Vancouver Fashion Week FW 21 - Interview with Fashion Designer Tanja Salem of CO-DE (Germany)

Oct. 2021 Update -

Designer Tanja Salem will be sharing her latest collection on the Vancouver Fashion Week runway on Sun. Oct. 24th at 7:30 p.m.  Tix/Info HERE

Readers would love to know more about the SS22 collection you will be showing on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week Oct. 24, 2021.

My next collection is called DIGI- EXPRESS 22- WHAT´S NEXT?

The whole world walked and is still walking trough a really rough time without knowing where we all will end up with COVID. DIGI- EXPRESS 22 is a digital train that takes you on a trip without knowing where you will end up. Therefore, the collection has a lot of elastic and flexible moments. The color palette is still bright and loud but a little but laid out on a larger scale.

Do you have a favourite look?  

My favorite look is the is the red/ pink blouse dress made out of Tencel because the drawstrings on the sleeves and at the waistline give a lot of flexibility in size and mood.

Anything new and exciting you'd like to share?

I am excited to announce that I opened my first store in August in my hometown Moers which is near Düsseldorf. It´s a fully black painted store with bright rainbow lights and colorful garments. 

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Previous Interview 

Brand Description -

We are a young slow fashion brand producing three collection per year that include women's and men's ready- to- wear pieces in a pretty colorful style inspired by expressionism art. 

One big point for the fashion industry nowadays is the circulation of our resources. Therefore, we are trying our best to produce garments for you made of mono materials that are recyclable. Every Friday our team sits together to find creative solutions for all the leftover fabrics and trims we have and create our yearly revival collection from it, where each piece will be handmade and unique.

To make it easier and more transparent for you to understand the supplying chain and production of our pieces, every piece we have integrates a QR-CODE that will tell you easily every information in seconds with your smartphone camera.

Bio -

Tanja Salem is a German fashion designer based in Munich with a crush on the picture language of expressionism art.

After finishing her school Tanja won a scholarship for a three-and-a-half-year program to study Fashion Design. During her practical semester she interned at New York based fashion label Marchesa in the Couture Department. During this time she did a deep dive into the development of handmade evening gowns. Tanja graduated honored for her outstanding graduation thesis of the graduate class in Fashion Design B.A. at Media Design University of Applied Sciences in April 2019. Currently her collection DETACHED is nominated for the prestigious Munich Fashion Award 2020.

In the beginning of 2020 Tanja started creating her own brand, CO-DE, which caters to both women and menswear and is focused on colorful active high fashion with a slow fashion angle.

Interview -

Please share a bit about your journey to choose a career in fashion? Where did you choose to study or, if self taught, how did you gain your skills?

For as long as I can remember it was always a dream of mine to become part of the colorful, playful and expressive world of fashion. Above that, it´s important for me to be surrounded by people with a similar mindset to share and enjoy fancy creations. After I finished school I wasn´t sure if fashion was the right direction anymore. Suddenly you are shown so many possibilities and of course the pressure from outside increases to learn something "clever" that brings security and money. So I started studying biology and chemistry to become a teacher. It didn´t take half a year. I sat on the sofa in frustration in the evenings. To get rid of my daily frustration I started drawing. The moment I finally realized that creativity is my way, brought a feeling of freedom and happiness back in my life. The only catch that got in my way was that fashion studies are very expensive. Therefore, I applied for a scholarship at the Media Design University of Applied Science in Munich and I won.

After that successful moment I knew I was on the right way and I´ve never regretted my decision to quit studying natural sciences. Everyday I am filled with passion and gratitude to be allowed to do what I love and in what I am obviously good in. During my studies I gained a lot of knowledge on so many different levels such as the complex design process, craftmanship and also the communication and network that is needed to develop and sell a line.

What inspired you to launch your own label? What has been your highest moment since launching your line? Why did you choose the name CO-DE?

It has always been clear to me that when I work as a designer, it is mainly to enjoy freedom and to see something permanent grow. The only way to combine these two things is to have your own company. During art class in elementary school, I used to draw my own clothing store filled with colorful luxury items. But it´s pretty tough to start its own label as a young designer without having a million dollars in the backpack. Thus, I enjoy reaching little milestones. When I sold my first piece, or when I was finally able to move from my sister‘s basement into my own little studio. These were very great moments for me.

The name CO-DE is based on two aspects: a ticket to enter the future and a QR- Code to have a look into the past.
  1. The Logo is inspired by a ticket which normally allows entry into something fancy. My ticket is made for costumers who are ready to wear expressive fashion pieces and to wear them with self-confidence and playfulness.
  2. The second point we have to respect these days in fashion is the supply chain. Therefore, every piece has it´s own QR-Code that gives the consumer all the information about production, material, returning and more in the few seconds it takes to scan the code. And due to the time we are going though, I think every person immediately know how to use it.
Salem's Favorite Look
How would you describe your brand? What is the aesthetic? Who is the customer you design for?

Encouraged by freedom- loving thoughts, our aesthetics, patterns and colors are based on German expressive art and the contemporary fashion one can see on international runways. The patterns are characterized by an interplay of moments close to the body and moments away from the body. Using a mixture of flowing fabrics paired with rough materials underlines the interplay of the silhouette. The color palette always shows complementary contrasts, which increases the color intensity and thus a loud, yet harmonious picture is drawn. CO-DE is designed to elicit a reaction or even an action from the viewer and wearer.

Can you share something about the new FW21 Collection you'll be showing casing at Vancouver Fashion Week? What was the inspiration? What fabrics and palette did you use?

CO-DE is always inspired by expressionism art. The FW21 collection named SCART= scan art is a mixture of playful, colorful and extraordinary designs with a focus on fair and respectful production. The strength of contrast is also mentioned in the use of materials and colors. Flowing fabrics with a very delicate effect meet rough materials that come from the field of sportswear. Thus, the look gains dynamism, expression and quality with a unique touch.
Using appropriate Materials is key for my design methods. All the materials used in the collections are either sustainable materials or sourced from already existing stocks. I am working towards a circular system, in which I design for circularity, use recycled materials and re-integrate it after it’s use.

Do you have a favourite look in this collection? Is there one piece that is a must have piece?

My favorite pieces are always coats and jackets to spice up an everyday look. In this collection, I like the beige oversized trench coat best. This is a must-see if you are ready to grab attention as you walk the streets. Picture attached.

Where can readers find your garments? How can they purchase them?

Currently my garments are available in our online shop: Also, we will be very happy when we are allowed, to welcome costumers in our little studio in Moers. It's a little town near Düsseldorf.

Links -

With challenging COVID restrictions still in place, VFW will be offering a digital showcase of fashion films provided by both local and international designers showcasing their latest Fall Winter 2021 collections. Partnerships with several companies will launch this season with the opportunity for you to win stay-cation essentials, yummy treats, healthy-looking skin, and more. Keep a sharp eye out on their Social Media channels to have a chance to enter! For more information and for show schedule (TBA), please visit their website at


  1. Love the trench coat and everything else! Great idea to have two different lines!

    1. I loved the QR codes detailing the slow fashion details.


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