4SEE's Foremost - Isabel Vollrath's atelier in Berlin

4SEE’s Foremost – Isabel Vollrath: Fashion Design as Objects of Art and Why Conscious Consumerism Will Be Even More Important after COVID-19

Isabel Vollrath is a Berlin-based fashion designer who works at the intersection of fine art and couture, and runs her own label, I’VR Isabel Vollrath, since 2015. Born in Freiburg, Vollrath studied fashion at Berlin-Weissensee School of Art, and has received a number of awards, both nationally and internationally, for her designs. Vollrath’s background in tailoring and long-held interest in sculpture combine to form wearable art objects—‘three-dimensional drawings’—in sync with the body, yet precisely structured. Both forward-looking and anchored in craft and historical perspective, Vollrath’s limited-edition designs speak to her desire to steer away from the demands of consumer culture. Her label is featured at Berlin Fashion Week and also operates as a made-to-measure atelier. With expressive forms and materials—from airy yet structural cottons, layered tulle, to textural corduroys and denim—Vollrath’s finely tailored, abstract pieces inevitably display a concern for the figure.

4SEE Foremost spoke with Isabel Vollrath and got some insight into what is behind her current philosophy, and uncertainty in the time of Covid-19.

Interview from March 2020.

Name Isabel Vollrath
Age 40
Nationality German
Based in Berlin
Website www.isabelvollrath.com
Instagram @ivr_isabelvollrath

4SEE's Foremost - Isabel Vollrath
4SEE’s Foremost – Berlin-based fashion designer, Isabel Vollrath
Photography by Det Nissen

Describe yourself in three words.
Passionate. Sophisticated. Visionary.

Style Icon(s) and the reason why.
My style icons are authentic and individual, showing a strong vision of their own personality. Current female icons: Vivienne Westwood, Tilda Swinton, Björk. Regarding the past: Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo, Marlene Dietrich. Male icons: Rudolf Nurejew, Karl Lagerfeld.

Favorite eyewear brand?
My father is an optician, so I grew up with glasses and many eyewear brands. I like the style of Dior, Balenciaga and Versace women’s eyewear—as the “big classics”—but also the filigree Lindberg, Silhouettes , not to forget Ferragamo, Cartier and Bulgari.

What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far?
I followed my childhood dream and became a fashion designer.

4SEE's Foremost - Isabel Vollrath's atelier in Berlin
4SEE’s Foremost – Isabel Vollrath

What is next for you, an immediately upcoming project?
Well, a few days ago my answers would have been completely different. Currently, we are all paralised by Covid-19—with no certitude as to how the next weeks and months will change our lives.
On January 10, 2020 I was turning 40 and I thought: “Great! What numerology! What a date! Let’s start the new decade!” I was full of energy, open to new perspectives and changes—in general, not only regarding my fashion label.
For months I’ve felt a strong need for reflection and have questioned the direction in which society is heading… It is insane to produce and buy large amounts of “everything”; it is insane to feed the world with millions of offers, news, posts, technical innovations; it is insane when your iPhone becomes your best friend. Look into your neighbour’s eyes, not onto your screen! And please keep your app out of the gym!
Why don’t big companies STOP inciting consumerism??

I tried to find peace and answers in my frequent yoga and ballet practice.
I tried to find out where my creativity is really needed and welcome.
I decided to “manifest” my fashion label as “couture and made-to-measure atelier”, away from the pressure of seasonable products that are already considered “waste” when they are on the market.
I decided to “cool down” instead of getting ready for the next Fashion Week.
I decided to open my mind and eyes to what is going on “out there”.
And what happened?

Unexpected projects arrived. I was asked to create the costumes for a theatre production in Vienna.
A film director, two artists and a ballet company wanted me to collaborate.
I felt happy, looking forward to new edges—beyond the struggles of the fashion market.
Too soon. Covid-19 appeared.
Last week: the cultural collapse.
This week: no yoga and ballet classes.
What now?

It is nature’s revenge.
We now have to rethink, stick together, help each other where possible, and find solutions for a common future—far away from what we were used to.
…if we need Covid-19 to let the atmosphere exhale and to clean the canals in Venice, then it is more than urgent to act and react.

Your fashion philosophy / Styling tips.
Buy less, buy better. Buy local.

Three words to describe your customer.
Self-confident. Determined. Avant-garde.

Foremost - Julie Bourgeois, Founder of Fashion Label TATA CHRISTIANE

4SEE’S FOREMOST. – JULIE BOURGEOIS 

Impact and innovation are the driving forces behind revolutionary ideas in fashion. And when style meets substance, a reaction occurs—creating powerful forces for change and trends that can be seen and felt all around the world. 4SEE talks with the foremost innovators from fashion’s ever-evolving world, questioning the sources of style and culture and drawing out answers about their inspiration and impact in 4SEE’s FOREMOST.

The truly stand-alone designs of Julie Bourgeois and Gabriel Santini, with Tata Christiane unflinchingly bordering both elegance and bad-taste, de-structuring whilst upcycling, theatrically expressing an attitude of independence free from expectation.

