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Terry-Ann of Frenckenberger


"The type of people that like to wear cashmere are normally interesting people. We don’t know why, but it's a fact." Founded by Terry-Ann Frencken and Nathalie Schönenberger, Frenckenberger offers wardrobe essentials in the finest cashmere, giving simple silhouettes an opulent upgrade. The luxury Swiss knitwear brand is the creative combination of Frencken’s twenty years working with designer Rick Owens and Schönenberger’s wide experience in haute couture. Join us in conversation with Terry-Ann. 

Hi Terry-Ann. Could you tell us a little bit about your background and how you & your business partner, Nathalie, came to establish Frenckenberger?

We both have been in fashion for a while. I come from a Rick Owens background with whom I have been working with since his start 25 years ago. An amazing family. Nathalie has been in haute couture designing. We met 7 years ago though a mutual friend. She was a big cashmere lover and already had the contacts with an amazing factory in Inner Mongolia. The initial idea was that I would work with her for one season on a collection. It came out so well that we went to Paris to show it. FW18 in a 12m2 apartment. The buyers would buy lying on the bed and the collection would hang around the bed. It went so well that we understood that we would continue working together. We needed a name now as there was no way back. (FRENCKEN from Terry-Ann Frencken, BERGER from Nathalie Schönenberger).

Frenckenberger is known for pure cashmere. Refined and luxurious knitwear. What drew you to this material?

The type of people that like to wear cashmere are normally interesting people. We don’t know why, but it's a fact.

Aside from cashmere being just the most luxurious material, it's also very versatile. Knitting, weaving, intarsia, jacquard, thin, thick, felted and so on. One has so many possibilities with cashmere (sure, also with normal wool, though cashmere is cashmere). It’s amazing that there are so many possibilities in how to use the raw material in getting to an actual garment. Cashmere has endless possibilities which is what makes it amazing to produce a real complete collection.

A lot of research is continuously done to create new cashmere fabrics. A special team at the factory is working on all our requests to make those special FRENCKENBERGER experiments possible regarding combinations, weaving, knitting and sewing. All our cashmere had a special washing to reveal the softness. Finding the right balance between washing is really the trick for a final best knit outcome.The result is an extra soft, luxury cashmere.

How do you stay inspired from each collection to the next?

This goes like automatic. All of our collections are very connected to our personal life. It always comes from things that are happening or happened in our daily lives. Daily interactions with people and situations give us a theme idea for a collection and from there we move. Horses, artists we got to know in all sectors, beautiful architecture, a situation, a talk. We really get it out of daily situations, disconnected from fashion. This are the things that become a collection.

We rarely look or take account what is IN at the moment. We don’t even really know who are our concurrents in fashion. Sometimes it feels like we design from a lonely island. Maybe also true as we both live in a small town next to Zurich, away from any hype or pressure. Every collection really varies from the previous one as for colours as every season we are inspirited by a new situation we encounter or encountered.

We also do collaborations from time to time. Shane Macgowan, Richie Hawtin, Sylvie Fleury.. they are friends and we love to extend our family. We do it because both sides think it's fun. No one ever thinks about the profit. Maybe we should, but we do not ;). Having fun always ends in the best inspiration.

How do you like to wear and style your knitwear? Are there key pieces you consider must-haves?

We love the simple chic looks.

Cardigan with a big 180x180 cm woven scarf (folded as a bandana of course). Jeans and your boots and you have the absolutely chicest look.

Long tank dress with a long robe over it.

Sleeveless mini shirt with felted joggers.

Woven oversized suit blazer with a thin tank-top under it.

We do design FRENCKENBERGER cashmere in a way that all pieces of a collection fit well together. As we have a big variety of cashmere qualities, one can dress from head to toe in FRENCKENBERGER without it looking monotone.

You’ve been in the fashion industry for years- a very long time! What do you think of the industry now versus when you first started?

A lot has changed. Sometimes we miss the dramatic warm atmosphere. All got so computerized and digitalized. I think we can compare it with the time vinyl became MP3. Some warmth got lost. People also have less time. All seem to have the need to go fast and big. One tends to forget that buying fashion isn't only about the clothes. It’s about the whole atmosphere / experience that is created around it. Designers, showrooms, sellers, buyers, stores, and customers. This is fashion. There is money, though there is no fun for anyone if we don’t keep an amazing personal interaction and show of our characters. I think it’s important one doesn’t loose what it’s actually all about.

The best (fill in the blank):

you last had / listened to / read/
meal / song / book?

It’s hard to say what is the ‘best’ as it's often the great after-feeling one gets with things that sometimes weren’t even the best ;). Our dinners at the Fumoir in Paris always end up into situations that last in our mind.