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Barbara I Gongini

Barbara I Gongini
Universe Travel through our avantgarde realm

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    Preview our Autumn Winter 2018 Collection

    BARBARA I GONGINI woman collection 28 / AW18 will be presented in Copenhagen, Milan and Paris for the upcoming season. For personal viewing of the BARBARA I GONGINI as well as the norðan by BARBARA I GONGINI collection, please find given showcase locations and dates below. For appointment please contact / [email protected]      COPENHAGEN31st of January _ 2nd of FebruaryRevolver _ Øksnehallen _ Halmtorvet 11 _ 1700 Copenhagen    MILAN 23rd of February _ 27th of February055 Showroom_Via Carlo Botta 8_Zona Porta Romana Mm3_20135 Milano_  PARIS01st of March _ 7th of MarchIn)(Between Gallery_39 Rue Chapon_75003 Paris_ 

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    Faroese Cultural Awards

    Yesterday Evening, on the 24.01.2018, the designer Barbara I Gongini has received the annual Faroese Cultural Prize handed by Mrs. Rigmor Dam, Minister of Culture, Research and Education in the Faroe Islands. The price is the highest recognition given by the Ministry of Culture, to honor a Faroese person of culture, to show gratitude for cultural accomplishments.   With inspiration from the Faroese nature, the ever-changing weather and the thrift that comes with having limited resources, she is a pioneer in the field of the sustainable clothing industry. Her experimental and process-oriented working methods showcase a wide span of complexity. Setting the focus on gender equality, the strength of the individual as well as on the playful imaginative tale of craftsmanship that breathes freedom of self-expression.      Image Credit: Jens Kristian Vang

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    Everlasting Garments are the Most Sustainable

    A Guide to Leather Care

    As a fundamental material that binds man to nature, leather has a special place in the avant-garde dressing philosophy. Its versatile and durable organic texture means that it can be molded to give a supple or coarse touch, all while retaining its flexibility and resistance to wear. They say that leather gets better with age, but that’s only true when you treat it with care. When you look after it, a leather jacket will reveal its timeless character over the course of many years. It can even become a heritage item, passed down for generations. If you want to prolong and enhance the life of your leather garments, read on and find out how to care for your leather products, what reasons there are to opt for genuine leather, and what sustainability questions are important to consider.   What Are the Advantages of Genuine Leather? There are several reasons why leather has been championed by style and musical icons over the years, and this has as much to do with fashion as with the physical qualities of leather. As we’ve already looked at the cultural influence of leather in a previous article, let us now consider some of the key practical arguments that make leather one of the most prized textiles in the world.   Longevity Like many other natural fibers and materials, leather responds well to daily wear and tear. It’s one of the most durable materials available, which means that you can wear the same item of leather clothing for years, if not decades. Leather clothes are investment pieces, which is why it’s better to look for timeless design lines and neutral colors, rather than buying something very on-trend that will look dated in the future. If you’re thinking whether to choose natural or man-made leather, consider that, compared to faux leather (also called pleather or vegan leather), the useful life of a genuine leather garment can be twice or even three times as long.   Versatility Unlike other materials such as suede or canvas, which can only be worn under certain weather conditions, leather footwear and outerwear are versatile and lend themselves to many styles and occasions. You can wear leather shoes in sun or rain, on formal or casual occasions. From perforated designs that are best for summer, to shearling-lined bombers and coats, you can find leather jacket designs fit for every season. Sometimes, a single piece can take you from spring to the start of winter, which is why most people never need more than one leather jacket in their closet. Animal hides are used to make a huge variety of quality goods that we use every day, such as leather bags, belts, and wallets. When you consider its various applications in automotive and home furniture, you can see that versatility is, in fact, a mark of the material’s quality.   Personality When you want to come across as powerful, aloof or even seductive, leather is the way to go. Thanks to its oft dubbed ‘masculine’ appeal, leather holds a special place among fashion garments and it is often chosen by wearers with a strong sense of personal style. From the zipped leather pants worn by music icons to luxe leather dresses, deconstructed leather jackets, or Matrix-style leather coats, there’s a plethora of avant-garde clothing items made from leather. These items lend their against-the-current character to the wearer and help to create a personal power look.   Time and Wear The distinctive look of aged leather is another aspect that makes it so full of personality. Every scratch and every mark of the time’s passing leaves a tactile story on the organic surface and imbues it with your personal history. How leather ages is entirely dependent on how it’s treated, but when you look after it with care, its aspect will get better with age. While there’s a lot of things you can do to maintain the natural aspect of the garment, there are also some natural processes that are unavoidable. Not only does some leather darken with age, but it can also lighten under certain conditions, like being in the sun or under bright lights for a long time. In general, dyed leather is prone to losing some of its color, becoming lighter over the years. On the other hand, natural or vegetable tanned leather will darken from contact with exterior factors (such as skin oils, dirt, UV exposure, etc) and gain a precious patina.       Genuine (Natural) vs Vegan (Artificial) Leather The benefits of using animal hides were first recognized over 3000 years ago when man started using early forms of leather to make clothing and improve his shelter. In today’s world, leather doesn’t have the same role in ensuring our survival, and yet it remains one of the most sought-after materials, thanks to its aesthetic qualities, good insulating capacity, and resistance to wear. Other man-made materials that imitate leather have more become common in recent years, especially because they are cheaper to make. But most of these artificial materials don’t have the same durability as real leather and are discarded more quickly, contributing to the accumulation of textile waste.   What Does ‘Vegan Leather’ Mean and What Is It Made Of? If you’ve ever wondered how can leather be vegan, here’s a quick and simple answer for you: vegan leather, faux leather and pleather (plastic leather) are generally used interchangeably to talk about man-made leather that contains no animal products.  According to eco-luxury fashion publication Eluxe, the vast majority of faux leather has been around before we even started calling it ‘vegan’ and it’s made from petroleum-based materials such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride), PU (polyurethane) and textile-polymer composite microfibres.  Suede leather, bonded leather, and patent leather are not vegan leathers by definition, but it is possible to find faux leather alternatives with a suede or patent finish.   Is Vegan Leather Safe? Although vegan leather has a positive impact on animal welfare, it can still be dangerous to humans - not only because of how it’s made, but also because it is a source of non-biodegradable plastic-based waste. Newer cork- and kelp-based materials are less damaging for the environment, but these are a lot less widespread in the fashion industry. Vegan leather is not as durable as its natural counterpart and, generally speaking, the quality of artificial leathers does not compare with that of genuine leather. On the other hand, as vegan leather is made with a plastic coating, it is waterproof. Since genuine leather absorbs water, putting a droplet of water on a particular type of leather can help you determine whether it’s real or fake.   How Can You Tell If Something Is Made from Genuine Leather? Because leather is such a distinctive material, knowing certain characteristics of this time-honored material will help you identify it quickly and make informed decisions when you shop. While ‘leather’ can generally denote any kind of leather-like material, whether natural or man-made, the meaning of the term ‘genuine leather’ serves to distinguish leather of animal origin from all other types. You can generally find this inscribed on garment labels, or on the underside of belts, watch bands, wallets etc, and this is the quickest way to tell if your leather is real or fake. Other indicators that can help distinguish between a real and a faux leather are:   The surface - leather has a porous look and fine lines, while artificial leather is much more glossy and had no visible pores; The smell - real leather has a distinctive organic odor, while fake leather or PVC leather smells of vinyl and chemical agents; The backside - genuine leather has a rugged suede-like underside; faux leather is treated and looks plain, sometimes with visible seams.       Leather Garments Production and Sustainability Vegan leather is the obvious choice when it comes down to animal welfare, but its impact on the environment is said to be greater than that of natural leather. Unlike artificial, petroleum-based leathers which can turn into toxic waste, genuine leather garments do not pose an environmental problem at the end of their useful life. What’s more, the leather’s durability means that can be used for a longer time, which can decrease consumption and encourage a more conscious approach. Nevertheless, leather manufacturing is not without its faults. Perhaps the biggest environmental issue associated with leather has to do with the tanning process - the process through which the hide is softened and protected against decomposition. Because it’s the cheapest and most efficient option, most tanneries use chromium in this process, a chemical which is toxic to the environment. However, as consumers awareness grows, so does the demand for a more ethical product. As a response to this growing demand, many companies are turning to traditional methods of leather production, such as vegetable tanning. Innovation is also coming from chemical industry companies, who are developing new enzymes, water-based pigments and ingredients that can remove the need for surfactants, reduce the necessary amount of water, and generally contribute to a more sustainable leather manufacturing process.   What Kind of Leather Is Sustainable? Sustainability issues must be addressed starting with the leather supply chain in order to achieve an ethical product. As such, the traceability of hides plays an important role in improving the leather industry’s impact on the environment. Only leather that comes from animals that are raised ethically and which is strictly a byproduct of the meat industry can be considered sustainable. Many parties are involved in the creation of a sustainable leather jacket, which is why at Barbara I Gongini, we strive to work only with suppliers that respect local and EU legislation standards with regard to chemical use. We recognize our obligation to ensure that all our suppliers operate ethically and we visit our suppliers at least once a year to make sure we can work together to achieve a sustainable product. We also aim to reduce waste throughout the production process, which means that all leather scraps are upcycled and given new life. Leather is a precious resource that has to be used consciously and we take it upon ourselves to make sure it is not wasted. Click here to learn more about sustainability at Barbara I Gongini.       How to Look After Leather Make your leather clothing look great for as long as possible by simply following a few essential care principles. To find out how to best care for your leather jacket, make sure you pay attention to the washing instructions that are found on your garment’s label.   Leather Care Principles Keep your leather items in the best shape by cleaning them regularly and hydrating them to prevent cracking. Although some (pleather) garments may be suitable for machine washing, it’s better to use a special leather soap and clean leather clothes by hand, especially if an item is dyed or has delicate embellishments. Just like any natural skin, leather reacts to the chemical cleaning agents in soap. Unless you are dealing with a tough stain, mild cleaners are ideal for everyday cleaning. The best leather care products are pH balanced or pH matched.   The Best Way to Store Leather Because leather is an organic material, it needs to breathe in order to prevent rotting. Store your leather items in breathable dust bags (avoid plastic) and maintain a constant level of humidity. Since it is a porous material, leather will absorb excess moisture, which can damage it. If your leather pants or shoes get wet, air them for at least a day before storing and dry leather clothes in a flat position. Never force the drying process and keep garments away from heat sources to prevent excessive drying of the inner oils and premature aging. Use padded hangers to store dry leather jackets, as they will help maintain the natural shape of the shoulder line. To avoid discoloration, keep leather away from direct light sources when storing. Although leather color can fade naturally, sunlight speeds up this process and can also cause drying and even cracking.   Leather Cleaning Care The best way to look after leather is to clean it with a damp cloth after each use so that you remove dust and other dirt particles. For grain leather use a soft brush for the best results. While leather is best cared for manually, some people really want to know: can you wash leather jackets? Because there are a lot of contradictory views about this, we advise that you find out exactly how to wash your own leather jacket by readingthe instruction care label. We think it’s best not to machine wash any leather clothes, shoes, or accessories. What happens when you wash a leather jacket is that it can come out battered, cracked, or even frayed. Some people recommend using the gentle cycle, but this is not a foolproof method. If this is an investment piece, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Clean it manually with a leather soap and moisturize with balsam or, even better, take it to a specialist cleaner who can handle the situation.    Maintenance: Conditioning Your Leather Besides cleaning, there are other ways to rejuvenate a leather garment. The natural oils found in leather give it a special kind of shine, which may sometimes fade after a long period of storage. What leather conditioners do is to restore this attractive finish and refresh the look of a garment. If there’s one thing you should remember about how to treat a leather jacket, it is that using a leather conditioner once a month can effectively lengthen a garment’s useful life, preventing it from deteriorating and becoming stiff.   DIY Leather Care Tips If you want to alter the look of your leather items, there are some simple things you can do at home. Have a look at these tips about how to wear out leather and boost its good looks.   How to Patina Leather Just like wood, waxed canvas or metal, leather develops a beautiful patina as you use it. Raw or vegetable-tanned leather is the type of leather that changes most radically with use. Conversely, the look of dyed leather will be less affected by the passing of time, because it has been treated and protected against external factors.  To get a patina on your shoes, jacket, wallet or other leather products, all you have to do is wear it. If you want to speed up your garments’ aging process, you could leave your garments in the sun, splash them with water occasionally and touch them as often as possible. Another way is to rub in a leather conditioner or oil that will darken it immediately.   How to Distress Leather The distressed leather look can be very appealing, but you want to achieve this without damaging the garment. To do this, make sure you avoid the rough methods - such as using sandpaper, wire brushes, or drying it by the fire. If you want to alter the look of your leather jacket, we recommend that you soak it in water, squeeze it in those parts that should have a more textured look and dry it slowly, at moderate temperatures. As an alternative, you can use rubbing alcohol and work it gently into the leather before you knead it to achieve the wrinkled texture you are after. Always do a patch test first, since different leathers will react differently.    A primordial material by nature, the durability and timeless appeal of leather make it ideal for the conscious wearer. Whether you’re looking for a jacket to cherish for years to come or a pair of pants to construct a power look, choosing leather over imitation will guarantee their longevity and elevate the quality of the design.   Give your clothes the gift of time. Shop the Barbara I Gongini leather collection now.

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    AN Editorial by Tobias Valentin

    Lavender, a fashion editorial shot and styled by Tobias Valentin. The editorial explores gender, masculinity and sensuality through the shapes, proportions, textures and colors of the garments.  Find the displayed designs in our Webshop.   Models: Martei Lutterodt & David Hoffmann.   

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    Get into the celebratory spirit

    Understated outfits for a creative, avant-garde New Year celebration

    The New Year is one of the oldest and most celebrated holidays around the world. For many people, welcoming the New Year is all about putting on the most opulent clothes - but that doesn’t mean you can’t get into the celebratory spirit while also keeping true to your core aesthetic. For those creative dressers who hold the rebellious spirit as part of their essence, here is a list of alternative, glitter-free garments and outfits that bring you the joy and lavishness of the holidays while allowing you to express your true self. Read on to discover the best avant-garde dresses and outfits for the New Year.   New Year Outfit Ideas: Start building your avant-garde look The ritualic nature of the New Year celebrations calls for a special kind of holiday attire. Since this event only happens once a year, everyone usually keeps their best outfit for the New Year party. However, an outfit is only as good as it can make you feel, so you shouldn’t feel pressured to wear something that doesn’t represent you.   Avant-garde dress from the Autumn Winter 2017 collection by Barbara I Gongini. See more here.   For an avant-garde look that’s both event-appropriate and self-expressive, a good idea is to look for alternative occasionwear outfits that are all about luxurious fabrics and alluring design lines. Before we dive into individual outfits, let’s first have a look at some of the practical things that you should consider before setting out to construct the best NYE outfit. Depending on where you’ll decide to spend the liminal night, you can use our tips to get started and pin down what to wear for NYE in terms of style and fabrics.   Outfit tips for Formal New Year Celebrations   A more formal occasion, such as a dinner party or going out to a restaurant, requires you to pick out the luxury outfits from your alternative wardrobe. In this case, think about experimenting with precious textures, such as silk and fur, original accessories, and creating interest by draping and layering your garments. For instance, a silk top or blouse with a powerful cut can turn up your look even when you’re wearing the most toned down pants. Also, exposing bits of vulnerable skin can create an intriguing look, so you can play with transparencies and cuts to create an interesting look.    Under bright lights: NYE outfit tips for cold weather Heading out to see the fireworks this year? Then there’s no need to drape your body in silk. In fact, this can turn out to be pretty inconvenient if you’ll be out for a long time.   In this case, prioritize comfort and focus your outfit composition around avant-garde knits and outerwear items. Deconstructed jackets and unconventional sweaters are your best friends for a NYE celebration under the clear sky.  Tie your look together with avant-garde accessories and your warmest flat-sole leather boots.   Avant-garde hand-knit wool jumper by Barbara I Gongini, Autumn Winter 2017   What to Wear at a New Year’s Eve Party in a Club As far as club celebrations go, the sky's the limit in terms of what you can wear. All-black outfits are an excellent choice for this setting, so you can finally take out your best techno clothes for the New Year. Create comfy and stylish juxtapositions by combining athleisure wear with luxe fibers and unconventional garment cuts. You can make your industrial wardrobe stand out even more with leather accessories, such as a leather pouch - an essential item for night-long celebrations. Flat soles instead of heels are also advisable if you’re planning on dancing until dawn. Now, if you know how you’re going to spend the last night of the year and what staple pieces you’ll count on to make your outfit special, it’s time to have a look at some of the best garments for a creative, avant-garde celebration.   3 of The Best New Year’s Eve avant-garde party dresses to steal the spotlight New Year celebrations are a special time and that makes everyone long for that perfect New Year’s Eve dress. Party NYE dresses come in all shapes and colors, however, we think that nothing can make you feel as good as a garment that lets you express your personality. Here are our top 3 picks for alternative occasion wear: The Multiways Cut-out Dress This black cut-out dress which you can personalize to your liking is one of our best New Year’s Eve dress ideas. Multiway garments are an intrinsic part of Barbara I Gongini’s design philosophy, as they put creativity in the hands of wearers by allowing them to interact with the clothes.   The Barbara I Gongini asymmetric cut-out dress, Autumn Winter 2017 The asymmetric cut and open back create a beguiling occasionwear look, while the adjustable drawstrings stay true to the experimental avant-garde ethos and enable you to craft a unique look that perfectly reflects your taste. The Asymmetric Silk Gown If you’re keen to replace the all-black fashion look with lighter tones, a radiant silk gown can be the best NYE outfit choice for you. The simple cut is complemented by the luscious texture of silk, which makes this dress so captivating.   The Barbara I Gongini silk dress, Autumn Winter 2017. See the latest dresses here. This silk dress is available in glimmering shades of gray, mud, and black, and it also features hem buttons that give you multiple styling options. The Elegant Open-Back Dress To make a memorable appearance in elevated settings, choose an exquisitely crafted open-back dress. It is guaranteed to bring you to the center of attention, thanks to its clean, understated design.     Open-back dress by Barbara I Gongini, Autumn Winter 2017. Explore avant-garde dresses. On NYE, pair it with a leather clutch, minimalist shoes and a glass of the finest champagne. Avant-Garde New Year Outfits With Pants If you’re not keen on wearing a dress this year, consider some innovative New Year outfit ideas which take formal NYE occasionwear beyond the usual deux-piece look.   The Linen Suit For a genuinely avant-garde feel, go for deconstructed pieces and clever designs that re-imagine the typical suit. A tailored suit made from linen is an excellent alternative and makes for an industrial clothing style that’s full of personality.   Tailored linen suit by Barbara I Gongini / AW 2017. Explore more pants looks here. Pair your tailored linen jacket with straight or these flare tailored pants from the same material and enjoy the comfort of this unconventional suit interpretation the whole night through.   The Nippon Pants Another idea is to pair a tailored jacket with an androgynous design, such as a pair of flared tailored pants. The textured cotton material makes these palazzo-style pants a great choice for a comfortable, alternative NYE celebration. The Silk Deux-Piece To showcase your creativity and distinctive style, take luxury alternative clothing to a whole new level with a two-piece designer outfit made entirely out of silk.       Silk top and pants by Barbara I Gongini (AW 2017). This is one of the best New Year’s outfits for those who enjoy the styling flexibility offered by multiway garments. With a loose fit and asymmetric tailoring, this design flatters every figure. At the same time, its button details on the sides enable you to style it in a different way every time you put it on.   Cool and Casual New Year’s Eve Outfits   Even when you’re spending the big night in familiar settings, where the idea of a New Year’s Eve party outfit goes beyond the purpose of your celebratory gathering, you can still mark this special time of the year in a creative outfit that makes you feel good. This section is dedicated to presenting you the best avant-garde clothing items to wear at NYE celebrations in more informal settings - such as a club, a house party, or a casual gathering at a bar.   The Black Leather Pants A good idea for a winning NYE outfit is to combine a pair of luxurious leather pants with a deconstructed spaghetti top. As it’s both stylish and comfortable, this combination is ideal if you’re meeting your friends at the bar or, why not, holding a house party dance-off.   Zip leather pants by Barbara I Gongini, Autumn Winter 2017 The Textured Maxi Skirt Alternatively, you can replace the pants with an asymmetric maxi skirt. Its relaxed fit makes for a super comfortable New Year party outfit, so you can keep on dancing until the break of dawn. The Silk Kimono When creating black on black outfits, it’s important to keep the details alive so that you create interest - and this garment has details aplenty. Achieve a more sophisticated NYE look by putting on a more intricate top, such as this asymmetric silk kimono.   Wear it with a silk skirt and pair it with chunky accessories.     The silk kimono by Barbara I Gongini, Autumn Winter 2017. Explore the latest avant-garde tops here. The Hand-Knit Jumper Have you still not decided what to wear to your own NYE house party? If you’re staying in for the big night and having friends and family over, you may want to go for the coziest option available - the sweater. This incredibly detailed, hand-knit jumper is as comfortable as it is unconventional. There’s an out-of-the-ordinary avant-garde vibe about it, as the prominent loophole detailing makes it look nothing like your usual knitted sweater.   Hand-knit sweater by Barbara I Gongini You can wear it with loose-fitting pants or an asymmetric skirt and enjoy the countdown in both style and comfort. Closing Thoughts New Year’s Eve is a time when we look forward and back, to reminisce and come to terms with the highs and lows that have made the year special. It’s a bittersweet moment, akin to a departure, and it deserves to be cherished and celebrated with pomp and joy. We believe that not all New Year’s Eve party wear needs to be shiny and opulent, but rather that original designs in subdued colors, which stand out through their details and creativity, make the best NYE outfits.   Explore our avant-garde dresses collection and get ready to make this New Year one to remember.   Here’s to a creative and joyful New Year, from all of us at Barbara I Gongini!  

