RG AWARD 2010

...cutting edge design from NJAL nominated designers

by Hanne Christiansen
They say all beginnings are hard. The five nominated NJAL designers made it just in time to arrive by car and train to this year’s edition of the prestigious Ringstrassen Galerien Designer Award. But it was all worthwhile in the end; our designers showed their latest collection to the Viennese audience which admired the creativity and designs of the collection. Recent LCF MA Graduate Jürgen Bertsch was the well deserved winner; his ‘Playground’ collection represents all that NJAL stands for and we congratulate him for this important step in his career. About the award: every year since 2004, young Austrian design has been presented and celebrated at the Ringstrassen-Galerien Designer Award in Vienna. Earlier this year, NOT JUST A LABEL announced a collaboration with the Ringstrassen-Galerien, offering an opportunity also for international designers to present their design at the 2010 Designer Award Gala and enter to win the prestigious Award. Under the theme of ‘Black And White’, both national and international designers were this year challenged to create cutting-edge design to be viewed by an expert jury. Five of NJAL’s own designers were chosen among the finalists, and will be presenting in Vienna this week. Here is an exclusive preview of the chosen finalists, and the inspirations and stories behind their submitted designs.

ARA JO

Ara Jo graduated with a BA ‘Fashion Design Womenswear’ from Central Saint Martins in 2009. Ara is a London-based designer and she has been working her own label “Ara Jo”. Ara is obsessed by mysterious creatures such as in fairy tales and really into using those beautiful beings as muses for her collection. Ara’s collection shows her craziness, enjoyable side, and she adds her own feminine touch. Ara Jo’s collection is for women who want to feel confident, and express their seduction. Ara was one of the NJAL designers worn by Lady Gaga, who is one of her most famous clients.

About her chosen collection, Ara Jo says: “My Vampire collection, I made for the Ringstrassen Galerien Award is based on a story about a gorgeous lady who still exists from 19th century to modern “vampire”. “Black and White” as a theme means not only classic words, but classic Colours. I will be using black and white, but in a different way, with my own taste. That is why I chose vampires, as vampires are the strongest beings in the world, like “black and white”. I believe vampires are still living in our society. For this collection, I am not only using a black and white colour palette. I started to work with black velvet and wanted to bleach it so that I could get white stains on the fabric. Amazingly, the result was quite unexpected as I found abeautiful colour palette from black velvet instead of white, and I really wanted to keep those colours for this collection. My questions for my own vampire: How would you dress up? What kind of clothes would you like to wear it? My own vampire, she loves strong colour - deep red wine, black, gold and silver - and feminine details with her vampire tastes – bat wings, marks of biting, bleeding. Those classical vampire sources are combined with contemporary style by Ara Jo.”

BAIBA RIPA

Baiba Ripa is a sophisticated and up-to-date women’s fashion label. The core of the label is its eccentric embroidery technique. Baiba Ripa clothing is about the fine balance between creativity and practicality, as well as nature and the contemporary urban environment. "BR" garments emphasize structure and conceptual forms with masterful classic tailoring and exquisite detailing. Innovative, clean design and simple patterns are combined with tangible paper-like optics. The foundations of our label are quality, sensuality, authenticity, transparency and the expansion of reality. Our macro-embroidery technique is unique and involves an almost scientific approach to the way we handle fabric. The "BR" woman stands out by her presence and the way she carries herself without regard to age, shape, and the season of the year or standard of dress. She is free, naturally enjoying the flow of the life and knowing exactly how she wants to live her life – both public and private.

“..Black dress against white sand, she was sitting in the sun and writing a poem. Black letters on white paper. Morning and evening. Happiness and sadness. To inhale and to exhale. Man and woman. One cannot exist without the other. But does everything stand so clear? Is it always only black or white? Look at the waves coming and going, meeting the seashore, then parting with it! Even the mighty sea cannot ever decide whether to stay or go, to say yes or no. The black cannot exist without the white and vice versa as there is a man in every woman and every man bears a touch of feminine. It’s the unrepeatable mix of both that makes every individual so unique.”

