Kathrina Ashley, one of our wonderful creatives, interviews FADE OUT LABEL about their fabulous designs. We are very excited to be showcasing FADE OUT at our upcoming fashion exhibition, Ebb & Flow, on February 21st. Kat, is ready with all the answers and back stage news that you could want! Starting from the top, why the name? : 'Unpicking old jeans all the time we often found tags specifying the strangest washings. "Fade Out" was one of them. We liked that it indicates something that changes with time and so in a natural way it became the name of our brand.' Come along to see their collection on the 21st! Photo credits to Fade Out Label.
From jackets, to skirts, to the classic jean, denim has become such a staple that it sometimes just seems tired. How many different ways can you really style the ubiquitous “mom” jean? Is the embroidery trend all that original? It is easy to see how both designers and consumers alike can become stuck in a rut. Yet, FADE OUT Label manages defy this ostensible lack of variety, successfully breathing fresh life into an otherwise quotidian material.
Nicola and Andrea, the duo behind the founding of FADE OUT and the designing of its avant garde line, have been experimenting with denim since 2013. The project was originally personal, as they used recycled denim to create patchwork t-shirts with what they describe as a “clean and essential taste” for their own use. The pair recounts the expansion of their idea, “In early 2015, we teamed up to playfully create something unexpected and new. People loved the concept and so we decided to build up a collection of total looks and to open up a brand: Fade Out.”
When asked why they take to denim material, they respond, “Both Andy Warhol and Yves Saint Laurent have said they regret not having invented it. Denim is a natural fabric that keeps the memory of time in the shades of its fading from wear. It is easy to find at second-hand markets, easy to clean and work with. It also fits perfectly with our ethos of recycling because every single piece, even leftovers, finds use in production.”
This recycling process of deconstructing and reimagining vintage denim pieces is at the base of every creation, and is a manifestation of the sustainability philosophy that is vital to FADE OUT. For them, this is “a lifestyle, it is a raising of consciousness,” one that they hope will inspire conscious consumerism and encourage a move away from the modern culture of instant gratification, towards slower, improved qualities of life.
“We think we all should follow what maestro Vivienne Westwood says: Buy less, buy better. Our vision is a respectful, appreciating, sustainable and socially responsible fashion world. We hope our little contribution can have a large impact on it.”
FADE OUT is a label that is not only dedicated to craftsmanship and environmentalism, but also to gender fluidity in fashion. Nicola and Andrea view gender division as “more a factor of culture and aesthetics than one of practicality.” They aim to “offer the freedom of choice [because] there are sexual differences in the human body that do not make a huge difference in the clothes, which are the wrapper that covers it.” As such, every piece exudes comfort and ease, with an oversized, unisex fit. The versatility of the line leaves no doubt that this aim has been achieved, and the adaptability of the pieces to differing occasions, personalities and lifestyles is a characteristic of the brand that the duo takes pride in.
Neither half of the Berlin-based team had been a stranger to the world of art and fashion before creating FADE OUT. Andrea, who hails from a village in the Apennine Mountains of Italy, started out as a theatre and performing arts costume designer, and a painter, while studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. He later worked for Miss Sixty’s as a fashion and graphic designer, a position he held for six years while simultaneously operating two brands: C.A.2 and DOREAPALAN. The former was an award-winning line of laser-cut leather accessories, while the latter featured complex graphics printed on viscose voile.
Nicola, who is from Padova in north-east Italy, also attended a variety of arts schools and worked in an assortment of areas beforehand. His eclectic resume includes wood carpenter, street artist, party organiser and event manager. He furthermore created EKOLOVESANIMAL, a brand centred on creating bags using up-cycled leather, and has been a vintage clothing consultant for several years.
It is not at all difficult to see where their creative acumen comes from, and their skill shines through their designing process. “We buy vintage jeans from charity shops which we unpick thoroughly in every part, wash, sanitise and iron. We then divide and match them per colour, shade and fading. Following the type of garment we’re designing or the client's preferences, we cut and match the single pieces and we then sew and overlock them into a mosaic to match the pattern. The joining of pieces with different hues gives us a lot of creative freedom to make our hand-crafted one-offs, repeatable but always different.” From start to finish, the process takes place in their Berlin studio.
Though eco-conscious, gender-defying fashion is not yet mainstream, clientele and journalistic reception to FADE OUT has been auspicious. Their well-earned and increasing visibility is palpable in their successes - their garments have been featured in editorials in WRPD Magazine and KALTBLUT Magazine; Sportswear International has called them “a label to watch”; and this January, for the second season, they were spotlighted as an emerging talent and selected to be part of the Who’s Next and Premiere Classe trade shows for the Future of Fashion Programme (a partnership with designer platform Not Just A Label).