Jennifer Brachmann – Designer Interview

Name Brand: BRACHMANN

Name Designer:  Jennifer Brachmann

Established: 2014

Kind of Style: Playful Minimalism and chic elegance

Instagram: brachmannofficial

1. Please discribe yourself and your brand and its evolution in the past seasons.

I was born into a creative family, my mother is a landscape architect while my father was an architect. I am a Berliner by choice and graduated with a fashion design diploma from the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle/Saale after previously studying architecture at the Technical University in Dresden. At both institutions, I was initiated into the design principles of the Bauhaus, which remain a formative influence on my design work. In my collections I strive to balance the ephemeral forms of fashion and the timeless forms of architecture.
After an internship at Veronique Branquinho in Antwerp and completing several freelance fashion design projects, I founded the label BRACHMANN together with my partner, Olaf Kranz, shortly before our debut at Mercedes-Benz Berlin Fashion Week in January 2014. We had started the brand as a pure menswear label but have decided to design a womenswear collection, too, after we had had a remarkable meeting with Neil Barrett during the Woolmark Prize Menswear in Milano in 2016 when we took part in this competition as the German nominee nominated by the Fashion Council Germany.
Since the the season Spring/Summer 2017 we offer a menswear as well as a womenswear collection based on the same design idea and signature. We show both collections during Paris and Berlin Fashion Weeks.

Our label designs contemporary reinterpretations of menswear and womenswear classics by translating design principles from architecture into fashion. We deconstruct luxury essentials into their basic modules in order to reconstruct them with an eye for new details, hybrids, and new silhouettes. The collections are made from high quality natural fabrics that are exclusively sourced and sustainably manufactured in the EU. Thus, we cater for the contemporary wearer who seeks creative expression in individually reinterpreted classics.

2. Best and toughest part of designing a menswear collection.

Best part are the endless possibilities to come up with new designs within the confines of classical staples.  I love to give the classics a twist while respecting their code. The toughest part is to find the right balance between newness and familiarity.

3. What sources of inspiration are your biggest influence?

I am heavily influenced by my upbringing and my education in architecture. I love the cleanliness and the clarity of the BAUHAUS too. Beside those rather permanent influences I look for beauty in my environment for inspiration. My upcoming collection S/S 2019, for example, is inspired by a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, namely the Johnson Wax Headquarter. When I saw pictures of it on Instagram I was struck by the timeless modernity of its design language, its effortless construction, and its balanced colour composition. And it became immediately clear to me that I wanted to translate this impression into a playfully minimalist collection inspired by this architecture‘s gentle strengths, filigree contours, and minimalist opulence, which I did indeed.

4. What was your favorite collection so far?

I like them all. It is like with children. All are different, but all are your much beloved offsprings. However, the debut collection in 2014 was special to me for it gave birth to my signature style which I have been trying to continuously develp further since. And I am currently much in love with the upcoming collection Spring/Summer 2019.

5. How much of your success do you credit to the education you had?

In terms of design, I owe a lot to my parents who always encouraged me to express my creativity during my childhood. And I really appreciate the very good education I had the privilege to enjoy at the TU Dresden during my architetcure studies where I gained a solid basis in design methods and knowledge as well as a strong sense for three dimensional thinking, proportions, colours, compositions, and materials. The education at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle/Saale was firmly rooted in a basic training influenced by the Werkbund and he Bauhaus tradition in design which means very hands on and leaning to craftsmanship. So, I can do everything needed to create a collection by myself like pattern making and sewing. However, and even more important, our professors for fashion design really encouraged us to develop an aesthetic identity and position by pushing us again and again to find out who we are as designers in order to become able to articulate our core values in our collections. Those years remain formative for my aesthetic identity as a designer.

6. What genre of music best describes your collection?

Tough question. I’ve never thought about my collection in terms of music. Let’s try it: A hybrid between Bach’s Kunst der Fuge, Phillip Glass‘ minimal music, and Daft Punk.

7. How do you choose your models for your shows and campaigns?

For lookbooks, we work with selected model agencies we have good and tested relations with, mostly with Core or Kult Models. We scroll through their websites and ask them for sedcards when we find someone who suits into the concept and goes together well with the other models. But then we have to have a second look at body measurements since fit is very important for our collections. So the models simply have to have to fit into our sample size.

For shows, the process is more open. We make a pre-selection based on the show packages various agencies send us and invite up to 50 models for a casting where we try out outfits and stylings. We have to solve a complex equation with many variables in order to get to a model cast that works in a show. We have to find the best outfits and the best models for the outfits. It is like a marriage between model and outfit. Not every outfit works with every model, sometimes a particular model brings a certain outfit much better to shine than others, and the other way round. Some models look in a particular outfit really stunning, but not in others. And in the end we also have to pay attention to the structure of the model cast in terms of diversity, to make clear that it takes all sorts to make a world.

8. Do you have any favorite male models?

No, not really. We don’t have a muse like model we work with again and again. Beside this, in fashion, you have to communicate that you have something new to offer season after season. One means to do so is to cooperate with different models in any new season.

9. Where do you plan to take your brand next?

It was huge step for us to introduce womenswear in 2017, and we are still focusing on trying to expand the womenswear collection. Generally, we develop our collections in an evolutionary way rather than revolutionizing fashion season after season. We develop our existing designs further in pattern, details, fit, colours and fabrics. However, in every season, we introduce a small revolution into our collection by experimenting with classic staples new to our collection. Thus, we design new hybrids between classics, like, for example, a shirt-cut, a tuxedo inspired dress etc., new silhouettes, and new details, each inspired by the classics and their form language. Some seasons we also add new product categories like knitwear to our collection. We are always very busy, and it never gets boring. We never run out of new ideas, the challenge is rather to select the really good ideas and to realize them.

10. Beside fashion – do you have any special talents?

I love drawing. In a former live, I once won the German Championship in Gymnastics, in floor exercises.