Fashion in Vienna:

SYNTHETIC FABRICS AND ART PERFORMANCES

Interview with Christian Kollarovits, Liniert
October 9, 2015

LINIERT are Ivon Gasque and Christian Kollarovits. The Spanish-Austrian designer duo creates avant-garde clothing defined by minimalistic cuts and highly developed synthetic fabrics. The sartorial concept of LINIERT is rounded up by regular art performances and exhibitions which Gasque and Kollarovits host in their studio situated in Sechskrügelgasse 2. The latest performance featuring choreographer Daniel Aschwanden took place on September 23rd and constitutes the inspiration source for LINIERT’s current photoshoot: the influence of smartphones in people's social and private lives. We met with Christian Kollarovits to talk about his views on LINIERT’s artistic approach to fashion as well as the label's main sources of inspiration.

Alexandra Vaduva: What is the story behind LINIERT? How did you start working on your label?

Christian Kollarovits: Ivon studied arts and craft in Barcelona, a branch of study that embraces many different art disciplines. After the degree she was working in ceramics, but she was actually always attracted to fashion and designing her own clothes. In 2005 she decided it was time for a change. So from one day to the other we redesigned the whole studio and she presented her first collection. We opened the shop just like that. Our business plan allowed us not to sell anything for one year. This was very important in order to have a certain freedom. At that point, I was still working in architecture but I joined her when I didn’t feel like working as an architect anymore. It was perfect timing and so we started designing clothes together.

Liniert

New Collection © LINIERT

AV: What do architecture and fashion have in common?

CK: There are two components that cross my mind: the first one is the three dimensional or the sculptural aspect. The second one does not necessarily come from architecture, but rather has to do with the fact that I am a very conceptual person when it comes to design.  I used the same approach while working in architecture – I strived to fulfill each and every objective I had in mind. Also, there's the tangibility involved, the love of certain fabrics, of specific processing techniques – many of these aspects are directly imported from architecture, even if only few people are aware of it. Fashion and architecture actually do have a lot in common. Both disciplines have to do with creating shells. Fashion can be regarded as the creation of a second shell, whereas architecture represents the third shell. These shells can also be interpreted as physical spaces - this is actually the most important commonality between fashion and architecture.

AV: Where does your inspiration come from?

CK: My inspiration is partially of functional nature. People expect pieces of clothing to fulfill certain roles and we as designers must of course meet these expectations. Therefore, we can distinguish the functional and the aesthetic aspect of fashion. However, after you've designed the 20th pair of trousers, functionality becomes redundant. A trouser is a trouser is a trouser. In other words, after a while, there are other factors that intervene in the creation process and from which a designer can draw inspiration.

 Liniert

inspiration © LINIERT

AV: Can you tell us why you decided to combine fashion design with art performances?

CK: The artistic aspect was embedded in our concept from the very beginning. We have always enjoyed doing art performances and exhibitions because we wanted to share our studio with other people. By doing so, we are also able to gather inspiration from other art directions. Another reason why art acts as an essential element of LINIERT is because our clientele has a noticeable affinity for art. At least this was our idea at the beginning, and all these years in which we have run our label have actually attested to it.

 Daniel Schwand photo: Alexandra Vaduva

Performance Daniel Aschwanden Photo: Alexandra Vaduva

AV: Is there a process you follow when developing your ideas? What does your typical work day look like?

CK: There are different approaches. I work differently than Ivon – she is very spontaneous and her designs come to life almost unconsciously, which is amazing. For her, the whole process happens naturally and has a lot to do with customers' influence and their needs. I tend to start the process by thinking about the end product I would like to have and then I ask myself how I can get there. Usually, there are many themes that I approach depending on where my interests currently lie. Their nature can be artistic, social or cultural. Generally speaking, I'm very interested in abstractions of all kinds. These completely abstract thoughts lead to the creation of items of clothing.

AV: In your you mainly utilize synthetic materials. Do you have any hang-ups when it comes to using synthetic fabrics instead of natural ones?

