29-02-2024 | By Giulio Polverigiani

Studio Visit

Katharina Dubbick

Nestled within Berlin’s vibrant fashion community, the fashion brand Katharina Dubbick, named after its owner, has firmly established its presence in the German fashion scene. Specializing in fine-gauge knitwear, Katharina Dubbick creates lightweight and smooth fabrics through her unique contemporary approach. Her lifelong passion for knitting is evident in Katharina Dubbick’s delicate silhouettes, which skillfully fuse practicality and elegance, showcasing her expertise. This dedication to her craft translates into designs that seamlessly embody elements of vulnerability and empowerment simultaneously, capturing a complexity that mirrors the diversity of human experience. Furthermore, Katharina’s firm commitment to sustainability is evident in her sourcing of yarns from ethical suppliers in Italy. Operating under a zero-waste model, her production processes prioritize fully fashioned knitwear.

We had the pleasure of visiting Katharina Dubbick in her studio in Berlin’s Weißensee, where we discussed her latest collection showcased at Berlin Fashion Week, named Amorphous AW24. Engaging in conversations about the inspirations driving her designs, her strengths as a designer, and the core values of her brand, we delved into her thoughts on how a fashion collection explores closeness, texture, and contrasts, and on the importance of staying true to one’s vision amidst ever-changing trends.

Katharina, I am curious to know about your first fashion moment. What sparked your initial passion for fashion, and how did that early experience shape your journey toward becoming a fashion designer?

As a small child, I loved to put on all my clothes at once, layering all my favorite dresses and pullovers on top of each other. My mother fondly recalls the times when I came down for breakfast, with all of my clothes on, looking like a large barrel. I’m not sure if this counts, but this memory stands out as one of my earliest fashion moments. My love for clothing and an appreciation for beautiful fabrics and designs have been constants throughout my life. From a young age, I knew I wanted to become a designer. Growing up in a creative household, with both my parents being artists, only nurtured my passion further. I received unwavering support from them as I pursued my studies to become a knitwear designer.

We are eager to explore the mood board of your AW24 collection. Could you share the aesthetic inspiration that guided your creative process?

AW24 is an extension of the Amorphous SS24 collection. The two collections share the same title for a reason. The term “amorphous,” signifying a lack of a distinct shape or form, serves as the guiding principle behind this collection’s aesthetic. It’s a deliberate celebration of
imperfection, where beauty is found in the unexpected, by blending textures and organic shapes. The way these elements are combined directly influences the volume and silhouette of each garment. It’s not just about the individual components, but rather how they come together.

All images courtesy of Charlotte Helwig

Your expertise lies in knitwear design and showcases the precision of your craftsmanship. How does yarn serve as inspiration for the forms and elements in your designs?

I love creating my own knitted fabrics. Knitting offers complete control over the entire process, from hand-picking the yarn to designing the structure and adding all the little details to the garment. Each type of yarn and material serves its own unique purpose, contributing to the
overall look and feel of the piece. The beauty about knitwear is that the structure and material can dictate the shape and silhouette of a garment. Take, for example, the combination of viscose and lycra yarn with a ribbed structure. This specific blend not only creates a cozy and stretchy feel, but also forms the distinct shape and silhouette of popular pieces like the corpus-top and jean-tank, which happen to be among my best sellers.

Designer Katharina Dubbick in her studio

Your knitwear structures are notably transparent, revealing naked body parts. What does nudity signify for your brand?

I see a beautiful tension in the juxtaposition of transparent, delicate textures with heavier, denser ones. I love this captivating contrast, which adds depth and complexity to my designs. While nudity may not be the defining aspect of my brand, the celebration of the human body and its inherent beauty certainly is.

The balance between fashion and function stands out as a pivotal element in your new collection. Your knitwear, marrying comfort and elegance, exemplifies this equilibrium. How do you ensure that your designs are both stylish and practical?

I agree that it’s a good design if it makes you feel good, sexy, and comfortable. My intention is to craft pieces that resonate deeply with the wearer, enhancing their sense of self and empowering them to feel their best. This philosophy is the very essence of Katharina Dubbick’s design ethos. I often wear-test new designs to ensure they feel good to wear and are functional in my daily routines. By doing so, I’m able to assess firsthand how the garment feels on the body, its functionality in different contexts, and its ability to adapt to the wearer’s movements and lifestyle. After the wear-test, I meticulously review and refine the design based on my observations and feedback. This process often involves simplifying the design to its core elements, stripping away any complexities. I believe that wear-testing is the ultimate test for
determining the success of a design. By doing this, I aim to distill the design down to its purest form, ensuring that it remains true to Katharina Dubbick’s signature style while maximizing its practicality and wearability.

Womanhood appears to be a central aspect of your brand identity. Do you have a muse in mind when you’re designing?

My primary focus in my design work is womenswear. My muses are the women closest to me: my two sisters, my friends, and myself too. Drawing inspiration from the diverse personalities and styles of these individuals allows me to create pieces that resonate on a deeply personal level. In the design phase, I always ask myself a simple but crucial question: is this something I would wear? This self-assessment is not just about personal preference, it’s about ensuring that each piece meets my standards of comfort, quality, and style. While the majority of my designs are tailored specifically for women, I have also incorporated genderfluid pieces into my collections, such as the Venus Hood or the Lili Crew Neck. However, my main focus and passion will always be womenswear. As a woman myself, it’s where I feel most connected to my craft, and where I can truly channel my creativity and intuition.

Would you mind showcasing one of your unique signature pieces and explaining how it reflects a core value for your brand?

One of my unique signature pieces is the Corpus Top. This versatile top is meticulously designed to drape gracefully around all body types, celebrating the beauty and diversity of my customers. Its silhouette and fluid lines are crafted to enhance the wearer’s natural curves, regardless of shape or size. My customers always give me positive feedback, telling me how wearing the top makes them feel empowered, uplifted and comfortable.

Congratulations on winning the Studio2Retail concept competition from Fashion Council Germany, emphasizing sustainability and craftsmanship within Berlin’s young creative communities. In 2024, what does it mean for a fashion brand to embody sustainability?

Thank you! Receiving support from the Fashion Council Germany has been a significant milestone for my brand. It not only validates my creative vision but also underscores my commitment to sustainability in the fashion industry. In today’s rapidly evolving world, embracing sustainability is no longer a choice; it’s a necessity. As designers, we have a collective responsibility to prioritize ethical practices and minimize our environmental footprint.

Could you share insights into your preferences regarding fashion trends, including those from the past that have resonated with you and any current trends making an impact, if there are any?

When it comes to fashion trends, I tend to avoid following them too closely. In my experience, by the time you catch wind of a trend, it’s often already on its way out. One designer whose work I deeply admire is Issey Miyake. Their ability to let the texture of the fabric dictate the silhouette and shape of a garment is truly inspiring. It speaks to a level of creativity and intuition that transcends fleeting trends. However, I’ve noticed an increasing interest in knitwear lately. In today’s fast-paced world ruled by overconsumption, there are still people who seem to appreciate the value of craftsmanship.

What steps do you plan to take next? Do you envision yourself and your brand continuing in Berlin? We certainly hope so.

Berlin holds a special place in my heart as a city that fosters creative freedom and artistic expression. The evolving fashion scene in Berlin is particularly exciting to me. With each passing year, we witness the emergence of new talents, innovative concepts, and fresh perspectives
within the industry. The dynamic and diverse cultural landscape here provides endless inspiration, and I believe that my brand will keep thriving within this vibrant environment.

Interview – Giulio Polverigiani
Photographer – Charlotte Helwig
Model – Ibukun Sammy | Mirrrs Models