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Blog 1706 Shakkei
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The creative class: Shakkei

These days when the word “sustainability” has degenerated to the point of being meaningless, it is refreshing to see a fashion label such as Shakkei make “green fashion” look like a credible and honourable idea.

Gabriel Baradee’s label is a reli­ably reg­u­lar pres­ence at Vien­na Fash­ion Week. He remains faith­ful to his eco­log­i­cal demands and is demon­strat­ing this through the way he relates to his staff, his choice of mate­ri­als and pro­duc­tion meth­ods. But none of this hap­pens at the expense of aes­thet­ic val­ues. In our inter­view the Vien­na-based design­er who found­ed his label in 2009, tells us all about how green” and fash­ion” can go togeth­er, where there’s still some catch­ing up to do, and why it is per­fect for him to be based in Vienna’s sev­enth dis­trict, Neubau.

Before embark­ing on your fash­ion degree you did Japan­ese stud­ies. What made you choose this edu­ca­tion­al route?
In a way, Japan­ese stud­ies pre­pared me for study­ing fash­ion. Japan is still a huge source of inspi­ra­tion for my work. You can also tell that from my label’s name Shakkei”. I have always been fas­ci­nat­ed by hand­craft, by Japan­ese art, wood­cuts, origa­mi, ike­bana and all those amaz­ing arts. These are all influ­ences that flow into my own work.

Sus­tain­abil­i­ty is a fre­quent­ly used word. What does it mean to you?
It is an overused term, and I define my label as a fash­ion label first, and only then in terms of being green” and sus­tain­able”. I think it’s real­ly impor­tant that the design aspect does not get neglect­ed. Sus­tain­abil­i­ty is an add on” to us. What does that mean to us? We base it on three dif­fer­ent pil­lars: One is the cloth and the mate­r­i­al, so we use a lot of eco­log­i­cal­ly sound or cer­ti­fied mate­ri­als. The sec­ond pil­lar is pro­duc­tion: we are still pro­duc­ing 85 per­cent of our clothes in Aus­tria, so it’s local. And the third pil­lar is dis­tri­b­u­tion. We make small and tight col­lec­tions, and we pro­duce only in small runs, so when we’re run­ning out of some­thing we get anoth­er pro­duc­tion done. This way we nev­er have large over­stock that we would then have to sell off cheap­ly at the sale of the sale of the sale.

How do you see the future of sus­tain­abil­i­ty in fash­ion?
I’m hop­ing it will devel­op along the lines of nutri­tion or cos­met­ics. I have a feel­ing that we are still at the begin­ning. We’ll need to get to the point where there is a green-wear depart­ment in every high end bou­tique, just as they have an organ­ic line of prod­ucts in every super­mar­ket. But it’s still a long way to go. Stores show very lit­tle sus­tain­able evening wear, for example.

You are per­fect­ly locat­ed here on Ulrich­splatz in Neubau. What is it that has attract­ed you to this quar­ter?
For a start, it’s a very urban envi­ron­ment that suits my fash­ion real­ly well. Apart from that, I’m prof­it­ing from the loca­tion, because it’s obvi­ous­ly a cool dis­trict that is also a favorite among many vis­it­ing tourists. We have a lot of tourist cus­tomers. We are close to the Muse­um­sQuarti­er, there are chic hotels, amaz­ing bars and restau­rants in the area. You quick­ly feel at home here.

Images cour­tesy of Zara Pfeifer.

14 Jun 2017 · neubau eyewear