CK: The reasons why we incline to use synthetic fabrics are their quality and their characteristics. Many synthetic materials are highly developed and have certain qualities which natural materials lack. Nowadays one can find windproof, light as a feather and practically indestructible synthetic fabrics – these properties are not easy to find in natural fibers. It's their pure functionality that got us using almost exclusively synthetic fabrics from the very beginning of LINIERT. Also, many of them are very easy to wash and generally require little maintenance. From what we've encountered, clothes shouldn't require much of our time, but they should rather make our lives easier. In other words they should be machine-washable. Throw it in and take it out, preferably a hundred times.

 Liniert

New Collection © LINIERT

AV: What is your biggest professional success until now?

CK: Our biggest success is being satisfied with our work. It’s the kind of happiness you feel when seeing an end product come very close to the expectations you had at the start. This measurement is not an external one, but works rather as an inner measure. And nobody can possibly compare anything with this inner measure expect for the very own self. That is why an individual will know exactly when they have succeeded. Of course, it’s also very subjective, because when you are instinctually or impulsively creative, this comparison scale becomes unusable. But when you have a certain vision that you try to materialize, you can very accurately check whether the outcome of the whole process has all the qualities that you had imagined or you had expected.

AV: Are you usually up to date with trends taking place in the fashion industry?

CK: No. We react completely blindly. We look at what others do as little as possible or almost not at all. It bothers us a lot. For others it may be very influencing or it may facilitate the whole creation process, but we always try to seek inspiration in ourselves. We don’t follow trends. I don't have an exact idea on what’s happening out there in the fashion world or which cuts are in trend right now. These are completely superficial, completely random criteria which do not deserve my attention. What we do is try to continuously develop or improve our design – which is already difficult enough – and not jump on the bandwagon. This is actually the reason why fashion is categorized as superficial. On the one hand it isn't true at all, because fashion is anything but superficial, but on the other hand, this is exactly how fashion is interpreted by most people. It's a vicious circle in which designers, media people, and consumers are stuck. The best solution is to not get involved in this at all.

liniert photo: Alexandra Vaduva 

Liniert Studio photo: Alexandra Vaduva

AV: Where do you get most of your style inspiration?

CK: If you're searching for inspiration, I recommend locking yourself in an empty white room with a chair in the middle and a sketchbook in your hand. Whoever is capable of being creative in these circumstances will have already had a good start. But there are many different artistic approaches, all of them absolutely valid; the trick is to find the appropriate one.

Daniel Aschwanden Liniert 

Daniel Aschwanden © Liniert

I personally prefer to keep my creativity focused. I know more or less where I want to get, even if sometimes I'll lose my way through the process and I'll have to revise my goals. But at the end of the day, I'm most happy when I'm able to extract ideas from my very own self while sitting alone in a white, empty room.

AV: What is on your bookshelf, iPod, or movie list at the moment?

CK: I prefer to read philosophy or theoretical physics, as both these disciplines use the same mindset and deal with causality. When it comes to music, we both listen to jazz, classical music in all its great variety and also contemporary music, especially experimental. I do not and cannot have a favorite musician. There are so many great musicians out there and it would be superficial to say there is one that I like the most.

AV: Do you have any future plans that you can tell us about?

CK: We'd like to open more shops. We're currently pondering over the possibility of opening a store in Barcelona. It is a risky decision due to the economic situation in Spain nowadays, but the emotional side overweighs its rationality. Ivon comes from Barcelona and I love Barcelona enormously, so it would be an opportunity for us to experience the Mediterranean vibe again. We would also like to have a third store in Vienna, if we were to find the perfect place for it. But this is not an easy task. It involves a big investment and one should think twice in order to be absolutely sure about it.

 

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Kollarovits and Gasque opened their first LINIERT Fashion & Design studio and shop in Vienna's 3rd district in 2005. In 2013 the label expanded into a second store near Karlsplatz, Linke Wienzeile 4.

Order online and find out more about their art projects on LINIERT official website

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LINIERT Fashion & Design
Sechskrügelgasse 2
1030 Vienna
LINIERT store
Linke Wienzeile 4
1040 Vienna