Berlin Designer Duo Namilia Takes Aim At America’s Political Culture

Berlin Designer Duo Namilia Takes Aim At America’s Political Culture

Approaching the topic of our current president can be a sore spot, but designers Nan and Emilia of Namilia are carving their own way to express critical issues melded with mind-blowing fashion.

Approaching the topic of our current president can be a sore spot, but designers Nan and Emilia of Namilia are carving their own way to express critical issues melded with mind-blowing fashion.

Text: Danielle Combs

V: How was the idea of launching Namilia conceived?

Namilia: So we studied together in Berlin at the University of Art and then I went to London at the RCA to do my M.A. Emilia worked on fashion PR internships in London, and then we kind of got together and did our first collection. It was always the plan, I think.

V: A lot of your clothing has a unique approach to conveying the current political atmosphere, which I really admire. Can you describe what your design process is like?

Namilia: When we start designing and thinking of a new collection, we focus on the issues that we want to address in our collections and on what our collections want to say. It's really about girl power, feminism, and what feminism means nowadays for younger people. That's also something we always want to talk about and discuss. Our line is our personal take on those issues and what we think.

V: Your collections take a very poignant approach to the issues you both resonate with. What's your viewpoint on how fashion can take a stand to express beliefs and social issues we're currently dealing with?

Namilia: I think if you look back in time, there were so many youth cultures where they really used clothing as a way to demonstration rebellion. I think that feeling got lost a bit in the last decade or during the time when we grew up. There weren't really any big movements we wanted to be a part of. I think that's coming back now because the whole world is shifting. Everyone's really getting back on the street, and I think clothing can definitely play a huge part in that, and that's how we do our collections as well.

V: What would you say is the overall message you're trying to convey with your clothing?

Namilia: I think the big question is always what feminism means, because I think feminism or being a feminist now it's [evolved over time], but when we started out like three or four years ago it had a very heavy and almost negative connotation to it. You would think of a kind of man-hating, strong woman who needs to work a man's job and prove herself, and we think that feminism for us is you can do whatever you want as a girl, as a woman and there are no limitations. If you want to be sexy or if you want to be super girly, that can be strong as well if you stand up for it.

V: As designers, how did the two of you continually find new sources of inspiration that really enhance what you're designing?

Namilia: I think each collection always triggers the next evolution. Each time we always sit down and think "okay, what did we like about it, what do we need to do for the next one to improve." Especially looking back over the last couple collections we decided what direction we want to take and there's always new things we want to try out. It's more like one long process, I feel. We're just dropping new collections, but in that process, it never stops.

V: Most of your runway collections have really fitting titles in terms of what you're trying to get across. You mentioned how women could be girly, or she could be androgynous, but what are your viewpoints on how the modern woman dresses herself?

Namilia: I think for us personally, everyone can do what they want. I just think looking over the general fashion landscape; we want to add something no one else is doing. I feel there's enough aesthetic driven brands like Céline, and I think everything right now is minimalistic and easy to wear. We wanted to give something else to the people, and to fashion in general.

V: Your last collection was titled "Join the Resistance"—is that something that was pinpointed at Donald Trump?

Namilia: For sure, yeah!

V: Our President has very odd opinions about women, and how he talks about them regarding how they look or dress, so I really admired that element.

Namilia: I think because we're from Europe and based in Berlin, for us it's almost watching a movie because we're not living in America and from the outside, it seems even crazier. It just seems so surreal, everything that's happening. But it's real, and scary!

V: Oh, every day it's something new. I like the fact you guys take that approach with your clothes because fashion can definitely be used as an art form to combat some of those issues. How do you describe your overall aesthetic as designers?

Namilia: Definitely pop culture-influenced and provocative. We kind of think about how to break rules and limitations that exist in fashion and in womenswear. We admire Galliano and the iconic designers that have really extroverted, big silhouettes. We need louder fashion.

V: What is the next step for Namilia in terms of progression? What can we expect to see?

Namilia: For me, I think we really want to be more experimental and cultured and extreme, because we're also kind of splitting now the whole line into couture and then ready-to-wear. We've launched our online shop where, after each collection, we digest the whole collection into more wearable daily pieces. We really want to use the opportunity to do something more eccentric.

See below for Berlin's designer duo Namilia and their innovative collection.

Credits: images courtesy of Namilia and PR Revolution

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