German-based fashion brand, Marcel Ostertag, brought the bustling metropolis of Berlin for his fifth season as part of New York Fashion Week to unveil Autumn/Winter 2018.
NYFW attendees strutted towards the Spring Studios Runway eager to experience the European textured ‘Opium’ collection. The Knockturnal toured between the designer’s silk, painted poppy flowers, cashmere, animal prints, pearl beaded chiffons and striped garments, as NYX beat models’ faces to perfection.
Become better acquainted with Marcel Ostertag as he explains his past meets future concepts, creative indulgences, and high-end perspective.
Your brand has celebrated over a decade of designs. What’s been the most substantial lesson of your journey?
There have been so many lessons. Always to stick to your [vision] and work from the ground [up]. That means all the values I had in the first season I still have today. I have been working from 2006, sustainably. So, stick to your values and stick to your dreams.
Apart from your craftsmanship, your runway ensembles are revered for encouraging women to fight against conformity. Explain what inspired this movement.
I frequently spoke to the end consumers over the years. I always had the feeling that these women’s [fashion sense] was fantastic, but their garments lack power. They needed something to express themselves even more.
[That concept] is still wearable, but is a difficult story. [I needed to] make fashion that is outstanding, and that gives women power without being too costume-y. That is one of the main focuses of my latest collection and for my brand, overall.
I want to give women the feeling that they can go out powerfully, and be a little eccentric as well. It is not too in your face. I achieved this true and modern pattern cutting and timeless pattern cutting. If your favorite dress is timeless, it is sustainable again. You have it in your closet; it is still modern, it is still sophisticated. You can wear it again.
That all comes together! It gives the women I dress a really good feeling about themselves. It makes the look really strong.
You premiered here in 2016. Still, this is the first time many American editors are viewing your garments. What do you hope they take note of with this collection?
I hope the editors from America see my talent. I hope they see my concept and understand me, and my line. It always has a message. The message is that fashion is fun, and fashion is should be around us, every day in life.
It is not just for fashion as my job. It is my life. This has been my passion since I was a little boy. I hope that the editors feel this. I just got the reviews from the last season how I bring a fresh wind from Europe here. Also, that I have really sophisticated cool collections, and I hope that this one will [follow suit].
You can speak through fashion. You can sell emotions through fashion. My collections are always telling a story. I want them to read it.
Explain what you mean by “quality through control” for admirers who may be unfamiliar?
I produce my whole collection in Germany, where I and my company are based. That means I have short waist, and I know all my tailors. I maintain the quality control of the garments that go out to the shops and consumers. We control [the garments] ourselves. My team and I manage this.
That will never change– even if I continue to grow, and produce more [revenue]. I want to see how the garments leave my factory. I know all my tailors. It is important for us to have a conversation after the completion of a collection. I want to know how they worked through it because it is a process. This makes my collection more worthy of wearing.
How does your Autumn/Winter collection display your evolution as a designer?
It does through its uniqueness. It displays evolution through its wearability because you can wear it on the street. Also, because it is simply outstanding… the material combinations are quite new in my collection. The shapes are new. I experimented with a lot of shapes in this collection.
Also, there is a mix between the down-to-Earth workwear element [of the collection] and the sophisticated party theme. There are party and going out dresses. I think that is a cool combination. I think they will like it.
Why do you produce exclusively in Germany?
First off, we have good quality. And, I want to have a short waist. That is one of the sustainable tailoring aspects of my company. Also, the logistics are good for us this way.
I believe if every designer thought that way, and produced where their company is based, it would be good for their country. Most companies go out to Asia. Here the tailors do not have any more jobs. I think that is important as well.
Who is Marcel Ostertag?
Well, I am truly down-to-Earth. Even if some people who work in fashion believe it is not possible, it is. My mother raised me to be a respectful person, and to hold your heart in the right spot. I still have that.
There are many people in the industry when they begin to receive feedback, and their careers excel, they lose their ground from under their feet. These people begin to fly, and [eventually] fall deep. I do not want that to happen to me.
I am always an honest person. I adore my team. They are my family. It is important to stay real. I do not like fake people.