Designers Ida Steixner and Lena Krampf met during their studies at the Fashion Institute of Vienna, Hetzendorf, and instantly found complicity. They made the transition of begin recent graduates to entrepreneurs in 2010, launching their label Meshit.
When I first found Meshit I knew that these girls had something that differed them from the emerging brands back then - with their irreverent take on trends and the biz, a youthful rock on’ fresh take on contemporary fashion. Deeply rooted in youth culture, Meshit is a mesh/blend of contrasts, androgynous forms blended with sensuous fabrics, classic men’s suits, good finishes, adjusted and oversize volumes.
Lena and Ida have evolved since the launch of Meshit, but one thing as stayed true to the label’s essence, … their musical influences that give a new light to each and every collection. The designer duo has recently opened their online shop in WeAreSelecters Stores and we wanted to take a closer look, to know Ida and Lena a bit deeper.. and what they reserve for us in the near future…
The name MESHIT suggests a mixture of things, … apart from what we already know… would you say Meshit is a blend of both your personalities?
Yes we would say that. Although our sense for aesthetics is pretty similar, we are 2 different thinking people, we have different ideas and different preferences - but in the end we always manage to combine those different ideas into one collection or even into one design.
How would Ida define Lena? and vice versa
Lena: I would describe Ida as a really loyal person and she is very creative - she has a lot of ideas, but realistic when it comes to business-themes.
Ida: Lena is self-confident, communicative and of course creative. She is straightforward and a good partner you can rely on.
Did you launch your label immediately after graduating? or did you intern at a fashion house or worked with a designer?
We started meshit right after graduation. We both made an internship at different designers during our education. Ida with Austrian designer Claudia Brandmair and Lena at Austrian shoe-manufacture Ludwig Reiter.
After 4 years down the line of launching your label, what did you learn? the hard way or the easy way?
Building up your own business is really hard work (especially when you start with a very small float and no business contacts) - in the beginning we started very naive and just started by creating a collection... but after a while you get a clearer idea about timetables and the whole organization. You also get more involved with the whole fashion scene and you know where you can get help and support. But we also realized very soon that besides creating new collections every season, there is a lot of other work to do - for example - the whole sale-thing, which is a completely different business and many other things we had to learn by doing…
Would you be based anywhere else if not in Vienna? and why?
For a while it would be great to work somewhere else, maybe in Paris. Just to see how things work somewhere else. It would be an interesting experience. But in the end I think we would always come back to Vienna, because we love the city. The life here is pretty easygoing and the size of the city is perfect - there is always something going on, a lot of cultural things to discover and a lot of exhibitions, but it’s still easy to have an “overview” of the city and it´s not to big. The people here are pretty relaxed but motivated so the creative scene is developing.
How do you see the fashion biz these days?
It’s a really hard business and you need a lot of patience to build up something. We are doing the label, now already for the past 4 years and we are still building it up. It takes a lot of time, and there is a lot of work besides the designing-process - you have to spend more time on the administrative stuff than the actual creation of new clothes (if you start small and don´t have the money to pay others to do these administrative and selling stuff). Moreover there is a lot of competition, because there are new fashion labels coming up constantly, launching and already so many existing ones.
Meshit + Daliah Spiegel SS13
Do you follow trends? or are you making your own?
We don’t care too much about trends …We work intuitively and try to make our own trends, but of course we also get influenced by current trends through magazines and the internet.
How would you define Meshit for the modern-internet-generation?
We like to mix and match different things together. That’s basically the concept for our designs. We like to mix different themes and inspirations into one unique design. Our style is not too complex or sophisticated, most of our pieces are easy to wear and to combine but not ordinary... It´s a young and fresh look and we like to work with special detailing and masculine shapes and styles.
From all your collections, do you have a staple that you repeat every season?
We do use patterns from previous collections sometimes and change them a bit; use new fabrics or add different details, but we don´t really have a certain piece that you can find continuously in our collections, except our parka - we produced it already for 2 winter-seasons because people keep on asking for it so it will be available as long as there is request...
You are influenced by youth culture and music, … I can tell. Could you select as a “selector” a few tracks or themes that you think are most inspiring.
Early reggae: George Dekker - Foey Man, Paulette Williams & Gee - How Long Will You Stay.
HipHop: CNN, Poor Righteous Teachers, GZA and Andre Nickatina.
Rock: Red Dirt, Grateful Dead
Rockabilly: Wanda Jackson
Blues: Big Mama Thorton, Muddy Waters, Janis Joplin, Nina Simone.
Those are a few music-examples that are inspiring for us. But also movies - such as the movies from Aki Kaurismäki, Wes Anderson or Jim Jarmusch, which have been inspiring for our work. Also the working-class is a recurring theme in our collections.
Can you give us a hint about your forthcoming AW14 collection? the theme of it?
Our new AW14 collection is inspired by shepherds from all around the world - their environment and their work-wear.