The designer and photographer talks about the duality between the two areas and why she would never restrict herself to one
Graduating next year, 22-year-old Anna-Sophie Berger has a mad obsession with humanness and geometry. The Austrian student also likes to work around the concept of limitation and simplifying clothes to a very basic shape. For her mainly black and white collection 'm/m2', Berger chose the square that was transformed and disrupted, before shown as an installation pinned to a wall to visualize the two dimensional aspects of the flat squares and contrasting that in the look book, when the model’s body wearing the clothes creates a three dimensional volume.
Dazed Digital: How do you start working?
Anna-Sophie: There is no routine, nothing dogmatic. At the beginning I never know what it will be. I have vague ideas of shapes and forms in my head. There is no limit to inspiration; anything in relation to human beings interests me. Intellectual theories can also play a role when working on a collection. I work a lot with my own photography as a sort of mood-catcher. My work is very intuitive and sometimes very fast, taking a piece of fabric and just starting right away.
DD: Tell us more about m/m2.
Anna-Sophie: I was influenced by Malevich’s constructivist theories and his early naive paintings. I got obsessed with the idea of achieving a point zero in terms of constructing a garment without calling it the end, but the start of a new form. I mainly used natural fabrics such as cashmere, wool, loden and washed-silk, which I hand printed to apply three different sizes of squares. The smallest one appears more like an overall grid, the biggest one looses itself on the body and is not visible as a square anymore. The title m/m2 is a fictional formula describing this play of dimensions.
DD: How did your perception towards fashion change during your studies?
Anna-Sophie: When I studied under Veronique Branquinho I felt very lost. Her approach to design was very classic and you don’t have too much space. With Bernhard Willhelm I have more freedom but also realized that no matter how crazy you are there are always limitations. I guess now in my final year I found my balance. In the end, you have to care for yourself to get the most out of a person’s way of teaching.
DD: You also work on lens-based project. What interests you in photography?
Anna-Sophie: For me my fashion and my photography are very closely linked. The creative process is not only quite similar but also often interconnected. My fashion really needs photography to uncover the world it creates. Likewise my photography is influenced by clothing and how people wear things. I started to take pictures very early and used it to create something new through my eyes and to work on more complex conceptual themes. Through the images I limit reality to a framed fragment.
Often I have been told to choose one and that it is dangerous to do both but I always kept doing it. I am not willing to limit myself in order to be a more accessible product in neither of the two businesses. I think as long as one works on the specific projects in a focused way, be it fashion or photography, not confusing them or letting them take each others time, one can use them to reflect on each other. It helps me not to loose myself in a field forgetting the outside world and allows me to travel between fine art and design.
Text: Alexandra Bondi de Antoni