Words Martin Mitchell
Pictures Gesine Försterling's + Campaign by Marlen Mueller
Gesine Försterling, MA in fashion design from Berlin University of Arts in 2016, took part in the 2017 International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères and won the Chloé Prize for her menswear collection.
When designing, Gesine focuses intensely on craftsmanship experiments and more specifically on reinterpreting and incorporating the traditional techniques into her surface rich, print-based creations. The ability to create patterns and surfaces by merging new and old along with the interaction between art and zeitgeist are essential building blocks in the Foersterling design ethos.
Gesine Försterling’s work is highly curious and daring and discusses sociological and aesthetical phenomena. In proper post-modern nature, she collages ideas and genres to forge a different understanding with a new aesthetic point of measure. She boldly proposes an inversion in the power dressing sphere - an inversion that is both sensual and strong and consists predominately of modified garments and revised shapes that are heavily embellished. She combines classic menswear along with workwear in this hybridised universe.
The harsh workwear vibes found in her use of materials like denim, twill, thick cotton and wool are countered by luxurious detailing and embellishment in a classic menswear frame. This fusion is tied together by time-consuming handicraft and industrial methods of production. She wishes to blur the lines between masculine and feminine dressing and does so most successfully when her ornate embroidery or pearls, sequins, and threads are added to the workwear fabrics. She wants to make men's couture wearable.
The importance of handicraft visionaries like Gesine Försterling can not be highlighted enough. She manages to break down barriers, visit new territories and attesting the importance of curiosity in design while never losing sight of wearability. That is what slow fashion needs. Conscious designers also need to push the boundaries otherwise slow and sustainable fashion will stagnate. We salute designers like Gesine Försterling for her attention to craftsmanship and hope she can inspire other brands. We are inspired.