As the situation regarding climate change gets worse and worse, one has to look out for change. This also concerns all kinds of industries. Clara, a fashion designer from Berlin, does not only create empowering garments in a rather light color scheme but also works sustainably. With her slow fashion practice, she offers an alternative to nowadays' fast fashion cycle. In the past, her work has been published in Oyster Magazine as well as Numero Berlin and stars like Doja Cat and LIA LIA have already worn her designs.
Profession: Fashion Designer
Based in: Berlin
How did your career start? Why did you get interested in fashion design?
I grew up very interested in fashion, it has always been my way to express myself. When I went to fashion school and later interned and started working, my relationship with fashion and my attitude towards the industry changed, but I was also reassured that it was what I wanted to do.
When did you decide to focus on sustainability and slow fashion? Was it a natural process?
I’m definitely passionate about bringing much-needed change to the industry in terms of slower and more sustainable practices. Since my personal work is still on a very small scale and I’m doing everything myself, it comes very naturally.
What does slow fashion mean specifically to you?
Taking opportunities and responsibility.
Can you talk in detail about what it means regarding your design decisions, production process, and the sourcing of materials?
Sustainable practices like upcycling or zero waste pattern cutting can be great for the design process because they give you limitations and the material dictates the shape of the design. I really like that interaction of the material with the finished garment but it’s not my focus all the time. I make pieces made to order so there is minimal waste concerning that. Making everything here in Berlin gives the possibility to really focus on craftsmanship. While some of my design is trendy I really want to make good quality pieces that will be long lasting.
Do you face any challenges while working sustainably? If so, what are they?
Sourcing fabric on a small scale is not very transparent, most of the time I can’t find out how it is made.
Regarding the “slow” aspect of slow fashion, how long does it take to produce one of your garments on average?
It completely depends on a garment, but with pattern making, cutting, and sewing there are always several hours of work.
In times of fast fashion, do you think people will appreciate your work as well as the time and sweat that went into producing your garments?
Yes, I think the people that are interested in my work do appreciate it. The process of making the clothes is so important to me and inspires a lot of my work which I think also comes across.
What is your biggest obstacle starting out as a young fashion designer in Berlin?
The industry in Berlin is small and often very homogeneous; it's not always the most inspiring.
In comparison to other big European “fashion” capitals like London, Paris or Milan, why did you choose to work and live in Berlin?
I studied here and living and working in Berlin is very cheap. Living here hasn’t kept me from working with people in the industry all around the world, so it can be a nice quiet base.
According to your perception does slow fashion get accepted in Berlin?
I think there is quite a bit of interest in slow and sustainable fashion in Berlin, but it often comes with this DIY aesthetic that I'm not very into personally.
Your designs could be described as corsets that meet sporty elements and a pinch of the 2000’s aesthetic. What inspires you?
Haha, I love that description! I’m inspired by womanhood and expressions of femininity in all aspects of life. I love pop culture and I’m obsessed with subcultures, they inspire my work a lot.
As your designs often incorporate corsets, do they have a special meaning to you?
I’m very into historical European garments, the corset is such an interesting piece of clothing. The way corsets are made is an art form in itself. It has strong ties to the oppression of women but then later is reappropriated and can be seen as a form of sexual expression but also finds its place in subcultures like goth. Corsets are also a form of body modification, the way corsets can shape our bodies is a strong interaction of garment and body that I find super interesting.
It’s quite unusual for a fashion designer to not link their shop or website in their Instagram bio. You have a link-tree-link to certain petitions and websites on which people can educate themselves about political and social issues. Do politics and sociocultural problems inform your work? How?
I think fashion has a strong socio-cultural impact on the world and if the fashion industry changes to become less racist and sexist, we can make work that changes the world. Fashion images are a huge point of representation, so having a diverse industry that produces these images can actually inspire change. Personally, I want my work to be empowering to women, nonbinary people, and men of different backgrounds. I'd want anyone to feel welcome in the fantasy I’m creating.
What are some of your long-term goals?
Continuing to work with fashion and being a part of the industry-changing and progressing.
What is next for you?
I’m working on some new pieces and I want to launch my online store at the beginning of next year.
Thank you so much for your time.