One To Watch: Stefanie Biggel

02.03.2016 | Fashion | BY:

For those perpetually in search of a little sartorial freshness, Stefanie Biggel is a designer to watch. The 31-year-old, who originally hails from Zurich, spent a year in London before deciding to live and work in Athens, and is in the midst of building a successful brand built on desirable separates that are imbued with the fluidity of youth, gender and contrasting mediums. In essence, it’s the perfect collection for ‘generation Y’ – with references spanning Kurt Cobain and Larry Clark films to political correctness and superstar celebrity; the latter a jumping board for her latest collection, ‘Hysteria’.

Here, we speak to Stefanie and showcase some exclusive, never-before-seen images of her creative process for the new season.

You trained in Basel, Switzerland – how was that? What kind of cultural stimulation does it offer?
The education at my university was really good. Also in terms of handcraft. This was always very important to me. That’s why I still make all the samples myself. It’s part oft he design process for me. On the other hand the town was very small and I wanted to leave at a certain point and move on. I can’t be in the same place for too long. This has changed a bit since last year. It was really good for me to move to Greece and slow down a bit.

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Stefanie Biggel

How long did it take you define your own aesthetic? Or is it still evolving?
I feel like it’s constantly evolving in a way. It suits my personality. But after seven collections and reaching a certain age I can express myself a lot better and speak out what I don’t like. I’m more relaxed. When you’re insecure people from the industry always try to push you in a certain corner, try to form you. I know about my insecurities and they belong to me and my work. It’s okay to not be perfect.

Descriptions of your work often include the word ‘boxy’ – what is it about this silhouette that appeals to you?
‘Boxy’ ist just one of many silhouettes. They all interest me. One day I feel like wearing a unisex look, the other day I wanna show my body. It depends on the mood and can change constantly.

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An exclusive preview from the ‘Hysteria’ collection

Androgyny is a continuous theme throughout your collections – why is that? And how do you think it contrasts with some of your more feminine details?
I like experimenting with contrasts and don’t want to create these categories like what’s ‘feminine’ or not. To be a woman has so many different aspects that can’t be described easily. This is what interests me the most. It’s very intuitive.

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Exclusive images of Stefanie’s studio

How many people work on your collections? Are you very hands-on in every aspect of the business?
Yes it’s basically just me. I like collaborating with people and share my ideas with them but when it comes to making the actual sample collection, I’ll do it myself. I used to have interns in the past but I sometimes have a very specific idea of how things should be made. I prefer having an assistant that’s evolving with me but moving cities so many times made this difficult. Since my goal is not to make huge collections it somehow works out for me. I simply love working with my hands. But I definitely need people around me like stylists, photographers, and textile artists to create that vision together.

Of course I know a lot about the proper business part too, but I prefer having a showroom agent than selling the collection myself. They’re just more experienced and the whole networking thing is massive. I wouldn’t be able to do that myself.

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The ‘Homesome’ presentation in Paris

Who is the most well-dressed person you know?
Basically everyone that is authentic in their wardrobe choice.

Do you wear your own pieces?
Yes, a lot.

Have you been inspired by another designer over the years? If so, who and why?
I wouldn’t call it inspired but there are of course brands I like a lot. Right now it’s Vetements for that new spirit they brought into the industry. I like people that want to change something and not strictly follow the rules.

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The ‘Homesome’ presentation in Paris

Who would you most like to see wearing your pieces?
Real women that like to change and evolve and like to have fun, are serious, have to struggle and find their way in life.

How would you describe your customer?
My customer likes clothing of good quality that you can wear for any occasion and throughout the year.

Do you think that business acumen is as important as creativity in launching your own label?
Yes totally. It’s a proper business in the end and you often can’t afford paying someone to do these things for you in the beginning . But I still think the most important thing is to know the right people from the industry. You also need a bit of luck.

