RAUM 233 is the name of the Mechernich office and latest collection of the Paris and Cologne based brand NO/FAITH STUDIOS. Working primarily with denim and leather, both tough materials for the construction of intricate designs, Luis Constantin Dobbelgarten’s label is boldly pushing the boundaries of what can become of these two textiles.
NFS does everything differently; where other brands strive to conceal pockets or even make them invisible, NFS embraces their functionality and aesthetic, making them protrude in articles like the Multi Pocket Bag and Pocket Denim Heels. In RAUM 233 even zippers transcend their practical roles, transforming into spiral-esque designs and geometric shapes. Their genderless collection flaunts a variety of pieces, from jackets and jeans to dresses and skirts, all enhanced with the used, rusted look that NFS mysteriously pulls off with brand new clothing. Alongside their obvious fashion prowess, NFS experimented with audiovisual elements in this collection through the production of videography by Tom Funk that gives the clothes their very own immersive soundscape.
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NO/FAITH STUDIOS, the seven-year-old brand exposing us to some of the most  innovative handling of leather and denim textiles that we’ve seen, has just launched their  latest, genderless project RAUM 233. How have you found the reception of the collection  this past week?
The collection was well received, and we're thrilled with the result. We didn’t show it in person yet; therefore, our only tool for success measurement is our Instagram account and the feedback we get from it. While posting the lookbook, our  following constantly increased, and we received many positive messages about how crazy  the looks were. I’m super grateful for that.
NFS was founded in 2016 by Luis Dobbelgarten. Then 16 and now 22, it could be said that the brand has come of age alongside you. Given the vulnerability and the emotional  uncertainty of teenage years, how did you feel confident enough to go about creating the  brand? What has the journey been like so far?
The beginning was challenging. People notice you if you are different, especially in my small  town. But that really never bothered me. I just do the things I love and concentrate on my  own vision. Sometimes, I doubted myself, and the feedback could have been better, or even no, because nobody bought anything. That motivated me; I stayed on my grind and created more.
RAUM 233 features manipulations of leather and denim into unbelievable patterns and  textures. The Leather Plisse Trousers and Jacket co-ord presents an extreme ribbed texture  that is rare, if not unprecedented, in leather clothing. Walk us through the design process  and how you then move onto making the clothes. How do you achieve what seem to be complicated patterns and textures in such tough materials?
My friend Mo and I have designed each piece on our tablets. We soon realised that most productions couldn’t work with our drawings, but we found a small family-owned business in  Italy that immediately understood our vision. They work for other luxury brands and have the  craziest leather variations. Most brands don’t use ribbed texture or crazy washes on leather  pieces. Maybe it’s the higher production costs, or they are not brave enough.
Has a design you’ve come up with ever proved impossible during production?
I wouldn’t say impossible, but sometimes you receive a sample and realise it looks better in your imagination than in your hand.
The collection takes the utility aesthetic to the highest of levels, flaunting multi-pocket  bags and heels, and OTT zipper designs. In RAUM 233 zippers and pockets evolve from  their functional roles and become part of the looks’ identity, creating intricate spiral designs  using a continual zipper like in Look 20. What was the initial inspiration for this collection?
Pockets can develop the shape of a jacket, dress, or jeans and zippers give it the final detail.  When you work with denim or leather, you don’t have many options to create a loud piece.
I’m not a big fan of prints on those fabrics; that’s why these details were the results of our continuous research to make a piece unique.
One of NFS’ staples is the worn-out, rusted metal look present in a lot of your designs,  both leather and denim (like Looks 2, 3, and 15). How do you achieve this quote unquote used look that  makes brand new clothes appear vintage?
Our designs live from the fabrics. Many people see denim and leather as those difficult  fabrics and don’t see all the chances. But I realised that you can have endless opportunities, but it’s also a hard process. We are currently experimenting with camo-pattern on the  leather, so the vintage look is probably the most straightforward approach.
The videos for RAUM 233 by visionary Tom Funk elevate the collection further by  constructing an entire cinematic soundscape for the designs, amplifying their textural and  haptic qualities through the audio enhancement of zippers pulled shut and chains rattling  against leather. Not solely reliant on visual campaigns, RAUM 233’s soundscape  organically captures the weight and opulence of the pieces – do you see NFS experimenting  with sound or even other disciplines moving forward?
Visuals and sounds are a big part of fashion campaigns. Tom and I had the idea of using  sounds that can be created by moving the clothing. It’s almost like you can hear the quality  of every piece! We always want to recreate ourselves in every aspect of this fashion game. There are more ways we would like to explore regarding audio-visuality in the future. 
And behind photography of RAUM 233 is Shauna Summers who also worked with you on the mesmerising campaign for NFS multi-pocketed, denim heels. Seeing as you worked on creative direction, how have you found the balance in perfectly executing your vision  whilst entrusting your collaborators and emboldening their own artistic freedom as well?
I only work with people who understand my art, no matter if it’s Shauna, Tom or Louis Mack. Sometimes there are barriers in communicating a vision, but we always find a common  ground. I’m also a fan of their art, so why shouldn’t I get a new view, to see the whole  picture.
NFS is due to host experimental musician Lancey Foux’s party on the 3rd of May in Cologne, Germany – one of the brand’s artistic bases – alongside NO BYSTANDERS and  TRAP N’ FLY. Tell us a bit about how this collaboration occurred and what guests should expect.
I really have to shout out the guys from NO BYSTANDERS and TRAP N’ FLY for that. I’m a  big fan of Lancey Foux’s music and met him in Berlin. They told me they were planning a  party with him and asked if I wanted to be on board. I have always considered doing NFS  parties for the last few months, but not because I’m really into clubbing; I don’t even drink. I want to create a safe space for people that identify with NFS. I think this is the perfect kick off for this plan.
As the head of NFS, what is your mindset usually like post-launch, are you currently taking a break or already on to the next project?
Right now, I’m in Napoli with Mo. Even though I wanted to use this as a small break, I’m still  visiting the leather manufacturer and creating new designs. Walking around the city, I get  so much inspiration that it would be a pity not to use it. I’m working 24/7, because we are a  team of three people, and we have to handle more than just the design process.
Our final question – your fans want to know: will the next NO/FAITH STUDIOS collection have more plus size representation?
We are definitely planning on it! I don’t want to limit my work [and want to open up] to the endless opportunities other body types can give you. Fashion should be inclusive, especially our leather collection,  which we can adapt to any body shape, and we have already made some custom adjustments for people who wrote to me that they need a bigger size. Everyone is unique, and everyone should feel comfortable in a NFS piece.
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