FLORIAN WOWRETZKO - INTERVIEW
FLORIAN WOWRETZKO - INTERVIEW
We recently interviewed one of our most exciting and avant-garde labels in the form of Florian Wowretzko. Inspired by transformation clothing, men in skirts and tights, layering and voluminous robes, Florian Wowretzko creates his own avant-garde, monochromatic aesthetic.
Standing for the emancipation of man, the german born designer started his career in 2011 by using a unique vision of a protest against cliché and the mainstream industry. His collections reflect the social standing of life, the endless problems of a human being and the zeitgeist the world is always involved with. His aesthetic is either black or white, matt or shiny, messy or elegant, hard or soft with sophisticated and innovative silhouettes.
Read the full interview below.
Shop the garments from FLORIAN WOWRETZKO HERE.
Uncon: As a luxury and emerging label, there is much to leave to the imagination about the designer behind Florian Wowretzko. Tell us a little bit about yourself as well as any others who may help to create each collection?
Florian: I gave my brand the same name as my birth name. I think when I create something through my own hands it’s really my own identity, my own DNA. My work is very autobiographical. It might sound a little selfish, but that’s who I am and that’s where I’m coming from. I tell my own story based on my experience and my desire. I don’t have a team, really. When It comes to making clothes and making collections I am my only team member. So far, I have no choice. There is a production team that is taking over the product making for the customer, but everything in the first place is made by me. It does sound fair when I give my brand my own name because it’s simply me.
Uncon: What influenced you to choose a career in contemporary menswear?
Florian: I did it because originally I wanted to make clothes for myself. My ideal job would have been to work for a designer and make my own clothes. I still keep myself as a template. It is definitely a luxury to be able to get what you want and decide what you want and need. The market became so swallowed up by an industry that what is available in stores is simply boring. But it only reflects our time and society. Once I started making clothes, I couldn’t find a way to stop. I am obsessed now. I’m obsessed with work. I work all the time, I never go on vacation. The last time I went to a swimming vacation was before I started fashion studies. I take time off of course, but it always involves something creative now. I can’t really complain. I have creative freedom and I totally enjoy it.
Uncon: Can you give us a little insight into what it involves to design avant-garde fashion?
Florian: I can simply express myself. I can do whatever I want without listening to any market. I have freedom for now, since I don’t have to please a lot of people like big fashion houses. My concepts can be weird, abstract, dreamy and ridiculous as however I want them to be. And quite frankly – it feels good to just do it. But on the other hand you have to reach out to the next level. I’m never satisfied. I always think it should be much more ‘creative’, if you will. You need to have a more open mind than those that already have an open mind. If you want to give 100, you better give 150 or 200, which is a mind struggle. I think more than I design and work. I’m inspired all the time from all different things and it does take all my energy. It’s a blessing and a curse. I’ll know when I see the consequences one day. It is an unstoppable thirst for the unconventional.
Uncon: What draws you to the qualities of the complex patterns combined with functionality? How do you intend for these qualities to emanate from your work?
Florian: I guess my trademarks are slits. This will evolve over time, I am sure. But at the moment I enjoy freedom and movement in clothes. I love how a garment moves if you open the side or the back. Something stiff becomes totally soft. I enjoy panelling and layering on top of each other, geometric shapes and folding techniques. Clean edges and a mitered corner. I am obsessed with these techniques. It makes it really easy to develop patterns and new designs.
Uncon: What are the main influences of your design process, and what attracted you to this way of design?
Florian: Going into research and finding new things that attract me to build a collection is the most exciting, but also the most difficult part. It usually changes all the time. I have a starting point, sometimes a continuation from where I stopped the last collection, but it evolves when I’m working on the collection. I don’t have time to draw fabulous sketches, I just do scribbles in my sketchbook or on a piece of paper, clip a fabric swatch here and there, but it’s nothing presentative. I usually have everything in my head anyway. I like to work with a team, but I’m also doing ok being by myself. No discussions, moving fast.
Uncon: What are common inspirations for your work? How do you find yourself replenishing your inspiration sources, or do you merely stumble upon them?
