all. She tells her story, after the jump.
You were a model and fashion editor before you began your label. Tell us about that.
I moved to London to study fashion design at Central Saint Martins. During that time I started modelling on the side, which eventually led to a break from my studies, as that started to pick up. The name Goya was actually given to me during the time I was modelling when my Danish first name Stine proved hard to pronounce. It followed me ever since and resulted in the brand name Stine Goya. After my time in London, I decided to head back to Denmark and fell into styling, before founding the brand in 2007.
Was it always part of the big plan?
It was never part of grand plan; it happened naturally, from going back to Denmark for work and realizing that I had something to add to the local fashion scene. I already had the contacts from the years working as a model and styling and they led my re-entry into the creative process.
What were your favourite things about those two careers?
Inspirational travels and encounters that resulted in lasting friendships. The contacts I made while modelling and as an editor have remained friends, and we continue to work on projects together to this day.
And things you didn't like so much?
Of course, there was also a flip side, being away from family and those I cared most about. But the jobs were also paths that led to the founding of my namesake brand Stine Goya, which united the experiences that I gained along the way.
"There was a flip side, being away from family and those I cared most about. But the jobs were also paths that led to the founding of my namesake brand"
What were your biggest lessons in your "past life" that are applicable now?
They were many, but the access and insights gained from the industry has been something that has helped me build my business, having had a well-rounded understanding of how each part of it works.
As an ex-fashion editor, what are your thoughts on fashion influencers?
Inspiration comes in many forms and fashion influencers are another line of that. Perhaps it will go full circle as the micro-influencer trend seems to suggest, which is also in line with the moment individualism is having.
In that vein, how do you think the fashion scene has changed over the last few decades?
Change is inevitable, but the last decade has been unique in its rapid pace. The rise of social media and online shopping has opened the international market up to smaller brands, something that has of course been beneficial to us.
Tell me about your label. What are the top 3 things you'd want the world to know?
The Stine Goya brand values, which are artistic, playful and bold. They have become our design mantra and approach to the brand, and inspire the choice of colour, prints and silhouettes.
What would you say are your signatures?
Timeless and wearable pieces with a feminine twist, that stand out and empower the women wearing our designs to express their individuality. It is important to us that we inspire and make our own imprint on the ever-evolving cycle of fashion. Colour infuses all our collections and we have become known for our distinct colour palette that includes the Goya signature pink. Our in-house prints are also something we are proud of, and that sets us apart from our Scandinavian contemporaries.
"Inspiration comes in many forms and fashion influencers are another line of that. Perhaps it will go full circle as the micro-influencer trend seems to suggest, which is also in line with the moment individualism is having"
Which are your favourite pieces from the spring collection you launched at Net-a-Porter? How would you style them?
For Spring we have some great evening wear which we are really proud of, floor length gowns, such as the Regitze — or Madeleine sequin dress that are perfect for black tie events or summer weddings. We have also created some Net-a-Porter exclusives, our Gigi trouser and matching Virgo shirt, a print applique set, which is great for a more low-key affair. Soon our PF18 will be launching with some key new styles, including our silk floral printed dresses and matching shirts, which are perfect for high summer.
What is your number one advice when it comes to wearing prints?
Be brave! I personally love a clash, either in colour or prints. Work around a base print and add an accent — that is usually a good start.
If we can only buy one investment piece this season, what should it be?
One of our wrap dresses or kimonos, which are perfect with a pair of jeans at the office, or as a wrap around for the beach, and for a night out paired with some slinky sandals.
We saw the rise of athleisure and its transition into streetwear in the last two to three years. Where do you think fashion is moving to next?
Hopefully towards a more sustainable approach to design, away from trends and the fast fashion model. Indications of this shift can be seen in how the industry is taking inspiration from design and art, disciplines which have long followed this model. Creating lasting and timeless pieces has been part of our design ethos since the beginning and we also hope this is the way forward for the entire industry.