Urban Pilgrims

Urban Pilgrims

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    Monika Zabel designs conscious couture from fine natural fibers (mainly cotton, silk, wool, linen) and creates a unique fashion artwork. She prefers to use resources already present in the system, i.e. end of roll, samples, overproduction, stocks and leftovers (precious materials sometimes referred to as pre-consumer "waste") and applies design techniques that use fabrics efficiently, e.g. Zero Waste Design. She adheres to the principles of the circular economy and creates couture clothing that shows that conscious production, high quality and stunning looks go well together. Her leitmotif is Urban Pilgrims, who like her travel a lot, discover different spaces and places and change them as much as they change themselves.
    Her collections are conceived and designed by herself and produced together with master tailors in small studios near their workplaces, incorporating local art and local crafts.

    3 questions for Monika Zabel:

    What inspires you? How can we imagine your studio/workshop?

    Above the roofs of Hamburg (when, as now, I am exceptionally staying longer in my hometown), with a view of Elphie, Michel and dancing towers.

    The ideas and designs arise from the pictures I take every day. Normally I am much more active than now, in times of physical distancing, closure of cultural sites, and borders. Inspiration is also the nourishment of artists, and it is a little thin at the moment...

    Tell us something about your professional career.

    I studied sustainable design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. The New York Design Entrepreneurs had just become Sustainable Design Entrepreneurs, and a few years ago sustainable design was more of a marginal phenomenon. But in the USA the main thing is to look stunning, so sustainability alone won't sell. New York helped me to take part in professional fashion shows and exhibitions as a student, and to enter into collaborations with other artists, because key people liked what I do. And then it's just a case of "let's do it". In Germany, they are currently at the forefront of recycling glass bottles, but otherwise they are rather sleepy, fashion is not a very important topic for most people, unfortunately. They dress accordingly : ). It is not without reason that they say "Hamburg wears dark blue"... Giving new ideas a chance, not exactly typical here...

    Do you have goals for the next few years? If so, what are they?

    My immediate goal, or rather my wish, is to be able to travel again. There are two events this year that I am working towards. Sustainable Fashion Week NY in September and the International Fashion Art Biennale in Seoul, Korea, at the end of October. First of all, I am happy about the invitations, then we will see if we can fly.

    Urban Pilgrims - Monika Zabel

    Hamburg - DE


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