Parisian born, East London-based designer Faustine Steinmetz is turning heads with her deconstructed garments made from hand-woven denim and ethereal threads. Working with her team on hand looms in her studio, she puts the exquisite craft and skills gained from training in Parisian couture houses to new, less conventional uses. Named a One to Watch at AW14 by NEWGEN – the Topshop initiative supporting young designers – Steinmetz has quickly established herself as one of East London’s most exciting emerging talents.
Your last two collections have seen you re-imagine denim in some way. What draws you to this fabric?
Since a young age I’ve been drawn to denim. When I was younger I would drive my parents crazy by cutting up all my denim to make new pieces. It is amazing to work with because it is so recognisable and very meaningful. It is pretty much everybody’s staple.
All your garments are hand-woven on looms by your team here in London. Tell us a little bit about the process.
Each individual piece is made by one person so that they can put their name on it at the end and you know exactly who made that piece for you. We have a few different types of looms of various sizes so the process changes a bit from loom to loom.
After the yarn has been prepared you first have to set the loom, which on our smaller looms can take a few hours and on our bigger looms can take over a day depending on how difficult the yarn is to work with. Once the setup is finished the weaving process can begin, which isn’t terribly difficult, it’s just very time consuming and you need a lot of patience. A pair of jeans can take up to a week to complete depending on the type.
Where do you source your fabrics and yarns?
We try to source everything in the UK, but of course that isn’t always possible. Some things you just have to go abroad to get. We’ve been lucky enough to develop close relations with some small UK suppliers of yarn and we like to try and do business with them. To be honest, the most important to me is to make sure that the animals are not mistreated.
For AW14 you created a collection of hand-woven jeans and trench coats with hints of copper so they can be bended and melded to fit. Where did the idea for this collection come from?
I’ve always been a big fan of Issey Miyake Pleats Please and I wanted to work around pleating, but I wanted people to be able to create their own piece by pleating it themselves.
Your SS15 collection references the mega couture houses. Do you think the role of the couturier has changed and what is its future?
Yes, it has completely changed. I think it is not about beauty anymore it is about creating something which is very unique to you. The garments in the SS15 collection are beautiful and intricate but are also rough and imperfect – using knotted threads and frayed hems.
Is this a reaction to the finished and polished garments of couture?
Not really, it was more about the yarn in itself. I was very inspired this season by the process of making fabrics and the threads are exposing that.
What is next for Faustine Steinmetz?
We’re hoping to launch our e-store very soon. Other than that we’re just working really hard on our new collection and getting very excited about it!