Vancouver Fashion Week FW19 - Interview With Designer J. Grubenmann

Runway Images by Dale Rollings

Please share a bit about your journey to embrace fashion design as a career.

At first I was a designer in construction building for civil Engineering. After that I went to the Swiss Textile College in Zurich to study Fashion.  After, I learned the practice by myself in my Studio. Then I produced three collections, which I the sold in boutiques and at events in Switzerland.

How did you learn your skills? 

At my study at the Swiss Textile College. Of course, I had certain advantages because of my work as a construction designer where I was drawing patterns. It is also important to be able to observe and develop your own details.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand?

I am an activist for Sustainability and Purism. I strive to not the emphasis on the dress, but instead emphasize the person, keeping them in the foreground.

What comes easiest for you as a designer? What is hardest?

The design process is the most beautiful part, and the first part of a story and a collection. After the design process, you need a lot of time to do the prototypes, production and, last but not least, the sales process. The sales process is the hardest one for me.

Where do you find inspiration for new collections? How important is colour to your design process?

I am inspired by moods, nature, politics, people, pictures and art. The colours occur naturally in my inspiration, but I do not always us them for the designs because I work as a puristic. However, I do feel an incentive to take colour into future collections.

Readers would love to know more about the current collection you showed at Vancouver Fashion Week. Can you describe it for us - aesthetic, fabrics, palette, silhouettes, inspiration, etc.?

I was inspired by the natural beauty of a deep lake with rocks jutting out from the sides. Also inspiring is the beauty that reveals itself on a beautiful summer day, as well as the roughness and destructive power of nature. These versatile layers of contrasting fields fascinate me. The same is true for humans. We never show our two faces. One is usually hidden.

As the models walked down the runway, the folds and the details of my garments first appear. They came into being. Therefore, different materials were used to show the robust details, but also the fine and fragile ones. The designs stand for confident elegance and confident femininity. The dresses are designed to be worn both for every day as well as for a special occasion.  They are created to last in you wardrobe a long time, not as cheap throw-away pieces.  They are part of the conversation around changing from buying fast to embracing slow fashion. I offer quality garments and hope to influence consumers to purchase more thoughtfully.

Do you have a favorite look in this collection?

Yes I do. It's the Overalls. At first I didn't know what to do with the design. But in the end I fell in love with it. The Overall has many hidden folds, it's rugged, but very sensitive, and has opening in the back.

Where can readers purchase your designs?

I will be launching online shop this summer. The the designs will be available on it starting in August 2019. Pre-orders by email are also possible. For the time being we are still selling in Switzerland. And we are always open for collaborations and custom orders.

What's next for you as a designer and your brand?

First I want to produce the designs from the collection for selling them in Swiss Boutiques by next autumn. Then I will be promoting our next collection, creating prototypes for designs, working on marketing to sell the products and using advertising to promote the purchase of sustainable clothing.

What advice do you have for young fashion artists just beginning their  journey to become designers? 

I think if you are ready to give and to have passion for a cause, then you can open the doors. It takes time and patience. Just open your mind.

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