Within this interview, we explore Clara Colette Miramon’s interpretation of historical European garments, while delving into the compelling mingle of the “extremely online” era with the Middle Ages. As we reveal the inner workings of her design process, the emerging designer addresses challenges in constructing wearable corsets that balance flattering and non-constrictive, while blending in pop-cultural moments. Probing deeper, we touch upon the cultural sensitivity integral to the reimagining of traditional garments, nimbly sidestepping the pitfalls of romanticising or commodifying its historical context.
Hi Clara, thank you for speaking with us. How are you doing today, and where are you joining us from?
Hi Jenny, I’m doing well. I'm in LA at the moment, spending some months of the winter here this year to escape the Berlin winter.
Your brand’s aesthetic is described as a blend of the current extremely-online era and the Middle Ages. Can you walk us through your creative process when merging these contrasting influences?
I like to imagine a character from another time stepping into today. What kind of woman would she be and how would her outfits look? At the moment I’m obsessed with religious Icons from the Middle Ages, I like to imagine what they would post on Instagram (laughs).
You create designs that fuse pop cultural moments with traditional techniques and historical European garments. How do you balance incorporating influences from historical elements with creating contemporary and relevant silhouettes?
I love to look at historical references for inspiration on construction of garments and details. The silhouettes I choose are most of the time more inspired by contemporary trends or certain pop cultural elements. Then I can use more traditional ways to construct these and ornamental details from historical references.
Do you face challenges when working with historical corsetry techniques, as to ensure pieces are both flattering and non-constrictive?
Corsetry is generally challenging to construct on a technical level. I make corsets more wearable by opting for a more cropped fit that doesn't constrict movement as much but corsets are constricting garments. I find this interesting in terms of body modification and creating silhouettes.
I want to quickly touch on cultural sensitivity and the responsibilities that come with reinterpreting traditional garment. In merging historical corsetry with contemporary design, how do you achieve a balance between infusing empowering qualities in the garment, while avoiding potential pitfalls of romanticising or commodifying its historical context?
I think a historical context is a beautiful way to explore femininity. Where we are today is built on historical positions of women. We still live between empowerment and objectification. Our beauty ideals are rigid in other ways than they used to be but still very real. I like to explore those ideas of constriction of the body in historical fashion and its counterparts today. We have the freedom to wear pants and short skirts but don't get objectified any less.
What’s your approach to balancing creativity and the struggles of the business side of running your own label?
I am still trying to find a balance and aim to learn as much as possible. Not running a huge brand comes with a lot of freedom though and I appreciate that. I like to try different things each season in terms of pieces I produce and how I present my collections.
Your Butterfly Puffer Jacket went viral on social media. In the wake of this virality, I noticed an influx of knock-offs. How did you address the difficulties posed by imitations, and did you feel as though you had to preserve your brand’s individual identity?
I don’t know what you can really do against knock offs or imposter products based on my designs. I loved the butterfly puffer jackets but I have a lot more designs to offer, the only thing I felt I’d be able to do is move on to the next.
Does crafting everything locally in Berlin enhance the sustainability of your brand?
I work with some European factories but mostly still work on a made to order basis. Of course this ensures very minimal waste but it’s only possible because the brand is small. I am curious to see how it evolves but hopefully I’ll always be able to offer special made to order pieces because handcrafting is such a central part of what I do and inspires my process hugely.
Given the increasing interest in sustainable fashion, have you noticed a growing awareness and appreciation for eco-consciousness among your customers? Are they actively seeking information about the sustainable practices behind your designs?
I think people that shop from small brands and young designers have a natural interest in more sustainable fashion. I have started to use mostly deadstock materials which my customers appreciate for sure.
Given your fascination with pop-culture, are there specific artists or cultural icons you dream of collaborating with in the future?
It changes all the time but right now I would love to work with FKA twigs.
Looking deeper into the future, can you share a glimpse of what you aspire to explore through your designs? Are there untapped inspirations or unconventional design elements you’re eager to delve into and incorporate?
I am so excited to try new things every season. I’ve only been working on my brand for two years so I still feel like I’m developing my language. I always explore the complexity of femininity, because that’s what I see in the women I want to dress, beauty and strength in different facets. What I’m working on for my next collection is so different and I am making more theatrical pieces that I love. I always work with puffy pieces and corsets because I’m drawn to them naturally but they are evolving with me as well. I don’t want to give it away yet but my next collection takes on different new elements and I think I will continue to [do this] every season in the future.