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Alongside the colour black, Barbara I Gongini presents shades of non-dyed fabrics in natural tones in her showroom in Paris. The beauty lays in the silence of the fabrics in contrast to the expressive textures. It’s like a Nordic myth, just like the designer herself, born in the razor-sharp landscapes of the Faroe Islands but currently based in Copenhagen. Let’s see what the designer had to say through her Spring/Summer 2018 collection presented in Paris.
It's been amazing to be alongside your collections for several seasons now. Can you tell us about your inspiration this time around?
This season I really wanted to implement a natural/organic aspect in a visual way, therefore we used a lot of non-dyed fabrics, which are combined with earthly colours. These hues of natural tones find their essence in the shades of grass blades, which sway unsteadily in the Nordic gust creating shades of the Faroe Islands. The colour black stays as a constant in the collection, the designs are seen as a kit where you can combine, layer and morph the styles together. The collection is encouraging the wearer to play with new combinations and multifunctional designs.
It feels like a continuation from previous seasons, do you see it that way?
Yes, for sure. It’s an extension or continuation of the creative processes. The new dimension for the Spring/Summer 2018 season is the take on natural fabrics that we wanted to visualise. We worked with the colour palette from black to skin tones, and all those fine nuances in earthly colours between. With the materials and textiles, we are using a lot of organic cotton and recycled fibres.
Can you explain a little where you're from and describe how the landscape inspires and has a connection to the clothes?
I believe that the surroundings or the culture that you are brought up in imprints itself in your DNA. Subconsciously it has always been a very natural approach for me to draw from and be inspired by the natural resources and to eventually aim for an organic product. Working with a very monochromatic colour palette gives me the space to use it as a canvas that illustrates the different textures, which are found in the Faroe Islands.
From the razor-sharp cliffs to the patterns made by the grasses blowing in the wind, there is an enormous variety of different textures to draw upon. This season we utilised a process of heating leather in order to resemble the dramatic cliffs of the Faroe Islands. If you look deep into the anatomy of the fabrics you will discover their own natural imprint, which we wanted to enhance. The beauty lays in the silence of the fabrics in contrast to the expressive textures.
Last time we met in your (at the time) brand new store in Copenhagen. How is the store now? And how has it helped move the brand forward?
Our main goal when creating this store was to have the ability to create an environment that completes Barbara I Gongini’s universe and therefore best supports the designs. The store itself is built from elements of an old shipwreck that was lying in the Copenhagen Bay Area. We discovered the beauty in the fragments of the ship and were allowed to pick some pieces, which were eventually treated with oil to enhance the dark texture. When copper erodes, it develops that beautiful green tone, which resonates with the Islands hues. It’s a form of abstract storytelling that is in origin of the brand.
You’re ahead of your time when it comes to sustainability. Do you think we’re in a time of change? What can be done by the clientele and what has to be done by the industry?
This subject has been going on for years and has been a priority in our company since the beginning. The positive side of the story is that the end consumer nowadays is much more progressive in putting forth demands on the product and the brand. I really embrace and celebrate this attitude and we are very proud that we are moving forward together with our clients.
The industry, however, is another story. It is indeed a big machine that desperately needs to be turned around. This is where we, as the designers, have to step in: to produce eco-friendly products and to make them readily available to the end user.
You always seem to find new ways of exploring ideas. What is there to be looking forward to in the near future?
With our new sub-line, Norðan by Barbara I Gongini, we want to create space for the super silent designs, which is very much connected to the Nordic spirit. A silent canvas that vibrates, which eventually gives freedom to the main line and allows it to communicate itself more expressively. Therefore the future will contain a wide variety of inspired designs.

My Maanmies

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