Over the last few months, we’ve taken a close look at ellesse’s sportswear and tailoring history, including its origins and its reemerging relevance within today’s style zeitgeist. In a three-part series, we’ve also challenged fashion students in New York, London, and now Berlin to customize and style ellesse’s SS19 collection — reimagining it through the lens of tomorrow’s top fashion talent.
The latest lookbook is perhaps the most fitting homage to ellesse’s founder Leonardo Servadio. When Servadio launched ellesse
in 1959, the small-town tailor decided to break the style and sportswear rules of the time by introducing his tailoring expertise
to sportswear design. The result was sports clothing that was as wearable on the track and field as it was for day-to-day living —
in a sense, giving birth to comfortable lifestyle-wear or what we might now call athleisure.
Like Servadio, Berlin-based fashion graduate Kasia Kucharska brings a unique background to her field. Kucharska studied interior architecture in Stuttgart and Japan prior to embarking on a fashion design masters program at Berlin’s Universität der Künste. As a result, she enjoys experimenting with manufacturing techniques such as gluing, laser cutting, welding, deep drawing, and plugging.
Kucharska employs these techniques and more in her lookbook heavily inspired by ellesse’s tailoring-meets-sportswear heritage. Check out the outcome below and keep reading for insight into how it came together including an interview with Kucharska herself.
Check out Kasia Kucharska’s ellesse-inspired lookbook:
Get to know Kasia Kucharska
“The future is now” — this is Kasia Kucharska’s motto and something she applies to all of her work.
It’s a forward-thinking philosophy that in many ways also inspired the founding of ellesse.
For Kucharska, it’s meant not just working with innovative new methods but striving to discover and develop manufacturing technologies and techniques that allow her to push the boundaries of design and manifest the future as she imagines it.
We spoke to Kucharska to find out more about all of this and her work on the ellesse project. Read on below.
For this project, you were inspired by ellesse’s rich tailoring and sportswear history.
What attracted you to this history and why is it something you wanted to focus on?
ellesse started out as a skiwear brand. I feel linked to that heritage as I grew up in the alps region of Germany and winter sports were a big part of my everyday life.
The history of tailored clothing has been intense with me now for many months as it’s been a prominent topic for my master’s collection. History is a trustful and reliable source of inspiration, that’s what I like about it most. I find inspiration in old manufacturing techniques or in evolutionary processes of clothing and I like to recall and rethink these techniques and processes and apply them in a relevant way to today’s wardrobe.
How did this concept play out in the lookbook’s styling and overall look and feel?
Tell us about how you deconstructed and disassembled some pieces too.
Personally, I am a very convenient person. I like products and garments that are multifunctional. I wanted to create pieces that are convertible and multipurpose and which you can wear in different ways by simply adding them to your existing wardrobe — like functional accessories or tools.
That’s what we wanted to bring out in the lookbook styling too. You can basically strap on or throw over, layer and combine the pieces however you need them. The garments adapt to your needs and not the other way around.
Describe for us why you picked each of the pieces you used from ellesse.
I have a deep connection with functional sportswear and a weird fascination for technical innovations in this field. I love to take elements from that field and apply them to everyday clothing.
I wanted to work with male garments and adjust them to the female body. It is sort of something that also happened throughout history with tailored clothing. The suit was initially made for men and later adjusted to the female body. I like to take that as a starting point for my own projects too. For example, I took the tracksuit apart and constructed a garment which can be worn as a dress or a skirt, both in different ways. You can adjust it in length and size. Its basically one size fits all but you can still customize it according to your needs.
I liked the loose fit, colors, and technical fabrics of the Fighter Jacket and Typhoon Trousers — they were perfect for translating my idea of garment adaptation.
Give us a little insight into your education and professional history, how did you get to where you are today?
I have a long education history. I first studied Interior Architecture and immediately started to apply all I learned there about aesthetics and construction to clothing. After that, I worked for fashion brands designing shops and displays. I kind of tricked myself and thought I would come closer to fashion design that way. In the long run, it wasn’t satisfying enough and I wanted to work closer to the human body. So I studied Fashion and Product Design and graduated with my Master this year.
I really enjoyed being in the university bubble for so long because you have so much time for the process. I will never have this time in today’s fashion industry. But that’s part of the fun!
How has Berlin influenced the way you think about fashion, style, and design?
It’s not necessarily Berlin that has influenced my way of thinking towards these topics but rather the exchanges with my friends here and everywhere. I like to compare their experiences in different design fields and for me, they’re all connected. For example, I like the longevity of architectural projects and product design. I like to find reasons for this persistence and apply them to fashion and my own practice.
What routines, habits, or practices do you have that keep you focused and boost your creativity?
As I grow older, I really believe it’s the breaks and recreation you allow yourself that keep you focused. In your head, the creative process never stops; you continuously develop ideas and it’s hard to escape that process. The breaks where you’re actually not in the studio surrounded by all the work make you rethink and evaluate your ideas. I really like to take my time with that in order to create something that makes sense.
What are you working towards right now and where can people find you and your work online? I would love to continue my own practice, my laboratory in fashion, as I did in university. I am very much into new technologies and love to explore manufacturing techniques which are not fashion related in order to create garments. There is so much potential for innovation. You can find me and my work on Instagram at @kasiaku.