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Blog 1706 Shakkei

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