  • Store Launch


    Announcement: We are moving!

    After nearly one and a half years, our time at Møntergade will slowly but truly find an end. Stay Tuned for our Relocation. 

  • Sales


    Preview our Autumn Winter 2018 Collection

    BARBARA I GONGINI man collection 11 / AW18 will be presented in Milan, Paris and Copenhagen for the upcoming season. For personal viewing of the BARBARA I GONGINI collection, please find given showcase locations and dates below. For appointment please contact / [email protected]    MILAN12th of January _ 16th of January055 Showroom_Via Carlo Botta 8_Zona Porta Romana Mm3_20135 Milano_  PARIS18th of January _ 24th of JanuaryIn)(Between Gallery_39 Rue Chapon_75003 Paris_  COPENHAGEN31st of January _ 2nd of FebruaryRevolver _ Øksnehallen _ Halmtorvet 11 _ 1700 Copenhagen 

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    An Editorial by Yana Bardadim

    Photographer Yana Bardadim shot Dancer and Actress Krista Morgenson in New York. Krista is wearing our muliways Cardigan as a scarf.    

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    The Leather Jacket

    How a Primordial Material Evolved into a Cultural Symbol

    No other wardrobe item is as bold and offbeat as the black leather jacket. An undying wardrobe staple for many, the leather jacket has made history as the favorite attire of the rebellious and the avant-garde. Classic cuts have turned it into an item that is at home in classic and conceptual wardrobes alike. Yet there's more to styling this garment than the “biker” look that established it as a cult item. Keep reading to uncover the cultural influence of the black leather jacket and discover new, original designs and styling ideas for men and women.   From Workwear to Cult Item: Why Are Leather Jackets So Cool? So, when did the leather jacket become synonymous with the rebellious, anti-system attitude that it represents today? And how exactly did it become an emblem of the so-called ‘rocker’ look? Although men have been wearing them since as far back as 1928, black leather jackets are just as in style today as they were 20 or 50 years ago. Their popularity with youth culture first surged during the ‘50s rockabilly era, when the black leather motorcycle jacket became an unofficial uniform for the current’s adherents. In the years that followed, the garment became associated with many emerging subcultures, some of which are still represented today. From punk to goth, to techno, many (formerly) underground music scenes adopted it as an essential piece of clothing. Thus, the leather jacket became a staple of urban culture and an item that symbolized the wearer’s allegiance to a certain community - whether it was worn by the rebellious, the aloof or the progressive.   Siouxsie Sioux at the Edinburgh Tiffany's, 1980   Unearthing the History: Why Wear a Leather Jacket? Over the past hundred years, the leather jacket has evolved into one of the most popular outerwear items. Thanks to its durability and versatile design, this fashion item can top off countless outfits in (almost) any season. Besides, it is likely to last you much longer than any other piece in your wardrobe. Fashion critics have characterized it as “rebellious”, “alternative” and sometimes even “masculine”. The raw, organic appearance of the leather creates the garment’s ‘rough and tough’ appeal, which brings out the audacious side of the wearer’s personality. Timeless tailoring cuts, such as the bomber leather jacket, have garnered a wide appeal across all generations. At the same time, niche deconstructed designs and more daring looks (think Matrix-esque black leather coats) remain reserved for creative, avant-garde dressers and those who want to make a strong statement. A designer leather jacket that’s made from high-quality materials can last you a lifetime if you look after it properly. When buying a leather jacket, you’re not only investing in a perennial wardrobe item. You’re also acquiring a piece of urban cultural history, that’s imbued with heritage and authenticity.   Beyond the Typical Cuts: What Black Leather Jacket Style Is Best for You? We all know and love the classic leather jacket styles. The racer, bomber & biker leather jackets are probably the most popular cuts, from which many modern interpretations were born. You could even say that they have become so commonplace that you can’t really call them ‘alternative’ or ‘rebellious’ anymore. But that doesn’t have to be the end of it. There are plenty of alternative leather jacket designs that keep true to the garment’s original ‘rough and tough’ appeal.   How an Innovative Leather Jacket Design is Born Have you ever wondered how one would go about designing an avant-garde leather jacket? Our designer, Barbara, gives us a glimpse of her creative process: “If you really want to express your vision, this is when you start to build on the conceptual principles. For us, the Square has been a principle we have used since the beginning and which serves as a base for molding a new style. It’s true that we start from scratch when creating a specific style, but the whole history of our designs is of course still in our backbone. The design process is very much a continuing story for a company like ours. For our new line, Norðan we incorporated the classical approach a bit more, which makes the garments more ”trend-sensitive”, so to speak. We also work from traditional styles on occasion, re-interpreting the classics like the bomber or the biker leather jacket.” Now that you’ve heard from the creator herself, have a look through some of the best black leather jackets for women and men from the avant-garde collections of Barbara I Gongini:   Avant-Garde Men’s Leather Jacket Styles   1. Back to Basics: the Fitted Leather Jacket A fitted leather jacket with a clean or even minimalist design can quickly turn into a personal pièce de résistance. This mandarin-collared, distressed leather look is easy to match with a variety of casual outfits. With this style, it’s all about the details. If you prefer a minimalist leather jacket, opt for a classic tailoring style, but look for key elements such as zipped pockets, which bring the garment in the limelight.   The Barbara I Gongini Fitted Leather Jacket, Spring Summer 2017   Atypical elements such as elbow-revealing zippers and detachable thumbhole cuffs create an offbeat vibe and help you compose a magnetic look. Both jackets are made from sheep leather, which is lightweight and great for keeping you warm.   The Barbara I Gongini Fitted Leather Jacket, Autumn Winter 2017   2. Tracing the Roots: the Asymmetric Leather Jacket This asymmetric model is made from goat leather, which is tougher, but at the same time, softer to the touch compared to sheep’s leather. The “unfinished” waistline combined with visible stitching of the paneled inserts give this garment a raw, primordial feel. The look directly references our common cultural heritage and roots, taking you back to an ancient time when leather was an essential material for human survival.   The Barbara I Gongini Asymmetric Leather Jacket, Spring Summer 2017   3. A Tactile Experience: the Textured Leather Jacket This textured sheep leather jacket is less about your typical “bad boy” fashion look, which is normally associated with the black leather jacket, and more about the fine details which make it noteworthy. Referencing the organic shapes created by receding waves in the sand, the leather has been treated to create a sense of return to the roots through nature-inspired textures. Subtle detailing is what makes this buffalo leather bomber-inspired jacket all the more versatile and urban. Raglan sleeves point to the athleisure garments that have become so pervasive in our closets, while the double zippers which reference the fencing jacket, as well as the asymmetric cut, create a distinctively avant-garde look.   The Barbara I Gongini Textured Leather Jackets, Autumn Winter 2017   Women’s Leather Jacket Types   1. The Distressed Leather Jacket The distressed minimalist look works just as well for women’s black leather jackets as it does for men. With this design, you can wear the extra long sleeves open over the knuckles or you can zip them up and scrunch them for extra texture around the wrists. A short black leather jacket is essential if you want to create a rugged look - just remember to avoid high-shine finishes, for a more coherent outfit.  The Barbara I Gongini Distressed Leather Jacket, Autumn Winter 2017   The women’s version of the thumbhole jacket features a slightly different tailoring style, which flatters the female shape. This cropped leather jacket is longer at the front and curved over the hips, creating a look that’s hard to replicate.  The Barbara I Gongini Fitted Leather Jacket, Spring Summer 2017   2. The Matte Asymmetric Leather Jacket Just like the men’s style, this asymmetric leather jacket for women is made from matte goat’s skin and has stylized outer stitching which gives it a rough, unspoiled look. The low shine of the leather contributes to the natural character of the garment.  The Barbara I Gongini Matte Asymmetric Leather Jacket, Spring Summer 2017   3. The Avant-Gardist: Multiways Leather Jackets Avant-garde style is all about challenging the rules and creating your own way of doing things. Going beyond the typical styles, a designer leather jacket can break the monotony of a classic or minimalist wardrobe by infusing it with a sense of avant-gardism. A multiways leather jacket can bring your wardrobe to life and inspire you to use your clothes in new ways. Detachable parts and unconventional closures give your creativity free reign so that you can create your ideal look through layering and playing with volumes.   The Barbara I Gongini Multiways Leather Jacket, Autumn Winter 2017   How to Wear the Black Leather Jacket in Original Combinations There’s much more to wearing leather than the typical “rocker” look - dark jeans, white T-shirt & jacket. A dark jacket can be a brilliant style shortcut and leather makes for a great material to top off your outfits, as it only gets better with age. Here are six remarkable outfits to elevate your style and inspire you to figure out how to wear a leather jacket without (just) looking like a biker.   Outfits Ideas with Black Leather Jackets, styled by Barbara I Gongini Our favorite way to style leather involves creating a dramatic look by layering items and juxtaposing different textures. Explore our collections and get inspired to create your own black leather jacket outfits. Highlight a black deconstructed dress by layering it with a multiways leather jacket. You can tone down the ample cut of the dress with a pair of open-toe ankle boots or even add another semi-opaque layer (such as a multiway cardigan). Instead of simply wearing a black leather jacket with jeans, drape it down against a pair of tailored linen trousers and team it with a pair of unconventional leather shoes with invisible heels. For a sportier look, you can combine a fitted leather jacket with seamless leggings and shorts. The removable thumbhole cuffs on the jacket add interest and help you create an alternative look.   Leather Jacket Styling Options   A bold way to sport a leather jacket is by combining it with leather pants. To create a coherent outfit, choose items with matching details such as zippers, or opt for a jacket and pants with similar textures. Wear it with combat boots and a voluminous scarf and add an optional wool vest over the jacket to complete a winter look. On warm days, wear an extra long, textured shirt with a black leather jacket to create an intriguing look. Alternate black and gray garments to create contrast and add volume with a pair of avant-garde jogging pants. Even in an all-black outfit, low-shine alternatives such as the goat leather jacket downplay the dark fashion look and instead channel a raw character that hints at the ancient uses of leather. Wear this jacket with light fabrics like cotton and match it with distressed leather boots for an austere, composed look.  Leather Jacket Styling Options   How Are Leather Jackets Supposed to Fit? A high-end leather jacket is an investment purchase, therefore it’s important to know how it should fit so that it flatters your frame. In general, a short leather jacket should sit at the waist and fit your body closely, but offer enough room for an extra sweater for when you need to add more layers during the cold season. High-cut armholes on a leather jacket provide better freedom of movement and won’t create any unsightly creases around the armpits. Sleeves can end at the wrist or cover your knuckles, depending on the model you choose.   Does a Leather Jacket Stretch? Real leather is an organic material which stretches with wear. Depending on the type of leather and how much you wear the garment, it’s likely that it will stretch slightly and mould according to your body shape. That being said, it’s important to consider this when choosing the right size for you. Because of the stretch factor, some people choose to order a size down in order to ‘break in the jacket’. However, you should decide this for yourself according to your preferred fit and also consider how you’ll be wearing it (layered over light clothes like T-shirts or over thick sweaters).   Can Leather Jackets Be Altered? Leather jackets can indeed be tailored, but the process can be very costly, as leather is more difficult to work than other materials. You can probably shorten a leather jacket’s sleeves without too much trouble, but we do recommend avoiding it altogether by shopping for your size. Remember that, unlike a woven textile like cotton, leather will remain punctured, which makes it impossible to undo a mistake. Therefore, we advise you to seek a professional specialty tailor to alter your leather garments if you want the best results.   Does a Leather Jacket Only Keep You Warm in ‘Leather Weather’? Beyond its cultural significance, the leather jacket is also a practical and versatile item for your wardrobe. There is no such thing as ‘the best season for leather’. In some parts of the world, you may be able to wear this item all year round, while in other parts you can only wear it during fall and spring. Note that the most comfortable temperatures for leather jackets (a.k.a “leather weather”) are somewhere between 7-17 degrees Celsius / 45-63 Fahrenheit. Of course, what you wear underneath it is also important. You can figure out when to wear your own leather jacket by looking at its interior. Most of them will feature some kind of lining such as polyester, cotton, or even silk. This can make it suitable for outdoor wear even at low temperatures. You can wear shearling-lined leather jackets even during cold winter days, while unlined jackets are best left for warmer periods. Although they can protect you during a downpour, keep in mind that leather jackets are not waterproof. Leather can get wet easily and it is quickly damaged by water, which makes it dry out and can cause blotches. You can wear leather in the rain only after you’ve treated it properly, such as with a leather lotion with lanolin oils.   Closing Thoughts The organic textures of leather make it a primordial material, which is both ancient and contemporary, primitive and futuristic. If you’ve ever seen a leather jacket that is more than ten years old, you will have noticed its special character and unique tactile qualities. Therefore, when choosing a high-end leather jacket, invest in a versatile piece that you truly love. This way, you’ll be able to wear it today, as well as five, ten years, or even a lifetime from now. Discover more black leather jackets for women and for men & infuse your wardrobe with a creative dose of avant-gardism.  

  • Definition


    A definition

    Avant-Garde fashion means no set rules. The concept of styling a piece in several ways is rooted in the movement’s ideal to provide simple but useful garments. In our language, this approach is called MULTIWAYS, therefore experimentation is one of the crucial values that we support and a main pillar of our DNA. Multiway garments are designed to give the wearer a functional piece of fashion with elements easy to adjust, so that it seems like wearing a different piece every time.   The idea of shifting shapes invites the consumers to interact with the garments and hereby prolong the life-cycle of the piece. The wearer is invited to reinvent their style and wear designs in a multitude of ways, restricted only by imagination.   This freedom of expression and versatility of multiway designs, serve as a crucial point in sustainability initiatives. Sustainabilty is topic, which is very close to our heart. That is why we do our best  constantly trying to reduce the wastage of clothing by implementing this concept.    Find more #multiways styles in our Webshop. Discover them here.  

  • I M Only Alien


    An Editorial by Mathias Mons

    I’M ONLY ALIEN is made to challange our view on human morphology and the relation between us and nature. The silhouettes are inspired by reptiles and abnormal growth. Mathias Mons makes a fusion between botanical materials and the androgynous body with the hope to expand the idea of beauty. The editorial has recently been published by FGUK Magazine.            The team behind the series:Art & Direction by Mathias MonsPhotography by Claus TroelsgaardModeling by Sergio RosaGrooming by Cecillie AndersenStyling by Sebastian Zal Filsoof

  • Metal Magazine Interview



    Alongside the colour black, Barbara I Gongini presents shades of non-dyed fabrics in natural tones in her showroom in Paris. The beauty lays in the silence of the fabrics in contrast to the expressive textures. It’s like a Nordic myth, just like the designer herself, born in the razor-sharp landscapes of the Faroe Islands but currently based in Copenhagen. Let’s see what the designer had to say through her Spring/Summer 2018 collection presented in Paris.   It's been amazing to be alongside your collections for several seasons now. Can you tell us about your inspiration this time around? This season I really wanted to implement a natural/organic aspect in a visual way, therefore we used a lot of non-dyed fabrics, which are combined with earthly colours. These hues of natural tones find their essence in the shades of grass blades, which sway unsteadily in the Nordic gust creating shades of the Faroe Islands. The colour black stays as a constant in the collection, the designs are seen as a kit where you can combine, layer and morph the styles together. The collection is encouraging the wearer to play with new combinations and multifunctional designs.   It feels like a continuation from previous seasons, do you see it that way? Yes, for sure. It’s an extension or continuation of the creative processes. The new dimension for the Spring/Summer 2018 season is the take on natural fabrics that we wanted to visualise. We worked with the colour palette from black to skin tones, and all those fine nuances in earthly colours between. With the materials and textiles, we are using a lot of organic cotton and recycled fibres.   Can you explain a little where you're from and describe how the landscape inspires and has a connection to the clothes? I believe that the surroundings or the culture that you are brought up in imprints itself in your DNA. Subconsciously it has always been a very natural approach for me to draw from and be inspired by the natural resources and to eventually aim for an organic product. Working with a very monochromatic colour palette gives me the space to use it as a canvas that illustrates the different textures, which are found in the Faroe Islands. From the razor-sharp cliffs to the patterns made by the grasses blowing in the wind, there is an enormous variety of different textures to draw upon. This season we utilised a process of heating leather in order to resemble the dramatic cliffs of the Faroe Islands. If you look deep into the anatomy of the fabrics you will discover their own natural imprint, which we wanted to enhance. The beauty lays in the silence of the fabrics in contrast to the expressive textures.   Last time we met in your (at the time) brand new store in Copenhagen. How is the store now? And how has it helped move the brand forward? Our main goal when creating this store was to have the ability to create an environment that completes Barbara I Gongini’s universe and therefore best supports the designs. The store itself is built from elements of an old shipwreck that was lying in the Copenhagen Bay Area. We discovered the beauty in the fragments of the ship and were allowed to pick some pieces, which were eventually treated with oil to enhance the dark texture. When copper erodes, it develops that beautiful green tone, which resonates with the Islands hues. It’s a form of abstract storytelling that is in origin of the brand.   You’re ahead of your time when it comes to sustainability. Do you think we’re in a time of change? What can be done by the clientele and what has to be done by the industry? This subject has been going on for years and has been a priority in our company since the beginning. The positive side of the story is that the end consumer nowadays is much more progressive in putting forth demands on the product and the brand. I really embrace and celebrate this attitude and we are very proud that we are moving forward together with our clients.The industry, however, is another story. It is indeed a big machine that desperately needs to be turned around. This is where we, as the designers, have to step in: to produce eco-friendly products and to make them readily available to the end user.   You always seem to find new ways of exploring ideas. What is there to be looking forward to in the near future? With our new sub-line, Norðan by Barbara I Gongini, we want to create space for the super silent designs, which is very much connected to the Nordic spirit. A silent canvas that vibrates, which eventually gives freedom to the main line and allows it to communicate itself more expressively. Therefore the future will contain a wide variety of inspired designs.   Words: My Maanmies for Metal Magazine      

