A commonly held belief is that garments, fashion and the act of dressing serve as means to express oneself, creating a dialogue between the individual, clothing and the outside world. Yet often the importance of this relationship is forgotten, with focus placed on conforming to an established trend. But the potential of fashion is far greater, a three-way relationship between wearer, garment and environment, and a sensitivity to this reality allows for the opening up of innumerable fresh perspectives.
An example of a textile designer integrating this way of thinking into her work is Nadine Goepfert. Her goal is to make people conscious of the rituals and performativity essential to dressing, ultimately questioning the very nature of our relationships to objects. Should the process of design focus on the creation of items that subscribe to objective trends, forcing the wearer to fit within a framework, or should it gear towards creating pieces that allow for individual experimentation?
In her recent project, ‘Breaks in Continuity’, Goepfert grapples with the scarf, an item turned to above all for its practical purposes on gloomy winter days. Be it knotted at the neck, wrapped around the head or simply draped across the shoulders, the garment’s explicit function of providing warmth is often emphasised over its potential as a versatile tool for creative self-expression.
Such versatility is the defining trait of Goepfert’s designs. In her redesigning of the scarf, she shatters the conventional perception that it should exist solely to be worn in a specific manner, inviting us to fully engage with our wearing of a piece. This act is driven by an entirely individual set of decisions, be they conscious or not, therefore highlighting the extent to which the wearing of clothing acts as an expression of who we are, or of how want to be perceived.
In modifying of the scarf’s traditional form with simple geometric cuts and details, she invites the wearer to discover the full possibilities of a garment. Whether you place your hand through the circular cutouts to create a sleeve-like effect, or you wear the ‘Neckline Scarf’ almost as if it were a sweater is entirely up to you.
Interested? Be sure to head here, where you’ll be able to learn more of ‘Breaks in Continuity’, as well of Nadine’s further work, including collaborations with fellow Berlin designers Martin Niklas Wieser and Vladimir Karaleev.