Foto: Sanna Helena Berger

Starting at the absolute beginning of a garment is what fascinates textile designer Nadine Goepfert. Her work ranges between clothing and art, aiming to reveal our relation to textiles. She studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and at the School of Art Berlin Weissensee. But she has never been interested in being a fashion designer; from the beginning it was all about materials.

THE GARMENTS MAY VARY, her graduate collection from 2013, analyses the changing of the garment effected by wearing, sitting, moving, using. The pieces vary in form, structure, volume, motif or colour when used. A pullover out of more than three metres of memory foam that always remembers its original condition. A coat created out of transparent pockets filled with black liquid. A skirt covered in wax that cracks when moving. Goepfert looks at the relationship between wearer and clothing. Does a garment influence our identity? Or do we only influence the garment? A collection as abstract as it is wearable.

Two years later, in 2015, she continued the series with the collection MATTERS OF HABIT. Each piece is devoted to an ordinary interaction between people and textiles: habits, gestures, movements, storage, care. Wire becomes a sweater that remembers the movement. The cover of a jacket rips by washing it. The Inventory Jacket conserves the clothing beneath.

By asking questions about the essence of a textile, whether or not it only exists because of the interrelation with the body, the Berlin based designer brings philosophy into clothing. Not visual inspiration, but research is her starting point for each work. She observes the behaviour of people in the street, reads the French philosopher Roland Barthes or studies the character of materials. Goepfert's clothes are exhibited in museums, she creates textile designs for fashion designers like Martin Niklas Wieser and even stages a play in collaboration with a dancer and a choreographer that shows the interaction between objects, clothes and bodies. With her conceptual approach to ideas like automatisms, unconscious habits and unapparent interrelations, she makes the abstract visible and transforms phenomena into textiles.