DAVID ALEXANDER

David Alexander is a California native who was born in 1985 to David and Michelle Burnett. His mother, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and beauty queen and his grandmother, a wedding dress designer, inspired him subconsciously to become a fashion designer. After struggling through a year of pre-law, David decided to pursue his passion and enrolled in FIDM to study fashion design and marketing. While completing studies at FIDM and subsequently at Parsons New School of Design in New York City, his drive and enthusiasm for fashion further flourished. As David’s passion grew, he formulated his motto, “Beauty defined by the power of Fashion”, meaning that when one is dressed fashionably, there is beauty present! Inspired by music and film, David’s eclectic taste is translated into unexpected surprises within his collections, bringing a level of sensuality, class and sexiness rarely seen today. With the ultimate goal of establishing a high-end design brand with mass market appeal, yet limited availability, David strives to keep his designs imaginative and creative without removing the “wearability” of his individual pieces. With celebrity clients such Domziano Arcangeli, Britney Spears, Mariska Hargitay, Ashlee Simpson, The Kardashians, Tila Tequila, Courtenay Semel, Lindsay Lohan, Victoria Asher (Cobra Starship), Michelle Williams (Destiny's Child), Nicki Minaj, Lady Victoria Hervey and Paula Abdul. David’s designs are being enjoyed by all sorts of people.

David says: “My inspiration for this piece comes from Chanel and Erte. I have channelled that into a piece that is both romantic and structured with a slit for bit of sex while maintaining its classic Chanel class and a bit of structured layers from an art deco mindset. I then do my own twist by adding my favourite white diamond Swarovski and and making it a cocktail dress to fit a more David Alexander style.”

JÜRGEN BERTSCH

Jürgen’s collection sensitively approaches how children lose their memories in a kaleidoscope of emotions when progressing into adulthood. Juergen underpins the design by contrasting the reaction to the clothes from a child and an adult, re-uniting an adult’s sense of play with their inner child. The colour is black with a focus on texture through wool, cotton and lurex blends in Linton Tweed. Juergen interned at Rena Lange in Munich and Alexander McQueen in London whilst supported by the Leonardo Da Vinci Programme, the Barbara Lebek Foundation and received a scholarship from the German academic exchange service in 2008. To accompany his collection Juergen has developed an accessory range of necklaces and bracelets in collaboration with ceramic’s designer Felicity Jones and jewellery designer Martina Sprengart.

The outfit is one of the key pieces of Juergen’s MA collection. It consist of an oversized white shirt, a chiffon shirt with a laser cut motive, soft woollen trousers, and a black oversized Jacket. All the materials which are used for this outfit are sourced in Great Britain. The designers used the company Linton Tweed for his Jacket, the same company which Karl Lagerfeld, of Chanel uses for his signature Jackets. The shape of the Jacket is supposed to be oversized. It gives the impression of a jacket which is too big for the wearer and slips from the body. The imagination of a boy playing in the woods is taken as a symbolism for the outfit and the collection to communicate a melancholic mood. Therefore the designer used twigs and tresses as a motive for the laser cut designs and the porcelain accessories.

RINDA SALMUN

Rinda Salmun was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia. An interest in fashion led her to work in the fashion industry as a freelance fashion designer and stylist in Jakarta. After graduating from Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, UK, she recently has been involved in helping Natascha Stolle, Giles Deacon as well as the Giorgio Armani PR Office in London whilst trying to pursue a career in the fashion industry as a fashion designer, both for the UK and Indonesian market.

Inspired by Indonesian shadow puppet art, this collection is a fusion between a futuristic modern look and south-east Asian traditional feel. Rinda says: “It is about seeing tradition and making it modern as well as having contrasting elements together. The philosophy of the Indonesian Shadow Puppet (also known as Wayang) mythology is about being balance in life and the contrasting elements that surrounds the human life; good or evil, life or death, heaven or hell, strong and weak. That’s why the colour I'm using consists of only black and white. The secondary resource, which inspired me, was a Knight's armour. Since the Wayang myths are about War, I was inspired to combine a western war costume, in this case; the Knight's armour to the concept, fusing the East and West concept together.”