Words Martin Mitchell Design Halo Labels Photos Bennie Julian Gay
Styling Paulina Cwojdzinska Video Emilia Kurylowicz
Models Tarren Johnson, Benjamin Creek, Vivi Hoang, Sandra Kosorotova
We are happy to introduce you to Berlin-based clothing brand Halo Labels. Founder Ala Sowiar is originally from Poznan, Poland, where she studied Intermedia (new media/video and installation art) but moved to Berlin to attend a Master's programme at Universität der Künste. Despite never studying clothing design, Ala founded Halo Labels in 2014 because of her interest and experimentation with video and how the texture of a textile can potentially influence a projected image to alter its appearance.
Ala worked her way towards fashion design as she continued to experiment with different materials and their altered appearances. Through this process, her textile knowledge and awareness grew and through this physical and digital experimentation, she realized that merging the digital media with textile might be successful. She believed the two had more in common than what first meets the eye. Ala thought about the Jacquard weaving machine, which was the first computer produced, and the structure of the fabric that shares close similarity to the coding of digital images. Both of them, she believes, are mosaics of crossed points and pixelation. For Ala, they both exemplify the idea of elasticity and variability in contemporary art forms. Non-conformity and deconstructive meanings are what drives it.
While she was studying, Ala ran the blog halolabels on Tumblr while also being a part of her friend Michalina's project schuhtutehemd.com. Therefore, starting a brand was straightforward as it was simply a continuation, a natural prolongation, of the universe she had already created. Fashion and textiles henceforth became a realm of freedom for Ala. After spending so much time working with digital medias, she longed for bringing physical objects into existence. Halo Labels is that realization in the form of weaving or sewing pieces of fabric together to create a new meaning. She revolved her philosophy around the thought that the physical and the mind are equally important parts of our reality.
Recently, Ala has returned to her filmmaking background as she introduced Halo Labels first campaign video "Increase the Lifespan of Your Clothes". Working on Halo Labels, she has grown aware of textiles importance as matters we put on our bodies. Textiles, and therefore also clothing, is one of the most intimate relationships in the human life, one that at all times stimulates both our senses and our emotions. For Ala, feeling comfortable in the clothes we wear, learning how to take care of our body, and respecting our surrounding environment are directly linked to our awareness. Our clothes should be treated and nurtured as respectfully as we would with human beings, she believes.
Being a self-proclaimed sustainable designer is a tough task. Especially if you want to challenge mankind's relation to materiality. Halo Labels needs to be a role model, and for Ala, there are many steps in production she needs to take into consideration. She influences those she is capable of, she tells us. For instance, she supports local Polish suppliers and Berlin-based ones as well. One such local supplier is Mr. Henryk from Berlin, whose dying methods she makes use of. He cares eminently about reducing waste and dyes in-house and for her Parachute line, Ala reused old broken umbrella textiles for example.
Halo Labels philosophy is heavily linked to an aura, to an awareness, and to a more transcendental meaning to life. Ala recently added a slogan to her company name, namely Soft Matters. Softness, as in the basic quality of textiles and our treatment of ourselves and our environment. Behind Halo Labels is only Ala and her mother, an experienced self-taught tailor who taught Ala about clothes making. They are supported by friends and family because they all want the brand to succeed. Ala and her mother work closely on developing new patterns and samples to send to small local sewing ateliers in Poland and their Berlin neighborhoods for production. Supporting locally is at the centre of the brand.
Ala tells us that in the near future she wants to focus on developing unique items, but also improving their technological methods as she did in her Gauze collection. She wants to continue her limited, non-seasonal approach rather than tapping into the overstimulated fashion schedule. At Less Magazine we like the softness of Halo Labels. We like how Ala and her mother are socially aware, and we like how effortless the pieces they create appear. We urge you to support this small brand. They might just be the future of slow fashion. If not, they sure make a great contribution to it.