Name Julie Bourgeois
Age 39
Nationality French
Based in Berlin
Website www.tatachristiane.com
Instagram @tatachristiane

4SEE's Foremost - Julie Bourgeois, Founder of Fashion Label TATA CHRISTIANE
4SEE’s Foremost – Julie Bourgeois, Founder of Fashion Label TATA CHRISTIANE
Eyewear by Vintage Ray-Ban // Photography by Bert Spangemacher

Tata Christiane is a fashion label founded in 2007 by Julie Bourgeois and Gabriel Santini. Hailing from Marseille, the two designers studied in Paris (Literature and Philosophy for Bourgeois and Architecture for Santini) before moving to Berlin with their music project Aniaetleprogrammeur.

While by no means a side-project, the duo’s creative energies take form quite literally in their eponymous label Tata Christiane. As bold as it is polarising, Tata Christiane produces two collections per year, with hand-made and locally-produced pieces, recycled materials, and upcycled vintage fabrics. Expressing a concept of ‘costume streetwear’, Tata Christiane’s Spring/Summer 2019 collection (‘CADAVRE EXQUIS #1’) features disproportionate form and silhouettes, garishly garnished with frill and crochet details, layered materials, tassels, and see-through mesh panels. Bold colours and clashing patterns collide with deconstructed elements, cartoonish caricature figures and animal prints. Tata Christiane is fashion for another kind.

4SEE Foremost spoke with co-founder Julie Bourgeois, and were reminded why we mustn’t be afraid to mix the different colours.’

Describe yourself in three words.
I’m Tata Christiane.

Style Icon(s) and the reason why.
It’s quite diffuse. To be honest, I don’t feel like I’m really thinking in that direction. I know that in my life I have been more influenced by a kaleidoscope, a constellation of people and attitudes, mostly strangers, people on the street or in clubs or whatever, in fact. It’s like an impressive overall that comes from everywhere; also, from reading, TV series, movies, etc., but nothing of a specific icon.

What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far?
Managing to make our label work so far by doing it our way and at our own pace. By maintaining a state of mind and remaining independent.

What is next for you, an immediately upcoming project?
For me, the whole year is a constant succession of projects to come. It’s quite cyclical and regular, next collection, next collection of unique pieces, next production, with meteors of projects coming in – an exhibition, a fashion show, but in a way the vision is very day-to-day, over a short period. There is always a lot to do.

Favorite eyewear brand?
I need to wear glasses and I’m wearing Ray–Bans right now.

Your fashion philosophy / Styling tips.
The colors, do not be afraid to mix the different colors. Do not be afraid of the result. Let yourself be surprised. Don’t be afraid to also have different phases, different days for the style. Be flexible and open to your own mood.

Three words to describe your customer.
Passionate, with a sense of humour and great sensitivity

CHARISSA CHIOCCARELLI, Founder and CEO of ISLA Berlin, Photography by Devon Kaylor, Eyewear by Etnia Barcelona

4SEE’S FOREMOST.

Impact and innovation are the driving forces behind revolutionary ideas in fashion. And when style meets substance, a reaction occurs—creating powerful forces for change and trends that can be seen and felt all around the world. 4SEE talks with the foremost innovators from fashion’s ever-evolving world, questioning the sources of style and culture and drawing out answers about their inspiration and impact in 4SEE’s FOREMOST.

Fierce nails and female empowerment through streetwear, style and beauty. ISLA Berlin Founder Charissa Chioccarelli shares her world in 4SEE’s latest foremost. Q&A.

Name Charissa Chioccarelli
Age 29
Nationality Dutch
Based in Berlin
Website www.islaberlin.com
Instagram@islaberlin

CHARISSA CHIOCCARELLI, Founder and CEO of ISLA Berlin, Photography by Devon Kaylor, Eyewear by Etnia Barcelona
CHARISSA CHIOCCARELLI
Founder and CEO of ISLA Berlin
Photography by Devon Kaylor
Eyewear by ETNIA Barcelona

Founder and CEO of Streetwear concept store ISLA Berlin and cultural marketing agency ISLA Creative, Charissa Chioccarelli leads by example when it comes to ‘making it happen’. Initially moving to Berlin from Amsterdam to take up a job in Social Media Marketing with Zalando, she quickly grew frustrated with the limitations of Berlin’s nail art scene, leading Charissa to carve out her own path, creating in the process a dynamic concept store run by women, for women. Neither exclusively nail salon nor shop, ISLA also offers women the opportunity to try out DJ’ing in an inclusive and supportive environment, hosts pop-up beauty events, and shares the shop rooms with iconic sports luxe brand OBEY. 4SEE met with Charissa to talk style philosophy, upcoming projects, and of course – her go-to eyewear.

Describe yourself in three words.
Hands-on, independent, stubborn.

Style Icon(s) and the reason why.
I don’t really have a fashion icon, but if I have to choose someone I say my husband @deadhypeberns, his creativity always inspires me.

What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far?
My biggest accomplishment I would say is setting up ISLA and turning it into a healthy business.

What is next for you, an immediately upcoming project?
Our next project is the Bam Brow (Brow Bar) pop-up at ISLA. We love to collaborate with businesses and creatives from all over the world.

Favorite eyewear brand?
The last pair I bought are from Kuboraum and I love them! It was a funny story, I bought them in the US not knowing the brand is from Berlin and literally situated on the same street as ISLA.

Your fashion philosophy / Styling tips.
Although I own a shop, I’m not the biggest shopper. I’d rather invest in a couple of good, timeless pieces.

Three words to describe your customer at ISLA Berlin.
Really fucking loyal!

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