“Hearing so many diverse opinions was very interesting and eye-opening.”
Founded in 2016 in Berlin, Tanja Christiani creates puristic contemporary womenswear. As a UF designer, she joined Fashion Weekend Skopje and 48H Maisons de Mode Lille in 2019. Tanja Christiani shares her experiences and outcomes from her participation to United Fashion.
When and why did you start your own label?
After graduating from the University of Applied Sciences (HTW Berlin) in 2015 I founded my label at the beginning of 2016. I started thinking about it for quite a while before my graduation so when the time came I just took the step and am really happy I did. The most important thing for me was to be independent in my work, my time and the energy I put into things. It was a learning by doing process and still is and it helped me a lot to become the person I am today, both professionally and privately.
What is the DNA of your label?
My conviction is to keep the environmental impact of production and consumption behavior as low as possible. This is why we produce all of our products regionally in Germany and in nearby Poland. With a consistent decision against any processing of materials of animal origin such as leather, fur, wool and silk, I’m constantly on the lookout for alternative materials, preferably natural materials such as cotton, viscose, tencel or linen. Even though I make two collections per year I don’t follow trends because what matters most is a garment which is designed for longevity and good combinability for more than one season.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My main inspiration has always been modern architecture, organic architecture, its fusion of buildings and nature. Every collection starts with the research on one or two architects and their buildings: I look into their work, their sketches, which material they used, what their vision was. Putting different parts of their work on the drawn figure helps me to create different shapes and details until it becomes a garment.
What do you consider the biggest challenge the fashion industry is facing today?
Sustainability has become a very big topic in the past years. It is something that most small brands were doing anyways: producing locally and fair, keeping the environmental impact of production as low as possible, focusing on high quality and cruelty-free fabrics, but they’ve never really been taken seriously. Finally customers have realized the importance of sustainable fashion because they found out about the practices going on behind closed doors of the major high street brands for far too long. I hope for more appreciation from the customer for the process, the hard work and the garment itself.
How are you involved with United Fashion?
I was one of the designers during Fashion Weekend Skopje in March/April 2019 and again during Maisons de Mode in Lille in September 2019.
How did you experience your participation?
It was a great chance to show my collections outside of Germany and to strengthen my knowledge of the fashion industry, to establish contacts with other designers and professionals, and to further my brand. I also made great friends there who keep inspiring me with their work ethic, who are not afraid to share their experiences with me and vice versa, which is not something to be taken as a given in this industry.
What resulted from your participation to United Fashion?
It helped me to get as much input as possible in order to expand my name recognition and gain a foothold beyond Germany and to learn from experts, especially during the panels and discussions in Lille. Hearing so many diverse opinions and their expertise was very interesting and eye-opening. Above all, I was and still am interested in networking outside of Germany and building trusting, lasting relationships with buyers, customers and other creatives.
What’s next? What are you currently working on?
Due to Covid-19 my studio has been closed for the past 2 weeks so I was working on my website, social media and online shop, made sketches for Spring/Summer 21 but also slowed down which has always been hard for me without feeling guilty. Even though times are hard at the moment and nobody knows what will happen after this is over I want to take it as it comes and not focus on what I should be doing right now and how productive I have to be. I hope that all the small boutiques and concept stores will be able to carry on after this and we will all be able to get back to normal as quickly and as soon as possible.
Photographer: Susanna Nikulin
Styling: Miguel Maldonado
Model: Darya Rosenfeld
Agency: Pearl Model Management
Design Assistant: Samia Saad