Industrial dreams by Geraldine van Riesenbeck

Geraldine van Riesenbeck

- Describe yourself as a designer and as a person.
Do you see big difference between these both descriptions?
- I don’t really see a difference between me as a designer and as a person – I think the one is related to the other, the one results out of the other.

- What was your first created item you where proud of?
- The very first item I created and was proud of was a dress I did when I was actually about 8 years old, a summer in the early nineties. My mom and my aunt used to cut off their jeans to make shorts out of them. I took two jeans legs and two pieces of pink fabric: One leg was the front, one the back and the pink fabric became straps to hold the ‘dress’ on my shoulders. I sewed it by hand with some really thick thread. I was so proud when I tried it on for the first time so of course I wanted to wear the dress in school the next day. My mom gently tried to talked me out of that idea but as she didn’t want to tell her daughter that her fancy dress wasn’t that fancy at all, she did let me wear it for school. Some pupils really were a little confused. I got compliments from my friends and my art teacher though who did help me sewing on one of the straps that fell apart after being in school for only 2 hours.

- Why did you choose to be a designer?
- Actually I can’t really tell why I did choose to become a designer. It somehow always has been quite clear to me.

- What were your very first steps to get into fashion industry?
- My first experience with the fashion industry was my six months internship with Joop! Jeans men. That was also the first time for me to work in menswear. Joop! is a huge company where I did learn a lot about the industry and about product development – from the first sketch to the final garment that hangs in the stores.

- What is the best thing about being a designer?
- To me being a designer is more than only a job I do, it characterizes the way of living. I guess one of the best things is, that you express yourself constantly and it results into something that you can actually hold in your hands – a sketch, a garment, a piece of furniture, a painting, a photo, a video.

- Where do you seek for inspiration?
- Inspiration is basically everywhere – people you meet, music you listened to, places and cities you visit, exhibitions you go to, experiences in life, your emotions – hopes, fears…

-  In your last collection you are asking existential/subsistence questions.
How does it reflect in your concept of creation and all surrounding?
- My latest collection, my Graduation collection, is based on a self-reflection – asking myself: Who am I? Where do I come from? What made me the person I am? I focused on two different key aspects: My habit of intense dreaming and my fascination for the ‘Ruhrgebiet’, a part of Germany known for its industry and industrial culture.
To transport these inspirations into my designs I did not only sew my garments but worked with different handcraft techniques such as knitting and different kinds of weaving – weaving a whole piece of pattern out of wool threads and weaving leather straps into each other. These techniques are an important component to the coll­ection as a garment’s shape depends on whether it’s sewn, knitted or weaved, made out of fabric, wool or leather. I also used innovative techniques such as digital print: based on the idea of the inkblot test I developed a print using base colours that stand for the spontaneity and non-control about our dreams.
The industrial aspect also appears in the shoes: I created solid, formal shoes with a slight copper-plateau and casual, airy, sewn leather sandals.

- If your clothes could speak, what would they tell?
- Be authentic, feel comfortable, feel good, feel free - maybe? Probably that varies depending on the observer, on expectations, on a certain state of mind.

- Do you have some special rituals before you start to create?
- I don’t have a specific ritual before I start to design. To me designing is more or less the result of something - something I’ve experienced, something that has happened, people I’ve met, places I’ve been to, music I’ve heard…

- What are the basic values for you as for designer?
- I guess as a designer it’s important to be authentic, to have passion for what you do, to constantly work on yourself, to challenge yourself. And at the end to just do what you believe in and to always believe in what you do.

- You are quite new talent in fashion business.
Do you feel that you need to march and fight to get everyone’s attention?
- I wouldn’t put it that way. To me it’s more about paying attention to yourself, to your work – if you do that, others will do so too.

- If you can name it what is the biggest achievement in your whole career?
- Is it my graduation collection? But also to have had the possibility to live in NY and Stockholm and to work with great designers (Tim Hamilton, Acne) who I did learn a lot from and who inspired me.

- Future plans, dream collaborations and hopes?
- There are too many to tell.

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