What do you consider the biggest lesson you learned during your time on the MA? And what is something you wish you were taught about but weren’t?
More so than ever, I believe that the time on the MA would be spent more efficiently if students had at least one year of industry experience behind them, not just of internships. I would have been way more focused during the course and would have taken criticism more as a conversation about how I could achieve my personal goals during my time at CSM. Being pushed and criticized is necessary, but it is much better to accept it as something intended as help or honest advice rather than as a direct critique of your creativity or ego.
Why did you decide to set up your own label? (And why did you name it ioannes?)
ioannes was born out of a piece commissioned by the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, right after graduation in 2017. ioannes is the Latinised version of Johannes, my German name; I like that it comes back to the origin, the essence of my name, which has so many variations across different European languages.
I’m still trying out different methods of working independently, trying to build my own structure out of this project and turn it into a brand that moves at a pace I’m happy with, and that releases products I have confidence in. After two seasons, I feel my focus shifting more towards creating unique pieces that are faithful to my aesthetic and approach to design.
In your interview after graduation, you mentioned the sentiment of not living up to your own expectations (“there are always the ones that tick the box for the immediate responses”).
Frustration arose because I thought I’d know exactly what I wanted after finishing the course, and that an opportunity would immediately come up—a very passive approach that I feel a bit ashamed of now. It may not have been the start I had envisioned, but I then learned that I had to take the opportunities that came along and be grateful for them, to own them whole-heartedly, in order to grow both as a designer and as a person.