Simone Sommer, Future Fashion Part Four

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Film still of the Simone Sommer collection
Film still of the Simone Sommer collectionFilm shot by Ben Toms, styling by Cathy Edwards

Simone Sommer, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, created a collection around simplicity with exquisite attention to detail. A colour scheme of butterscotch, cream and white creates a subtlety full of charm....

Simone Sommer, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, created a collection around simplicity with exquisite attention to detail. A colour scheme of butterscotch, cream and white creates a subtlety full of charm.We talk to Simone about the influences, how she came to be a designer, and her summer road trip planned to inspire her much-anticipated next collection.

What were the ideas behind your MA collection?
There's no defined starting point and no end to inspiration and creativity. I was working with a similar colour palette last summer, and I found the natural tan leather in a shop and tried different ways of manipulating it through drawing and draping. When you're on a wave of design, language, forms, samples and colours all somehow come together in one moment.

How would you describe your style to someone who doesn't know your work?
Pure, clear, sober, a passion for quality and tradition, sophisticated, understated, grown-up, few materials and subtle colours.

What made you decide to get into fashion? Have you always been interested in it?
I lived in Berlin and worked for an artist who screen-printed her own artwork onto self made T-shirts in neon colours. It wasn't entirely my style but I loved the process of designing and manufacturing the garments. One evening I met a girl who wore one of the T-shirts I’d made – I was so happy about it. I then learned tailoring techniques when working in the costume department at an opera house, and since then I get excited when I see a perfect hand-stitch.

Can you take us through your design and construction process?
I always have several themes, so I usually have a sketchbook with me to keep a record. I get inspired by music or an attitude and especially by materials: how they behave when draped, folded, ironed; if they reflect or swallow light; their haptic qualities and smell. When certain fabrics or haberdashery ingredients catalyse the images in my head, I create mood boards with samples, swatches and scribbles. I take it in turns to draw and drape to produce hundreds of small scribbled silhouettes or technical drawings of details and finishings in their variations. I regularly do line-up fittings and stare at the garments to steadily improve them, until I am pleased. However the motto "less is more" definitely works for me. Good design is when nothing needs to be added and nothing removed.

Do you have anyone in mind when you are designing?
I do, but it is less a certain person and more a look, attitude, movement, song, mood, or the aesthetic of a product, building or room.

Do you have a favourite design of yours?
No. I am only excited about what I want to do next, not what I have done in the past.

What is your proudest achievement in your career so far?
As I said, I don't like looking back. But I am happy and grateful about how everything has gone so far and I owe it to many people who supported me, especially during my MA time.

Who in the industry would you most like to collaborate with?
I’d really like to style or produce garments with material, space and movement in mind for a video clip, for bands such as Swayzak or Apparat or Alter Ego.

Who are your favourite designers?
There's quite a lot I find very inspiring – Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Jil Sander, Helmut Lang, Martin Margiela, Raf Simons to name a few. I respect them for different aspects of their work and achievements. In terms of other disciplines, I re-discovered industrial designer Dieter Rams during my MA dissertation. Perfect, timeless, intelligent design.

What are you referencing for your next collection?
I am heading for a road trip through northern Italy, Tyrol, the Swiss Alps and then through Germany up to the North Sea in a silver BMW E21 320/6 Oldtimer. Driving and listening to music is the best way for daydreaming, getting inspired and making decisions.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Well, probably where everybody wants to be. In front of the bathroom mirror in the morning, smiling at my reflection and humming "Good Life" by InnerCity.

On the website we do a segment called AnOther Loves. What's one thing you're loving right now?
Aperol Spritz: 6cl Prosecco, 4cl Aperol, a dash of Soda, some ice cubes and a slice of fresh orange. Served in a chilled red wine glass and savoured in a white-painted wooden rocking chair under high chestnut.

See our animated fashion story featuring pieces from Simmone Sommer’s collection in Exclusives. And read interviews with the five other designers here.