Hanna Fiedler: Luxury Pieces For The Travelling Woman

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Let’s talk about your (namesake) brand Hanna Fiedler. As you have previously explained it is “a womenswear brand born out of the desire for honest luxury and a wardrobe of effortless and timeless pieces […]”…

 Yes, I aim to build a brand, which is known for effortless, chic and non-demanding clothing. We create those certain pieces that you throw into your suitcase first because you know they make you feel and look great and they work with anything. 

How difficult was it to create a sustainable brand? La Collectionneuse has previously interviewed Ioanna from Mashu who explained us how hard it can be to find factories willing to produce in a sustainable way.

 I love Ioanna`s designs! And on top of that she is an incredibly nice person. 

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For us finding factories who are willing to work in a sustainable way wasn’t the main challenge; it was more finding suppliers for materials. We made the decision quite early on to produce locally in England, in order to support local craft and manufacturers, to be able to frequently visit in person and have a close relationship with the people who make our garments.

We work with small ateliers in London who are happy to work with small brands, so they are flexible when it comes to minimum order quantities. We partly produce made to order which allows us to not have any dead-stock and also keeps our costs manageable. Choosing to work with local ateliers allowed us to secure many aspects that were important to us: we know exactly where, when and by whom our garments are made, this also allows us to be transparent towards our customers and we name the atelier manufacturing a particular piece in the product description. 

It took us however a while to find manufacturers who could produce the quality we were looking for in the quantities we need. I pay a lot of attention to detail and like to sometimes choose slightly unconventional finishes. For me a garment needs to look and feel just as good from the inside as it does from the outside and small details can have great impact on the final garment. Finding the right way to finish everything sometimes takes times and can feel like solving a Rubik´s Cube, but we found great people who are truly experienced and happy to take on the challenge. 

But of course, by making the decision to manufacture in England, we also made the decision for a certain price point. Life in London is not cheap and neither is producing here. But we think it is truly worth it!

 A true challenge as mentioned before was and still is, finding fabrics, which are produced in a sustainable manner. Many mills have large minimum order quantities and as a small brand we are not able to work with these amounts, as they can be as high as 1000 meters of one fabric in one specific colour way. So we currently work with mills and suppliers who work on a stock fabric basis. Especially organic or certified products aren’t always available for small orders. We made the decision to exclusively use natural fibres such as wool, silk, organic cotton or linen from European mills, which is a step in the right direction.

The Prologue is your first collection. What was the idea behind it?

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The Prologue collection is a capsule collection and, as the name suggests, it acts as the introduction to the first chapter of HANNA FIEDLER. It gives you a glimpse of the signature silhouettes and aesthetic of the brand and introduces ideas and themes which we would like to explore deeper in the future. When designing the collection I didn’t work consciously with a particular theme but rather curated designs, which had been on my mind for a while.

I aim to create timeless clothes, which are relevant beyond seasons, but what feels timeless in one moment doesn't always feel timeless just a few months later. So I choose to include some designs like the Waldemar jacket and the Simon top, which were designed almost a year before I decided to start working on the brand. I had created them for myself and have worn them many times. Wearing the designs and seeing them in a different context helped me to understand better how they could work in everyday life and allowed me to improve them. So PROLOGUE aims to be a distilled and curated version of my design aesthetic, created in a way that pays attention to everyday life – every top can be worn with every bottom so the 9 main pieces allow you to create 18 different outfits with the addition of one evening top.

I felt the need to talk about what it means to be a women and how it affects your career, your daily life and your perception of yourself.

 While I was not consciously working with a design theme I realised that the current political and cultural issues had a great impact on me during the design process. Human rights, equality and respect seemed to be up for discussion again. I think the last 24 months were a wake up call for everyone.
It is still possible for someone to publicly insult, disrespect and stereotype women and minorities of all kind and be considered a leader. I felt the need to bond closer than before with other women and to actively seek their support and support them.
I felt the need to talk about what it means to be a women and how it affects your career, your daily life and your perception of yourself.

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So I started to design for the women I admire, for the woman I am and the woman I want to become; for women that strive for more. I felt that similar to “power dressing” in the 80´s, women are searching again for their sartorial identity in the work place, so I aim to offer a collection which is work-appropriate, chic, effortless, feminine and strong. The collection reflects those feelings and is influenced by my training as a traditional bespoke tailor at the Berlin Opera, fusing traditional elements with female intuition and experience.

You have recently launched your new collection at KC Studios in Notting Hill, how was it?

KC Studios is a beautiful space combining creativity and beauty. Kristine brings so much love and energy into her work and it was a perfect fit for our intimate launch event. We hosted a presentation with drinks and great conversations, followed by a pop up at KC Studios. It was so lovely to show the collection in person for the first time and to see how it resonated with people. 

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Sustainability is such a contemporary topic (and issue!): how did you get close to the subject?

I grew up in a family where living mindful and being considerate towards nature always was a given. My parents were incredible role models in that sense, building a house from local wood and sustainable materials with solar panels on the roof and a water cistern that collects and filters rainwater to use for watering the garden. As a child I sometimes was annoyed with my mom who would buy recycled paper for my school stationary instead of the white bleached paper and so forth.

However growing up I now appreciate that through her actions she made me more aware of the small changes one can make in order to improve each persons impact. For such a long time working in a conscious and sustainable manner that isn’t ostentatious and wasteful wasn’t considered fashionable. I feel the industry and consumers slowly start to "grow up” and understand that being mindful is beautiful and the only way to go forward. For me it is an on going process. There are so many ways how we can still improve and I am excited about every step forward towards a more mindful fashion industry.

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The brand is described as “catering towards women who are in touch with the zeitgeist of their generation and who often live in multiple locations throughout their life, working in contrasting corporate and creative environments and managing family and their careers alongside”.
This is such an interesting aspect: I can’t help but thinking that this is our generation - millenials: one that needs appropriate good-quality clothing that we can count on?

Don’t we all need that? We live in times when traveling and living in multiple places throughout your life never was more accessible (also thanks to political structures like the European Union). We can study abroad, travel easily and adjust our life according to the needs of each phase. Whenever I moved I felt the need to de-clutter and it was an opportunity to question what possessions were truly relevant to me. I more and more felt the need to look for garments which work throughout the year, for work and for weekends, on holidays as well as at home.

Having a very personal and curated wardrobe, which is created around one’s life is wonderful in my opinion. It makes getting dressed and packing your suitcase so much simpler and there is much less of these "I don’t have anything to wear” moments. Great design fuses aesthetics with purpose and sometimes fashion seems to place more emphasis on the first than the latter. I try to find a good balance and believe that many women need that balance. We don’t want to compromise on comfort nor on aesthetics!

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What’s in the future for Hanna Fiedler?

We will expand the product range and grow it into a full wardrobe, offering a wider selection of ready to wear. Additionally I would like to keep growing our made to measure and made to order side of the business. I love working directly with customers, discussing their needs and wishes and create exclusively for them. It is a very personal and beautiful process though which I can learn so much about the women wearing my designs. It is an incredibly feeling to wear a garment that has been tailored exactly to your body, life and needs and more women should have the opportunity to experience it! On the communication side I am excited to launch a few collaborations and introduce our brand stories to our audience. Being a small team we had to prioritise the product development over our story telling the last few moths and we now have the chance to devote more time towards our brand narratives before launching our second collection.