  • Sustainable Article

    Sustainable Fashion Starts With Ethics & Design

    Clothing for a Better Future

    Sustainable fashion starts with design and with you, the fashion wearer. A sustainable approach to making and buying clothes is key to protecting the planet, as well as the lives of those involved in the creation of garments. At BARBARA I GONGINI, we believe that sustainability is not just a trend, but a cause we can all become part of to secure the future of the upcoming generations. If you’re interested in making a change, keep reading to discover more about sustainability and ethics in fashion and how you can build a green, zero waste wardrobe!     What is Sustainability in Fashion? Sustainable development is about “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”, according to the UN Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. Therefore, a commitment to sustainability is a commitment to balancing the short and long-term supply and demand of resources. In fashion, as in any other industry, the concept of sustainability rests on three essential pillars, also known as the triple bottom line. They are: economic, environmental, and social. Although the term ‘sustainable’ is sometimes used in reference to the environmentally-conscious aspects of a business, according to the term’s definition, sustainability must also include economic and social equity objectives. The term ‘ethical fashion’ typically stands for the same values as ‘sustainable fashion.’   The Ethical Fashion Forum has shared 10 criteria for what qualifies as ethical fashion, which address each of the three pillars of sustainability: Countering fast, cheap fashion and damaging patterns of fashion consumption Defending fair wages, working conditions and workers’ rights Supporting sustainable livelihoods Addressing toxic pesticide & chemical use Using and / or developing eco- friendly fabrics and components Minimising water use Recycling and addressing energy efficiency and waste Developing or promoting sustainability standards for fashion Resources, training and/ or awareness raising initiatives Animal rights   To sum up, you can say that, to create sustainable clothes, a designer must use resources efficiently, pay and treat its workers justly, as well as do everything in his or her power to ensure the production and afterlife of its garments will not damage the environment.     Is Fast Fashion Sustainable? In short, the answer is no. Fast fashion has gone through a period of massive growth, as the biggest companies found a business model that allows them to make cheap collections at an ever-growing rate. Moreover, with the quick change of trends, our garments spend less time in our wardrobes than ever before. We discard so many clothes every year, that not even charities and thrift stores know what to do with them. From an environmental point of view, fast fashion which encourages a throwaway mentality is very unsustainable. When it comes to cheap clothes, the true cost of fast fashion, when not paid by the end consumer, will most likely be paid for by the workers who make the garments in exchange for low wages and poor working conditions.   Creating Ethical Clothing: How to Approach Sustainability As mentioned above, sustainable clothing, also known as ethical clothing, is environmentally, socially and economically responsible. This concept of the ‘triple bottom line’ reveals how you can approach sustainability from a creator’s point of view, but also from a consumer perspective.     The Triple Bottom Line: What does ‘Sustainable Clothing’ Mean? To contribute to the well-being of our planet, sustainably produced fashion is therefore made from environmentally-friendly textiles (such as sustainably grown fiber crops or recycled materials) and it seeks to minimize waste throughout the supply chain. In addition, sustainable clothing companies assume a role in defending the rights of workers involved in their production process (social pillar). Sustainable clothing also carries a fair price. Economic sustainability is not often discussed in relation to the final product, but for a business it means that it can offer ‘quality products or services that meet market needs and demands and are fairly marketed’(EFF).      As a fashion brand that cares about its impact on the environment, this is how BARBARA I GONGINI approaches sustainability:   Sourcing Environmentally-Friendly Textiles BARBARA I GONGINI creates avant-garde men’s and women’s clothing from ethically produced textiles that are sourced worldwide, as we look for the best options that can turn into a sustainable product. We strive to work with suppliers which respect the EU legislation standards, and source a range of materials approved by Oeko-Tex®. These are tested for harmful substances, for both health and environmental reasons.   Recycling Fabric and Other Components Some of the garments that are not distributed before the launch of a new collection are upcycled and turned into new, limited-edition designs. Through fabric treatments, new cuts and creative outbursts (paint interventions), old stock is transformed into Limited In-house Produced items.  We have a zero-waste approach to garment production and seek to minimize waste in all our processes.   Implementing Industry Standards As sustainable fashion industry initiatives are still in their early years, we aim to implement them at the highest standard, to protect our customers’ interests and determine more producers to adopt them. As such, we urge our suppliers to use RSL testing (control of reduced chemical waste), as well as to reduce water usage and wastage while producing BARBARA I GONGINI designs.  Additionally, we take pride in rating the collections according to the SAC´s HIGG Index, focusing on three pillars which sustain our approach: recycling, upcycling and byproducts.   Defending Workers’ Rights BARBARA I GONGINI’s commitment to creating ethical fashion also includes the social aspects of our production processes. We aim to work only with suppliers that operate ethically and we visit production facilities on location every year. Our suppliers must comply with their national employment laws and regulations, with particular regard to: Minimum age of employment Freely chosen employment Terms of employment: rates of pay, working hours, health and safety Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining No discrimination No harsh or inhumane treatment From sourcing to wearing, there are many ways to go about sustainability, for fashion labels as well as consumers. To encourage the production of sustainable garments, the most important things you can do are to visit ethical clothing stores, as well as buy fewer, higher quality clothes.     Designing Sustainable Fashion Clothing As concepts of sustainability evolve, young and established designers devise new ways of approaching it. New initiatives go beyond production, distribution and recycling practices and seek to revolutionize how we use clothes and for how long. To change patterns of consumption and use from the very core, a fundamental change needs to take place, which is rooted in the design process. At BARBARA I GONGINI, we approach clothing design with sustainability in mind, striving to lengthen the lifecycle of a garment through careful design decisions.   Multiways clothing designs BARBARA I GONGINI’s avant-garde #multiway clothing designs are conceived to be used in many possible styling combinations. You are likely to use a versatile piece of clothing more often than other items in your wardrobe. At the same time, being able to personalize it to your own taste and create something unique every time you put it on leads to a special bond between you and that garment.   Timeless pieces of clothing over trends that come and go The BARBARA I GONGINI approach to clothing design rejects the concept of seasonal fashion trends. This idea is highly exploited by fast fashion manufacturers, who use it to sell more and more clothes every year. The avant-garde approach to trends goes against the simple pattern of inventing and discarding styles, and instead focuses on continual growth and renewal.   Avant-Garde Wardrobing Concept BARBARA I GONGINI clothes are part of numerically ordered collections and are designed to fit items from future as well as past seasons, for a more cohesive wardrobe. Great fashion design is independent of temporary fads, can be worn across decades, and becomes perennial by virtue of its quality and adaptability.   Why is Sustainable Fashion Important? Fashion is one of the biggest industries worldwide, accounting for about 2% of the global GDP. As it is still a growing industry, it’s important to take measures as to minimize its negative impact on the environment. There are many production processes, such as fabric dying, which are very toxic to the environment. According to B2C, the textile industry is one of the top 3 water wasting industries in China, discharging over 2.5 billion tons of wastewater every year. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the implications and choose eco-friendly alternatives. Other prominent issues regard the safety of workers involved in the making of garments. The only way that fast fashion can be so cheap is through cheap labor, which can be detrimental to the workers themselves, as well as the development of their communities. Incidents such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh have shaken up the industry, determining more companies to contribute to their workers’ safety or otherwise make changes in their line of supply.     How Can Fashion Become More Sustainable? At the moment, only a few communities have textile recycling programs. This means that about 85% of textile waste goes to landfills, where it occupies about 5% of the space. Since 95% of post-consumer textiles are in fact recyclable, there should be enough reason to take measures in this direction. But, before even reaching the end of a garment’s useful life, there are other methods that can help the industry become more sustainable. Initiatives such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and other forums such as the Ethical Fashion Show in Berlin, or the Copenhagen Fashion Summit provide platforms for innovation and exchange of good practices among green fashion designers. Sustainability cannot start at the end of a garment’s life cycle but must be approached at every step of the design process. The best eco-friendly and sustainable fashion brands pursue this goal from the very beginning. Through designs made from long-lasting, ethical fabrics, they encourage longer use and challenge the throwaway mentality stimulated by fast fashion.   How Can You Use Clothes in a More Sustainable Way? If you want to be a part of the cause of sustainability in fashion, it’s important to educate yourself to buy less and buy better. Figuring out how to buy ethical clothing is easy and nowadays there are many sustainable and eco-friendly fashion lines that offer quality garments at accessible prices.   Here are some ways you can improve your wardrobe’s sustainability:   Opt for Minimum Waste Fashion More and more people are adopting a no-waste lifestyle and zero-waste clothes are an important part of that ethos. Make sure you understand how your clothes are produced and choose garments made from recycled textiles whenever possible. To lower your carbon footprint even more, you can upcycle your own clothes, shop vintage and organise clothes swaps with friends.   Create a Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe Creating a capsule wardrobe can help you keep only the things that you really need to create your signature look and therefore minimize your own clothing consumption. From there, the only step to an ethical capsule wardrobe is making sure that all the items are responsibly sourced. This may seem like a hefty task, but it doesn’t mean that you should discard all your clothes at once and replace them with sustainable ones - this would only mean producing more textile waste. Instead, make sure that all the missing pieces that you need to complete your capsule wardrobe come from sustainable clothing brands.   Shop Less and Shop Better Besides sustainable shopping, you can also choose to buy high-quality clothes. Even though these are often more expensive, you will probably use them more consciously and for longer, due to their higher price tag and the uniqueness of the garment.   Closing Thoughts Sustainable fashion is not just a trend, but a holistic approach to fashion, which starts with design and carries on through all the steps of the sourcing and manufacture processes. Fashion can only become truly ethical when it maximizes benefits to people and communities involved in making it, while minimizing its own impact on the environment. If you find that your fashion tastes are as progressive as your consumer philosophy, have a look at our sustainable avant-garde clothing webshop and get inspired by BARBARA I GONGINI’s cutting-edge designs. Sustainability is at the core of the BARBARA I GONGINI brand and it constantly informs our approach to design. We wish to create a product that respects the planet, as well as the rights of everyone involved in its making. Since consumers are the ones who power the fashion industry, the most effective way we can push for a more sustainable future is by transforming our consumption habits. This means adopting a mindful approach, that looks beyond instant gratification and towards long-term impact.   Find out more about BARBARA I GONGINI’s commitment to sustainability.    

  • Sjuloves


    AN Editorial by Zusana Janosova

    We refer to the utterly human ability to comprehend – a mindful appreciation of being an animate entity.  Visit our Webshop to discover the styles.      Model: @emilieaxters  Stylists: @greteeea @zinekbeznektarinek  Photographer: @sjuloves

  • Modular Huamn

    The Modular Human Installation

    The Weather Diaries Exhibition

    The Weather Diaries are now also exhibited in Boraas, Sweden, at the Textilmuseet / Textile Fashion Center commencing from the 21th of October to the 4th of March, 2018.   As curators of the 3rd Nordic Fashion Biennale, artist duo Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer explore the roots of Nordic fashion and take an unusual approach to the topic by telling its story visually. Over the past two years, Cooper and Gorfer have travelled throughout Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands to stage and photograph the work of 12 remarkable fashion talents. The resulting body of work is showcased in The Weather Diaries exhibition and a book of the same name, released by Gestalten in celebration of the biennale.   The Weather Diaries exhibition is a prolific collaboration between some of the most gifted designers of the West Nordic Islands and Cooper & Gorfer. It is unique in its symbiosis of installation and narrative photographic imagery, taking you deep into the ingenuity of these three island nations where common is the hug of isolation. Aesthetic and metaphorical, it deflects the conventional rhetoric of fashion. Instead of seasonal trends, it explores the inspiration of creative minds, probes links to cultural identity, and scrutinizes the impact of the inescapable physicality of nature and weather.   The outcome of this creative collaboration is an alluring exhibition and book. BARBARA I GONGINI is proud to exhibit her creations in a one of a kind installation alongside a large-scale photographic art works by Cooper & Gorfer.    The Modular Human Installation The modular human is a conceptual 3D showpiece trio, rooted in an extraneous bone-structure anatomy, hand-crafted in-house, from a previously owned industrial carpet. Up-cycled, re-cycled and now re-used, we instigate new life from the disregarded, the deteriorated and the dismissed. These unique tangible creations have been composed out of geometrically shaped by hand cut outs, utilizing every inch of the waste towards zero waste. Manipulating structure. Escalating from a status in quo to reversal, deriving at aesthetic allurement from perceived modesty. Everlasting. The modular human is multi-faceted and dynamic. Its spirit breathes within the creations and its inter-related relationship, is now everlasting, until re-constructed, once again. Life simply modulates.       Image Credit: Adam Katz Sinding for Le21ème 

  • Chelsea (1)

    Chelsea Wolfe for Bullet Magazine

    Individuals wearing BARBARA I GONGINI

    When it comes to Chelsea Wolfe, there are some things that are too personal—in fact, most things are. But you’d never be able to guess that after listening to Hiss Spun. On her seventh album, the Sacramento-based artist delves into her own experiences with anxiety and addiction, laying bare all the emotions that come with growing up. And in a world where all we see are sun-drenched selfies and pics of girls on what feel like perennial vacations, Wolfe details the feelings of an endlessly bad day. That unapologetic honesty, coupled with the 33-year-old’s dissonant yet dreamy howl, makes Hiss Spun more than a rarity—in showing her own bruises, Wolfe unearths ours.    Words: Alexandra Weiss for Bullet Magazine Chelsea Wolfe is wearing our Spring Summer 2017 Nippon designs as well as our Parachute Pants from the same season.         

  • Universe Article2 8


    A Style Guide

    Year after year, fashion trends change, leading to a continuous adjustment of what is considered popular. However, a lot of fashion trends tend to come back and, with the rise of fast fashion, millennials and the intellectual audience are starting to deem the whole idea of trends as out of style. As summer approaches, this seems to be the year of the avant-garde. The most exclusive fashion event of the year, the 2017 MET Gala, is dedicated to the oeuvre of one of avant-garde’s leading designers: Rei Kawakubo, the reclusive genius behind Japanese label Comme des Garçons. This is only the second time that New York’s Metropolitan Museum has hosted a retrospective exhibition for a living designer, which shows that there is a keen interest for the cutting-edge fashion that defines the aesthetics of our time. Those who show an interest in style and have come to regard fashion as an intellectual effort have also developed an awareness of the environmental and social issues that surround the industry. Trends have turned into subtle ways of showcasing your personality, without having to renew your outfits every season. In this editorial, we will discuss this year’s predictions in what is considered fashionably relevant and see what’s sticking around for 2018 and from now on.   How Trends Manifest in Avant-Garde Fashion Based on a forward-thinking mentality, avant-garde fashion pushes new and unconventional designs and encourages risk-taking, experimental creativity and the rejection of the mainstream. This approach allowed avant-garde designers to confer a specific tone which is unlike anything else in the fashion world. Those familiar with the current have come to understand it as a lifestyle and a unique way to express oneself. Avant-gardism, by definition, rejects the notion of trends, conventions and anything that involves a lack of originality. This is why fashion designers often avoid what is considered culturally popular and surprise with designs that are not only meant to last but also express who you are.    For more information on avant-garde fashion and its roots, you can read our entire Avant Garde Guide.   Spring Summer 2017 Men & Women’s Collection by BARBARA I GONGINI. Click here to see our latest collections.   Factors that influence avant garde fashion trends There are several factors that influence the way trends and style evolve. Fashion draws heavily from social and environmental surroundings. It also is based on each designer's values and understanding of the elements that spark creativity. Values What consumers look for in a brand is directly related to the values that make it unique and appealing. For avant-garde brands, the most prominent feature is the anti-consumerism drive that sets them apart from other commercial fashion brands. Values are deeply rooted in the way craftmanship is approached. It was the avant-gardist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who said that “Less is more” and the concept has become a cornerstone for avant-gardist designers ever since. Simplicity is another value that comes to mind when discussing fashion avant-gardism. The aim is to produce simple pieces that feature subtle intricacies. What seems to be a simple piece of clothing can feature a variety of designs which you can style according to your creativity. Political & Social Environments Politics can have a significant impact in the fashion and creative world and thus can be of major influence in what is currently relevant. The artists’ need to create freely means that the political climate contributes directly to their work. Similarly, the social environment, society norms, and pressures can shape the creative process. For example, a highly environmentally conscious society will put emphasis on how garments are manufactured. Sustainability is a major topic of discussion amongst fashion retailers and avant-gardists are the first to line up and take a stand. New ways of crafting garments have pushed forward the techniques and the materials used. Direct Influences The direct influences that affect the designer in crafting his pieces are the result of their personal preferences, experience, and study. Many avant-garde fashion designers are influenced by the old school Japanese aesthetic philosophies. Other significant influences are background, education and artistic drive. In Barbara I Gongini's case, the avant garde fashion influences come from the vastness of the Faroe Islands, which trigger the large space design she practices. Using heritage as a personal influence, she is able to conjure unique canvases of creation that speak to the singularity of her work. Non Trends in Fashion: How Avant-Garde Breaks Stereotypes Breaking stereotypes involves a level of risk taking that is only specific to avant-garde designers. The only way to constantly create evergreen trends is by focusing on what really matters and trying unconventional approaches. Here are some of the creative movements that are here to stay and how they influence the current state of avant-garde fashion. 1. Fashion that’s Dedicated to a Sustainable Approach Another instance where the avant-garde fashion movement refuses regular conventions is the focus on a sustainable and responsible way of producing garments. A number of avant-garde designers are limiting their impact on the environment and actively promoting sustainability through their process of procuring and using materials. While large, mainstream brands focus exclusively on profit by using what some would consider unethical ways of conducting business (sweatshops, cheap labor and materials), avant-gardism promotes responsibility in every step of the production process.    Having a low impact on the environment is an important part of BIG’s brand DNA. Not only in the way the items are made (dying, processing, manufacturing), but also in the designs and their longevity. 2. Multiways & Evergreen Designs The avant-garde concept of styling a piece in several ways is rooted in the movement’s ideal to provide simple but useful garments. Unlike commercial fashion outlets, BIG cleverly designs its pieces to give the wearer the possibility to style them in several ways and for a longer period of time. This approach is called “multiway design” and supports the idea of clothing longevity and evergreen products that can serve you longer.     BARBARA I GONGINI Spring Summer 2017 Collection. Find similar multiway designs in our Webshop.    The freedom of expression and versatility of multiway clothing design and evergreen products also serves as a crucial point in the sustainability initiatives.     3. Evergreen Colors The use of monochromatic or two-tone colorways in avant-garde garments has maintained its value for a long time now. Black is the dominant color and its power sits in the versatility that it allows. Noncolors such as black and white are not only easy to match, but also emphasize simplicity and a state of mind in tune with the values of the current avant-garde movement. Moreover, the use of noncolors creates room for a variety of possibilities for multi-way garments, which can be creatively modified into several other pieces to mix and match. 4. Fashion that Respects Social and Ethical Concerns Another fundamental concern of avant-garde brands is the value of the human condition. Human equality is crucial in emphasizing the strength of the individual, regardless of sex, background, social status or sexual orientation. True creativity comes from freedom of self-expression and, to be able to do this, all working parties must feel comfortable and involved in the crafting process. The BIG designs are a blend of ideas, influences, and beliefs that shape the very essence of the brand. 5. Genderfluid Clothing Many avant-garde pieces appeal to a broad audience regardless of their sexual identity, because most of them are crafted to be gender fluid. The brand strives for extreme versatility, a concept opposed to the mainstream idea that genders have fashion restrictions. You may express yourself in any natural form you desire without having to think about following the rules. Again, this versatility is a direct opposition to the conventionalism of mainstream brands who are gender oriented. By offering the wearer more possibilities you enhance his style experience and give options. Featured designs by BARBARA I GONGINI. Find more leather items here. 6. Non age-specific clothing Versatility is noticeable through the fact that most avant-garde clothes don’t have an age requirement. They can be worn by anybody, as long as the wearer is able to identify with and feel comfortable in them. Avant-garde fashion is addressed to an intellectual audience which does not have a specific age. Older and middle-aged, style sensitive people can wear the same garments as young ones and vice versa. Utility and freedom of expression are the goals and those are independent of age. 7. Fashion that Upcycles and Recycles The initiative to use recycled fabric as part of an eco-friendly approach to doing business also shows concern about offering a more sustainable product. We strive to work with suppliers which respect the EU legislation standards, and source a range of materials approved by Oeko-Tex®. These are tested for harmful substances, for both health and environmental reasons.   Furthermore, the undistributed stock is upcycled and given new forms in order to create multifunctional pieces that are better than their precedents. Constant evolution from the same essence.   BARBARA I GONGINI’s Take on Avant-Garde Trends BARBARA I GONGINI doesn’t regard itself as a trend-driven brand, so it tries to distance itself from what is seen as fashionable and cool. The conceptual approach of BIG Collections presents a different take on crafting garments. Faithful to the core of avant-gardism, designers try to break stereotypes with non-trends - ways of creating that contradict contemporary currents. This can consist of several approaches starting from the concept behind a piece, to the details on garments up to the way that materials and textiles are produced.    By isolating and singling out new ways of crafting, the pieces become works of art in themselves and cannot be framed in a category. Unlike many traditional fashion designers, BIG has its own construction process that instills the avant-garde essence from start to finish. Everything from materials, design, and production is created with the purpose of utility. Products don’t just “go out of fashion”, they are meant to last for a long period of time and to be used in multiple ways. In this spirit, the core of the BARBARA I GONGINI collections is centered on individualism, freedom of self-expression and not on normative pressures and contemporary trends.   Our Creative Process in Designing Fashion The craftsmanship starts out with a 360° view of what the final product will be and how it will be of use to the wearer. Expression and personality are two of the central elements in conceptualizing each piece. Pieces often include geometric cuts, asymmetric fabrics and spectacular silhouettes that are focused on versatility and utility. Traditional tailoring plays a major part in the creative process. Avant Garde Spring/Summer 2017 Barbara I Gongini’s most recent designs combine the various elements of her conceptual method in a collection that blurs the lines between traditional tailoring and urban street wear. The multiways approach is incorporated through details such as visible stitching and zips, unexpected strings and openings, which grant the wearer the possibility of exploring the garment in multiple ways. Featuring asymmetric cuts in deconstructed and recomposed hand-drawn prints, as well as pure white parachute fabric, the collection includes a variety of textured fabrics. From crinkled viscose in grey shades, to cold dyed jersey and washed sheep leather, the dark look of the 2017 Spring/Summer collection is sustained by a unique approach to textile crafting. The newly added seamless lingerie line interplays dense and delicate surfaces in figure-hugging pieces, while the echoes of older designs reverberate through reinvented garments, in a statement of eco-conscious commitment from the creator. Barbara I Gongini designs at the 2017 Copenhagen Fashion Week. Shop avant-garde designs here!   What is Officially Out of Style in Avant-Garde One thing that is definitely out of fashion in the avant-garde world is the idea of trends. This cutting-edge movement works outside the logic of the seasonal fashion market, which seeks to create a hype every half-year by focusing on a particular set of characteristics. Avant-gardism rejects trends and value judgments based on popularity, so anything that is tied to the mainstream current will be of little interest to the avant-garde fashion wearer. While some designers will continue to try to break into the mainstream, the essence of avant-garde will always be distant and indifferent to popular opinion. Any garments that are the result of past influences, such as 80s revival trends, do not belong in the cutting-edge, forward-looking fashion realm. Constant improvement is the goal, so what clings to the past will no longer be relevant to an audience looking to experiment the contemporary. This doesn’t mean that avant-garde disregards the past, but rather that it is constantly anchored in and mirroring the present.   Have a look through our collections and discover the latest in avant-garde fashion!

