Hanna Fiedler looks at Iceland for Tectonic fashion collection
Today we interviewed the German fashion designer, Hanna Fiedler, who recently graduated with a BA in Pattern Cutting from the London College of Fashion (LCF). Her graduate collection, entitled Tectonic, was inspired by the astounding and dramatic landscapes caused by the tectonic plate movements in Iceland. It is no surprise that this collection (shown below), won Hanna the LCF Innovation Award for Fashion Design. Our team was intrigued by the beautiful simplicity of her Tectonic collection and the manner in which she manipulated fabrics to mimic Iceland's landscapes. Here's our interview with Hanna Fiedler:
Describe a typical Hanna Fiedler wearer?
The aim of my graduate collection was to create pieces that would be very wearable and comfortable, but special in terms of design. I wanted to create pieces that empowered women by making them feel great and look great - so, of course I used only the best quality fabrics. The woman I have in mind who would wear my pieces, is someone who wants to feel great and do her own thing while looking great - but, looking great isn't her first priority.
Tell me about your recent collection Tectonic, how were you inspired by tectonic plates?
Last year, traveling to Iceland had a massive impact on me. I grew up in the countryside in Germany and thought I had seen the beauty of nature. When I arrived in Iceland, I was in shock. It was so untouched, there was this one area with no roads or humans and it felt like a really primal version of the planet. It was incredible. As Iceland is one of the youngest landmasses and is located in between the American and European tectonic plates, it is constantly moving and creating these ethereal scenes. It feels as if you are driving through Mars or the Moon. I wanted to capture the calmness but also the energy of Iceland. For example, the landscape may seem grey and dead, but if you look closer you see these beautiful structures such as moss clinging on to the lava. One of my main goals for my collection was to take these textures and translate them into fashion.
Which piece was most difficult to create?
In terms of which pieces were the most time consuming, it was the blue dress made from silk (below left) and the jumpsuit (below right).
For the blue dress, I took two layers of organic organza and stitched them together with little pockets and inserted beads and pearls in the pockets so on the final garments they can still move around. That was very time-consuming to get that done as you have to be very careful with the stitching.
The second piece, which was most intricate in design, was the jumpsuit. The top is woven onto a mannequin so it has no seams except at the back. Even though you don’t directly notice that it doesn’t have any seam, it just makes it look a lot more clean and sleek.
How was your experience of being bespoke costume tailor for three years at the Berlin Opera Foundation?
It was a very interesting and educational experience as it was very classic, hierarchical tailoring. My boss was a strict lady with an incredible knowledge of garments and if my work wasn’t perfect, she would push me until it was. So this taught me to have a lot of patience. She was also a strong believer in reusing materials and so I was taught to reuse and respect materials and not to throw it away. At the same time, she also showed me how things can be made if you spend the effort and time on it. We are so used to buying fast-fashion pieces that we forget about the effort and time that was put in couture techniques. It was a tough experience, but I learned so much.
What are your next steps?
I am currently working on developing my own brand. It will be based on the Tectonic collection, but will be more appropriate for day-to-day wear. Ideally, this brand will be one that does not necessarily work in seasons. Through the internet, fashion is so connected that it doesn’t strictly work in seasons anymore. The audience for fashion is so global that your audience is based in different seasons, and so you don't have to adhere to the strict Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter collections. I am also working on getting as much customer feedback so that I can refine my collection to consist of pieces that my customers will want to wear and love forever.
People you look up to?
I currently have a huge girl crush on the designer Gabriela Hearst as her collections really show non-compromising luxury. Through a random connection, I had the opportunity to Facetime with her, which was really amazing. What I love about her is that although her collections are sustainably manufactured, she does not use the word sustainable to describe her work as she does not want people to purchase the brand because it's sustainable, but because they love it. I think that’s the right way to approach sustainability. I love how she makes sure to get both the best quality and the highest ethical value.
Where do you find inspiration from for your designs?
Nature is always one of the main themes I’m inspired by, as shown by my MA Tectonic collection. But, I am also inspired by different cultures. I was researching the Japanese culture on one project where I was working on traditional Japanese martial arts garments. I love looking at traditional clothing, which was designed in a much more practical and useful way and how it catered to certain needs and requirements. If you look at fashion throughout history, you can find so many useful but also very beautiful garments which people don't wear anymore. So i love looking at these garments and dissecting them to filter out certain traits and bring them back in a more modern context.