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Exploring Textiles with Nadine Goepfert

An interview
with the Berlin-based designer


Nadine Goepfert is a multidisciplinary designer working across creative direction, design and consultancy on fields ranging from fashion and art to interior and products. Nadine researches contemporary culture to create intelligent collections and art installations that examine the function and conventional use of materials to develop new design perspectives.

Nadine Goepfert, ‘Permanent Compression’, 2015.
QCan you tell us about how you first got interested in design and what attracted you to this field?
AI think, already as a kid, I was pretty into any kind of craft. Funnily enough, I was really bad in creating anything textile-related. Though I was really into drawing and painting, I also made a lot of pottery with my mother – who is very talented when it comes to crafts. After school I considered several paths, though I was sure I wanted to study something creative. I stumbled upon textile design, which seemed to be the perfect combination of art and design. It offers a lot a freedom – the fact that you are able to work with you hands and that your outcome is not necessarily related to one product convinced me.
QHow do you describe your work? Can you tell us more about the different areas you work across?
AMy creative work consists of strong concepts at the intersection of social research and material culture. I offer creative direction, design and consultancy on textiles and materials for interior, product, art and fashion. My self-initiated collections and art installations examine the function and conventional use of materials to develop new design perspectives. My research projects question the relation between garments, individuals and society to reveal unconscious patterns of behaviour in the everyday use of textiles.
Nadine Goepfert, ‘Manners’, 2017. Apron-Towel IV, tied around waist.
QHow do you approach a new project? Can you tell us about your design process?
AI usually draw inspiration form the general position of men and women in society - I see myself in the position of an observer. I explore socio-cultural tendencies and curiosities, and try to translate them into designs or artworks. I have a very big interest in literature and philosophy. So parallel to this, I read and browse trough books to finally create a working concept. I aim to translate my creative vision into textiles by combining traditional techniques with uncommon materials and aesthetics. Sometimes I am just fascinated by the different conditions of a material, or techniques that are not necessarily related to textiles, and try to find a way to translate those phenomena into textile materials. This method involves, again, a lot of research and experiments. My work is, in general, very process-based. I try to leave space for surprising developments during the working process that eventually might lead my work in some other interesting directions. When working with such special materials and techniques complications are an unavoidable part of any project. Therefore, finding solutions is one of the biggest, but also most exciting, challenge for me. Every piece of work is like a painting that you paint over and over again. I think these layers make a work interesting and, of course, it is also exciting to unfold some of the thoughts and steps that lead you to the result.
QHow does the city where you live influence your work?
AI would not say that Berlin, as a city, influences my work. Although what I appreciate a lot about Berlin is, first of all, the people that I have met here within the past ten years and all the new people that I am constantly getting to know. Berlin is a very international and open-minded city – this is something that I really appreciate. Each of the different areas in the city can feel very special and, sometimes, travelling from one part of town to another can feel like a short holiday, cause it is so different to the one where you live or work. Berlin is not the nicest city for sure but this is, I guess, what also motivates people to do things: opening nice cafés, restaurants, exhibition spaces, etc. Berlin is not “finished” yet – there are a lot of things to do and it is not, still, as expensive as other cities, which gives a freedom to do and try out new projects.
Nadine Goepfert, ‘Manners’, 2017. Pedantry Cloth (inspired by food tray); White Napkin attached to Clip Cloth; Napkin Ring Cloth.
Nadine Goepfert, ‘Matters of Habit’, 2015. Dress (Black), Undress (Yellow+White).
QCan you talk us through some of your favourite projects and collections?
AMy favorite collection is probably “Manners“ and the “The garments may vary.“ just because they both reflect, for me, the start of something new, a new period. I think one of my personal favorite pieces are the Stretch dresses from the collection “Matters of Habit“. Each of the dresses, made out of Latex, deals with a special sequence of movements when dressing or undressing and give a manual for the procedure. This manual is applied as a print on the dresses. The black version gives a guideline to dress, while the yellow and the off-white versions provide two different variants to undress. The Stretch prints illustrate the places where the garments get stretched while (un)dressing when performing the respective variant. These pieces include all the things that I consider as an inherent part of my praxis. The detailed, maybe kind of neurotic, research on movements and, at the same time, the aesthetic and tactility inspired by a mundane material (stretch foil that is commonly used for wrapping parcels) is translated into a wearable textile. This also included the challenge of making an elastic print fixable on Latex, which required a lot of research and experiments in the workshop.
Nadine Goepfert, ‘Matters of Habit’, 2015. Undress Variant 1 (Crossed Arms) / Dress (Black)

Act Series is a brand of high-end leather shoes and accessories established in 2013 between Mallorca and Berlin. To a great extent informed by its Mediterranean origins, Act stands for a great attention to detail and strives to make products that are spontaneous and simple. Act only employs high quality materials and works with artisanal processes: its leather shoes are hand-made in Spain using 100% natural leather and suede.