Thomas Sehne, the co-founder of T/Sehne, finds himself at the intersection of fashion, design, and architecture. Yes, he’s a fashion designer crafting well thought-out, tailored, timeless pieces, but he looks beyond his area of expertise to build his collections. After graduating from prestigious Central Saint Martins and doing internships for brands like Balenciaga, he ventured into creating his own brand, one that totally aligns with his values and way of working. And with it, he’s giving the world a new take on menswear – although “there has been interest from a female audience right from the beginning,” he tells us in this interview.
Hello Thomas and Stephen, can you introduce yourselves and tell me what led you to founding T/Sehne?
My name is Thomas and I am the designer behind T/Sehne. I initially founded this brand together with my good friend Stephen, whom I had met at an internship in Berlin years ago. After graduating from Central Saint Martins, I worked at Balenciaga as menswear designer for two years. Stephen had just graduated from Amsterdam Fashion Institute, and we were both eager for a new challenge.  Hence, T/Sehne was born.  We have since gone our separate ways, but we still work together collaboratively on a project basis.
How do you approach collaboration with one another?
This was quite a natural process, with both of us coming from different backgrounds within fashion. With Stephen having a background in fashion branding, he was in charge of the art direction and the general organisation of the brand, while I was in charge of the design of the collection as a whole. Being such a small team, we would of course work everything collaboratively, pushing ideas back and forth between each other.
Thomas, tell me about your time at CSM. What did you learn in school?
CSM taught me to find my own way of doings things and to be persistent at doing so. It is a great place, challenging at times, but full of opportunity and inspiration.
Subtle luxury has found its way to the fore, yet your brand seems to articulate a different grammar of quality and prestige than quiet luxury. How does esotericism fit into this equation?
I believe that certain types of clothing exist for a reason and this will most likely never change. I want a coat to be a coat, a jumper to be a jumper, and so on. But I also believe there needs to be a quality that goes beyond that, a twist you have to dig a little deeper to uncover. A lot of my inspiration comes from experimentation with form and architecture, a sphere that is removed from fashion and approached differently. My aim is to produce pieces of a timeless quality, that are considered inside and out, pieces that are tailored and classically structured, but interpreted from a modern perspective.
How do you approach references for a collection?
This is a natural process that evolves from season to season. Architecture and contemporary art always play a role, but there is also a lot of inspiration that spans from previous seasons, ideas you continue to work on and refine further.
“The simpler something is, the more it is reduced to its core, the more experimentation it requires coming to life. Taking away from something is harder than it is to add.”
Your collections are largely gender flexible; do you ever hope to leave the menswear space?
I think this is something that is happening, without me having to do anything for it. While we initially started as a menswear brand, there has been interest from a female audience right from the beginning. While most of our garments are cut from a menswear base, it is there for whoever appreciates it.
How do you approach tailoring for a ready-to-wear collection? Your organic and quotidian colour palette augments the high-modernist approach to silhouette. Where do you find balance between colour and cut?
We usually start every new collection with the more structural elements: The experimentation with shape and cut, as well as the development of details. While certain colours are influenced and defined by the inspiration of the season, other colours complete the collection at a later stage. Developing our collections from overstock fabrics, we depend on what is available at the time. This includes colours as well as composition, quality and weight of the fabrics. We select these with the pieces we are sourcing for in mind at all times.
Similarly, where do you draw the line between simplicity and experimentation?
I believe there is no simplicity without experimentation. From my experience, the simpler something is, the more it is reduced to its core, the more experimentation it requires coming to life. Taking away from something is harder than it is to add.
Tell me about the stylistic range of your marketing campaigns. How have you selected creative collaborators.
We usually start mapping out the direction we would like to take things first, then see who might be suitable to help us achieve this. Over the years we have worked with the same people over and over, in different aspects of the work, as we think this creates a sense of community at the production. This has obviously always been Stephen’s field of expertise and in his hands. While we currently don’t work together on the brand any more, I am happy that we still get to work on the art direction together. Stephen is currently working on the preparations for the AW/24 lookbooks and marketing materials, both in terms of art direction and production.
The future is as exciting as it is scary. What next projects are you focusing on?
Fashion has always been a difficult industry to tackle, but the current times do not make things easier. We will of course continue to do what we do, twist things a little here and there. I think it is important to sharpen your focus in times like these, maybe even to scale back in certain areas, to further refine what you are good at. Plus, there has always been an interest in architecture and design as a whole, so let’s see what interconnections might arise from that in the future.