Tina Elisabeth Reiter is the overall winner in menswear this year. What impressed me most from the collection are the earth tone colour palette and the pleats. I was not surprised to see men in skirts (and even long kilts) now but sleeves with volumes would recall my memory of the Barbie's dress from my younger sister. Tina made some change and I think that's why I like this collection. Inspired by homelessness, the collection, THE SOUND OF HOMELESS(NESS), is a story of searching for your root in this globalised world. Getting lost, searching for my way, going back home and getting lost again are what I keep doing in these few years, have you found your which guide you to what you belong to?
Tell us about your background, why did you apply LCF for a MA course?
I was born and raised in Austria, a small city about one hour west of Vienna. I graduated from the local secondary educational establishment for fashion & economy which combines high school and practical training. In my case A-levels and an apprenticeship as seamstress. Thereafter I moved to Germany to study at the academy for fashion & design in Munich. We were as first German speaking university invited to participate at London Graduate Fashion Week in 2010, where my post-graduate collection (Dipl.) was showcased as a part of the international show.
After that I received a couple of personal invitations from different universities to apply for their postgraduate courses. So I applied to London College of Fashion along with their scholarship procedure for which I submitted an application too. Without the financial support an MA would not have been possible for me to do. I was very lucky as I got awarded with one of the Harold Tillman scholarships for postgraduate studies, which allowed me to do the Masters in Fashion Design & Technology: menswear course.
How do you describe your own style? What is the must-have in your wardrobe?
Quirky. I wear what I want, but it is overall important that I feel comfortable in wearing something. Regarding my profession I deal all the day with fashion and one of the most horrific things to deal for me is to go shopping for myself. The majority of my wardrobe is black and grey and as a must-have I would say a decent tailored jacket, because it dresses you very well for every occasion.
How do you describe your fashion aesthetic?
Same as my own style: quirky. What I do is definitely not fashion for fashion's sake. Other people use terms like fresh and innovative. I would say it is quite directional because especially the outcome of my Master's Degree is accomplished because of the specific techniques I used allowed me to create unique shapes.
What is your opinion of being a successful fashion designer?
You need to be hardworking, focused and passionate. Being a fashion designer is not even a 24/7 job it is an attitude of life.
Things frequently happen around you and you need to be like a sponge absorbing every possible glimpse you can get. The real life of a fashion designer is anything else but glamorous and almost opposite of the common cliché of the well dressed artist who only does some sketches. The profession of a designer in general is very labour-intensive and can be often super tense – so you need to know what you want and where you want to go to.
Can you tell me more about your collection? Is there any difficulty during the design process?
Frankly I need to admit the whole design process is never easy. Especially in my case the application of volume in a yet quite unique way considering modern menswear. I have taken some traditional techniques from the Austrian folk costume and brought it into a new context. Therefore the achieved volume was crucial for the appearance of my collection.
There are many emerging designers in the industry. Is there anyone that you really want to collaborate or work with?
Sometimes world is really small. Actually it would be Christopher Raeburn who handed me the menswear collection of the year award at our catwalk show. I consider his design and working method as quite directional for a new generation of designers. He is not mincing matters, he says himself that he is stubborn and does things the way he wants to do them. As well, his sustainable sourcing of materials is incredible and his focus to keep the production of his collections in UK.
As a LCF graduate, do you have any advice for other fashion students?
Work hard and give the best you can. Especially a Master's Degree is very short, so you need to use the given time wisely. It is not going to be an easy way but if you really want it you will master all barriers. Believe in yourself and let others believe in you – that truly helps.
What is your next plan after graduate?
I am looking currently for employment in London. I love this city so much and would love to stay, but therefore I need to find a job. So if anyone is looking for a fashion graduate specialised menswear – it is me!
Photography by Jayden Tang
Hair & Makeup by Pei Chen
Fashion by Tina Elisabeth Reiter
Footwear (& dungarees) by Elin Melin
Models - Paul Farley & Jaco Norman from selectmodel.com
**I really want to thank Tina for this lovely interview! I am sure she spent so much time to answer my questions and I really appreciate it!**
To know more about Tina, please visit her LCF page