Help yourself to a slice of Stefanie Biggel: the Swiss designer with a penchant for androgynous womenswear
Androgyny is a word that has become so overused in the fashion industry that it’s now increasingly difficult to appreciate the womanly or manly aspects of a garment because they are so frequently combined into an unflattering, unisex (at best. No sex at worst) blob. Yet it’s Stefanie Biggel’s perfect understanding of the androgynous trend that makes her stand out… And maybe her sense of humour.
Her upcoming Spring/Summer 2015 collection ‘Death by Watermelon’ (?!) is inspired by both the good and the bad baggage that comes from past relationships. Like her previous collections, it continues to fuse the typically feminine – think tactile materials and flowing layers – with the masculine: sharp tailoring and oversized silhouettes. The end result is why we’ve chosen her as our latest One to Watch, with her understated style managing to ooze sexiness through suggestion rather than being brash.
Catch our interview with the up-and-coming designer below.
What made you decide to launch your own fashion label?
I had worked on several small collections before, but just for fun, not for sale purposes. People liked my work though and started to ask me where they could buy the pieces. At that time I’d met a friend who had some knowledge of sales and production, so she encouraged me to produce my first collection and sell it in her shop. The collection was a great success, so I continued designing!
Why did you choose to focus on womenswear?
I like the female body and the possibilities it offers… My designs often include masculine or androgynous shapes, so maybe that’s why I get encouraged to do menswear a lot as well. This isn’t an option for me right now, but I do have some ideas of how I would like to continue into that market.
You were originally based in Zurich, so would you say that Swiss lifestyle and culture is an important influencer of your work?
No, I don’t really see any Swiss influence in my work to be honest. It’s not really the market I want to work for, anyway. That’s why I recently moved to London.
How would you describe the core aesthetic of your brand?
My style combines an elegant look with sporty influences. There is a balance between contemporary, seasonal pieces and more timeless items that you’d want to keep and wear every season. There’s always a story behind my collections inspired by either memories or everyday life…
So can you talk us through your upcoming Spring/Summer 2015 collection?
My Spring/Summer 2015 collection is called ‘Death by Watermelon’ and is inspired by past lovers; happy memories and funny anecdotes that were shared together. It’s about looking back but also looking into the future. It’s about saying goodbye but celebrating the good times. I’d call it… A happy funeral!
I love the tactile materials and textures in your collections; is choosing just the right fabric something that is important to you?
Yes, it is very important. I love to combine all sorts of fabrics together and play with that. I’m really into high quality materials and creating original surfaces. I love for everything to feel three dimensional.
You’ve collaborated with other designers and artists before. Do these projects blend into your fashion collections as well, or do you just see them as side projects?
I always get inspired by the other creative people around me, and whenever there’s a possibility to work with them I’ll go for it! I think it’s very refreshing because every artist and designer has another view on a topic and can contribute their own vision.
What’s been your proudest moment as a designer so far?
When I got my first collection back and then seeing it hanging in stores… I will never forget that feeling.
How do you see the Stefanie Biggel brand evolving?
I recently moved to London and I am curious as to what will happen to both me and my brand! The city is so vibrant, and people really love fashion. It’s very different to Switzerland. You never know what will happen in the future, but I like to live in the present; it makes me happy. So for now I am looking forward to continuing my work here and getting new inspirations.
Words: Samantha Southern