  • Universe In Conversation With Header



    In Conversation With is an ongoing series of interviews, aiming to give you an insight of inspiring collaborators, store owners that carry our designs in their stores as well as individuals that are strongly connected to our BARBARA I GONGINI Universe. Dive now deeper into the HEVN Store in Oslo, which was opened by Maia and Knut in 2013. With their great selection of nordic designers they take pride to stock only those with a clear focus on sustainability and ethical production.      1.    Could you tell us more about your fashion sanctuary based in Oslo? HEVN is a small, family owned boutique with a strict avant-garde aesthetic. We don´t do trends, we don´t do contemporary fashion. Only avant-garde. HEVN is curated in pursuit of the beautiful, special, raw and elegant, with the best of avant-garde designers from all over the world.    2.    What is Avant-garde fashion for you? Freedom from the traditional boundaries of fashion, trends and other silly ideas. Couture and art intertwined. Capsule wardrobes, each more inimitable with every passing season. Limitless combinations. Created by some the nicest people you will ever meet.    3.   Do you have any Avant-garde style figures that inspire you? Our designers and our customers!    4.    What is the common thread that unites the designers you showcase in your Store? Quality, and their own individual approach to the avant-garde aesthetic.   5.   Can you tell me a bit about the people who visit your store?  We cater to a very diverse crowd, in all regards imaginable. Creatives, professionals, authors, clubbers - you name it. Many are new to avant-garde, others have built incredible wardrobes over many years of dedication. I guess their only common trait is good taste.   6.   Talking about perspectives, what do you think BARBARA I GONGINI can add to the Avant-Garde conversation?  Barbara has been with us since we started, and is one of very few designers we have kept around. She is the European queen of avant-garde, inimitable in every way. Her designs have become an addiction for many of our most loyal customers. Barbara´s approach to layering, flow and multiwearability - along with her take on northern femininity - makes her very significant to us.    7.    BARBARA I GONGINI has been an advocate for the Avant-Garde for over a decade now. When was the first time you encountered the brand?  Barbara was one of the first designers we approached when we started HEVN. We wanted to create nexus for what we perceive as "Northern Noir", her designs felt right at home in our vision for the shop.   8.    What other designers inspired you before you discovered BARBARA I GONGINI? _Julius, early Ann Demuelemeester, Boris Bidjan Saberi, Carol Christian Poell and early Yohji Yamamoto were probably the first.    9.   How do you feel when you step into the BARBARA I GONGINI realm? Creative, relaxed and playful.   10.  What BARBARA I GONGINI pieces do you personally own and how do you feel when you wear them? Too many to list!     

  • Titel Eluxe



    Chimerical: (adj):  existing only as the product of unchecked imagination; fantastically visionary. That’s the dictionary definition of the word, but chimerical also describes Barbara í Gongini’s new collection. The Nordic sustainable designer’s avant garde creations have always been unique and cutting edge, and these descriptions were further reinforced when Gongini launched her Female Collection 27 at this year’s most recent Copenhagen Fashion Week.     The collection maintains the playfulness of the label’s identity, and distinguishes itself with a dramatic mise-en-scene of upcycled and recycled garments, where geometry takes the center stage. Raw authenticity leads the collection, with an incredible choice of fabric and visible treatments that reference the modular process where craftsmanship has a strong impact on each item. The novelty of the new collection is the way certain categories are reinvented; for example, tailored, sportswear and denim undergo a destructured transformation that makes them more androgynous. The metamorphosis is entrancing. A fashion synaesthesia takes over, with the tactility and flow of the garments are in perfect symbiosis with the wearer. The ultimate statement in ethical fashion is proclaimed through the quality of natural fabrics that enunciate a progressive new language. Art and couture weld, as the new wave created by Barbara í Gongini stands out in its full potential, visible through high quality fabric compositions, the construction of designs, as well as organic treatments and washes. There is a wealth of organic textiles here, shifting from raw linen and natural cotton to light chiffons. Scandinavia is evoked through the shades of blades of grass that recall Nordic landscapes. Colour is muted; natural tones characterise this new collection, to enhance shape. Visible stitches, outside seams, as well as geometrical and anatomical cuts support the high-end expression of the clothing designs, and aggrandise the elegance of the materials utilised, such as jerseys, silk, leather and linen. Be prepared for the new year, when Barbara í Gongini’s chimerical collection will be finally be available to the public. In the meantime, take a look at our AW17 Collection, here.   Written by Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi for ELUXE MAGAZINE.

  • Pride Week


    An Interview with Barbara I Gongini

    1. Copenhagen Pride Week, the most important human rights event in Copenhagen, is coming up. Why do you think it’s important to celebrate Pride? Have you ever taken part in any Pride Week events? Of course, we attend the Pride Parade in Copenhagen every year, where we celebrate the beautiful and colorful diversity of genders.  Unfortunately, there is still is a clear necessity to manifest that same sex relationships is the norm, even though its old news. It is therefore important to state that that the freedom to love whom you choose is just a basic human right. It would be a more colorful world if it would be fully embraced.   2. BARBARA I GONGINI’S DNA is centered on the strength of individual and not on sex or sexual orientation, societal order or other normative pressure. How are these values reflected in the current collection? We are not too focused on creating for a perceived female or male body. I think there is a need to celebrate the feminine, there is a need to celebrate the masculine and there is a need to celebrate everything in between. We therefore highly appreciate the crossover of the collections. Throughout all of our collections, there is a fluid continuity within the items, which you can perceive as feminine or masculine depending on the way the wearer styles it. As a wearer, you are invited to mold the styles to your liking, with closings, zippers and buttons to dress yourself in a way that you feel comfortable. In our current Autumn Winter Collection we have some genderfluid silhouettes like the Cardigan, the Nippon Jacket or the denim jacket, which reflects in its fit and form.    3. In your view, why is style important when it comes to creating a personal identity? Fashion, in general, is a communication tool. Our clothing is designed in a way that you can be totally silent one day and the next day, you can go the opposite way and dress extremely expressively to make a strong statement. We celebrate the playful span from silence to an expressive take on fashion to encourage people to tell a story with their style. I therefore believe that creating a personal identity is a very exciting aspect of fashion.     4. How is making clothes for male-identified individuals different from making those for female-identified individuals? We want to uplift any restriction to create a fluid space for the individual. It is therefore very much about what story the wearer wants to tell.   5. Do you think that catwalk androgyny can ever go mainstream? Yes, of course. There is a world population of mixed genders who uses the freedom of fashion as a space of selfexpression. There is no way it can be ignored or set aside.    6. What makes a garment gender fluid? The layering is very significant, as is playing with length and tactility. If you have a very masculine fabric, like a heavy knit or leather, and you merge it with fabrics that are more fluid, which are considered feminine, this is where the magic happens. It is also about showing multiple ways of usage in a design. This involves knowing the restrictions that are so dominant in most designs made by the fashion industry and flirting with them. We want to encourage the wearer to find a strong piece and transform it to underline the persona who wears it, to make it abstract and, eventually, even stronger in the outcome. There is always a little string that you can tie to enhance e.g. your feminine aspects. In the end, it’s the wearer who decides which language he wants his outfit to speak.    

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    BARBARA I GONGINI is no stranger to the world of the avant-garde. On the contrary, she’s an exemplar of the creative niche and its Nordic constituents. Deux Hommes last saw her Spring/Summer 2017 collection a year ago at Copenhagen Fashion Week where her runway channeled the unquestionable spirit of a particularly well-known Tim Burton character. Catching up to speed with BARBARA I GONGINI’s latest, the upcoming Autumn/Winter 2018 collection highlighted distressed knits, treatment-washed textiles, deconstructed draping and of course, user-interactivity. And to be quite honest, it’s not all too different from her previous collections. Well, that’s just the thing with the Faroese designer: it’s all about building a continuous wardrobe that cooperates in tandem with the pieces you already have. This isn’t a brand that churns out a twice-yearly collection to fit the given trend of the season. Encouraging sustainability and careful curation, BARBARA I GONGINI underscores the intellect and sentiment that stands as the framework for any successful designer.     “For me,” she said, “the Nordic Spirit is raw and unspoiled. It captures the primitive essence of ancient heritage and interplays with the empty spaces of nature.” Natural materials like leather and wool are hallmark tenets in Nordic design. There’s a sobriety in the thoughtful detailing that speaks volumes. Given her designs thus far, it obviously comes as no surprise that GONGINI involves herself with other creative and inter-disciplinary Nordic contemporaries. She recently released a film short titled, Film Module Modular, that narrated man’s development from the primitive to the futuristic through choreography and visual design. Once the collaborators discussed the premise of the film and the creative dogma at hand, they were left to their own devices and reconvened on the final day with their projects completed. Rather than touching base periodically throughout the creative process, GONGINI felt that this process was more organic and freeing for each creative. She explained, “The goal and intention was aligned, but everyone had the freedom to create something in [a new] way, how they interpreted the concept. From there derives a unique composition. A concept approached from different angles.” Danish hairstylists Søren Bach and Joekim Davie Lenny Nielsen fabricated some fantastic headpieces made from felted human hair, while musician HUMAN WOMAN constructed a distinct soundscape with electronic noises that felt bizarrely tactile. Sara Gaardbo, who was responsible for choreography, helped to propel the film further with organic movements. And while we’re only name-checking a handful of the people involved in the project, every contribution helped to flesh the project out to completion. When we asked GONGINI what it was that motivated her in life, her raison d’etre so to speak, her answer was concise: “It is the inner urge to be able to create something that matters. The possibility to express abstract moods in physical forms. To manifest.” Eloquently articulated, GONGINI’s purpose is unclouded and clear.   Written by Alexander Cao for Deux Homm.es

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    From Barbara I Gongini´s creative well, an echo from the Northern Hemisphere has sprung: a new line evolves from the nourished grounds, carrying the name  _ norðan.Aligned with the clean and untouched nature, the new norðan avant garde collection focuses on a sustainable take on clothing. The foundation of norðan is aligned with the imaginary journey to the North and is therefore based on textures of basalt rocks, mist, soil, seawater, moss, rust and driftwood which is washed ashore. The choice of materials is a reflection of the scent of the North. A tactile exposure to a variety of surfaces. Rough linen, heavy cotton, silk, wool, leather and blends of recycled materials from various fibers are joined in synchronized symbiosis.      Emanating from the earthly color range, the color palette lies within a northern spectrum that mimics nature in all its shades. From the wide fields of heather, over to the muddy puddles, to the pitch-black basalt rocks. A seasonal color is regularly added.  The line is broken down to the essential, where the absence of noise is crucial, thus rich on subtle details. The avant garde line contains a silent reflection of the BARBARA I GONGINI DNA. The product features a contemporary timeless look, which contains trend elements as well as touching on terms like street, sport, rock and tailoring. In solemn harmony with the natural surroundings. Our story continues. The collection will be available for the public in the first months of 2018.     

  • Man Ss18


    Spring Summer 2018

    The BARBARA I GONGINI main collection is moving into a free realm, with form of expression and playfulness at its core. A sphere where raw authenticity underlines the process of creation. The experimental and conceptual approach to the garments cuts, choice of fabric and visible treatments, are the center of attention. The collection contains a clear reference to the modular process, where craftsmanship has a strong hold on each garment. The BARBARA I GONGINI Man 10 and Women Collection 27 is taking new grips on categories like tailored, sportswear and denim. The aim is to morph a new outcome that reflects a natural choice of fabric with a slightly more progressive form language.     The Avant-Garde reference stands out in its full potential, visible through high quality fabric compositions, the construction of designs, as well as organic treatments and washes. Visible stitches, outside seams, as well as geometrical and anatomical cuts support the high-end expression of the clothing designs, which emanate in a strong high-end product. The absence of color stands in the limelight. Hues of natural tones find its essence in the shades of grass blades, which sway unsteadily in the Nordic gust, which mirrors the reference to the Nordic landscape. For our seamless line, jerseys, silk designs and linen styles a nude color has been chosen.    The new Avant-Garde Collection consists of an accumulation of organic textiles, shifting from raw linen and natural cotton to light chiffons. The used leather is treated with heat, to depict the Nordic textures. Elongated mesh layers break the continuity of dense fabrics in a continuous evolvement of the composition. The collection will be available for the public in the first months of 2018.   

  • Nordan By Barbara I Gongini



    From Barbara I Gongini´s creative well an echo from the Northern Hemisphere has sprung. A new line evolves from the nourished grounds, carrying the name  _ Norðan. Aligned with the clean and untouched nature, Norðan focuses on a CSR-friendly take on the product. The foundation of Norðan is aligned with the imaginary journey to the north and is therefore based around basalt rocks, mist, soil, seawater, moss, rust and driftwood, which is washed ashore. The choice of materials is a reflection of the sent of the north. A tactile exposure of a variety of surfaces. Rough linen, heavy cotton, silk, wool, leather and blends of recycled materials from various fibers are joined in a synchronized symbiosis.   Emanating from the earthly color range, the color palette is held in a northern spectrum that mimics nature in all its shades. From the wide fields of heather, over to the muddy puddles to the pitch-black basalt rocks. A seasonal color is regularly added.   The line is broken down to the essential, where absence of noise is crucial, thus rich on subtle details. The line contains a silent reflection of the BARBARA I GONGINI DNA. The product features a contemporary timeless look, which contains trend elements as well as touching terms like street, sport, rock and tailoring.   In solemn harmony with the natural surrounding. Our story continues.    

  • Universe In Conversation With Header



    In Conversation With is an ongoing series of interviews, aiming to give you an insight of inspiring collaborators, store owners that carry our designs in their stores as well as individuals that are strongly connected to our BARBARA I GONGINI Universe. The first one is with Andreas Wall from Kaufhaus Wall, Vienna.      1.   Could you tell us more about your fashion sanctuary based in Vienna?Our store, WALL, is based in Vienna’s 7th district - most people know it as the district with the largest concentration of hip stores and pleasant restaurants. We’ve lived and worked here for about 20 years and started the store 17 years ago as a mixture between hairdresser and shop.In 2015 we took a big step by changing the name. The old name literally translated to ‘be a good girl’, and we’re now using my family name, ‘WALL’. We’re developing a new strategy and also changing the store concept into a pure shop.    2.   What is avant-garde fashion for you?The term ‘avant-garde fashion’ is pretty difficult to define, but for me it refers to those designers who develop new things and take new paths in their process, advancing the features of good design.   3.  What is the common thread that unites the designers you showcase in your gallery?We appreciate our designers and their individual and thoughtful way of working. I think that choosing the designers is for the most part a matter of instinct. What’s fascinating in the end is to see the mixture and create various compositions.    4.  Can you tell me a bit about the people who visit your store?I would say they are very different. They are mainly aged between 25 and 65 years and while half of our clients come from Vienna, the other half is international – visiting Vienna as tourists, or living here temporarily. They often work in creative jobs, as architects, photographers, designers, and what they all have in common is that they’re looking for something special, new and fresh.    5.  Talking about perspectives, what do you think BARBARA I GONGINI can add to the Avant-Garde conversation?BARBARA I GONGINI has a very personal and special approach, she’s very progressive and consequent. She develops style cuts and combinations of materials that are really characteristic and self-consistent.    6.  BARBARA I GONGINI is part of your selection. How does the brand’s unique style interplay with your curated aesthetics of the store? Barbara’s work fits wonderfully in our overall range and it will soon be at home in our upcoming collection of new designers. A special value of BARBARA I GONGINI’s work is her own understanding of the feminine, right up to the unisex style, which is a very important issue for us as well.   7.   BARBARA I GONGINI has been an advocate for the Avant-Garde for over a decade now. When was the first time you encountered the brand?Probably it was in Berlin 10 years ago – I don’t remember exactly – when we visited the Fashion Week there.   8.  What other designers inspired you before you discovered BARBARA I GONGINI?It’s a difficult question for me. I could say Yamamoto, Galliano, Alexander McQueen on the one hand (which we don’t sell in our store), on the other hand several young designers from all over the world.    9.  How do you feel when you step into the BARBARA I GONGINI realm? Stepping in BARBARA I GONGINI showrooms is always pleasurable – very clear and well structured, thrilling, and always presented by nice people.In our store we don’t separate designers into sections and occasionally, we also change the way we hang the clothes. We like to show how garments from different designers can be combined. Even I don’t like wearing the same designer from top to toe – it’s always a mix.   10. What do you think is the BARBARA I GONGINI’s uniqueness that attracts your customers?I think it’s the versatility of all her clothes, even if they are from different collections. Besides, my customers know that they wear clothes of the highest quality and materials, optimally manufactured. It is also my impression that the individuality and own style of BARBARA I GONGINI’s clothes let people feel that their own individuality is underlined.   11. What BARBARA I GONGINI pieces do you personally own and how do you feel when you wear them? I own some coats, a leather jacket, several shirts and trousers, and always feel well and special suited when I wear them.    

