MELITTA BAUMEISTER — Interview
New York based fashion designer.
Hello Melitta, how are you?
Golden. How are you?
Fine thank you. Can you introduce yourself?
I am a young New York based creator focussing mainly on fashion and things that surround it. I graduated with a master in Fashion Design and Society from Parsons – The New School for Design in New York, where my graduation collection was shown at New York Fashion Week in September 2013. Since, I am dedicated to continue creating under my name.
What is your experience and approach to fashion? Where does your interest in fashion come from?
Coming from a tailor family, clothing and the interest for making has always been something around me. I went to tailoring school before I studied fashion, though after learning all skills about how to construct a garment I became more interested in the bigger picture of what fashion and design; a vision means. Spending the last 6 years studying fashion design makes you understand and develop your own language, as a designer.
My approach has its focus on new ways of looking at fashion. I try to push ideas of what could be tomorrow, by using new materiality and new ways of making.
How was your experience in New York? Are you still working there?
New York is a great place to experience. The city is vibrating and full of interesting individuals. I still really enjoy working here and feel energized by the cities spirits.
Do you have a style definition of your work?
There is a certain aesthetic that I developed which I could call my style, but that is more something communicable in a visual way. Trying to find words for it, it might be something between boldly quiet, sculptural and contemporary weirdness.
When we saw your graduation collection we thought about Maison Martin Margiela (that we really appreciate). Is this an influence for you?
Maison Martin Margiela is a tremendous influence. His work is really encouraging to think beyond and question fashion as such. I remember coming out of the Exhibition ’20 years of Maison Martin Margiela in Antwerp, being blown away by his body of work, it seemed to me for a moment as if he had done everything you could possibly do. The way he was reflecting time and taking the concept fashion apart is or was something extremely visionary. Maison Martin Margiela is a big influence for the current generation of fashion designers I think.
Though speaking about influence, for me seeing the work of fashion designers is not necessarily what is driving my work. There is so much that influences you simultaneously, and this can be anything, if you really look why and where your interest for certain things are coming from you can see connections and that is where you start to understand what your own vision is.
Can you tell us more about your graduation collection?
We enjoyed the sculptural side of it.
I am interested in the aspect and thoughts of hyperreality, then when it becomes hard to distinguish reality from non-reality. Next to it I was looking at sculptures, being fascinated about a moment is being hold in place; soft fabrics drapes of stone material; a “trace of a movement” what I liked about. That led me to the thought of fast forward technology, mass production, objects being 3-dimensionally printed by machines for the mass. Stacks on Stacks – endlessly the same; imitating handcraft. Liquid material (plastic etc. in its first state) used to replace what was something hand engineered before. The brutality of mass production is in a way attractive to me, that’s where the making of garment casts and so the sculptures came into the work.
Next to all thoughts that are necessary to develop the idea and concept; the construction of thoughts, how to look at and interpret the idea, there is the other dimension and importance of what the mood and visual feel of the work should transport, since the medium I work with is a visual one. It was important to me to give away a feeling of purity, something that has a character of what could be tomorrow.
Is there any designer or movement you appreciate a lot?
Designer with a strong vision who don’t compromise.
Which book is on your bedside table?
Continuation. New work for New York Fashion Week – Fall Winter 2014 in February.
Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler – 01.14
Images ©Paul Jung – Melitta Baumeister.