From an eight-page feature in Vogue Paris, a nomination for the LVMH prize and a client list that includes Bjork, Lady Gaga and Tracee Ellis Ross, Germanier is not only a rising talent in the fashion world but equally a pioneer in material upcycling. Launched in 2018, Kevin Germanier’s eponymous brand offers feminine, sculptural and futuristic collections which are made from waste.
WHAT LED YOU TO LAUNCH A SUSTAINABLE LUXURY BRAND?
I graduated in 2017 from Central Saint Martins and straight after, I started a job as a junior designer at Louis Vuitton in Paris, in the studio womenswear permanent bags department. While working for Louis Vuitton, I was also designing my own line which I presented during PFW in 2018. Natalie Kingham, Head Buyer at Matchesfashion.com, bought the entire collection. So, I guess this is how Germanier started. Everything happened very organically and I do believe it is the strength of my brand.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE MATERIALS YOU WORK WITH?
I do not choose the materials. The waste that I find is selected by me, yes. However, I do not create the waste. That is the beauty of working in a sustainable way. You have to work with some specific materials and you just have to make it work. Before starting any collection, my team and I gather materials that we found. It can come from various sources: upcycled fabrics, end of roll, deadstock, etc. Then we think what would look good and strong together as a collection. Sometimes we can be half-through the collection and we add or edit out fabrics and materials from the collection. We work in an organic and spontaneous way.
WHAT DOES SUSTAINABILITY MEAN TO YOU?
I do believe that sustainability is not a trend or a goal. It is an obviousness. I cannot conceive clothes without thinking about how to make them in an ethical way. This is just the way I work and what I strongly believe in. When it comes to production, I make sure that my team and I make the most ethical decisions. We compromise a lot, but I strongly believe that it adds to our message and value to our products. For example, all our knits are handmade by a group of amazing women who lost their husbands and have difficulties finding a job. The human aspect behind my production chain is as important as the final product.
WHAT INSPIRED YOUR SS19 COLLECTION?
My inspiration always comes from the waste I found and Germanier stands for sustainable glamour. For the SS19 collection we incorporated jacquard, glitter, heavy silk… Germanier can use any fabric and make it glamorous.
how do you combine COLOURFUL AND GLAMOROUS collections with LONG LASTING DESIGNS?
Since I am not following trends, I do not belong to any boxes. Therefore, with Germanier, you can wear a piece that is timeless and does not belong to any decade or period of time. I don’t try to be trendy or to follow ideas because by acting this way you are producing garments that will be consumed only at a certain period of time. I also strongly believe that people need fun, glamour, colours to lighten up their lives.
WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF BEAUTY?
My answer may sound very cliché, however I strongly believe that beauty comes from anywhere in the sense that you define beauty. It is a non-exact science. I like to think that beauty comes from limitations and unexpected mistakes. But that is my interpretation of it.