  • Yana


    An Editorial by Yana Bardadim

    A sudden encounter of the streets of Paris. Rain is pouring. Likeminded souls connect. We met the photographer Yana Bardadim during Paris Fashion Week and immediately thought about putting a spontaneous shoot together. The outcome is a striking visualisation of a fierce collaboration, where strong postures and warrior-like clothing stands in sharp contrast with the models face.      Photographer: Yana Bardadim Model: Barbara Shilova Hair & Make Up: Eugenia Lenz Clothing by: BARBARA I GONGINI

  • Universe Article 3 7



    Many people choose to wear avant-garde clothes because they want to break free from daily expectations. They want to define themselves outside the social norms that dictate how we should decorate and clothe our bodies. If you are one of those people and you want to find out more about how to dress avant-garde, you're in the right place. This article will help you identify the guiding principles of avant-garde fashion, so that you can go out knowing what to look for. You will also find out some of its more conspicuous characteristics, which you can easily integrate into your style.   What is Avant-Garde Fashion? One of the most fruitful artistic movements, the avant-garde permeates all fields of expression, from art to music, to fashion, in a way that challenges established norms through continuous experimentation and reinvention. A good definition for avant-garde fashion is “a forward-looking movement animated by innovative designers and artists who dare to go against the mainstream and propose ideas that stand out from the conventional”. Avant-garde clothes reshape the human body and suggest new ways of relating it to its environment, through constant deconstruction and reinterpretation. If you’re interested in finding out more about the concept, have a look at our modern definition of avant-garde history and influences.   Avant-Garde vs Haute Couture One thing to remember is that, while avant-garde is definitely a norm-defying aesthetic, it is not to be confused with haute couture, which can break the rules as well as the limits of wearability. The difference between avant-garde and haute couture is evident from the name, as haute couture literally means high-end tailoring or dressmaking and is synonymous with expensive, often very intricate designs, produced by big fashion houses. Haute couture does not necessarily seek to go against the grain, but rather to createhighly conceptualized or elaborate pieces - the exact opposite of pret-a-porter (ready-to-wear). Of course, designers also create haute couture pieces that take inspiration from the avant-garde, but these are also destined for runway shows or artistic performances. Ready-to-wear avant-garde is generally meant to be versatile and accessible, and it features bold, often masculine cuts, monochromatic palettes and a remarkable amount of layering.  Haute Couture by Iris Van Herpen. Click to explore more avant-garde designs.   What to Look for When Building an Avant-Garde Style   Sporting avant-garde clothes takes courage and boldness, but that doesn’t mean you have to go all in at once. Take your time to discover which aspects of radical fashion interest you most and best fit your personal style. Let’s have a look at some guiding principles you can follow to personalize your look, so that you can start challenging conventions with your style. Experiment: Mix & Match Your Wardrobe The beauty of forward-looking fashion is that there are no set rules. This means that you can mix and match a variety of fabrics, cuts, textures and accessories to achieve that coveted avant-garde look. Experimentation is one of the essential values of the avant-garde movement and it is the only way to create innovative designs and achieve bold, inventive style combinations. When trying on new clothes, remember that avant-garde fashion looks are not so much about flaunting the body through the clothes, but rather adorning it in new ways and creating a dialogue between the body and the environment, through more sculptural and often menswear-inspired designs. Drama: Tell a Story Through Your Look Creating drama in your outfits is important because you want to be telling a story through the garments that you wear. For the story to be coherent, the different items must be in dialogue with one another, whether you choose to play on contrasting cuts, complementing accessories, or contiguous lines of tailoring. The body is your canvas, so create your composition artfully and make sure every element is part of the story: from your clothes to your jewellery, makeup and even your attitude. See the latest women’s designs by Barbara I Gongini here!   Pay Attention to Details If you want to become a true avant-garde connoisseur, you have to pay attention to details. Whether it’s a particular hemline, the thickness of a weave or the stitching of a garment, it’s these details that make a difference when assembling your outfit. As the avant-garde approach to fashion is opposed to fast fashion, designers like Barbara I Gongini create multiways, which are versatile designs with innovative stitching, zipping and other details, such as buttons and belts, which allow the wearer to interact with and personalize their clothes. You will find many multiways in Barbara I Gongini’s collection. These garments are designed to give you a versatile piece of fashion with details that you can adjust, so that it seems you’re wearing a different piece every time. This makes it possible for you to always reinvent your style and wear an item in a multitude of ways, restricted only by your imagination. If buying an unusual piece of clothing seems daunting because you’re not sure how to wear it, think of what you already have in your wardrobe and try to find at least two items that you could combine it with, for two different occasions. This way, you can avoid buying clothes that you’ll never wear.   Get Started With Avant-Garde: Guiding Principles To help you navigate the sea of opportunities, we have a series of avant-garde fashion tips to consider when creating your outfit. Start with the wardrobe that you have and the inspiration from your favorite style icons and gradually build your way up to becoming an avant-garde fashion guru. Start a Mood Board Before spending all your money on expensive runway looks, it’s useful to start a mood board that will help you figure out the kind of attitude and feeling you want to convey through your avant-garde outfits. This will help you keep your search focused and develop your personal taste in avant-garde clothing. Have a Look at Famous Avant Garde Fashion Icons If you’re not sure where to start, have a look at who wears avant-garde clothes with gusto and pick out the elements that you would like to recreate in your look. From trendsetters like Michèle Lamy or Roisin Murphy, to icons like Björk and David Bowie, each of them has their own personal style that they’ve built over the years. Go Monochromatic One of the biggest contributions that avant-garde has brought to fashion is the use of monochrome shades. Designer Barbara I Gongini explains that “Keeping only a single tone gives the opportunity to work on clothing like on a canvas”. If you opt for a monochromatic outfit - in black, white, or gray - this will give you room to combine more textures and cuts and to focus on highlighting the details of the garments and the overall composition. However, this doesn’t mean that all avant-garde looks are in black and white. You can opt for bold, contrasting or complementing colors to showcase your color mixing skills and even use metallics to underline your style. For a sharp look, go for block colors or abstract patterns and avoid combining too many colors in one outfit. Men’s Leather Jacket by Barbara I Gongini. Discover the men’s collection here.   Play with Volumes How can you wear voluminous, elaborate clothes without getting lost in them or feeling like you’re pitching a tent? A rule of thumb that fashion-conscious wearers recommend is to combine voluminous pieces with fitted ones, but in the avant-garde world, you don’t have to stick to this rule in order to look good. Choose modern cuts, with voluminous geometric structures, asymmetric hemlines, or even exaggerated ruffles and pleats, if that sounds like you. As already mentioned, the point of avant-garde fashion is not to show off the body, in the way that mainstream fashion does, but rather to make an object of art out of it, through the sculptural elements of the garments. This principle applies to high-concept runway looks as much as to ready-to-wear avant-garde pieces. Avant-garde street style takes this concept and neatly integrates it in casual wear through draped materials and a variety of oversized coats and jackets. Look for Clothes with Texture Mixing and matching fabrics is very easy to do, yet you need a trained eye and to pick out textures that mix to great effect. The best way to achieve this is to experiment a lot and to try out different weaves and materials. Thanks to the minimalistic approach of the avant-garde aesthetic, you can leave out most prints when planning your look and instead focus on the weight and weave of the material. Look for cotton, linen and leather clothes, as well as sheer or lace pieces that can add value to your composition.  Layer, Layer, Layer Perhaps the best tool you can use to create a remarkable avant-garde outfit is layering. We all do it with our outfits during winter, so it’s a skill you probably have already. Start out simple, with a figure-hugging garment or another key piece that will be the pillar of your sculpture, and then add further elements to create a collage. Play with different textures and find contrasting combinations, but avoid mixing materials that are too different (for example, tweed and satin). If you’re wearing a long, loosely cut design, you can play with draping the material across the body for a dramatic effect.   How to Create an Avant-Garde Outfit As you develop your avant-garde lookbook, you will discover new and unconventional ways of styling your favorite pieces of clothing. Shirts don’t always have to be worn as shirts. Dresses can turn into skirts and cardigans into tops, depending on how you tie them. We like calling different items by different names, but in the end, fashion is about expressing yourself through your clothing, so feel free to wear them how you please. Have a look at these avant-garde outfit ideas and see if you can think of other ways of mixing and (mis)matching the items below. What Avant-Garde Essential Pieces Should You Start With? To set up your avant-garde wardrobe, you will need to start with some essential pieces that you can then easily integrate into your day-to-day attire. 1. Layering cardigans One of the avant-garde basics that we recommend having in your wardrobe is a fluid top or a cardigan, which you can drape and style in a number of ways. 2. Shirts and jackets   Some other pieces that are easy to match and would make ideal first buys for your avant-garde capsule collection include monochromatic shirts with asymmetric detailing and an avant-garde leather jacket. A simple and very effective way to transform your wardrobe and revolutionize your style is to start with one item that you can wear with any outfit, such as a denim jacket or trench coat. You can then use it as a starting point in building your outfit and work your way from the outside in when arranging your layers. For example, think about what kind of trousers you would wear with this jacket: would you prefer a pair of Japanese inspired trousers or some loose fit parachute shorts? Would you match it with a chunky knitted scarf or a long cotton scarf that you can wrap around? After you decide on these items, think of the kind of top you would wear to match your bottoms and how you would pick the shoes so that they give unity to your composition.   Monochrome avant-garde outfits - Discover more here!   Pick Avant-Garde Accessories If you’re wondering how to make an avant-garde outfit stand out, or if you just want a statement piece to spice up your day-to-day garment combinations, you can opt for a remarkable accessory, such as a black multifunctional bag or a voluminous necklace. These unique pieces will add an unconventional element to your casual outfits and speak volumes about your personality and fashion sense. Shoes are usually the most important part of your outfit because they tie it all together, so make sure you choose them well. For an avant-garde street style, look for dark shoes, preferably in a masculine style or with a distressed leather effect. They can be chunky or fitted, with a zip or with shoelaces, but they absolutely must be comfortable, so that you will wear them again and again. Everyone needs a pair of good quality dark shoes and these ones will end up being a key avant-garde piece in many of your outfits.   Where to buy Avant-Garde clothing If you want to build up your mood board or grow your wardrobe, have a look at our avant-garde fashion blog post to find out who are the most famous avant-garde fashion designers, or browse our latest collections for more inspiration. Besides established avant-garde designers, nowadays there are a number of emerging designers with online boutiques that offer high-quality craftsmanship at accessible prices, so a bit of online digging might be very rewarding. However, you don’t have to rely on the up-and-coming fashion designers of the year to get hold of cutting-edge fashion. Sometimes, you can also find inspiring pieces in your local vintage shop, which you can personalize to your own taste.   Closing thoughts Avant-garde fashion principles go beyond mere aesthetics to challenge ideas of mainstream fast-fashion. This includes the ways in which clothes are produced and consumed. Cutting-edge designers are now embracing the upcycling ethos, in order to minimize the waste produced by the clothes that are discarded every new season. For more on ethically-sourced, sustainable fashion, have a look at our interview with Nordic designer Barbara I Gongini.

  • Barbara Interview

    Heritage and Inspiration


    You often search for inspiration back in your roots, the Faroe Islands. How is it projected in your collections and how does it influence your perception of sustainability? I think that sustainability is a way of living and of course a way of being. Whilst living in one of the cleanest environments on earth, I have always been very close to all the elements that somehow influence one´s core being. There is therefore no other alternative way, than thinking in these terms. The approach of creating a sustainable company definitely comes from the tradition, the closeness to the forces of nature and the responsibility for our surrounding, which is deeply rooted in myself.    Though your collections may seem to be downright Avant - Garde, they are full of stunning yet highly wearable pieces. How would you describe your aesthetics? Being the designer of a fashion brand it is not only about creative expression but also about being relevant to the end consumer. We are therefore always trying to find a balance, holding a very clean canvas against the more expressive pieces that we contain in the collections. For the upcoming season we want to emphasize this even more. We will have toned-down, more simplistic pieces in the new Diffusion Line, which will eventually give us more space for more playful and expressive pieces in our main line.   Denmark is pretty strict when it comes to aesthetics, though you are moving away from such aesthetical rules and trends. How do you see design evolving here in Denmark? Do you think that people are more open to find their own expression of style nowadays? Danish Fashion is very nice when it comes to minialistic design and toned down colors. But I sadly think, that there is very little individualism seen on the Danish fashion scene. It’s in a way, an army of doppelganger.    For the Spring Summer 2017 season, you implemented an in-house-produced limited edition line to the classical collection. What stands behind this decision? This idea initiated as a CSR strategy, where we found new takes on archive styles, which we embraced and breathed a new life into them. It’s a common care and a very nice exercise for our creativity.    AW17 is the first season you are not taking part in the official schedule of Copenhagen Fashion Week. What led you to this decision? We have been very active every season, mostly doing the conventional shows, which led us to the decision to make a pause, to collect new strength to make space for a more conceptual event during Paris Fashion Week. We therefore gathered strong forces within the Fashion industry of the Nordic Hemisphere, to create a local collaboration, which sharpened our senses. We have been doing similar projects for many years, but this season there was a specific need to do something exciting.    You are working interdisciplinary in close collaboration with various artists. Are you still considering yourself as a fashion designer? Absolutely. I think, now more than ever. There is a need and an urge to have a voice in the fashion segment. The key is to create a room for playfulness and to point some new directions or at least to make an effort to do so. Fashion, in my opinion, is very static at the moment. I absolutely see myself as a fashion designer. Fashion can be pure art. Fashion can also be the complete opposite. We consider ourselves to have a little bit of both, having a clean canvas and then designs which are a little bit upscale in aspect of form within the collection.   What is one of your career highlights and favorite things you’ve done? This is always hard to say. As a designer you always think critical about the past. But I believe, that the exhibition connected to the Nordic Fashion Biennale in Frankfurt was a big success. Some showpieces from the Modular Human Project are now travelling the world. It has been already showcased in Beijing, Seattle, Reykjavik and is currently displayed in Minneapolis.   What has been your biggest creative influences and inspiration over the years? I was very fascinated by Yoko Ono’s piece ‘YES’, which I saw prior to when I entered the Danish Design School in Copenhagen. For me this was some kind of introduction to the Avant-Garde art scene for me. I have always been fascinated by a conceptual approach to design and in my search of finding that particular platform this was a big eye-opener. When the group of Japanese Designers like Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake in the beginning of the 80ies, were set into the limelight during the Paris Fashion Week, I immediately felt a strong bond with them.    Recently, you moved to a new studio in the industrial area of northern Copenhagen. Does the environment influence your work? What was the most important thing in choosing this space? I think it’s a beautiful environment and one of the few underground places left in Copenhagen, that has still a raw feel and a lot of history behind. It’s a place where big corporations haven’t claimed the land yet and it feels like our mini Berlin. The former shipyard gives it a very industrial feel and works in some sort of breeding ground for initiatives, small businesses, music, food, drinks and dance. There is everything from high culture to low culture. One can find Michelin star restaurants or just little cafes by the bay. All of it together is spicing up the daily life here and it somehow also function as the source of inspiration.   Rooting back to your relationship with nature. What is your opinion about todays fashion industry, trend based youth cultures and their aesthetics used to convey? For me youth is fast and furious and I like that they are spontaneous. Unfortunately, there is a strong strive for perfection, exemplified by Social Media idols. Teens are very concerned about looks, weight and failure is not seen as a source of creativity anymore. This surrounding puts an enormous pressure on them.  Nevertheless, there is something really strong and positive deep down, if you dig below the perfect surface. When you take all the noise away, there is a hard-core nerve, which cares about equality and uniqueness.  There is an element of gender freedom, which gives a lot of prospect and positive anticipation for the future. Throughout the years they developed an incredible consciousness about food, a great awareness of CSR, holistic thinking and spirituality.     You have been advocating sustainability for many years. What do you envision for the future of sustainable fashion design and where do you want to develop your brand in that sense? Of course, we have a lot of work ahead of us that concerns sustainability. An event that is of major importance concerning CSR is the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, it broadens the consciousness about this relevant topic and puts the talk on a international scale.  First and foremost, it is of importance to inform people how difficult it is to turn all the fashion industry around, culturally swap the tradition of ‘To use and throw away’ and inspire the supply chains all around the world producing large quantities for very low prices to follow this new wave of sustainable philosophy and thinking because this is the only way forth. It takes time to do so and we need to support it 100% in order to make it happen. In our case, the goal is to inspire the supply chain to provide every little component 100% sustainable and respectful toward human rights and animal welfare, a careful selection of materials and a thoughtful design process.  

