Friederike Porscha is fashion-forward yet historically minded. With an eye for quality and craftsmanship, she taps into her Bavarian roots to bring a modern twist to the traditional. Her collections of one-of-a-kind finds are mixed with quality fabrics and manufactured here in Germany, keeping environmental costs minimal.
Please tell us about your work, educational and life experiences that lead you to become a fashion designer and start up your own fashion label.
I was always good at crafting things. So after my A-levels and even before, I did a lot of experimenting with all kinds of crafting like potting, working with wood and scrap metal. But finally, in the most natural way, it all added up to me creating textile designs. So I applied for a fashion school in Munich and finished in 2005. My final collection dealt with the subject of fleamarkets, nostalgia and transience. For me, making clothes is the most practical and direct way of expressing myself everyday, by choosing what to wear.
I never was interested in so called “fashion” – meaning what is trendy or not. My interest lies more in the historical aspect. In former days, craftsmanship accompanied fashion – that’s what fascinates me.
What have been the most challenging aspects of designing your own line and what things or people have been most helpful to you on this journey?
This is simple to say… definitely the business part. It’s like being caught between two roles. On the one hand, you have the creative design part but then, on the other hand, you have to be a business women and earn money with your creations. You have to contact people and somehow sell yourself and your clothes. I mean, it’s really difficult because you put so much love and effort in the items you create and it can be painful to be turned down, but it’s all business in the end.
I meet a lot of people. Some, you really have to handle carefully because they are simply looking out for themselves, but I meet more people like myself, struggling with the same problems and working towards the same dream. I share my atelier with two really strong and amazing girls. We compare notes and share business knowledge, as well as support each other mentally. I am really glad to have such good company. My parents were also very helpful, as they never really pushed me in some predetermined direction, they gave me a strong sense of basic trust.
What people or things have inspired your most recent collections?
I really don’t know where this comes from exactly, but I have a strong attraction to traditions, home and nature. I am kind of a nostalgic person – I don’t want “the old times” back but I really like the idea of everything being a bit slower as well as the appreciation and value of goods. I want to learn how to put old handcrafts into a new context and, with that, conserve them.
My last collection plays with my Bavarian traditions and roots. As I don’t live there any longer, I figure I may be attempting to handle a bit of homesickness :) I really love Bavarian costumes and traditions but I also like to play with clichés.
Why is it important for you to use and collect high-quality, European and upcycled materials for use in your work? How does the use of these materials affect the overall aesthetic? What are the benefits and disadvantages?
It’s kind of a perfect way to connect my two obsessions. I am a fleamarket addict and collector of old things from furniture, textiles, buckles and buttons to yarn. I collect everything! With such little things finding their ways into my designs, it’s my form of sustainability. Of course, as a designer, I have to produce things but in this way I can combine the processes of creating something new with the beautiful things that still exist. Quality, for me, is important and pieces of clothing should last a long time.
I also want to work within the traditions of German manufacturers. One advantage of staying in good contact with them is the serious reduction of long distance delivery. I cannot and I do not wish to compete with big companies who produce faster and faster, cheaper and cheaper. I want more value for cloth.
You say that your pieces are “love pieces” and that they “should last a lifetime, not only for one season”. Can you explain why this is important to you?
When I was younger I used to buy a lot of cheap stuff because I thought I needed it or because it was “trendy”. One year later I’d have to throw it away due to the poor quality or because I didn’t like it any longer. But now I am more aware of what I really want. I know my style and the things I buy now, I want to keep. So, I buy things made of great material. I really fall in love with my items and have some kind of a relationship with the clothes as they travel with me, get older and develop a patina. These pieces tell no one else’s story but mine and I want people to have their own stories and relationships with my creations. There are way too many things produced nowadays and we need to reduce that. After all these years, spending lots of time and money on flea-markets all over Europe, I am in the lucky position to share my passions with other people by transferring or upcycling my treasures into something new.