“I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist, though in my final year of uni I realized I wanted to get loose and not be too serious.”
Coming from Austria and having gone to college there, at the Fashion Institute of Design in Vienna, René remembers how much more technical his degree was at home than abroad. “From pattern-making to sewing and the fittings, I was taught a strict and precise work ethic at school in my home country. Whereas in CSM the student body is way more diverse, more willing to try new approaches to the long-standing fashion traditions. And maybe it’s because of that exposure to so many different people and visions that I’ve been stimulated to do my own thing,” says the designer. “I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist, though in my final year of uni I realized I wanted to get loose and not be too serious.”
Aptly titled “Phase I: Empathy, Connection, Play” and runner-up in the 2018 L’Oréal Professionnel Designer of the Year Award, the first collection René showcased for his graduation show at CSM would set the tone for what would become a series of intimate explorations of the realm of feelings and emotions evoked by clothing. The collection’s leitmotif sparked from a workshop where dancers and performers were blindfolded and invited to interact with René’s pieces by trying on different styles and materials in different shapes and sizes to see how they felt physically and mentally in the pieces. “Relying only on their sense of touch, the attendees wrapped themselves in the garments at hand to feel how stretch, stiff, or soft they were, to determine which one they liked best. It helped them and me think about the act of dressing up in whole new ways, how it makes us feel,” he says.