Motivated by her desire to create something meaningful for strong and inspirational women, BA (Hons) Fashion Pattern Cutting alumna Hanna Fiedler started her own womenswear brand with a very clear objective in mind: to create timeless designs with environmentally friendly and ethical practices and their core. Following the launch of Prologue, Hanna's first collection, we caught up with her to find out more about her eponymous label HANNA FIEDLER and how she's incorporating sustainability, craftsmanship and storytelling in her designs.
Hi Hanna. Congratulations for the launch of your brand! How is it going so far?
Thank you very much! I always find this question quite tricky to answer because it’s difficult to put things in perspective when you are in the middle of them, but I can definitely say it’s been a wonderful and exciting experience so far.
What’s the best part of being a fashion designer and having your own label?
I dreamed about starting my own fashion house ever since I was a teenager. I feel lucky in the sense that I knew where my passion lay from quite early on. I love the process of creation and the fact that fashion allows me to engage with people on a very personal level.
I am a bit shy and more of a quiet person, so I like how fashion allows me to communicate with people in a non-verbal but more visual and haptic way.
Who has been your biggest supporter during this process?
My family. They’ve always believed in me unconditionally, even on those days when I doubt my choices and myself. Their encouragement is absolutely boundless and means the world to me. Gabriela Hearst has also been highly influential throughout this process — I moved to New York to work with her after graduating from LCF. She knew I dreamed of starting my own brand one day, and was incredibly supportive about it.
What makes HANNA FIEDLER different or unique?
HANNA FIEDLER was born out of the desire to build a wardrobe made of timeless pieces in which women could feel elegant and strong, without sacrificing comfort. We use traditional tailoring techniques and a minimalist approach to create garments with an effortless-chic aesthetic. One thing that makes the brand unique is that its core ethos is rooted on very traditional values.
HANNA FIEDLER is a personal, local, and slow brand, with a strong focus on quality and craftsmanship. I think that the industry has lost the magic of the making process that makes fashion so wonderful and I would like to bring that back.
What can you tell us about Prologue, your first collection?
Prologue is a capsule collection of 9 pieces that introduces the aesthetics and narrative of the brand. All the materials have been sourced from Britain and Europe — we currently supply our fabrics from the UK, Italy, and Austria — and we exclusively produce our garments in London-based ateliers.
Where did you get the inspiration for this collection?
It's a very personal collection as it really speaks about me as a designer and as a woman. Some of the pieces evolved from my student portfolio and there are also influences from menswear and traditional bespoke tailoring methods, which come from my days training as a bespoke tailor at the Berlin Opera Foundation. I designed the collection at a time when I wasn’t quite sure where my life was heading to, and where I found a new perspective on being a woman.
The MeToo movement, the politics of Donald Trump, as well as the political climate in Europe really had an influence on me — it made me want to have a closer relationship with all the women around me.
Sustainability is a big part your brand's ethos. What made you focus on the sustainable side of fashion design?
I grew up in the countryside, in a family where sustainable values surrounded me from a very early age, so the concept of building and running HANNA FIEDLER in a sustainable way came quite natural to me. I made the decision to work exclusively with natural fibres and keep all the production local. I am an advocate for craftsmanship and the preservation of skills and traditional techniques, and supporting local craftsmen and ateliers through my business was very important for me.
The sustainable approach comes through the way we design as well, reducing the amount of waste we create and being mindful in our everyday choices. I like to think of sustainability as an ongoing journey of improvement.
Alongside your brand, you’ve also launched Conversations, an initiative that combines your designs with the stories of inspirational women. How did the idea to start this project come up?
The brand is rooted on the principle of “women by women for women,” and from its early days it’s given me the chance to meet some incredibly inspiring women. With Conversations I can get to know them from a more personal angle, and it is wonderful to see how they style and engage with my designs.
The Prologue collection is designed with every woman out there in mind, and through the Conversations series I can show my designs on so many wonderful women, each of them with a unique body, personality, and story.
Why did you decide to incorporate these stories in your brand?
Because I don’t think the world wants to see just another pretty dress... I think storytelling is extremely powerful, and I felt it was necessary to build some kind of narrative around the brand that was inspiring to other women. Clothes are interconnected with us as a species and I think it’s essential to enhance this relationship.
I don’t see clothes as just things you consume and throw away once you get tired of them. They have a story of creation and relation and I hope our brand narrative will allow others to connect with the stories behind our designs.
Let’s talk about your time at LCF. Why did you choose to study Fashion Pattern Cutting?
I started making clothes and designing when I was around 13. After an internship at the tailoring department of a theatre in Hamburg, my path became clear to me. I was fascinated by all the creativity that went into making the costumes and I became a tailor apprentice at the Berlin Opera Foundation. After finishing my training there, I knew I wanted to work creatively and design clothes but wasn’t sure if I was cut out for the fashion industry, thinking it was quite harsh and exclusive.
Eventually, my passion was stronger than my fears, and I decided to study design. I did a lot of research before applying, and I loved LCF's course variety, industry connections and reputation.
What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in the fashion industry?
Embrace your own quirks. I think it’s a big help to know and embrace what makes you different, when working creatively. That’s what allows you to create truly unique and authentic work.
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