Florian: I usually start with religious topics. It’s a massive library for sourcing new ideas. And since I am a non-believer of trends, I don’t look left and right I just do what I think is good. I work like this from the beginning. I enjoy the influence of nature and sounds, of climate changes and cultural objectives. It’s definitely a tease when you play around with well-known symbols. That’s why I like to use the source of religion. It makes people wonder and think, it makes the society creative. I am not a priest and definitely no nun; but I don’t mind looking like one [since I was raised by a nun]. Sometimes I stumble upon them, but most of the time it’s very autobiographic. Things I experienced in life so far or picked up in my youth is what I’m interpreting in my collections. It’s like a musician that is writing a song about a broken heart. The only difference is that I don’t want to show a broken heart, instead the beauty of making someone beautiful and interesting through a visual appearance. Music really helps to give my clothing a mood. If I’d had the talent I’d be a musician. I love music; basically all kinds of art.
Uncon: Originality and authenticity are important factors in an emerging label, How do you stay at the forefront of contemporary fashion?
Florian: I simply look like a priest (laughs). Its more and more becoming my trademark. Long coats, stand collars and the scapular. In every collection these patterns appear, in a different version or in a different context. I don’t mean it hasn’t been done before. Designers like Raf Simons and Dior did a priest and monk look before, even Riccardo Tisci is well known for his Catholicism influence in his designs for Givenchy. I prefer doing it in a more wearable, uniform way. A uniform way like a nun. Of course it has to be black. It is the all over concept when I design. I can be inspired by art or a piece of music as well and create a whole collection towards this reference.
Uncon: What emotions do you commonly associate with your work? How do you believe your pieces help to physically represent those emotions?
Florian: I think it really depends where my clothes appear. Every nationality reacts differently. I find it funny, since I wear my own clothes and dress the same in New York, Paris, London and Mannheim. But all of these cities react totally different. What myself is intending with my clothes is to definitely not look like a joke, I guess it’s a very mannish view. I want to represent that I closed with every social, religious, political, economic question for myself. It’s pretty much freedom for me. All black means simply that you don’t give a sh*t. I live my own life and don’t care about others opinion. It’s very arrogant, but I don’t even mind it. In fact it made me a stronger person when I was growing up. It helped me develop my personality, gather the right people in my circle and straighten the way I want to go. That’s what I want to pass on to others. Those, that wear it to become more comfortable in their skin and others, to have respect and appreciate someone that is taking risks. People depend too much on each other. I stand with my brand for the individual and support everyone that is brave enough to embrace it. I’m not going for the masses. The feeling I want to express is super modest and calm.
Uncon: What do you believe is the most important characteristic of one of your handcrafted pieces?
Florian: The little flaws that the main street isn’t noticing. Of course it’s kind of HELL when something goes wrong, but I totally appreciate the use of human hands and the result of weakness or impreciseness. With every piece I have a bond since it goes through my or our hands. I don’t see them as my babies. Once something is “born” it’s no longer belonging to me. It belongs to the world and the world can do whatever they want with it.
Uncon: What is sustainable luxury for you?
Florian: To be able to do what I love, for now and for the future. Luxury to me isn’t anything materialist, like money. Time and health is way more important than fancy cars and plenty of women.
Uncon: We are currently living in unfavourable circumstances today, especially for young people. How has the economic crisis influenced you as a young emerging label and your work?
Florian: Luckily I’m always working on different projects and jobs. I’m concentrating on many different things, which gives me the opportunity to find a niche, where I can develop collections, travel and have a busy life. I don’t want to depend too much on others for now or do too many big steps. I’m going with the flow ever since I’ve started and I have gone further than I ever thought I would by this time.
Uncon: What direction do you think you will take your brand next?
Florian: It’s always very spontaneous. Whatever feels right at the moment. I trust my instinct. Sometimes I feel something is not right, so I don’t do it. I’m not sure if a label can sustain with feelings, but I always followed my ideas and quite romantic, my heart. And also, I change my mind all the time. I might do a collection in orange one day. But since I abhor the colour orange, this would be the last thing that could ever happen.
Uncon: What music have you been listening too while designing your latest collection?
Florian: I’ve listened to Ravel a lot and an opera from Penderecki. Sometimes I played London Grammar in the studio.
Uncon: Who do you feel are the three most influential designers in contemporary leather craft for our generation?
Florian: Poell, Julius and Bidjan Saberi.
Uncon: If the world was at an end, What would be your last meal?
Florian: Cheese Fries.
Uncon: What would be your signature dance move?
Florian: I wish I could twerk.
x Florian Wowretzko