  • Universe Avantgarde

    Avant-Garde Fashion

    A modern definition of its history & influences

    An unorthodox and radical current, Avant-Garde is synonymous with pushing the boundaries of culture for well over a century. Since its first inception, this movement generated major progress in fields like art, music, architecture, literature, theatre and film and most importantly, fashion.In fashion terms, avant-garde spanned generations of notable designers who reshaped the way people perceive and wear clothes. Characterized as progressive and forward thinking, the once eyebrow-raising style is now a worldwide phenomenon. One of these avant garde designers is Barbara í Gongini, an active participant in the Nordic art discourse, in close collaboration with film, music and photography artists, which all added to her creative process. Keep reading and take a journey through her views on what is avant garde fashion today and how it all started! What is Avant-Garde: a modern definition Avant-garde (pronounced a’vant-garde) is an intellectual, artistic and cultural movement characterized by the experimental, the radical and the unorthodox approaches. Derived from french and meaning vanguard or advance guard, the term describes the few who dare to go in front and defy conventions. The current also defines an attitude of freedom from the conventionals of society. This is why avant-garde is not the same as modernism. Modernism, as a term, defines a period that integrates all aspects of society while avant-garde rejects the mainstream in favor of the unique.   BARBARA I GONGINI Autumn Winter 2011 Collection. See the latest men & women collections here!   Why is Avant-Garde important ? Avant-garde is important because it’s based on constant innovation, taking risks and thinking forward. Real progress can only be made through failure and who wishes to advance must be prepared to fail. Some of the most important artistic and cultural achievements have been made through avant-garde. Rejecting the common mentality and nurturing originality has allowed those who are free in mind to shape the future. Innovation is the key to success.   In what way is Avant-Garde experimental & innovating? To fully grasp the concept and its importance, Barbara Í Gongini, our avant-garde fashion designer explains: “Avant-garde can be viewed as experimental because it has something to do with constantly being on the edge, thinking forward and exploring new possibilities. Mirroring the times in which we are living provides a relevance to the form of expression of the artist.” By relying on social context, the artists explores and creates blindly, in an experimental approach to discovering where the artistic inspiration will take him. With trying different ways of doing something comes innovation and thus, progress. Avant-Garde’s History & Artistic Roots The avant-garde movement primarily consists of artists, designers, musicians, writers and even thinkers who are opposed to cultural values of the mainstream. The vanguard notion means traveling beyond the social norms to think and create beyond established social norms. At a global level, the movement has seen noticeable progress ever since its inception in the late 1850’s. The cultural impact has since been defined, categorized and made iconic by personalities who, for their contribution, have become notable names for avant-garde. Famous Avant-Garde artists Art and Culture Amongst the most prominent avant-garde visual artists, there is Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Constantin Brâncuși, Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock. Another hugely influential field was the ever changing landscape of architecture. Names such as Le Corbusier, Norman Foster, Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn are synonymous with architectural boldness.     Image Credit: Le Corbusier Furthering the visual arts are those artists who have made a name for themselves in avant-garde filmmaking. Jonas Mekas is one the utmost authority in American avant-garde cinema - others, such as experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and the famous David Lynch have also brought an amazing contribution to this field. Across the Pacific, Ryūtarō Nakamura and Shūji Terayama distinguished themselves both in film and in other fields.    Image Credit: Constantin Brâncuși Music & Literature A fundamental aspect of musical avant-gardism is the rise of electronic music. The techno scene in particular is often associated with avant-gardism. Artists such as german group Kraftwerk or the iconical Daft Punk duo have contributed to the popularization and widespread acceptance of the phenomenon. The techno and alternative music scenes can still be regarded as authentical avant-garde. DJ and producers around the world are crafting their own unique sound aimed at improving current aesthetic conventions. The writers of the avant-garde movement are known for their experimental literature and their innovation of writing techniques. Notable experimental writers include James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer, Tristan Tzara (picture below) and Raymond Queneau.   Image Credit: Tristan Tzara Avant-Garde in Fashion In fashion, avant-garde manifested in a similar way to other fields. It presumed forward thinking, artistry, unconventional designs, new forms, structures and an extraordinary touch that separates the ideas from the mainstream. Avant garde fashions distinguishes itself through the fact that it embodies a way of living. To explain how avant garde influenced fashion, Barbara Í Gongini explains: “Avant-garde fashion emanates deeply in some sort of holistic sense of being. The whole Japanese aesthetic philosophies emanate very much with what I am. What I stand for.“ The continuous experimental approach has defined a fashion style that has a very specific tone of voice. Those who are familiar avant-garde fashion have developed a unique way of understanding it. Thus, a connection is made through very personal way of expressing yourself - “It tells stories which go deep under the skin and perception of the wearer.”        Avant-Garde Contributions to Fashion The movement has impacted the way designers think and create their work. Certain tendencies caught on and are now widespread. Barbara Í Gongini explains: “The lack of color is one of the biggest fashion contributions of the avant-garde movement. Our brand mainly works with monochrome shades. Keeping only a single tone gives the opportunity to work on clothing like on a canvas”. The form, shape, and volume of outfits have also been changed by the avant-garde influence. Details now consist of unexpected cuts and oversized tailoring which offer a different perspective to what the wearer is presenting.    Famous Avant-Garde Fashion Designers Through its long evolution, prominent avant-garde fashion designers have established their own particular style to an iconic level. Avant-garde fashion roots are hard to trace but it was the Japanese designers, in particular, have had a major influence in the field, kickstarting the whole concept and setting off a global revolution. According to avant-garde fashion designer Barbara I Gongini, “the most inspirational figures at the moment are old school Avant-gardists like Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo and Junja Watanabe.”     Image Credit: Yohji Yamamoto Yohji is one of the few avant-garde designers that have managed to successfully entwine a non-conformist approach to fashion with mainstream brands. His collaboration with adidas for the famous Y-3 brand has broken new ground in fashion wear. It’s hard to lay down a top 10 iconic avant-garde designers but other remarkable ones besides those mentioned are Thierry Mugler, Courrèges, Boris Bidjan Saberi, Carol Christian Poell, Julius and Rick Owens.      Image Credit: Julius Other contemporary designers such as Rick Owens are held in high regards amongst top avant-garde fashion designers. His influential style has been translated into runway collections as well as other fields such as design.   Image Credit: Rick Owens   Contemporary Avant-Garde Fashion Today’s contemporary style is very different, quite opposite to what was being made in the old days. While the roots and pioneering designs are still respected, there is “an extreme clash/paradox between the extreme overdrive of colours/styling and mainly basic items.” Barbara Í Gongini explains that the current style can be viewed as “confrontational in a specific manner, not in form but in how the ordinary clothing is perceived and how it is styled.”   Avant-Garde Designs by Barbrara I Gongini. See more here!   Avant-garde fashion started around the 1960’s and it was quite a controversial topic at the time. The style can also be controversial if it needs to - drawing up on contemporary social context as a source of inspiration, it can result in a forward pushing manifestations that define our times. “The garments should have a provocative grip whilst still being sensitive to the times we’re living in. Grasping topics of the current society means understanding the idea of layers - what lies beneath the surface. There is always a layer that hides something to explore and something to surprise us.” This is actually what the BARBARA I GONGINI avant garde clothing brand wants to do: set the bar for contemporary avant-garde fashion while also being relevant in a contemporary context. Its pieces are more than simple items, they are stories that allow you to speak without saying a word. We present a different take on Nordic garments, derived from a conceptual approach towards fashion design.     Experimental & Gender fluid The specific construction process is aimed at crafting garments eloquently suitable for both men and women. Structural forms are challenged and experimental pattern-making shape a solemn backdrop for contemporary tailoring. However, the downside of this contemporary age is that “a large number of young brands flood the market with designs where expressiveness is boiled down into something very sellable and wearable - commercial, so to speak”. Pushing this very independent trend into the mainstream only spells lack of taste and commercialization for all those involved.   Types of Avant-Garde fashion The avant-garde dress code can take many shapes and proportions depending on the designer and also what the wearer wants to communicate. Monochrome black avant garde fashion Black is without a doubt the defining color of avant-garde fashion. Dark fashion, how it is sometimes called, implies wearing heavy toned colors that serve to emphasize the uncovered skin. All black garments or bicolor ones may lack in chromatic but make up in style and simplicity. Especially asymmetric hemlines which are cut to surprising shapes. This esthetic characterizes BARBARA I GONGINI collections.  “It is broken down in monochromatic version to center the attention onto silhouettes. The design has to serve some kind of purpose to eventually cater the intellect of the wearer and to have some kind of value to tell the wearer.” Barbara Í Gongini explains.   Structured and volumized avant garde clothing More colorful garments are another part of avant-garde fashion. Prominent in the works of designers such as Comme des Garçons for example, these alternative fashion outfits feature volume. Daring ruffles, patterns, and colors are also a part of the avant-garde fashion current. Forward thinking designers such as Rei Kawakubo always surprise the runways with their designs.   Image Credit: Comme des Garcons  Street Avant Garde Some types of avant-garde fashion may also include specific avant-garde street style - designers create predominantly for street wear. Avant-garde street style is often regarded as extravagant and head turning, a way of making your presence known.   BARBARA I GONGINI’s Approach to Avant-Garde Fashion   The BARBARA I GONGINI fashion approach is based on what we like most about the avant-garde fashion. It’s about the pure essence of avant-garde, BIB differentiates through the idea of concept and messaging. “As opposed to those who merely imitate the trend, we try to craft pieces with a particular message. In my eyes, the very non-compromised fashion is the most relevant nowadays.” Multifunctional Also kept in high regard is the multifunctional aspect of the garment. There should always be another angle of usage for a particular piece. When you are able to style something in a second or third way it means that the piece is not only stylish but versatile.     Multiways Dress by BARABARA I GONGINI. Available here.   What Inspires the Style of BARBARA I GONGINI For Barbara Í Gongini, avant-garde fashion is a way to express yourself, a never ending quest for individuality and an unapologetic approach to your own style. While Japanese designers have their contribution, the brand mainly draws its stimulus from the Faroe Islands from where the founder, Barbara is from. The wide, open spaces of the Faroes are what instill the creative drive behind BARBARA I GONGINI: “Being somehow able to merge these two traditions to a beautiful and whole a composition is like drawing on a canvas. Drawing the essence from my origins from my heritage has enabled me to be original in my creations.” Another incentive that sparks the creative process is based in absorbing the contemporary socio-political landscape. Taking inspiration from and being aware of surroundings is especially important in remaining a relevant brand. Creating designs in a fast, ever-changing society requires experimentalism and the courage to try fresh and ambitious things.     Avant-Garde means Progress & Responsibility The BARBARA I GONGINI approach to the avant-garde concepts is tightly connected with sustainability practices that make the brand almost unique in the industry. We strive to work only with suppliers which respect the EU legislation standards, and source a range of materials approved by Oeko-Tex®. These are tested for harmful substances, for both health and environmental reasons.   Also, multi-ways designs is a must of BIG designs, which give the wearer the possibility to wear them for a longer period of time. The brand represents a Wardrobing Concept that entails longevity & a more conscious approach to consumer consumption.   What are the current Avant-Garde fashion trends & where are they heading? Fashion is time sensitive and a society concentrated style such as avant-garde is always morphing into different forms. What will shape the way garments are crafted is based on each designer’s individual approach and also how willing the industry is to push things forward. BARBARA I GONGINI is not a trend based brand so by definition it ignores the mainstream culture. But, as Barbara puts it : “The avant-gardists have their own expression and that comes in their own terms. For us, it’s a question of continuing an exciting collection and developing existing ones. But always bring a contribution, have an “Under Construction” Mentality.” In terms of what contributions will be added soon, Barbara says that: “We need to put the focus on the average consumer, to offer the incentive that a piece will always serve a purpose.” So, the essence of offering multilayered, multifunctional pieces of clothing is still and will be strong at BARBARA I GONGINI. Closing thoughts Avant-garde fashion is here to stay and fashion designers show no signs of slowing down the progress that the current has brought. In other fields, the directions are the same - extraordinary breads extraordinary so exploring boundaries will not stop. Now that you are more familiar with what avant-garde stands, we can’t wait for you to start discovering a world where freedom of expression means progress.    

  • Kaltblut



    A KALTBLUT exclusive menswear fashion editorial. Photography by Roman Yakubson. Starring Alex Francisco. A Barcelona-based model that works as a freelance fashion stylist. He is one of salient figures in city’s cultural life. Styling and production by Roma Losaberidze. Hair and make-up by Julia Blamey.   

  • Lofficiel (1)

    Tie me up Tie me down


    "Tie me up Tie me down" SS17 White Parachute seen in the 10th anniversary issue of L´Officiel Singapore. The story is inspired by the Rubberband Philosophy, a way of living life that stretches yourself mentally and encourages you to stay persistent and be more flexible in the face of adversity.    Photographer: Timo Kerber Model: Hilda Lee for Next London Styling: David A Evans Make up: Michelle Dacillo Hair: Natalie Shafii

  • Event Paris



    BARBARA I GONGINI launched the collaborative Film Module Modular on thursday during Paris Fashion Week. Accompanied by an art installation where leather was morphed to human features, felted hair and oversized silhouettes were set in the limelight. The whole Crew, is beyond words about this incredible Film Launch & Reception and want to thank not only all our beloved collaborators, who created a stunning piece of art, but also our guests, which brought an amazing vibe to the event. A massive ありがとうございます goes our to Luigi Clavareau and the in)(between art gallery for hosting us. Image Credit: @alice_bergg   A BIG SALUTE TO... SPONSORS AND CREW/Make-Up: Massimo Mazzotta Møller for Mac Cosmetics / Hair: Joekim Davie Lenny Nielsen & Søren Bach for Naboløs / Choreography: Sara Gaardbo / Music: Human Woman / Photographer/Filmmaker: Mikkel Völcker Studio / Film Editing: Janus á Argjahøvda / Beverage: Absolut Vodka, Charitea, Lemonaid / Pr International: December Agency / Creative Associate: Lea Zaar and Emilie Scheel / Hair & Make-Up design for Lookbook Shoot Collection 9 & 26: Søren Bach & Mac Cosmetics / Special thank you and unique love to all interns of special format. Model: Besa T ( Diva Models) Dancer: Luc Boris Andre / Jens Schyth Brøndum  Big thank you goes to Nordiska kulturfonden - Nordisk Kulturfond​ for making this project possible. 

  • Teaser Module Modular



    The film MODULE MODULAR is the outcome of a visual collaboration within esteemed forces of the Nordic Hemisphere. It visualizes the transformation from primitive to futuristic. We refer to the utterly human ability to comprehend – a mindful appreciation of being an animate entity. Culminating in a circular access, which is eventually extended to the maximum. It is an expression of the moment, when the mind is free to let the body express itself. Within the film the collaborators extend the idea of the model using BARBARA I GONGINI AW17 designs as well as handcrafted items to dress up and down. The danish hairstylists Søren Bach and Joekim Davie Lenny Nielsen are creating looks, transforming from the pure and vulnerable skin to outrageous leather shapes and headpieces. It is a circular process of upgrading and downgrading the look in synergy with the style of the clothes. Danish filmmaker MIkkel Völcker captured the scenes on film while Janus á Argjahøvda gave it the final touch. The icelandic musicians HUMAN WOMAN contribute an aural sound scape wandering between glimpses of shattered tribal music to techno tunes, while the danish choreographer Sara Gaardbo enriches the team with her ability to create movements that mirrors the inspirational transformation.  Together they form an interdisciplinary collective, which is based upon a lasting trust between each individual and their nordic origin. A new entity transcending the borders of imagination, levitating with international gravity that transforms through a deeper understanding of their shared dedication towards the arts. Click on the image below to see the Teaser for the collaborative Film_ MODULE MODULAR. Big thank you goes to Nordiska kulturfonden - Nordisk Kulturfond​ for making this project possible.  Model: Besa T ( Diva Models)Dancer: Luc Boris Andre / Jens Schyth Brøndum      

  • Universe Yana (2)



    Yana Bardadim is a portrait and fashion photographer who works with digital and film cameras. In the following editorial Yana captured redhaired beauty Nika Rusakova wearing BARBARA I GONGINI archive designs.    Image Credit: Yana Bardadim @yana_bardadim Model: Nika Rusakova @nikarusakova for @fusionmodelsnyc

  • Universe Parifw (1)



    In visual collaboration with Mikkel Völcker, BARBARA I GONGINI goes back to her roots – the Faroese Islands. Visualizing the transformation from an ancient primitive tribe to the next level of humanity. Within the film the collaborators extend the idea of the model using clothing to dress up and down. The danish hairstylists Søren Bach and Joekim Davie Lenny Nielsen are creating looks, transforming from the pure and vulnerable raw skin to outrageous leather shapes and headpieces. It is a circular process of upgrading and downgrading the look in synergy with the style of the clothes. Jón Atli Helgasson contributes an aural sound scape wandering between glimpses of shattered tribal music to techno tunes, while the danish choreographer Sara Gaardbo enriches the team with her ability to create movements that mirrors the inspirational transformation. Together they form an interdisciplinary collective, which is based upon a lasting trust between each individual and their nordic origin. A new entity transcending the borders of imagination, levitating with international gravity that transforms through a deeper understanding of their shared dedication towards the arts.   Discover the whole video here.         A BIG SALUTE TO...SPONSORS AND CREW/Make-Up: Massimo Mazzotta Møller for Mac Cosmetics / Hair: Joekim Davie Lenny Nielsen & Søren Bach for Naboløs / Choreography: Sara Gaardbo / Music: Human Woman / Photographer/Filmmaker: Mikkel Völcker Studio / Film Editing: Janus á Argjahøvda / Beverage: Absolut Vodka, Charitea, Lemonaid / Pr International: December Agency / Creative Associate: Lea Zaar and Emilie Scheel / Hair & Make-Up design for Lookbook Shoot Collection 9 & 26: Søren Bach & Mac Cosmetics / Special thank you and unique love to all interns of special format.Model: Besa T ( Diva Models)Dancer: Luc Boris Andre / Jens Schyth Brøndum    Big thank you goes to Nordiska kulturfonden - Nordisk Kulturfond​ for making this project possible.  

  • Universe Studio



    Peek inside our BARBARA I GONGINI studio which is giving us space to evolve. REFSHALEØEN_ this former industrial site in the harbor of Copenhagen was once home to one of the world's largest shipyards. We are surrounded by industrial concrete walls, where metal bars elongate into the light ceilings. Reusing spaces that had an arcane life in days of yore.         

  • Universe Andrea Maack


    An Editorial by Andrea Maack

    The Icelandic perfumer and visual artist Andrea Maack takes us to the endlest vast of the Nordic Island. She is wearing the AW16 Padded Coat. We only have a few items left, thus make sure to get your hands on one of these oversized items.    Image Credit: Benjamin Hardman, IG @benjaminhardman, http://www.benjaminhardman.com/ Andrea Maack, IG @andreamaack.com, http://www.andreamaack.com

  • Universe Wiktor


    An Editorial By Wiktor Hansson

    BARBARA I GONGINIs' archive designs are once again set into the spotlight by Wiktor Hansson. This time in his striking self portrait series "Aesthetic Existence". With his extravagant posing and the toned down designs which are draped around his torso, he proofs that beauty lies in the monochromatic moment of movement.    @thewiktordiet 

  • Homelandslider


    An Editorial By Morgan Norman

    BARBARA I GONGINI and the photographer Morgan Norman teamed up to create a visual story - an avant-garde approach on the fragility of humanity and the connection to nature.  PHOTOGRAPHER: Morgan Norman / Rockson MODELS: Marcus W. / Mia Illorah - LeManagement, Isabel T - Elite Models STYLIST: Natalie Olenheim / Rockson  MAKE UP: Elva Ahlbin / Adamsky HAIR: Jacob Kajrup / Adamsky

  • Morgan


    An Editorial By Morgan Norman

    BARBARA I GONGINI and the photographer Morgan Norman teamed up to create a visual story - an avant-garde approach on body language. Morgan Normans is showing the battle and love between two forces where the one cannot exist without the other.  Shot on the Dancers from the Royal Danish/Swedish Ballet and styled in BARBARA I GONGINI designs for a fragile, yet strong outcome.        PHOTOGRAPHER: Morgan Norman MODELS: Marcin Kupinski, Principle Dancer at the Royal Danish Ballet Luiza Lopes, First Soloist at the Royal Swedish Ballet STYLIST: Robert Nordberg  MAKE UP: Alexandra Aronsson ASSISTANT: Kiia Valavaara  

