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Von Kottwitz Jewellery

Nina Stotler breaks down the inner mechanics of her industrial aeasthetic of her jewellery collections.

Fashion designers and architects each proffer aesthetic pleasure while satisfying fundamentally functional and practical needs for shelter and clothing. But the best of them elevate basic needs to the divine level of art. Nina Stotler's applauded new collection of silver and gold hardware-inspired jewellery for her Von Kottwitz line might not have any more use-value than other decorative wardrobe details. But they brilliantly highlight the value of use.

For Stotler, the essentials of her line are derived from her remembrances of Berlin's ravaged but stately and sleek architecture, which she saw as a child visiting her mother's native country and the site where her parents met. Von Kottwitz, named after Stotler's mother's maiden name, was founded in 2004, four years after Stotler graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied sculpture and we met one another. Since then, she has worked as a trend-spotter with Peclers Paris trend network, and she currently serves as the Youth Culture Editor of while also acting as an editor at Anthem magazine. Here we re-connect to talk about the inner mechanics of her industrial aeasthetic.

Dazed Digital: How has your thinking shifted from collection to collection?
Nina Stotler: I began with a much more baroque feeling, a feminine and vintage look based on found objects and embellishment. After working with burnished metals and classical signifiers like cameos, I moved on to a collection focused on oversized crystals and heavy metals called the Galaxy Collection. From there, I took the heavier, metallic aspects in a more functional direction with Industry, my latest work.

DD: Do you think your attraction to particular inspirations is instinctual, or are there more cultivated factors at play?
NS: I think that I am drawn to things that are particularly relevant at a certain time and place, partially due to my exposure and work in the fashion industry for the past five years. When you're constantly consuming and observing what is happening in the creative world, you become specially attuned to predicting the direction that style and design will take.

DD: How are trends tracked and how clairvoyant can a trend-tracker really be?
NS: Trend tracking is all about paying attention and casting a wide net. I do believe in the trickle down effect of some trends, from the top to the bottom. The top can be the runway, an independent designer, a styling choice of a group of people, or any number of things. Paying attention to trends means keeping your eyes open, reading everything
from cutting edge magazines to an exhaustive list of blogs, to watching street fashion around the globe. It means listening to new music and seeing art shows and just completely engaging with the world around you, from your own small niche to other communities abroad.

DD: Do you feel like you're intentionally sceptical about trends or anything trendy?
NS: I think it depends on what you mean by trend. People often see the word trend and assign a negative connotation based on an idea of a mass, cultural phenomenon. Marketing and exhaustive attention to celebrity style have made trend into something many wouldn't want to be associated with. But I believe it can be more than just a slavish
adherence to key items and hemlines; it can be a wider cultural phenomenon and a creative commonality between people.

DD: When did you develop your own aesthetic?
NS: I feel like I have been developing my aesthetic for as long as I could consume and be influenced by media and art. I've always devoured everything I could get my hands on, from books and magazines to film and visual art. I enjoy knowing what everyone is up to, interpreting and reacting to new creativity in every medium. When I started working in fashion after college, I slowly started to gravitate toward a more articulated style, due to an instinctual attraction to a spare, architectural design. The clarity of clean lines and pure colours is a calming influence, while I find industrial touches bring depth and edge. I also spent time growing up in Berlin with my family; my mother is from the East and escaped across the wall before I was born. My exposure to the design directions in Germany, from the Bauhaus movement to the stark reality of the way East Germany looked after the fall of the Berlin wall was a strong influence on my taste and the way I view the world. I tend towards the strong and the harsh, something that is both a foil and a compliment to femininity.

DD: Why did you decide to depict reaction to Bauhaus and Berlin's ravaged aesthetic through wearable work, and not an expressive medium, like art, that might be more conventionally suited for such issues?
NS: Being involved in the fashion world for so long, I have come to believe that art can be wearable as well as expressive. I don't think that traditional mediums are the only way to react to creative inspirations. I like the aspect of constant and public display which jewellery allows.

DD: Do you think that harder look was foreseeing the financial crisis and generally darker global mood?
NS: I believe the global mood does filter throughout the creative world and a look has been emerging for some time in the art world as well as the fashion world that reflects the apprehension and anxiety many people are feeling. As far as my role as some kind of oracle, I don't think I foresaw anything, just picked up on the feelings surrounding me.

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