Production & Concept: Kemara Pol, Editor in Chief yokemara.com
Photography: Kemara Pol
Designer: Tina Elisabeth Reiter mixed with streetwear pieces
Model: Serge Rigvava, Stella Models
Styling: Nina Kepplinger
Hair & Makeup: Kemara Pol
Digital Imaging: Dominik Geiger
Tina Elisabeth Reiter was born and raised in Krems, Austria and went on to study fashion design in Munich and London. While attending design school at the London College of Fashion, she has created her first menswear collection. She began designing her graduate collection, deriving inspiration from the feeling of homelessness, its contemporary correlation to “belonging”, and the search for one’s roots in todays unpredictable and globalized world.
Disenchanted by fast and disposable fashion, designer Tina Elisabeth Reiter seeks to create sophisticated and highly crafted garments including its tradition and fuses it with aesthetics of modern menswear. Aside from her love affair with traditional techniques and silhouettes, Elisabeth also seeks to attempt a unique way of staying true to her own roots, creating an effortless and airy sophistication, which remains relevant in every tomorrow.
Tina Elisabeth Reiter
Taking inspiration from the heritage of the Austrian folk costume, art and history, Tina approaches design with more than just style in mind: Nourished by the wish of an ideal world which is forever connected with the myth of the alps, the kitschy homeland movies of the Austrian postwar years and the world famous musical ‘The Sound of Music’. Embracing these core ideas, the philosophy affirms that true beauty must not contain opulence but is beautiful from start to finish.
Through evocative shapes and luxurious fabrications, each piece is designed to make you feel fantastic, and therefore look amazing.
Sourcing the finest materials and manufacturing in an Austrian, German and British atelier, Tina Elisabeth Reiter is committed to quality and creating an international community, with a focus on producing heirloom pieces that will last many lifetimes.
How would you describe yourself?
Creative slob, aesthete, waltzing mouse, fashion weirdo, libran, foodie, believer, oneironaut, border crosser, artisan, electronic music lover, yogi, peaceful warrior, morning grouch ect. – Just arrange the above in an order of your favour.
‘The sound of Homeless(ness)’ that’s the name of your collection! What were you trying to say with your collection and its title?
The title itself is referencing the world famous musical “The Sound of Music” and its super kitschy far off reality picture of my home country Austria.
Homeless btw. Homelessness has a newly defined contemporary meaning. Besides a physical homelessness there also occurs the phenomenon of a lack of belonging, evoked by our unpredictable globalised world where things often go head over heals. Somehow we all have become modern nomads.
In the end my aim was to create a collection that suits a modern “world citizen”. On the one hand, staying true to the own roots by using traditional heritage as well as typical techniques that create the specific look/volume extracted from the Austrian Folk costume. On the other hand, pushing the limit of conventional menswear and creating something new that stands out from the mass markets.
Take me through your designing process. When you’re designing, do you draw everything at once, or do you focus on certain aspects and leave some things for later? how do you work?
It works for each designer differently. I am not really a big drawer, to much regret of all my former tutors. For me, it is a rough sketch, maybe already including some technical details.
I am too much of a crafts person so I start drafting the pattern and do the first toile. Especially when it comes to proportion and/or silhouette, I simply need to see how it looks in real. At this point I probably have already chosen the right fabric in the back of my head. Depending on the difficulty of the garment I will do another toile or maybe a mock-up of a detail that is crucial to the specific style. After that I do the spec sheet including technical drawing and manufacturing relevant details. Next I will do a sample piece of the design for the sample collection. By now everything is ready to got into production.
I’m sure you got this question asked already a hundred times, but need to ask you that! When and why did you decide that you want design menswear clothes? What is it about menswear that draws in your attention?
It wasn’t really my decision on the end. During my diploma studies I had a really strong tutor in menswear, who lead off everything. After participating with my diploma collection, which was a mixed one (half women’s, half men’s), in several competitions, show cases and runways I got approached by many people from the industry encouraging me to go ahead with my menswear, as they saw it as more directional compared to my aesthetics in womenswear.
The kind of “final confirmation” was given when I was offered a scholarship to do my Master’s in Menswear at the London College of Fashion.
In regards of menswear you have much more restrictions than in womenswear. You have to operate within a frame, that creates the arch of suspense. There are rules you can hardly break in order to create a working silhouette. So detailing plays an important role. Good menswear is full of little details you will only see at a second glance. This is something that gets me excited.
Who gave you the most precious advice when it comes to designing and what was it?
“You have to be in the box for a long time, to step out of it.”
Synonymous for you have to know the rules like a pro to break them successfully. This advice we were giving whilst a tailoring class at London College of Fashion by Alan Cannon Jones, who’s probably the luminary when it comes to tailoring and menswear in the western world.
Discribe your typical customer!
Well, let me put it this way. The opinions towards my collection in regards of wearability diverge broadly. Some people think for a conceptual collection it is super wearable, also as whole outfits. Others find it too experimental, e.g. the culottes or too costumy at all.
So diverse the perception of the garments, so is the range of customers. You need to understand what the collection is about to wear it. Someone said they looked like they already had a journey behind them.
Doubtless it sometimes happens when I am out on the street and spot a really well dressed guy, I think of specific pieces that would look great on him. My typical costumer it neither old nor young nor traditional or stylish – he makes the best out of himself.
Is there any specific famous person you could picture wearing your clothes?
For sure it would be supercool to have someone like John Malkovich or Andreas Kronthaler wearing some of my stuff as they cultivated such a distinctive style, which shows an outstanding taste.
But for instance I never imagined Patrick Wolf wearing my stuff. Et voilà, it just worked out together beautifully.
Let’s say you could have a runway show at any fashion week in the world! Where would you show your creations and why?
London. My heart still beats for the rainy island and its capital. With Savile Row, world’s bastion for tailoring and menswear. Also due to the fact, that London Fashion Week decided as first fashion week to outsource the men’s part and launch a specific men’s week. The Brits were pioneers many times, so this would be my choice.
We live in a time where fast fashion is more popular than ever! What are your thoughts on that?
Where to start about this… In my opinion, fast fashion is just a very good example of an industry created by mankind that is sentenced to collapse.
We need to learn that we have to pay the price for everything in life.
Hence a t-shirt for 4,99 Euro is a great deal. But do you know how much the fibres are polluted with pesticides? Do you know the minimum quote of produced items per seamstress in order to get even paid? Also do know how much gas was used to carry it around half the planet? If you don’t pay the actual price, someone else will have to do it.
The cycles in fashion speed up more and more, but in my eyes this is just an illustration of our society, that has created misanthropic systems to gain as much profit as possible. At one point things won’t go faster or cheaper. This stagnation will probably be followed by collapse and after this we will have to reassess our values and beliefs.
Can you tell us something about your new collection? What will it be about and when can we expect it to buy?
Last question, hardest one! I have absolutely no clue when this will happen. Things will need to fall into place and I simply need to feel it again. Sorry, if this answer is probably highly unrewarding. Stay tuned!
For more information about Tina Elisabeth Reiter and her menswear line go to anotheraustria.com