There are some things related to fashion we don't realize in that context very often.
There is the idea at the beginning of an garment, the concept behind the cuts and shapes and the textiles which form the garment in the end and which surround us during the time of wearing. Especially the textile itself is one of the most important things if you look at a garment, it defines the form and shape, the cut and the feeling we got if we choose a special piece of clothing in the morning. But there are not many designers who talk about this fact or offer the customer a view behind the garment. The Berlin based textile Designer Nadine Goepfert is an exception of this. After her studies in Berlin in Amsterdam she focussed on a approach which is based between textiles, fashion and art and created textiles and projects which are conceptional and research based.
For nadine, a piece of textile is more then just fabric, it is an open situation, able to create a wide range of feelings and transform the human body into a piece of art. So she did in her project “The garments may vary”, which offers questions about the capturing of moments during the process of wearing a garment. Or her project EXPRESSIONS OF HASTINESS, where she has used an installation of painted objects to create an abstract and intriguing surface. Nadine always tries to add something more than just a beautiful pattern to a fabric, she works hardly on different concepts and is interested to combine things in her work which do not fit on the first glance. In her project WHEREARETHETEXTILES she doesn't think about the garment which is worn by a customer but on a textile which is used by him and the resulting forms and characteristics of the garment after loosing it's three-dimensional form. In this projects the garments become more abstract images of their self and a kind of raw textile copy of that what they should have been.
In the following interview Nadine talks about her relation to fabrics and fashion and the process of research.
For myself, I had no idea about textile design. Please tell me a little bit about it
and your relationship to this creative discipline.
I have been fascinated by textiles, the related handcraft and traditional techniques for quite a long time. Compared to former times, these days people do not know much about textiles and how they are produced or created. Often people are not able to distinguish if a fabric is knitted or woven, even if they are in contact with multiple textiles every day. I just like learning and knowing more about this material, that is surrounding us everyday and everywhere.
At what point did you realize that you wanted to be a professional creative?
I think I realized that quite early, when I was still in school. I applied for some kind of art based school when I was 16, but I did not get in. After school I had some doubts about weather I was really made for a study in a creative field, so I tried out some other things. But soon I noticed that design really was what I want to do.
Why do you decide to study textile design and not fashion design?
When you work in fashion you know that the come out is going to be a garment.
Textile design is more open in terms of the final product. At first you are just working on an interesting surface. Its purpose or processing is decided later in the process. Or other people do so. I like the idea that you have the possibility to start at the absolute beginning of a product. The only thing you got at the start might be a plain yarn, which offers plenty of possibilities to process it.
Every of your projects is unique, but research seems to be an important aspect
of your work. Can you describe your work flow during a project?
I got quite a big interest in literature and philosophy. So most of the time I start reading and researching to create some kind of working concept which is does not have to be completely elaborated. I try to leave space for surprising developments or mistakes during the working process that eventually will lead my work in some other interesting directions.
Sometimes I also just get fascinated by the different conditions of a material (such as melting) or techniques which are not necessarily related to textiles (like conservation) and try to find a way to translate those phenomena into textile materials. This method again is involving a lot of research and experiments.
Do you imagine the process of wearing the textile when you start to design? How important is the transformation of the textile through the human body in your work?
The relation to the human body is maybe the most important facts to think about when you are working on textiles for clothes. It is also one of the main aspects of the collection "The Garments may vary." The combination of a textiles ability to frequently change its form and the possibility of capturing moments and traces through the process of wearing it is the core of this project. It is meant to investigate the daily usage of apparel and the associated movements of the person wearing it. These movements are accentuated and partly captured within the materials and surfaces of the garments. Each of the materials chosen is used to highlight a different form and duration of change, so the garments seek to temporarily or permanently capture the traces, movements and behavior patterns of the wearer.
You have studied at the Art School Berlin Weißensee and at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Which influences took the schools on your design approach?
The schools are quite similar regarding their design approach. They are both quite free, and don't force you to work only design related, which is very important for me.
The studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Acadamie, especially the classes of the teacher Joke Robaard who has been and still is working in the field of fashion research for many years, got a quite big influence on my following works.
Has your design approach changed during the last years?Yes sure, I guess it constantly changes with every new project.
How important is the conceptional or theoretical aspect of your projects?
As I mentioned before, it creates the starting point for most of my works. During the working process, especially for purely fashion related work, the focus most of the time is more on the material aspects and experiments than the theoretical aspects.
You work on the border of textile design, fashion and art. Do you think fashion or textile design is a node between the other design disciplines or do you see parallels to the disciplines?
It's definitely a node.
Your work is really conceptional. Do you think Germany is a good place for this
kind of design?
I do not think it is about the country, it really is about the people you work with.
Your work allow you to collaborate with a lot of other designers. Are there any artists or designer you would love to collaborate with?
I like the approach of Balenciaga and Dries van Noten, in terms of textiles and material. And I appreciate the work of the Artist Ann Cathrin November Høibo a lot.
Do you got a favorite fabric?
What makes a good (textile) designer for you?
A well-thought out combination of concept and aesthetics that is well-crafted and responses to its cultural environment.
Are you ever fully satisfied with your work?
There is always something I would like to change or do different afterwords. But that is part of it, I guess, this is what keeps me going.
© Nadine Göpfert