Lena Lademann – Impeccably real
Some women simply have it all: their own individual style, natural grace, a knock-out smile, a great sense of trends. And Lena Lademann is one of them. But because she also has other traits, such as humour and self-irony, it’s difficult to hold all this perfection against her. With her individual mix of high fashion, Scandinavian minimalism, German work ethic and creative visual aesthetic, the Hamburg local is currently riding high on the international fashion wave.
This Interview is from J’N’C N °77
Lena, off the top of your head, what is it that you do differently from everyone else?
I think I just stayed true to myself right from the start; to my personal idea of aesthetics, visual imagery and concept development. This meant I have been able to develop my very own DNA and not get lost among the masses of social media content out there.
Looking back, what’s the biggest change that you’ve noticed in the influencer and blogosphere?
Regrettably, in terms of offer, content and creativity I’m not really seeing much change, foresight or variety there at all. The mainstream works best and has done from day one and brands often make their decisions based purely on quantity rather than quality. But it is nice to see that the German industry is now also becoming an integral part of the whole communications strategy.
Do you encounter prejudices in your professional life and if so, how do you deal with them?
Often people don’t recognise the depth, seriousness, or effort behind the influencer business. Paradoxically, I sometimes share that particular criticism. I also find it scary that content that’s implemented in a pretty basic way gets the most interaction without any claim to creativity or quality. Even if it seems that 90 percent of influencers only drink coffee on Parisian balconies, I know how much professional effort goes on behind the scenes. There’s a reason why this field of work is so successful: it’s because the demand is there.
“Unfortunately, many brands and PR agencies still have to learn that they’re not working with some soulless advertising platform.”
How do you interpret the term ‘influencer’? Does it fully describe you?
The term has become pretty flexible these days. It basically just describes a person who has an influence on people via their social media channels, which meanwhile includes models, actors and singers. Of course the term also applies to me, but doesn’t describe and define in detail all the aspects of my work, or what my focus is.
Do you select your cooperation partners based on any criteria in particular?
Yes, credibility. I turn down a great many cooperations where I know from the outset that we’re not on the same wavelength in terms of how the idea should be implemented. Unfortunately, many brands and PR agencies still have to learn that they’re not working with some soulless advertising platform, but that the influencer’s personality and individuality are what turns the channel into a successful account, whose followers follow them precisely because of that.
Instagram currently shows the reach of influencers by displaying like and follower counts on their profiles. What would change, for example, if these were removed?
It would mean that the focus was clearly and firmly on the content of the profile and numbers would no longer make up for a lack of quality. Brands would have to focus much more on image-consistent influencers, which, seen in the long term, would certainly be much better for their authenticity factor.
Speed and sensationalism seem to be a recurring theme for today’s generation, which often work to their advantage. But not always. What would you say is the ‘leitmotif’ of your own life?
I believe that the incredibly fast pace of our lives means we lose a certain depth. For example, I attach great importance to a healthy work-life balance, and in order to be truly happy I need to distance myself every now and then from my career and the industry I work in, which is why I always plan in enough time at home, away from my mobile phone and with my oldest friends, my family, but also alone. I truly believe that it’s healthy to surround yourself with people and things that offer a good contrast to your career. That’s how you stay grounded, versatile and open.
Speaking of friendship, in your dynamic jet-set life, it must be good to have your best friend Liberta by your side. How important is it for you to have personal relationships in this career?
Yes, that’s right, Liberta and I have such a close bond. We’ve known each other for ten years now and it’s the best thing in the world to be able to do a few projects together in addition to all the trips around the world I do alone. It’s a friendship with real mutual depth. In this industry, at least for me, that’s incredibly important, because the other contacts we cultivate are very fast-moving. Who knows what Liberta and I will be doing in the future, professionally or perhaps even together? We’d definitely like to do some more joint projects, perhaps also in the form of videos.
More and more influencers are becoming designers and entrepreneurs. Is that something you could imagine doing too?
I studied graphic design with a focus on marketing and communication. At some point along the line, everyone wants to keep developing or reinvent themselves. Six months ago, I received a request to design a shoe for a Swedish brand. As I like to be creative and I was given free rein to decide everything myself (starting with the design, to the image shoot, down to the layout of the newsletter), it was a great opportunity for me to express myself. It will be launched in August. In the future I could really imagine working as an independent creative consultant, offering my services to companies and/or magazines. In my opinion, especially in Germany, the fashion and lifestyle industry is often lacking new ideas, courage, creativity and sophistication.
If you had to provide a hashtag for your life, what would it be?