February 2, 2013: Fashion Net Education Center. The Duesseldorf Fashion Conference. On Saturday, under the device of “Listen. Learn. Love.”, everybody who was willing to listen to a design talent, learn about the industry and love fashion was cordially welcome. With the event mainly focussing on sustainability and up-and-coming talents, DfT winner Alexandra Kiesel was in the right place to talk about her career before, while and after the fashion talent award “Designer for Tomorrow by Peek & Cloppenburg Duesseldorf”.
After knitting for integration (Rita in Palma), a self-starter from Berlin (Kilian Kerner) as well as a lesson in fashionable sustainability (Cecilia Palmer) and before a talk with a New York style legend (Patricia Field): It was Alexandra’s turn. And she definitely had something to say! She provided one of the most interesting talks during the event. Developing her Baukasten system. Melting fashion and art. Building up her own label. Without limiting herself to any fashion rules. Listen. Learn. Love. – Alexandra Kiesel totally mastered the device!
The talk from the start: How did she work round to what she is doing today? With a professional traineeship as a dressmaker Alexandra Kiesel laid the foundation for her unique approach to fashion during Weißensee School of Art – developing a special system by studying the different body parts. Especially interesting to see: the first project in her first year. X it – cut it yourself. On a piece of fabric she printed different patterns with different colors. The wearer is supposed to choose creating only one of the garments with the other ones staying alive as their patterns remain on the fabric. Not wearable. But conception at its best. Not producible. But forward-thinking. Next on was “Vom Blaumann zum Broker” (from boiler suit to broker): a collection recreating an entire man’s wardrobe with only a limited amount of pieces. From suits to jogging pants combinable with each other. One could see her sustainable way of designing already back then. Following she gained an important experience with artist Erwin Wurm, where she filled the form of a scull – inspired by one of the artists sculptures – with insulating foam. It turned out to be a good lesson in fabrics as the different sculls stretched out to various forms depending on the material.
By then, the talk has reached the point, at which the DfT entered Alexandra Kiesel’s life and most notably her career. The graduate collection. Baukasten Individualisten. Winning her the “Designer for Tomorrow” award 2011. As she says today: through color blocking and patchwork the most concrete form of the Baukasten system. What has changed since back then? How did the designer take the idea of Baukasten to the next level? – The system is becoming more and more subtle. For her second collection “Support your local heroes” she paired it with impressionism. For her third collection “Vom Bauen von Mode” the Baukasten system teamed up with Russian constructivism. No Bauhaus anymore.
But still, it would be hard to imagine a single Kiesel collection without an art reference. She shares her success with up-and-coming artists – who are her friends at the same time – in a creative collaboration. And just like those free spirits Alexandra does not think in fashion seasons. Instead, to come up with a new collection there has to be 1. an interesting topic that is 2. political and 3. transferable to the Baukasten system.
Despite the art background and despite her creations being considered as such, they are wearable yet. “Support your local heroes” is going to hit the stores very soon, she told us – We will definitely keep you updated about all the stockists!