13 Feb A candid chat with Textile and Fashion Designer Timna Weber
Timna Weber is an Austrian Slovenian textile and fashion designer with roots in Paris, Amsterdam, and London. Inspired by abstract art, she creates assemblages that blend materials, techniques and styles. Sustainably hand-dyed and hand-knitted, each piece is designed to be able to be transformable, leaving the possibility for future design alterations and a continuous use-phase.. Timna has recently completed her Master’s at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam. For the past two years, her focus has been researching and specializing in design techniques that enable continuous design alterations and allow for easy transformation into new shapes: few seams, fewer pieces, abstract shapes and special techniques enabling the exchange or addition of new elements to the garment. With the launch of her label, Timna proposes a new design system, challenging the wasteful approach that is the norm today. Timna sees clothing as starting points rather than finished products, and treats customers as collaborators, giving them the opportunity to come back to her when change is needed or wanted. We caught up with the designers in the final preparations before London Fashion Week.
Name 3 words that define you?
Optimistic, chaotic, instigator.
How did you get into fashion ?
I think I’ve always wanted to do something creative, mainly painting as I loved to work with color and patterns. I think I ended up as a fashion designer somehow randomly. But now, I honestly like it a lot. I think the profession of a fashion designer just combines so many different disciplines; from drawing, illustration, design, photography, performance. There’s no creative field that wouldn’t fit into it somehow. That makes fashion exciting.
Do you have a story you are particularly fond of, from the early years of your career?
No particular story comes to my mind at the moment. It feels like I’m still in the middle of making that story. Every day is always something new.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I get most of my inspiration from paintings, especially for shapes and color. Since my work is very iterative, it’s mostly abstraction that inspires me. They leave me enough space for myself to fill in and not to get a too determined image in my head. But I also get inspired by my previous collections and take elements that I like into the new collections. I think it’s important to continue working on what I’ve previously created as this allows me to improve and elaborate things. There’s always a lack of time, so why should we always create something completely new instead of taking something existing and putting into a new context.
Do you have a Muse you wish you could see wearing your designs?
It sounds a bit cliché but I would go for David Bowie. But that’s not possible anymore, unfortunately. Then I’d probably like to see my designs on Björk. But in the end, seeing my garments on any person makes me really happy.
What drives you?
Waking up in the morning and knowing that I can work on something that I love is great. I’m very grateful to be in such a position.
How has your personal life influenced your career?
My parents have played a big role in my professional path and have always supported me being in the creative field. Going to museums and art galleries with them as a child and their love for art has resonated with me and helped with my creativity, personal and professional development.
What are the biggest challenges in your career?
Being a young brand and designer, there’s a true struggle to inject yourself into the infrastructure that already exists in fashion, sell garments through conventional shops. They just take such a big percentage of the final retail price, and as a designer, you need to pay the fabric and production from the tiny amount that’s left. There is just not a lot that remains, especially if you produce in small quantities and abstain from factory production. On top of that, consumers are spoilt with low prices and that increases the challenge to survive as a young designer.
How is the fashion industry evolving?
The fashion industry has reached peak unsustainability and brands and designers are slowly waking up to it. The coming years will see significant challenges that require designers to take greater responsibility and adapt to new ways of production and consumption. We can’t just expect the consumer to keep being a consumer, but rather need to see them become increasingly involved in the whole process – from creation to purchase to use-phase – as a collaborator. Only when industry and end-consumer are working and taking care of the process together, can a responsible way of fashion be possible. I believe that people are ready to take on this new experience and take part in fashion differently.
Instead of consuming fast and in quantity, I see a design methodology built around special experiences, that can, for example, involve the wearer in the design process, rent out garments, redesign garments etc. The barrier that separates the industry and consumers will slowly disappear, and hopefully, good things will come out of it.
What was your greatest success in the past few years?
Finishing my Master’s Degree and creating a great network of like-minded people here in Amsterdam, where I currently live and work.
What are your plans for the future?
I hope to keep doing what I’m doing now. But I would like to move to new cities and countries and collaborate with new people. There is still so much to explore!
I would like to gain more visibility for my label. Entering fashion competitions would be great if the time allows it and I’d like to do some collaborations with other creatives.
Timna Weber showcases Sunday, 18. March 2018 at 2:00 pm at Fashions Finest at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in, 61-65 Great Queen St, London WC2B 5DA.
Show schedule: http://www.fashionsfinest.com/events/fashion-week-shows
Award show: http://www.britainstopdesigner.com/