Who? Eva Viola Emmermann
What? Neo.Fashion.: Graduate Shows and Awards
Where? Berlin Fashion Week
Why designs by Eva Viola Emmermann matter?
Although fashion has it’s utilitarian purpose, we can view it more than just a consumptive object. That’s what Eva Viola Emmermann is doing. She has created a body of work that sparks an intelligent dialogue on the trouble the industry is in when it comes to protecting the inhabitants of the earth from the wrecking ball of the climate crisis. Her collection, “Sorry” takes a critical look at the subject of species protection. She realized that through the pandemic shut down, people had more time to become aware of the environmental and sustainability issues in our society.
Before we get into evaluating her collection, here are a few facts of how dire the situation is: fashion is one of the largest polluters in the world; the industry contributes 10% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to its long supply chains and energy intensive production; and over 90% of emissions for apparel come from four activities in those supply chains: dyeing and finishing, fabric preparation, yarn preparation, and fiber production.
The climate is in crisis and is human caused, according to the latest United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report. The IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte says, “it has been clear for decades that the Earth’s climate is changing, and the role of human influence on the climate system is undisputed”.
“Sorry”, the title of her collection may be appropriate, but how about “Shame”? Emmermann points out that “Sinnfluencers” are making the case to actively get involved, shaping the future of sustainable fashion. Who or what are Sinnfluencers? It’s a German term, defined as the combination of ‘sinn’ (purpose, meaning) and the English word ‘influencer’, that describes a growing phenomenon of online personas and social media platforms garnering a following around their commitment to social or political causes.
Sinnfluencers, Emmermann, and many millennials take it seriously, that climate change is a real threat to human civilization. Inspired by this threat, she builds a knit collection based on pattern, color, and structure in both silhouette and fabric texture; her interpretation of endangered animals and plants.
Each ensemble is dedicated to an endangered species. Emmermann works with biodegradable or recycled materials that are of single fiber versus a blend. This is important on two accounts. Biodegradable fabric can be man-made, as she used lyocell fibers, from renewable raw material wood. A single fiber fabric/garment is the best in recycling the fibers (optimum fiber sorting process) and biodegrading if of natural or biodegradable man-made materials. With a double degree in Textile Technologies and Design Engineer Textiles at Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, she did her research in developing the textile fabric to realize the textural structural surface you see in her work, yet yielding to a sustainable material.
Color is part of her storytelling. She treated color as a representation of the variety and variability of the ecosystem. She says, “striking colors and structures attract positive attention and stimulate thought at second glance. The whole thing happens in a subtle, “comfortable” and thus unobtrusive way. The use of color gradients in signal colors on the garments represents the increasing threat to biodiversity and runs through the collection.”
Her shapes bring home the theme of “protection”. Emmermann describes her work as multi-dimensional in both surface and silhouette, plus she takes a non-binary position. She says, “the silhouettes of the collection play with proportions and volumes, which also underline the theme of “protection”. All pieces can be combined with each other and are designed to be gender neutral.”
A “Look at EDGE”, a fashion library of the vanguard, curates a select few of Neo.Fashion.21 designers whose collections make socially relevant statements and offer storytelling through a fashion lens we don’t often see. It’s obvious what the story or issue is of sustaining earth’s resources. But the creativity behind the collection is notable, if you use your imagination. Emmermann pairs techniques of color, fabric texture, and silhouette structure and proportions that present a representation of her view of biodiversity that hopefully stimulate conversations on the potential loss of earth’s resources to the climate crisis. Her style of design allows an aesthetic read on critical issues.
Feature image: Eva Viola Emmermann, designer; MBFW_Sep21_NeoFashionAward_PR_Getty_for_Nowadays_147