Made his First Dress as a Four-year-old – and a Dress for Princess Alexandra when he was 12
At the tender age of twelve Mark Kenly Domino Tan designed his first dress for Princess Alexandra of Denmark. At that time he had already designed many dresses. The first ones he made when he was four years old. – I was an ordinary boy who was playing with cars, swam, danced and played badminton, but I loved to sew and was lucky that in my home town of Ry I knew Mrs Smith, Mrs Emma Smith, who had been a dressmaker. She ran an evening class which met once a week and I was allowed to participate and consume sponge cake, Swiss roll and powdered milk with my coffee, he says.
A friend’s mother bought one of his dresses, and he also made a dress for his brother’s girlfriend; the big breakthrough came when he created a dress for a French customer – black velvet with a two-metre long train and a low cut in the back – for the millennium celebration in Paris.
Subsequently he made three dresses for a shop in Ry; then he made dresses for a local fashion show, and since then he has expanded so much that his clothes are sold in many parts of the world. Fashion journalists call him “The Wonder Kid” and speculate whether he is going to be the new Erik Mortensen. – No, he says, he’s not. He would like to make a little haute couture but is working hard to establish his own production collection.
Mark Tan’s journey went from Ry via the tailor school in Odense, The Scandinavian Design College in Randers and Design School Kolding. From there he continued to develop his craft in some of the most famous fashion houses including Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Sonia Rykiel.
In 2012, Mark launched his namesake label and quickly became known for his ability to create aesthetic mid-century silhouettes anchored by structural tailoring and experimental use of fabrics. The same year he won the National H&M Award, and the following year he debuted at Copenhagen Fashion Week with his S/S 14 Collection, praised by both the national and the international press.
Mark won the Danish Design Talent Award in 2014, and in 2015, as the first fashion designer ever, he received the Crown Prince Couple’s Star Dust Prize for his creative work with materials, idiom and clear focus on responsible fashion.
He claims he does not strive to make his clothes sustainable. – But I have a responsible approach to design, he says and talks about the materials he’s working with at “Kvadrat” and about the maintenance-free and recyclable polyester that is stain resistant and does not produce fluff when you work with it. – The philosophy of the brand is to create beautiful and responsible clothing made of quality materials that can last a lifetime with minimal care, he says.
Mark Kenly Domino Tan is a unique brand in the sense that there is great emphasis on materials. The materials are essential to every collection and serve as a muse. It is a natural part of the design process to use the fabric as the foundation of a collection. The collection is divided into five key programmes with which Mark Kenly Domino Tan generally works. It is imperative that the company refines and develops these programmes each season. Mark Kenly Domino Tan presents two annual collections – Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter.
Mark Tan no longer accepts new customers.
Why Design School Kolding?
– For me Kolding was a very deliberate choice. I did not apply to schools in Copenhagen at all. I needed to focus on what direction I wanted to pursue, and the school’s fashion and textile department had a good reputation within my network.