BERLIN: Berlin Fashion Week was once again under a lucky star. This time for Berlin-based fashion designer Mareike Massing who won this year’s DfT Award by Peek & Cloppenburg with her collection ‘Acting Big’. The US designer Zac Posen had the rather difficult task to pick one winner among the five competitors and we were interested in learning about how he got started and which advice he would give a talented young designer.
IRMA: Mr. Posen, please tell me, what made you different from all the talented students at Parsons School of Design in NY when you graduated. Can you give me a tip?
ZAC POSEN: Yes, of course. You have to find your own way in getting lots of cultured information which has nothing to do with fashion directly. And most importantly, don’t look at fashion magazines.
IRMA: Are you suggesting to get cultural inspiration, like theater, literature, art, etc. instead?
Z.P.: Yes, definitely. Visit museums, read books, watch movies, especially when you start very young. You need to be completely outrageous and define your own style, which will reflect your own visual language in your design.
IRMA: You did start very young. You were 16 when you first enrolled at Parsons School.
Z.P.: Yes, I did a summer program and for me it was clear that I wanted to do fashion. It helps to be passionate about something in order to get started.
IRMA: Why is the DfT so important in your opinion?
Z.P.: Because young people need a strong platform to start their businesses. You need someone who sponsors you and who supports you and believes in your talent. You need guidance from experienced specialists, which can help you to avoid mistakes, but of course your creativity has to be defined by you and the more inexperienced you are, the stronger your visual language should be. A fashion house like Peek & Cloppenburg can than guide you to become more commercial.
IRMA: Was it difficult to choose one from the five candidates?
Z.P. Yes, it was. They all had very strong ideas, still their fashion was mostly wearable and I could see a lot of talent, craftsmanship and creativity.
IRMA: How do you get your visual detox, how do you rewind from designing and absorbing fashion?
Z.P.: I love to cook at home or go for a walk with my dogs. And working in the garden is the best visual fashion detox.
IRMA: You have your garden in New York?
Z.P.: No, I visit my parents outside NY, which gives me a nice break. It relaxes my mind and puts everything back to the ground.
IRMA: Thank you Zac, I will try that as well.
Follow us for an interview with Mareike, coming soon.