In the very crowded fashion market today with talents abound, it can be hard to stand out.
I first spotted the studiowinkler brand earlier this year and I fell in love. Its 2014 Autumn/Winter collection was inspired by American electronic producer "The Flying Lotus." The whole collection was trippy, abstract and full of optical illusions – yet utilitarian.
I was naturally stoked when Newly Swissed was offered a seat at Studiowinkler's preview of its 2015 Spring/Summer collection at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Days.
The inspiration for this collection could not be further from the previous. The designer stayed true to her reputation for experimentalism and brought us into another different world: This time, somewhere in the Far East, deep in the Minangkabau highlands of West Sumatra, where the Minang tribe is based.
This Asian ethnic group’s influence on the brand’s latest collection was strongly evident: From the shapes to traditional fabrics, and rich color palette of browns, reds, gold, and ivory that is parallel to the clothing traditions of the Minang tribe.
With exotic details on a sleeve here and an appliqué on a collar there, the overall collection is very earthy, very exotic and definitely wearable.
Details, it is all in the details!
Julia Winkler - Swiss Fashion Designer
Keen to find out even more, I met the woman behind it all: Julia Winkler. Zürich born Julia was inspired by the culture behind the matrilineal society of the Minang tribe, where women are in charge.
"You have a culture that goes back hundreds of years. Where it has been that way and it is going to be that way. There are a couple of changes, but the core stays that the women have leading positions... This, I found very interesting."
I liked her immediately. So I was not surprised at how she replied to my question of how she hopes women feel when they wear her clothes.
"Strong, independent and sexy" was the unhesitant answer, and she added passionately: "You don’t find the typical mini-skirt that shows legs. Everything has a little twist. You don't show too much. This, for me, is very important. Because it is not about only the way you look, but also about what you have in your head."
What she said resonated very strongly with me. Unfortunately, there are just too many women out there still subconsciously dressing for other people, rather than for themselves.
I now like Julia even more.
Where Julia Finds Inspiration
According to Julia who is currently based in Berlin, the city is busy and it can be quite difficult to find inspiration. But her love for music has helped tremendously: "When I listen to music, I can shut out other noises," she enthused.
So what kind of music?
"Experimental music. Abstract sound. Electronic musical. Everything that is a little weird."
Then, we chatted about her beginnings and her thoughts on the fashion industry.
A former politics student, she knew it was not something that she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She cited her mother who was a couture tailor as a big influence in her decision to pursue fashion.
So in 2012, she graduated from Berlin’s International University of Art for Fashion ESMOD with an honors degree in Fashion Design and Pattern Making. With her diploma collection "Pinky's Dream, Watch The Room", she won the "Prix du Jury 2012" and the "Annabelle Award 2012."
And she has never looked back. Although Julia admits that the fashion industry lives up to its reputation of being difficult, she added: "Making it in any job is hard." She firmly believes when one sticks to the chosen path, "you’d be fine."
Possibly a little nugget of wisdom for anyone considering a career in fashion?
"Be ready for everything that is coming."
While Julia talked comfortably about the subject of fashion, which is obviously very close to her heart, she was just as affable sharing with Newly Swissed the more personal details about herself: Like missing Lake Zürich a lot when she is in Berlin. Julia counts the Volkshaus Restaurant and Ikoo as her favorite eating spots in Zürich.
When asked specifically about the Zürich fashion scene and her plans for the future, Julia sounded optimistic. She believes there are more platforms for designers than before, and she hopes to move her base back here where the brand will be established as a Swiss luxury label.
With her talent steadily gaining recognition (by the upmarket Galeries Lafayette in Berlin, no less!), we are just as optimistic.
We wish you well, Julia!
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