  • Slider Less Magazine

    Coexistence Between Faroese Roots and Sustainability

    AS SEEN IN _ Less Magazine

    Coexistence Between Faroese Roots, Japanese avant-garde Design, and the Responsibility Towards Sustainability "Everybody thinks the Faroe Islands are so, so green. Very often it is the contrary, almost like living within a black and grey mist.”   It is Friday morning in Copenhagen. The central part of the city is buzzing and alive. The inner part of Copenhagen has this commercial spirit and mainstream feeling, but when we take the harbor boat from Esplanaden to Refshaleøen in bright sunlight it all looks different. Refshaleøen is more industrial, at least on the surface. We walk along the road from the harbor in the direction of the industrial buildings. In one of these buildings the production of the avant-garde brand Barbara I Gongini takes places and this iswhere we are going to interview Barbara Gongini. Barbara was born in the Faroe Islands in 1966. She explains that she often hears people portraying the Faroe Islands as a green oasis, but she stresses that this is not the whole story to her birthplace. Barbara explains how in winter the window of light can be as short as just a few hours, and that it is dominated by dark and heavy rain clouds. Barbara tells us how she never wore a raincoat in the Faroe Islands despite the constant rain, and because of this she has a memory of always feeling wet. She describes living in the Faroe Islands as sometimes living in a gray and black, misty and rainy fog mass: "You can hear the boats trying to navigate in this mass of black and gray. Wooh Wooh. It is a very particular sound. It is in our bones.” The horns from the ships create an atmosphere of slowness; an everyday life where you go to school and go home, without seeing much daylight during winter. You just go to A to get to B, Barbara explains. There is a certain conformity about it. She describes how the capital, Thorshavn, is almost the shape of a pan and that it sometimes feels like the rain and the fog are contained in the pan of Thorshavn. When you look at Barbara’s designs, it’s easy to see that she is heavily influenced by the Scandinavian darkness, the moody winters, and melancholic undertones that define the Faroe Islands. “You are what you emanate from,” she says. “It’s very deep in my bones.”   A Diverse and Multi-Inspirational Approach to Design Barbara never approached design in a way that it was supposed to be something specific. Her very first collections were made from scraps, and when she designs her current collections, she is more concerned with what inspires her, what fits into her wardrobe concept, and where pieces from each collection can all be worn together, rather than trends. Barbara is inspired by her Faroese roots, Scandinavian women, and the Japanese avant-garde designer, Rai Kawakubo, all of which is visible through her black, sometimes monochrome, expression. It all comes together with the underlying relationship to the Japanese avant-garde fashion that pushes boundaries beyond the point of comfort, and the Scandinavian undertones are supported by the challenging expressions of the avant-garde. She naturally falls into this domain, and with her roots in the Faroese culture it is not surprising; you are a product of your upbringing, surroundings, and inspirational sources. Like her inspirational source Kawakubo's intellectual and feminist pre-punk take on fashion, Barbara’s brand also has a similar political dimension. It represents both a resistance against normative views on fashion and also a political urge to work against the societal rules of women's bodies and social injustice. She advocates free and unconditional love regardless of your sexual orientation. It's in her DNA to resist the normative pressures and societal order towards the body and sex. At the same time, the brand's DNA also has a playful and explorative imagination towards how to style and wear clothing, mixed with a proper nordic respect for craftsmanship. The development of your identity is shown as an expression of your web of interlocution, and for Barbara I Gongini, this goes for the identity of the brand itself, as well as its creator. You are affected by your roots, but there is also a great need to change and mold this expression. In an ever-changing time we need to acknowledge that we need to change and develop not only in relation to our personal development, but also in relation to the changes that our planet and our society are going through. Customers today are demanding more and more from the designer, and sustainability is becoming a bigger and greater issue for many consumers, leading to an increase in the demand for transparency when it comes to the production of the items that they purchase. This has started to affect the approach of many brands and is indeed challenging the foundation of the fashion industry as a whole. For many brands, this means going back to their roots, and re-evaluating how they can interpret sustainability in their domain, to fulfill their responsibilities to the brand, the consumers, and the demand for sustainability. The Scandinavian way of approaching design is very minimalistic; it references nature in its use of textures, colors and cuts, and is in many ways a good starting point for sustainable production, because it favors the natural and the raw. This is also how Barbara approaches design, pushing the limits even further with her avant-garde approach, still rooted deeply in her Scandinavian background. The Faroese culture insisted on playing a crucial role in Barbara’s life, and she is in no way trying to romanticize her roots and upbringing in the Faroe Islands. She talks about it critically, but also warmly and respectfully. She explains that she has this feeling of being so small, and that coming from a little society, deeply interconnected with nature, has made her very aware of the crucial connection to nature, and how we need to guard this connection, not just in design, but in life in general. “This is who I am,” she underlines. Barbara I Gongini’s design has a very distinct look and most of her pieces are black with occasional white, and you can tell that she is sick of defending herself and her brand. She underlines that “there is poetry in black, it’s not Goth.” Black is part of the brand’s DNA and refers to both her roots in the Faroe Islands, and the Japanese avant-garde.   The Creation of Versatile Pieces Barbara explains that she has been working from the idea of the square and the circle for many years. Once again, like her inspiration in Kawakubo, she is finding new ways to twist the conventional form into new possibilities and structures. Barbara explains her ideas, inspirations, and materials are a collective thought. She does not necessarily sketch her collections. Sometimes she uses draping – so the development of the styles are a mixture of the fabric and the possibilities they hold within her principles. Barbara emphasizes that experimenting with fabrics and shapes are a central part of the DNA of the brand. Over the years we have seen her experiment with different materials such as thin and thick cotton, wool and leather but also with more experimental fabrics such as technical silk etc. Barbara does not only experiment with fabrics; she has also tested out different printed statements and even though the black color is a strong part of the DNA, she has also surprised everyone with blue, green and yellow color shades. We remember sitting in the Carlsberg bottling plant during fashion week a couple of years back when Barbara shocked the whole crowd by introducing a neon yellow-green techno inspired color as complimentary to her black DNA. Barbara herself underlines her connection to the artistic. We will argue that this experimental approach towards design and fashion opens up possibilities for a particularly close and special relationship to Barbara’s customers. A relationship where co-designing and co-production might be possible. The consumer and designer should exist in a close relationship, and what Barbara offers with her designs is a way for the consumers to take part in the final part of the design. This is constituted not only through listening to the demands of the consumers in terms of a more sustainable production line, but also in the design itself. Barbara makes pieces that can be personalized and worn in many different ways so the consumer has the freedom to shape it according to their bodies and personal style. We ask her how she comes up with these pieces: “I can’t think of a design; I explore it,” she explains. Furthermore, “the intelligence sits in another place, a non-verbal place”. For Barbara, the design process is linked with intuition rather than intelligence. You can set a direction in terms of shape, fabrics, tendencies, and stitching, but the design process itself happens between her hands, not in her mind. The design of the different pieces gives consumers a greater sense of freedom to interpret them. Because of the combination of a strong brand identity and versatile pieces, the consumer receives something quite special. They are wearing something with a strong and clear DNA, and while taking part in the expression of the brand’s identity, they still have the freedom of creating the expression of the particular item by bringing their own personal spin into the mix. Not just in the aesthetic expression of the item itself, but also in the way the item is worn. The clothes can be worn in different ways, dressed up or down for different occasions, and it is a physical manifestation of Barbara’s ideas about design and fashion as a need for more substance and more versatile solutions.   Interpreting Sustainability Talking to Barbara, it becomes very clear that the concept of design and sustainability stretches far beyond the choice of fabrics, dyes, and production. For her, it is also about the social responsibilities that are hidden in these categories, which include social responsibility towards the factory workers, the rights of women in the industry regardless of whether it is in India or Pakistan, and our responsibility towards the planet. The time we live in is defined by rapid change, and it can sometimes seem like the bigger, slower changes are ignored because of this. Barbara explains that the demand for sustainability has been on her radar for a very long time, but that she has only recently started to feel like this is becoming a trend. Fashion is a great starting point for change when it comes to becoming more sustainable in the way that we consume, and Barbara underlines that she feels a responsibility as a designer to make her production as clean and sustainable as possible. When it comes to sustainability, Barbara acknowledges that the fashion industry is a tricky place to be in. Everything that is used in the production can in some way be harmful to both the environment and the workers. The dying and tanning of fabrics, coating, glue, threads, and buttons are all problematic in one way or another. Even though one might have the ambition to be sustainable, Barbara explains that it is in many ways impossible. “The market is just not ready yet”, she says, which means that the demand for sustainable fabrics and production is not putting enough pressure on the industry to change. There are not enough options for the sustainable domain to create a 100% clean collection. Sometimes sustainable fabrics are dyed in a non-sustainable way or the other way round, which makes it tricky to choose. As a designer you must have a lot of knowledge and constantly be updated of changes within the production line, in order to stay on top of what’s currently happening. This is of course one way of looking at it, but isn’t it exactly that which constitutes the job of a designer who wants to be branded as sustainable? Doing the work, being on top of what is currently going on within the developments of sustainable options, and to always being informed about the new and better options should be just what these designers do. Apart from the fabrics and other physical elements that go into the production of her designs, Barbara has very strong opinions on how and where the different elements of her clothes are made. She keeps most of her production within Europe, but she also has production in Pakistan and India because she believes that withdrawing completely from the East is not necessarily the answer to a more sustainable production. She thinks that committing long-term to factories in these challenged countries and implementing change in a way that makes them feel safe with the shift that the planet needs us to make happen, is the right way to go. “Change, not boycott. Support them where the shit happens”, is her approach to it, something that is admirable these days. Tweaking where they can, the production line becomes cleaner and she makes sure to visit the factories, so she can influence the production of conventional fabrics in a good way. Barbara’s opinion is that her production should be transparent, and she is open and honest about not being able to maintain a 100% sustainable line. “Honesty has quite an impact on people”, she emphasizes. Barbara’s interpretation of sustainability is not only defined by the production of her garments, but also by the way she creates her collections. Her versatile pieces can be worn in many different ways, which is yet another way to make a garment more sustainable, because it can be used in different ways, in different contexts, by different body types and in different seasons. She wants her clothes to fit each consumer so that he or she can shape and wear it in the way that appeals to them. Her focus is on versatile, long-lasting items that can forever be reinterpreted into an individual wardrobe. The items of her collections are also part of a bigger wardrobe concept throughout her time as a designer, rather than just referring to trends and being separate, independent collections. She is inspired by trends, but does not follow them, “just like my customers”, she says.   The Future Maintaining a good relationship with the consumer is important for any brand, but for Barbara it is more than that. Connection to her consumers is crucial for her production, and she wishes she could get more feedback from them. For Barbara, her designs all emanate from a need to create, and she feels inspired by seeing how her customers wear her clothes. She is often surprised by how experimental even her customers can be in how to wear her clothing. Barbara admires Scandinavian women. They bring their kids to kindergarten by bike in great outfits, not constrained by the weather or current trends. They change  their clothes throughout the day to fit the activity they are doing, and they are fierce and strong women. But she also feels that the essence of Scandinavian women is unexplored and subject to very unproductive body ideals that act as a constraint. The customer is important to Barbara, and she believes that her versatile pieces make it easier for a wider range of customers to wear them because they can be altered and worn in different ways to cater to different body types. This approach to design is a step in the right direction when it comes to turning consumers into prosumers and to, in many ways, force the customers to take a stand when it comes to the item in front of them. At a point in time where the rapidly changing trends are still the dominant contributor on the market, the rise of the prosumer underlines a demand for a change that will bring us closer to a new understanding of value. An understanding of value that connects us to what we purchase and makes us look at the items we wear in a new light. Not as something constantly shifting and to be replaced next season, but something that we can constantly change and personalize, something that will be a part of our wardrobe for years to come, something that we will maybe take a break from for a couple of years but then reinterpret and wear again. A piece of clothing that we will take good care of – because we understand the real value behind what we wear and the value of protecting the garment so it can be used in the future.

  • Modular Human



    The BARBARA I GONGINI brand was born with the core premise to create Nordic sustainable Avant-Garde design and celebrate freedom of individual expression. The modular human is a conceptual 3D showpiece trio, rooted in an extraneous bone-structure anatomy, hand-crafted in-house, from a previously owned industrial carpet. Up-cycled, re-cycled and now re-used, we instigate new life from the disregarded, the deteriorated and the dismissed. These unique tangible creations have been composed out of geometrically shaped by hand cut outs, utilizing every inch of the waste towards zero waste. Manipulating structure. Escalating from a status in quo to reversal, deriving at aesthetic allurement from perceived modesty. Everlasting. The modular human is multi-faceted and dynamic. Its spirit breathes within the creations and its inter-related relationship, is now everlasting, until re-constructed, once again. Life simply modulates.  

  • Dash Magazine (1)

    Many a wanderer. Few reach their destination.


    Many a wanderer. Few reach their destination. These treacherous lands. Alas, they take so many. Their razor-sharp cliffs, mesmerising drops, hounding winds and roaring seas. These are no plains for the faint hearted. Amidst the wilderness, a notion of aesthetic liberation has arisen. Barbara í Gongini, a constant gardener, resilient to such barren circumstances, finds beauty here. Constructing her eponymous universe tactically and without hesitation. Barbara is as sincere as the garments her hands have meticulously yielded. She is a true artisan, an observer of our times. We caught up with her, after her latest presentation in Copenhagen, to explore her profound take on contemporary wardrobes, that unique connection to dance and the resonance of soundscapes. DASH: Ground. Barbara, could you tell me about the Faroe Islands, your home, and what these islands mean to you? BARBARA: They represent my heritage and the islands diverse elements of nature have served as a form of direction in my underlying design DNA. The Faroe Islands represent a rather clustered and intimate community, where focus has been placed to make the most use of the natural raw resources that the lands entail. Growing up with those values, of making the most out of what is given and these limitation, shaped logic towards creating designs that are rich in multi-functional elements, not trend-based as such, but part of a broader concept. DASH: Clock. Over a decade you have been working steadily. Do you recall that first ever collection and what it was like? BARBARA: We are indeed travelling back in time. I get a little nostalgic thinking about it actually. My first collection was actually created out of fabric residue. I studied various abstract, cut out, fabric fragments, their shape and texture, and modulated them later into a new, cohesive design and what became a full collection. This was back in the year 2000, when I was part of the Kønrøg movement. Working towards zero wastage was an important factor to me, a principle I still adhere to today, as I apply this in my collection build-up by embracing a sustainable take on clothing creation. DASH: Reach. Your work is most rich, but what strikes me, is that you have found time for interesting collaborations. Could you tell me about the dance performance with Olympus? BARBARA: I was invited by Olympus, in collaboration with Revs magazine, to create an installation with focus on movement as one fragment of that particular event. I like to fiddle around with what is perceived as convention and pushing its limits – whether in garment creation or other such as dance and sound. For this event, I entered a fusion with a highly trained and skilled, principal ballet dancer and long-standing friends, The Magnetic Eagles, creating the most alluring soundscape in the most unconventional ways. The dancer was interacting with our designs in a sequential matter, then backwards and then again in interruptive frequencies. The sound fed the movement and vice versa. Our mission was to experiment. The ‘unexpected’ creation in such a constellation was spectacular… and it was all done on an improvisational basis, which was a truly enriching experience – not only professionally but also on a personal level. DASH: Move. Speaking of Dance, this also shaped the backdrop to the beautiful collection that you showed in CPH some weeks ago. What was your thinking here and what triggered you to using this medium to present your work? BARBARA: Our core brand principle centres on sustainability and its sub-genres are up- and re-cycling. First and foremost, I like to explain that the showpieces seen in ‘The Modular Human’ installation where hand-crafted from an old white carpet. On this occasion, I worked with ballet dancers from the Royal Danish Ballet, as I am very fascinated by its long-standing heritage. The showpieces functioned in this setting as an object of inspiration and interpretation, for the dancers to create a story paved out in a dance sequence: the meeting between classical ballet expression, a refined and highly respected history, moving from concrete to abstract, becoming a niche form by itself in that very moment. The juxtaposition between heritage and novelty was the end result and an optical beauty I definitely want to indulge in again in the future. DASH: Image. The Gongini universe definitely is one that likes to play with image, often choosing characters over models and working with a signature style. Last year you did a special project with Cooper and Gorfer – could you tell me about these images? BARBARA: I met with the very talented duo Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer a few years ago in relation to the Weather Diaries expo, and we instantly found a mutual understanding and respect for each other’s expressive language. In contrast to traditional anthropologists, who use the camera to document people and cultures scientifically, the artists transform what they observe into poetic narratives. The challenge was to work in a darkened monochromatic palette in contrast to their normal rather intense colour schemes. We created our the previous seasons Spring Summer 2016 collection’s campaign images. The result was great and there is just as many streaks of DNA from both forums manifested in the imagery. DASH: Garment. Back to the core of today, what did you want to express with this Autumn / Winter 2016 collection and in what way does it differ from previous collections? BARBARA: There is a subtle evolution in my collections, always rooted in its core design DNA and that is to create timeless garments in a sustainable matter. I wanted to explore an even broader range in my collection build-up for Autumn / Winter 2016, where I have been moved by various movements in urban as well as street culture, music and art, but also in poetry and couture. All impressions later fused, funnelled and compounded into a finished look. DASH: Texture. You have also been keen on morphing surfaces and playing with contrast. How do you observe fabric research and development? BARBARA: As sustainability is an underlying theme to our infrastructure, it is most important to allocate room for eco-friendly fabrics by developing production solutions that have the least pollutive footprint on our planet. What we do in praxis is that we strive to work with a broader range of organic and re-cycled fabrics, up-cycled designs that are moulded into new silhouettes, working with leather and fur that are a direct bi-product from the food industry as well as applying vegetable dye procedures. These are the core, fundamental basis setting the grounds for my fabric research. DASH: Sustain. Your garments are meant to exist as season-less entities that we can utilise in different ways in our wardrobes. Care to elaborate? BARBARA: Our products represent this ‘Wardrobing Concept’’, which is based on longevity and multi-functional elements of the garment. We aim to contribute to local and global responsibility by pushing the boundaries of sustainable and ethical fashion. That is why our collections entail a numerical order and are part of a continuous story. Individual garments may be rekindled years to come as they not only fit into your existing wardrobe, but also have a connection with the past, present and future Barbara I Gongini designs to come. You can for instance discover our latest interactive online campaign: #barbaraigongini X #multiways showcasing how certain individual designs can be worn in x amount of ways, and thus granting the user a broader range of expression. This hopefully gives each design a longer life cycle due to its innate versatile dynamism. DASH: Wording. Over the past few seasons, I noticed you started to use wording on some garments. What were your thinking here and what were the key phrases you used? BARBARA: It is a play on words in their most simple terminology. At times, it is rooted in rather abstract poetry I like to coin as an open source for individual interpretation. On other occasions, the printed statements may be rooted in more politically oriented matters to push towards a specific mind-set; e.g. gender oriented questions such as equality. Any wearer of those designs then becomes an ambassador of that ‘message’ and helps us to manifest it further. That is cool! DASH: Future. If you look ahead, what do you wish for your designs to become? BARBARA: Everlasting! Designs that you can on continuously use despite orientation of time. A timeless design with the strength of  the individual at its core. Next to this, I enjoy working with individuals from other creative strands, or other branches too, as I respect the challenge, the journey it takes you on. I believe that as a creator, once you have found balance and internal consensus in your creative work, you are ready to invite other novel minds to interpret it. This can be self-enlightening, educational and challenging but still always will be the most stimulating ride you can get. Cover image by: Adam Katz Sinding Interview by: Marlo Saalmink for Dash Magazine WWW.DASHMAGAZINE.NET / #DASHMAGAZINE

  • Fucking Young

    a different take on Nordic garments


    I can’t open my eyes. A dazzling light wraps and blinds me. It’s warm and glacial together. I feel strangely free. The light is charging a creative power, it’s exciting. It speaks with me. It tells me a story of fashion and art, tradition and innovation. A story with a northern European charm… The unusual fairy-tale of a modern Hans Christian Andersen, that of BARBARA I GONGINI.   Born in the enchanting Faroe Islands, Barbara graduated in 1996 from Denmark’s School of Design at the Institute of Unica Design. Ever since, she has developed her vision as part of a pensive dialogue between design, form and function. In 2005 she founds the brand of the same name that achieves an immediate success. Her collections present a different take on Nordic garments, derived from a conceptual approach towards fashion design. The specific construction is aimed at crafting garments eloquently suitable for both men and women. Structural forms are challenged and experimental pattern-making shape a solemn backdrop for contemporary tailoring. Her clothes are versatile, irreverent, with geometric cuts. The design process is comprised of artistically responsible exercises with a particular focus on sustainability. Hers is a timeless fashion. Designed for the youth of today and tomorrow. A fashion that looks at that future that is already being.   FUCKING YOUNG!: Hello Barbara? How are you? In your website we can read: “BARBARA I GONGINI is a Faroese brand”. In fact, you were born in the  fairytale Faroe Islands, suspended in an almost timeless dimension. How did you get into fashion? And what is there of the place where you were born and raised in your collection? BARBARA: Hi Fucking Young! Wow, how I envy that expression (smiling). I am doing fantastic, thank you. Well, as far as I can remember I have always had a special relationship with design and architecture. My Nordic heritage has indeed influenced my design DNA, which is mostly visible in the multi-functional and layering aspect of the garments – the harsh climate changes in the Northern Atlantic calls for swift dressing up or dressing down and I have put this concept into my garments. FY!: Your design process is comprised of artistically responsible exercises with a particular focus on sustainability. Today, how important is this aspect in the fashion industry? And how important is it for Barbara? BARBARA: Sustainability can be coined from different aspects. There is a need to take action towards global responsiveness and even if our product is not 100% sustainable and probably it will never be for factual reasons, we put a lot of ability and manpower for creating a product rich on longevity and multi-functionality, designs that can be revived for years to come. Personally, this subject is indeed a valid point for me, and a focal point in our design DNA. FY!: Sustainability andinnovation as well. Your collections present a different take on Nordic garments, derived from a conceptual approach towards fashion design.Structural forms are challenged and experimental pattern-making shape a solemn backdrop for contemporary tailoring. What can currently be defined as innovative or avant-garde? BIG: Avant-garde by definition refers to novelty. Novelty is thus interpretative and subjective. It changes with the beholder. I like to challenge the concept of novelty and push the boundaries into other areas; recycle ideas into new creations as well as allow our customers to have the possibility to choose among our designs, that are timeless. I think such things represent an important and very current matter in today´s global economy. FY!: Your garments are unisex. What are the advantages of creating collections suitable for both men and women and what the difficulties? BARBARA: Unisex was indeed the starting force when the brand was born. It has thus evolved and progressed throughout the years, as a natural element of each organic evolution. I like to make our customers feel comfortable in their choice of our designs – whether being a female or a male garment. Anyway I think it is important to be also able to create an exclusive line catered solely to men or women, for pure functional reasoning. Therefore MAN and WOMAN are two collections, that have developed individually, but can co-exist intelligently. FY!: In 1996 you graduate at the prestigious Denmark’s School of Design at the Institute of Unica Design, temple of the North European fashion. Your cool fashion, almost street but clean and simple at the same time is also able to conquer the squares of London, Paris and Milan. How did you manage to combine the typically Danish minimal style with that search for originality required by international markets? BARBARA: From a commercial driven perspective,  my main priority has always been that of making my ambassadors – as I like to call all of my dear wearers –  satisfied about the final result. It is always a challenge to morph expressive novelty with minimalistic intricacies. Having said that, I am motivated by staying true to my voice and by sending my message through our designs. I believe that my conviction thereof has allowed me to arrive at the today´s position. FY!: We have just said your garments are cool and contemporary. They embrace Nordic high-end craftsmanship irreverently… But with an adjective, Barbara, How would you define your style? BARBARA: Un-compromised. FY!: Among the models of today, who could best represent the brand BARBARA I GONGINI? And which is the imaginary set where you would like him to be shot? BARBARA: I thrive on inter-personal energy. I can imagine a strong masculine character whose wisdom has granted him the freedom of un-compromised life. A man with principles and a subtle devotion for the arts who is poetic, even if his sensitivity should not be perceived as un-daring. The visual arena for the shoot would only serve as a complement to him and as a canvas for the design to interplay with the set mood. FY!: Let’s speak about your F/W 2014-15 Collection introduced in Copenhagen on the occasion of the Fashion Week. As usual, you have included strong geometric cuts and soft ovoid silhouettes, focusing on the versatility of traditional tailoring. Do you want to tell us about? What’s the name? BARBARA: I do not name my collections. They are a part of a never-ending story, which allows me to turn the chapter that I previously left. It’s like that the idea of the numerical order for my collections was born. The numerical concept is also rooted in the fact that our designs are not seasonally or trendy per se. They instead entail the concept of longevity and you may rekindle any of our designs in the years to come– this focus is based on our ward robing concept and this idea I am very passionate about. FY!: The garment of this collection that you prefer and the one that cannot absolutely miss in your wardrobe? BARBARA: We work with a broad wardrobing concept as part of our sustainability principle, which actually allows one to choose any of the possible clothing options to best suit personal preferences. We also focus on a technically composed durability of the garment to be worn years ahead. I would personally vouch for a strong outerwear piece and statement accessory – and you are ready to discover the world. FY!: We know you are an active participant in the Nordic art discourse, working interdisciplinary in close collaboration with various artists in film, music and photography. How does all this affect your creative process? Is there a painting, a movie or a photo that best tells of your personality? BARBARA: Creative exchanges do spin-off neoteric approaches in my orbit. In several instances, such intricate notions of fresh impulses are played out in a Meta sphere, in a subconscious state of mind, that later manifests itself in some shape and character in my tangible creations. We are all complex and multi-faceted beings, so it makes it close to impossible for me to think about a single example of visual production that would best describe my persona. FY!: If you were not a designer? BARBARA: Craftsmanship is such a force of nature to my being, so I find it hard to visualize an alternative motive. But I do have an interest in politics and a strong stance in human equality related matters, thus a space I could dabble my convictions in…(suggestive smile) FY!: What is really FUCKING YOUNG according to you? BARBARA: A bold individual. Relieved from compromise. Not bound by societal order, sex or age oriented worldly pressures. F.Y! is free spirit. Cover image by Michael Maximillian Hermansen

