“It’s essential to get helping hands to manage the workload. Lisa and Tamina started as interns, but their work ethic and morals impressed me in a way that I wanted to continue working with them.” – Christina Seewald
Christina, what changed for you working with Tamina and Lisa?
Christina: Delegating has never really been my strength. Already in my master’s degree, I realised that it’s essential to get helping hands to manage the workload. Lisa and Tamina started as interns, but their work ethic and morals impressed me in a way that I wanted to continue working with them. I hugely benefit from this collaboration, primarily because I can focus more on the knit/design part, which I enjoy the most, and we can share and exchange ideas. For SS22, the three of us started to work even more closely as a design team, which naturally made us bond even more.
SS22 was presented in the form of a video. Who came up with the concept and visuals, and how was the experience shooting it?
Lisa: Each collection always starts with Christina researching a certain social topic, bringing in the overall structure as well as setting the tone. After this stage, we start to bring our own ideas in. There was a discussion on how to best present the collection since we knew it would be virtually shown again this season. In the end, we decided to do a video, almost like a short film, to be able to create this whole scenery around the garments.
Christina: A box that leaves a bit of a mystery – longing for something, finding something. Almost like not knowing what you are looking for. A state of mind that reflects the social system. What is private, and what becomes public? Who are we, and what are the expectations we carry out within our society?
Tamina: We collaborated with Antonio Labuhar who directed the video and transformed all our ideas and mood boards into a concept. It was a great experience to have so many different people involved and to see the ideas being transformed into melodies and visuals. Also, for the first time, producer Philipp Köll created a song specially composed for this project. That was very exciting for all of us.
One thing that seems to be taking centre stage in the video is royal blue. What is the significance behind this colour choice?
Christina: Another contrasting motif in the collection is the sexual dimorphism of animals versus human society. While female animals often have plumage or fur in subtle colours, the males are splendidly colourful. In contrast, human femininity is traditionally linked with beauty but arguably seen as weak and lower within the realms of social hierarchy. Subtle hues combined with royal blue highlight this examination of gender-specific conventions. Blue is also a colour that symbolises fundamental transactions. David Lynch refers to that in Mulholland Drive or Blue Velvet. It is a bridge to connect reality with a dream and the private with the public.
Lisa: Exactly. An important aspect of the collection was the contrast between the social and the personal ego, which is represented in the soft white and strong blue.
Craftsmanship and being hands-on in garment production have always been core values of your brand. How did that translate into SS22?
Tamina: Being hands-on in the production really is of high importance to us. For all our pieces, we work with production companies based in the EU. Some pieces of the new collection are also made directly in our studio in Vienna. In every step of our production process, we work with people we know and trust.
Lisa: Since SS21, we’ve been working with a lovely lady here in Vienna named Monika. She has been knitting and crocheting for literal decades. She is very much up for a challenge, extremely reliable and always manages to bring our visions to life. For SS22, we wanted to bring back handmade crochet accessories and garments as key pieces of the collection. Some designs, like the bathing suit or the gloves, take hours if not days to finish. With this season, it was our intent to highlight and emphasise the value of those designs.
Christina: This is something I want to continue to do for each season. Especially by choosing certain accessories such as gloves, crochet lingerie or hat-pieces, we want to highlight the worth of craftsmanship. Thus, making people aware of its value.
“Knitwear is often associated with something crafty and unrefined that’s made by old women. Clearly, there is so much more to it. It is technical, sophisticated and infinite in its design possibilities.” – Christina Seewald
The topic of animals, especially the relationship between their fur or coat and hierarchical status, is something this collection explores. How did this particular interest find its way into the designs?
Christina: It’s incorporated in a very settled way, by knitted-placement-lace out of viscose echoing the fur prints of pedigree dogs and horses that enjoy a high social status themselves. Like Dalmatians or White Andalusians. The uni-coloured approach is meant to visualise the idea of challenging hierarchies by giving the female and male wearer identical animalistic prints and assimilating them into our dresses, shirts, vests and scarves.
Contrast is a theme you work with constantly. In SS22, we see pieces that simultaneously conceal and reveal. What is the attraction to the duality and inherent contradiction of knitwear?
Christina: The connection between technology, the body and its material is something that has always fascinated me. Hence, knitwear is often associated with something crafty and unrefined that’s made by old women. Clearly, there is so much more to it. It is technical, sophisticated and infinite in its design possibilities.
Lisa: I feel like with SS22, your skin is the final accessory for the garments, especially when it comes to the placement prints and crochet pieces. Wherever there are lace stitches, your skin shines through and interacts with the texture and hue of the knit.
Last time we spoke, Christina, you told me that your team is all women. With the latest collaboration between you three in mind, why is women working together something all of you want to highlight and actively pursue?
Christina: I actually found myself working with these two women for SS22. It happened organically. What matters to me is the connection you have with others and sharing the same interest. So, a gender-specific collaboration is nothing I actively pursued really. I am always open to new strong personalities in my team.
In the past months or seasons, as time is measured in the world of fashion, we have seen a lot of collaborations. Balenciaga and Gucci, Jean Paul Gaultier inviting a new talent for each collection, and most recently Versace and Fendi during Milan Fashion Week. No matter how big or small, why do you think collabs are such a hot topic right now?
Christina: It gives these brands the opportunity to have some fresh input from young entrepreneurs who are not from their own design world, but a different one created by themselves. It is great exposure for both parties and gives emerging designers the chance to work with facilities, materials and productions they might not be capable to fund on their own yet.
Tamina: When you collaborate with other people, you’ll get new ideas and impressions that stem from a different point of view. I could experience that myself working with Lisa and Christina. Fantastic ideas were born when all of us come together to be creative. If it’s the right mix of people, a collaboration can turn into something beautiful and innovative.