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The ‘Homesome’ look book, shot by Amanda Camenisch (and main)

If your collection was a song, what would it be?
For ‘Homesome’ probably a Punk song including some strings and techno. A wild mix of everything.

Which Larry Clark movies in particular inspired the latest collection?
It was mostly Kids which transported that feeling of being connected to a group very well. You are looking for this as a teenager. You want to be part of something.

How would you like to take your work to the next level? What does the remainder of 2016 have to offer?
I just finished my latest collection ‘Hysteria’ and I am getting ready for Paris Fashion Week. I don’t know yet what will come next. I need some space to let things happen naturally.

Is there anything that we’d never see in a Stefanie Biggel collection?
I’m pretty much open to anything. There shouldn’t be too many rules.

Shop the collections at stefaniebiggel.com

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Insight Photography

23.01.2013 | Art , Blog | BY:

Iconic is an often overused word, but when someone manages to not only profoundly shape their art form, but also stay relevant 20 something years into their career, the term is more than justified. Opening today at the ICA, Juergen Teller: W00 is an expansive study of the Erlangen-born photographer’s work.

From his black and white images of Kurt Cobain during Nirvana’s tour in 1991 to the provocative nudes of Vivienne Westwood, every honest and intimate portrait by the German photographer, alongside his longstanding collaborations with brands such as Helmut Lang and Marc Jacobs, not only commemorates his longevity as both a commercial and art photographer but also shows that aside from his trademark overexposed photography technique, what really makes a Juergen Teller image is his connection to the individual.

During a preview of the exhibition yesterday, Teller spoke openly about his work process and decades’ worth of pressing the shutter button:

“With every picture you have to be really open and honest about it and tell people what you want to do. I have no idea what I am looking for in an image, it really varies. I have to have complete concentration on the subject, I never have music playing or people standing behind me talking, it drives me crazy. I need the full attention, of their attention to me as I have attention to them, and that’s why it’s powerful and direct in every picture. My way of working hasn’t really changed that much since the beginning, but I have become a lot more careful, project-based and tend to work in series. I am more confident and secure within myself.  I want to explore and see things, I’m curious about life. You only live once, you can’t just be miserable and complain all the time, you have to take risks to do something exciting and that’s what I try to do. You have to fucking go out there and do it.”

Juergen Teller: Woo exhibits at ICA until March 17.

ica.org.uk

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Teen Spirit

14.09.2011 | Blog , Culture , Thoughts | BY:

In the Nineties a three-piece band from Seattle unwittingly created a cultural shift that ensured grunge would be one of the most enduring phenomena of the decade. This September marks twenty years since the release of Nirvana’s seminal album Nevermind. To celebrate The Loading Bay Gallery are hosting and exhibition of the bands work. A hoody worn by Kurt Cobain, tour posters and other memorabilia, it’s all about Teen Spirit and a mark of the ongoing influence Nirvana has with their fans old and new.

Bloom: The Nirvana Nevermind Exhibition is at The Loading Bay Gallery, Brick Lane until 22 September 2011.

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Coming of Age

18.08.2011 | Blog , Culture | BY:

In the Nineties you needn’t have looked further than Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love to understand the spirit of the age. The couple embodied the grunge aesthetic that dominated a decade of cool in fashion and music. And in the Noughties no man influenced the look more than Dior Homme’s Hedi Slimane, whose inspiration came straight from the skinny young men he saw at gigs and on the street.

Since leaving the label in 2007 Slimane has brought his lean dark look to his photography and regularly uploads his encounters on his online diary. His latest entry, a series of portraits with 19-year-old Frances Bean – daughter of Kurt and Courtney – is a coming of age moment in recent pop cultural history. Having spent 19 years out of the lime-light, Frances’ is now a haunting beauty in her own right. Slimane’s images of her are all tattoos and ripped up jeans. It’s the portrait of an age moved on,  but that still has all the angst of its forebears.

hedislimane.com

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