Model Victoria Clore in Mariana Jungmann ensemble / Hair & Makeup: Virginia Bertolani / Photographer: Claudiu Berechet
While trends experience transitory prominence and commercialized style enjoys the security of covering day-to-day pursuits, nothing compares to the craft and creative complexity of couture clothing. After all, J.Crew and H&M simply aren't exhibited at the MET. During London Fashion Week, my curiosity gravitates towards the fresh talent emerging from fashion's top institutions. Of this year's London College of Fashion (LCF) graduates, Mariana Jungmann catches my eye--and the attention of the style community--with her lace-inspired womenswear. One of 10 MA students selected to present 10 looks at the LCF 2014 fashion show, Jungmann's stylish silhouettes command the catwalk against a digital projection of shattered shards. Keep reading for my Q&A with the designer herself...
As designers we take inspiration from our life experiences. This time I went back to my childhood and the table, but if you take a look at my sketchbook, you are not going to see pictures or drawings from it. You will see many tables, actually. I was trying to replicate the way I used to see the world and how the table affected the fabric. That was the reason I have some very fluid pieces like the back of my jacket and vest. They have a split with chiffon draping from it--it's the corner of the table with the tablecloths. On the other hand, some pieces are quite stuff--it's the fabric on top of the glass.
It does influence my design. I am Brazilian and you can see that my garments have a bit of a zing to it--it's because of where I come from. You can't take the Brazilianess out of the Brazilian, right?
I am originally from Goiania, Brazil. My city is exactly in the middle of the country. There are no beaches there though. I first went to law school, but soon realized it was not for me. So i decided to move to Sao Paulo and went to university all over again there. That was when my fashion journey started.
I always liked to travel. I lived in the US for awhile. I've even worked at Disney in Orlando! This cosmopolitan lifestyle affected the way I saw things--my likes and dislikes had a big influence from the places I've lived and the friends I've made. I love tex-mex food because of the US, but I see Korean food as comfort food because of my Korean friends. Although… I'll never say no to a batch of pao-de-queijo (cheese puffs from Brazil).
London College of Fashion MA14 fashion at the Waldorf Hotel, London during London Fashion Week (photo provided by the designer)
In your learning process, what did you find to be the most challenging part about coming to be a designer?
I am not the type that draws much. I have a love affair with draping--I'd rather make a whole garment than draw it. So this was quite tricky to me because other people need to understand what is in your mind as well. That was the reason I became good at technical drawings and I push myself to do illustrations more often.
Another issue for anyone who wants to sent up a brand is funding. Making a collection is not cheap, so you have to be very smart with your costs and make sure you have funding for the next season as well. Otherwise, you will be come a one-season wonder.
Neutral tones from Mariana Jungmann-MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear (photo provided by the designer)
Branding is key. Successful fashion designers build a strong brand through a combination of the quality and construction of their clothing, the theme of their brand and what they stand for (i.e. Vera Wang/Wedding Dresses, Vivienne Westwood/Plaid + Punk, Rei Kawakubo/Irreverent/Deconstructionist) What defines your brand? What would you like to be known for? Where do your priorities lie when creating a line--does sale-ability trump creativity?
My trademark is the lace--I developed my own technique of making it so I can make it seamless and three-dimensional. But I also take the lace to different spectrums as I translate it into prints and laser cuts.
Sale-ability doesn't trump creativity--they come hand in hand. When you want to launch a label, you want to make pieces that are creative, but also desirable. The best feeling you can have is when a woman tells you, "I'd kill to have this dress." Finding the balance of those two things is the difficult part and I am always trying to do that.
Branding is key--you are right about that! I've been working with a great graphic designer Geraldine Nasau-Maupas, who is the person behind the branding side and we developed a way to give the customer an experience. So when you buy Mariana Jungmann, you get a tag with a bit of the story of the lacemaker and also how the piece was made.
Classic--Little Black Dress (photo provided by the designer)
What's your personal style like? Does that come out in your design process?
I am a very feminine woman. I can't resist a dress, maybe that is the reason I love designing them. Also, my color palette. I recently realized that my closet is mostly the same colors as my collection. It is impossible not to put a lot of you into your work when you have a creative job.
Do you often wear lace?
I do wear lace quite often when I go out. But to be honest, I spend most of my time in the studio working on my designs and making the garments, so I choose very comfortable and simple pieces that I wouldn't be sad if they were damaged. But I love to dress up when I go out.
What's next for you? What is your vision for design, commerce and establishing a future in the fashion world?
I am one of the very few lucky ones. Having the opportunity to debut already at London Fashion Week was great. Now I need to keep moving forward. I am negotiating with stockists to sell my collection while I am setting my business here in the UK. I hope to show again next season as well!
The designer in a dress of her own creation (photo provided by the designer)
I'm excited to follow the future of Mariana Jungmann and see where her lacy designs will surface next. With time, I picture her museum-worthy pieces both on and in the purview of a public.