  • Chasseur (1)

    Elements of theatrics intertwine within the designs


    Designing is a process that requires skills, knowledge and above all creativity. For Barbara I Gongini, one more thing comes into play and that is heritage. Gongini’s Nordic roots have long now been adapted to her designer DNA, becoming the main force behind every new collection. Just a few weeks before the unveiling of her latest offering at the Copenhagen Fashion Week, we sat down with the designer for an exclusive interview where we discuss design anatomy, the influence of heritage and the future of high-end fashion. CHASSEUR: Elements of theatrics intertwine within your designs, composing highly conceptual forms that stimulate the eye. During the creative process, what comes first, art or fashion? BARBARA: Personally, I do not believe that one excludes the other, as I think that all creative disciplines emanate from the same source. CHASSEUR: When creating, is there a certain narrative you tend to follow for your lines? BARBARA: My collections are an ongoing story, which allows me to turn the chapter where I previously left off. This is where the birth of the numerical order of our collections came to surface. The designs are part of a kit, a kit that can be layered and later disabled where the wearer has the freedom of choice to customize the garment to their likings. This is part of our wardrobing concept that is a fundamental pillar in our design DNA, where the central focus is placed on the longevity formula of our creations. Our designs are therefore inter-related, like chapters in a book. CHASSEUR: During recent years, the industry has seen a major shift towards more street-oriented creations by many high-end designers. How do you view this change and where do you place yourself within it? BARBARA: Time is essential, the most important tool for a designer, by understanding its age and the ability to look in the future, combined with a strong personal DNA. In my view, this is a pivotal ingredient that requires strong design of and for our contemporaries. As I do not work with fast trends and tendencies, I rather choose to immerse myself in my conceptual design methods that are locked into avant-garde platforms. In this way, I aim to create a product that has a long life cycle and is irreverently timeless working with broad category options ranging from street-wear, denim to tailored silhouettes that are on continuous basis evolving and where its deconstruction tradition resides deeper in our DNA conceptualization, rather than fast paced trends. CHASSEUR: Let’s talk inspirations. What stimulates you as a designer these days? BARBARA: Hailing from the Faroe Islands, I draw inspiration from the architectural landscape, the misty mountains, the raw textures of soil and chalk, and the dark Northern Atlantic Ocean in constant outburst. There is something poetic in the way nature orchestrates all of these elements that I am keen on exploring in my creations. I like to fuse that source of inspiration with the buzz from the upcoming generations, where the music scene has acted as a springboard for new ideas, giving us a sense of contemporary direction. CHASSEUR: The deconstruction of traditional silhouettes, seems to have played a key role in the designing process behind your new MAN AW14 offering. What fascinates you the most about the anatomy of design and how easy was it to create new forms without breaking the mould? BARBARA: Each design is built upon certain principles as each garment has a skeleton that later requires layering, sculpting, and finishing. When I start to modulate the garment, the anatomy of the design is fully exposed and I can start to experiment with the shape, without fully compromising the initial mould of our DNA. The technique of deconstruction has thereby formed the basis for our wardrobing concept, in the sense that I can either layer or de-layer one singular garment or incorporate such function over a couple of our designs. Our designs are therefore rich on multi-functionality and aim to include shape-shifting qualities where the wearer has the option to either present the garment in its natural state or to deconstruct it to grant it various expressions. We aim to introduce a sense of multi-faceted behavior where past as well as present can be evoked and in turn rekindled for years to come. This is an important fundamental design principle that has been with us from the start and we will continue to preserve. CHASSEUR: The Nordic heritage has worked its way into your designs, in many creative ways. How is this translated into your new line? BARBARA: The North Atlantic is the basis for my personal DNA. Our lands, the Faroe Islands, are positioned in an epic belt with the wildest weather changes. The insisting forces of nature and savage landscape, non-judicial and ever in turmoil, have a significant impact on the population, where the external circumstances mirrors the inner landscapes. These inner landscapes of mine are often the reasons for the design choices I take both in the tactile as in form development. The basic palette for me is always rather static, but then I do have an ongoing fascination for the principle of design methodology that I often dwell on as long as the source stays open. Therefore, I see my design process as a continuous process, as I fabulate on where the process stopped the season prior. In this way I can be looking at my personal design journey as a story tale of continuity. CHASSEUR: Colour and most specifically the absence of it, is something strongly associated with the nature of your work. What personally attracts you to black & white aesthetics? BARBARA: Tactility and the monochrome non-colour palette only aims to support form and expression. Black and white have a key position with me because of their caliber of calm and quiet, that allows the actual form to appear in its brightest shape. The same applies to the monochromatic palette. Our multi-faceted approach has many fascinating forces. Some of them are that the style can change shape, encompassing up to several variants, it also opens up an interaction with the end user. And lastly and not to be underestimated, each style appears more abstract and thus contains a higher dose of artistic value. New life is given to exploitation of juxtaposition among fabric and textures. CHASSEUR: Your fashion range covers everything from leather to knitwear and fur. What is your favourite material to work with and why? BARBARA: I am a sucker for organic fabrics; my absolute favorites are leather, fur, cotton, silk and wool. As for the why, well, nothing beats nature. CHASSEUR: Any hints on what’s next? BARBARA: We will see some creative collaborations being exhibited around Europe. At this current moment, we are in the midst of composing our fashion show, which will be the opening show at Copenhagen Fashion Week coming up in August. Stay tuned! By Yannis Tzannis. Cover image by: Nicky De Silva   WWW.CHASSEURMAGAZINE.COM / #CHASSEUR  

  • Fetish



    We are all born in bondage with a cord around our baby body. An umbilical cord that is the lifeline of gestation and that bonds us to our mother in the most intimate way. The separation anxiety we feel throughout life begins here. This is where the human quest for other forms of connections and bonds starts. Trying to re-enact the primal bond of life, we learn about how fetishism endure life.  Following the success of MoBA13, BARBARA I GONGINI was invited to feature her showpiece creation in Fetishism in Fashion, Fetishism Obsessions in Fashion & Design Exhibition, curated by the world´s leading trend forcaster Lidewij Edelkoort, along with Philip Fimmano and Willen Schenk, will be held at the Trapholt Museum of Modern Art, Applied Art & Design in Kolding, Denmark.   Lidewij Edelkoort has defined 10 themes which she thinks have a touch of fetishism to them - from nudism to infantilism, spiritualism, shamanism and consumerism. 100 of the most influential designers in the global design scene have contributed with creations corresponding one of the 10 themes. Trapholt Museum director, Ms. Karen Grøn, says:"Edelkoort focuses on the fact that we increasingly use design as a fetish to link up with an increasingly uncertain world. Much of our desires and obsessions stem from our childhood and are later developed into a fascination for example, lingerie, leather, velour or shoes. We create fetishes by the choices we make, and thus we connect to the world around us." The exhibition illustrates the fetish-trend with spectacular garments and intriguing design objects collected around the world, exposing an overwhelming creativity of a new generation of experimental designers who in their works lustfully reuse references from nature, religion, anthropology, society and history, thus building a bridge to a future common consciousness. Well-known designers and young, talented stars contribute equally to the exhibition. The exhibition is present between 11th of March, 2015 to the 24th of January, 2016 at Trapholt Museum in Kolding, Denmark. Cover image and content image shot by: Karina Jonson. WWW.TRAPHOLD.DK /   

  • Kinsky Magzine



      Time tells many tales. A journey to the remote Faroe Islands is a truly overwhelming experience, filled with emotions, sounds and scents. Hailing from these unique isles, is BARBARA I GONGINI, creative director of her eponymous line. Her words resonate strongly as she speaks, calm and quietly composed. We sat down over black coffees to find our more about her connection with her roots, keeping black relevant and the ethical timelessness of her vision. A conversation with Barbara. KINSKY: Lets start at with your humble beginnings, where did you grow up and what experiences made you who you are today? BARBARA: Well, I was born and raised in the Faroe islands and grew up in the old part of Thorshavn, where all houses where given names, either a name indicating the location of the house or of the owner.  That is where my family name – I Gongini – pronounced I Gonzhina, comes from. The Faroe Islands are 18 small isolated islands in the North Atlantic Sea.  The islands have a total population of 50.000. Stories are resonating that the Irish monks and their staff were the first inhabitants on the islands, others tell tales of Vikings who let their seasick men off, that could not make it up to Iceland. Our lands are positioned in an epic belt with the wildest weather changes. The insisting weather and savage landscape, non-judicial and ever in turmoil, have a significant impact on the population,  where the external circumstances mirrors the inner self of the individual. These inner landscapes of mine are often the reasons for the design choices I take both in the tactile as in choice of form.  The fact that I now reside in Copenhagen, a two hour flight distance from the islands, makes the wind of these elements appear etched iin my memory, as an elixir from the far north, filled with poetic melancholy. KINSKY: The journey we travel as creatives, in how far are we a product of our time? And how do you maintain a sense of relevance in the hasty cycle that is fashion? BARBARA: Time is in its essence is the most important tool for a designer, understanding of its age and the ability to look in the future, combined with a strong personal DNA.  In my view, this is a pivotal ingredient that requires strong design of our contemporaries. As I do not work with fast trends and tendencies,  but rather choose to immerse myself in my conceptual design methods that are locked into avant-garde platforms. In this way, I aim to create a product that has a long life cycle and is irreverently timeliness. Our designs, collections, are not based on seasonality but rather on a numerical order that builds on a never-ending story – like a chapter in a book. The current collection is based and build upon its past. Both past as current will have relevance and inter-dependence with the future. This is what constitutes our wardrobing concept, creating designs that are rich on longevity and multi-functionality, allowing wearers to work with a kit than can be customized in any way preferred. KINSKY: If you had to frame your methodology, how would you describe your research and collection conception process? BARBARA: The North Atlantic is the basis for my personal DNA. The basic palette for me is always rather static, but then I do have an ongoing fascination for the principle of design methodology that I often dwell on as long as the source is open.  Therefore, I see my design process as a continuous process, as I fabulate based on where the process stopped the season prior.  In this way I can be looking at my design process as a story tale of continuity.  It is within the design that renewal takes place,  tactility and the monochrome  non-colour palette only aims to support both form and expression. KINSKY: In your garments, there are so many multi-functional elements, different textures and fabrics. Why did you choose to work from a monochrome colour palette and how do you keep ‘‘black’’ relevant? BARBARA: My belief is that black is always appropriate. Black has a key position with me because its caliber of calm and quiet, that allows it to be molded to appear in its brightest shape. The same applies to the monochrome anatomy. The multi-faceted approach has many fascinating forces. Some of them is that the style can change shape, encompassing up to several variants, it also opens up an interaction with the human viewer. And lastly and not to be underestimated, each style appear more abstract and thus contains the greatest artistic value. KINSKY: Naturally, I also want to ask you about your holistic approach towards sustainability and our environment. Could you describe what elements mean a lot to you and how they are visible in the way you work? BARBARA: Principles of sustainability have always been one of the key pillars within our design DNA that we are very passionate about. We were honored to participate in the Copenhagen Fashion Summit this year and to be specially recognized for our ethical designs. It makes me glad that eco-friendly designs are finally saluted as novel and current. Some of the measures we take in regards to sustainability are that we strive for low impact in our product, by pushing actors within our supply chain to grant us the most eco-friendly solutions and fair trade constellations.  We strive to excel in our selection of yarns, fabric, and leather and where possible we like to work with vegetable dyes. KINSKY: You are known for working across many disciplines. Fashion is a continuous dialogue with Art and both have their own challenges and characteristics. How do you balance art with functionality and wearability? BARBARA: Personally, I do not think that one excludes the other, as I believe that all creative disciplines emanate from the same source. As for clothing traditions, you have a utility and function discipline to be morphed with a delicious synergy with form, tactility and expression. Uncompromising design, for me emerges as pure, even when one uses large compromises. For example,  if the object has a high commercial purpose it does not wave its personal and artistic value. KINSKY: Downtime, a most under-rated part of designing, is taking time for leisure. How do you unwind and relax away from it all? BARBARA: Indeed it is. I like to touch full base with my senses, re-wind and go zen. My nest is my haven and quality time with my family is priceless. Then again, which may come as a surprise…mountain climbing with my man is amazing. Looking over that horizon, it truly humbles my senses. By Marlo Saalmink. Cover image by: Lea Nielsen.  

  • Interview Magazine Titel



    There is a difference between the sexes, as there should be—thank God for that," says Faroese designer Barbara I Gongini. "Nonetheless, there is a place, in my opinion—somewhere in the mid center—where there is a crossover or a neutral zone that I am quite fascinated with. It is in this "neutral zone" that Gongini developed her striking style that mixes avant-gardism and androgyny. With her eponymous line, Gongini irreverently blurs the line between the masculine and feminine that humanizes, and equalizes, fashion.We spoke with the designer, who is currently based in Copenhagen, about sustainable ethics, fabrics as art, and how her clothes allow the wearer to be whomever they want to be.KATE LAWSON: From the Faroe Islands to Copenhagen, how did your journey into fashion begin?BARBARA I GONGINI: I always had a devotion for the arts and design since a very early age.  It felt like a natural thing for me to step into the fashion scene and explore my ideas, turning them into tangible creations.LAWSON: Copenhagen has become a hotbed for innovative fashion designers such as Astrid Andersen and Anne Sofie Madsen —why do you think that is? GONGINI: I am proud to see that Copenhagen has fostered such creative minds and that they had the balls to be bold enough and go out and kick ass! Having said that, I think that such success may reside in the fact that Scandinavia does in fact provide a safety net, a welfare system, that gives a bit of a springboard for "entrepreneurial minds" to flourish.  LAWSON: And you too are "kicking ass" with designs that visually blend identity and play with unique forms and structures. GONGINI: I always opt to stay true to my voice, but it's a challenge to transcend certain aesthetic expressions into a wearable design. Androgyny was an influential force when the brand was born, but it has evolved and progressed throughout the years and it became important for me to create a line exclusively for men and women, purely for functional reasons. At the end of the day, I urge my wearers to choose whatever they feel comfortable in, whether the garment was designed with a male or female in mind. LAWSON: Tell me about your design process? GONGINI: Each design is built upon certain principles as each garment has a skeleton that later requires layering, sculpting, and finishing. Once you start to modulate the garment, the creative nerve may strike at any end of the spectrum—ranging from strong expression, as seen in its most optimal form in our showpieces, to more subtle designs. It's during the modulate phase where a multi-faceted character of the silhouette is explored, and that's where the sky becomes the limit. [laughs]My collections are part of a never-ending story, which allows me to turn the chapter where I previously left off. This is where the birth of the numerical notion of my collections surfaced. My designs are not trend based, but instead the focus is placed on nurturing a longevity formula. I base it on a wardrobing concept, which is something that I am very passionate about continuing in my work.LAWSON: What about a muse—is there someone you admire who reflects the philosophy and spirit of your designs? GONGINI: I care for the art of juxtaposition. So I don't idolize anyone per se, but I like to discover the fascination in various creatures from different walks of life. LAWSON: Do you enjoy seeing how each wearer translates your designs? GONGINI: Yes. I love to give our wearers a diverse range of choice, creating designs that allow for individual interaction and the right personalization. LAWSON: Strong expression and detailing is definitely a theme that runs throughout your collections, especially in comparison with Japanese designers who championed fashion avant-gardism. Did any of those visionaries inspire you to create? GONGINI: I have an immense respect for the forefathers of avant-gardism—one of them being Rei Kawakubo. The Japanese design culture has altered the fashion industry through their novel creations and there is a synergy of workmanship, concepts, and principles that are definitely aligned with our DNA design structure. LAWSON: Is it important that your designs stand out from the crowd then? GONGINI: Our designs are not bound by trends, sex, orientation, societal order, and other normative pressures. So in that sense, yes... I like to push boundaries with my creations and start a dialogue. I believe in uncompromised aesthetics. LAWSON: Although you describe your brand as high-end, your aesthetic also fits into the youth-driven streetwear market. What current pop culture references have impacted your brand? GONGINI: I draw a sense of inspiration from the buzz of upcoming generations, where the music scene has acted as a springboard for new ideas, giving a sense of direction. I've had the pleasure to work with several artisans throughout my career, and the most recent collaboration was with my fellow countrymen, ORKA, where experimental sound electronics have rocketed my orbit! LAWSON: ORKA scored your S/S 2014 and F/W 2014 shows. The combination of their music and your designs brought an emotive darkness and poetic energy to the shows—do you think Nordic melancholia has been a big inspiration to you? GONGINI: Yes, my home origins have influenced our color scheme. Being from the Faroe Islands, I draw inspiration from the architectural landscape, the misty woods, the raw textures of soil and chalk, and the dark Northern Atlantic Ocean in constant outburst. There is something very poetic in the way Mother Earth orchestrates all of these elements that I am keen on translating and exploring in my creations. I prefer "non-color" as a palette as it allows fabrics and textures to speak as color instead. LAWSON: Sustainability has become a big factor in your design ethos. Where do you see the future of ethical fashion? GONGINI: I take pride in rating my collections according to the sustainability factors, creating a product rich on longevity and multi-functionality, creating designs that can be rekindled for years to come. It is the responsibility of the entire business to shift up the mentality—everyone in the supply chain needs to push for eco-friendly solutions and fair trade, and it's the end customer's responsibility to choose a more sustainable product. At the Copenhagen Fashion Summit this year, the world largest event on sustainability and fashion, our designs were specially recognized in the Denim Challenge for turning an unexpected silhouette into a classic product. There is definitely a need to take action towards global responsiveness within the fashion industry. LAWSON: Talking of the future, what's coming next for you? GONGINI: There are several exciting projects currently in orbit—you just have to stay tuned! By Kate Lawson. Cover image by Lea Nielsen.   WWW.INTERVIEWMAGAZINE.COM / #INTERVIEWMAGAZINE