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In Conversation with Odeeh's Otto Drögsler and Jörg Ehrlich

Last week, as a part of Mer­cedes-Benz Fash­ion Week Ber­lin, we atten­ded the ODEEH fash­ion show that took place at the Ber­lin insti­tu­tion, Kraft­werk. The run­way show was not only a show­case of the eccent­ric brand’s new col­lec­tion but also a dis­play of a cooper­a­tion we’re proud to be a part of: ODEE­HxNEUBAU. For this cooper­a­tion, Odeeh spun a little magic on our clas­sic neubau Sarah3D frames which were adorned by mod­els on the run­way in new tints and shades!

Odeeh is quint­es­sen­tially Ber­lin; avant-garde, cre­at­ive and one of a kind. Hav­ing worked for big names in the fash­ion industry for most of their lives, Otto Drögsler and Jörg Ehr­lich foun­ded their brand after noti­cing the neg­at­ive impacts of the fash­ion industry at large. ODEEH was thus cre­ated with the inten­tion of chal­len­ging the indus­tri­al­ist val­ues of lar­ger brands and instead focus­ing on crafts­man­ship. Their entire pro­cess from the incep­tion of their col­lec­tion to the final products, is an ode to long stand­ing meth­ods — one that pre­serves both tra­di­tion­al prac­tices and advoc­ates con­scious con­sump­tion. We got a chance to sit down with them for a quick chat after their suc­cess­ful run­way show to dis­cuss the evol­u­tion of their brand, cur­rent inspir­a­tions and goals for the new year.

1) How would you describe your brand in one sentence?

We think it’s bet­ter to describe the ODEEH women — one who is curi­ous, open minded, tol­er­ant and inter­ested in dress­ing her­self playfully. 

2) What inspired you to start ODEEH?

After work­ing for big estab­lished names in the fash­ion industry for over two dec­ades, we had a kind of dream; start­ing our own, man­u­fac­ture-driv­en design house. It was and still is dom­in­ated by this thought: the big­ger ver­sion of some­thing is not always the bet­ter choice. 

3) What practices do you adopt in your designing and manufacturing processes that you consider anti-industrialist, one of the founding principles of ODEEH?

The main issue we try to main­tain in the pro­cess of design­ing is sketch­ing all designs by hand. After that we devel­op the three-dimen­sion­al pat­tern pro­cess by start­ing with a so called toile”; Which means for every mod­el we start by devel­op­ing it in a white plan fab­ric once Otto is done with the sketch. This is a tech­nique all tra­di­tion­al pret a port­er houses still work with.

4) Your collections are eclectic and unique—where do you get inspiration from?

Hon­estly from every­where, some­times in very coin­cid­ent­al situ­ations — you would­n’t expect any­thing. These unex­pec­ted, prob­ably in a more unique way inspir­ing, situ­ations can be very abstract, but for us are often a start­ing point to cre­ate some­thing spe­cial. As our friend and col­league Paul Smith once said: You can find inspir­a­tion in everything!

(Behind the scene at ODEE­H’s run­way show)

5) What is your process of sourcing materials and fabrics for your collection and to what extent are you keeping sustainability in mind while doing so?

We work dir­ectly with the best weav­ing mills in Italy. Fab­ric fairs are not very essen­tial in our sourcing pro­cess. Rather, it is the dir­ect dia­logue with a hand­ful of our weav­ing part­ners near Lake Como, that we value. Almost 100 % of our fab­rics are pro­duced in Italy and 90 % of our cot­tons are organ­ic, not to men­tion that our per­cent­age of sus­tain­able fab­rics is grow­ing every sea­son. Pro­duc­tion is con­cen­trated on small man­u­fac­tur­ing ateliers in Ger­many and Europe, keep­ing all our pro­duc­tion pro­cesses as near as possible.

Fair part­ner­ships are noth­ing we loudly talk about, they are obvious!

6) What are some of the big threats in the fashion industry today that you think brands like ODEEH are successfully tackling?

Find­ing the bal­ance between grow­ing eco­nom­ic­ally while try­ing to think and behave small at the same time. It is import­ant to us to not be dom­in­ated by a busi­ness energy — that does not leave us space for the prin­ciples we defined when we star­ted 10 years ago.

7) How did you decide to collaborate with neubau and did you already design eyewear before?

This is our first eye­wear cooper­a­tion and we are very excited about this pro­ject. We were drawn to neubau for two reas­ons. The first being the products’ sens­ib­il­ity we felt when we first saw the neubau product line. We imme­di­ately thought that neubau will under­stand what we like. Secondly, the chem­istry; how we felt when we first talked, good com­mu­nic­a­tion and a good com­mon sense is essen­tial when you want to build some­thing togeth­er. In this case, it is not only about the product itself but also the human factor that is intangible. 

8) How do you think fashion and personal style play a role in helping us understand an individual?

We believe that the way you dress your­self can be an ideal tool to express your­self without words. It gives a first impres­sion and can be very power­ful. Cloth­ing and fash­ion can pro­tect you, enable and empower you in vari­ous situ­ations. It is chal­len­ging, to ideally help our cus­tom­ers by what we do with ODEEH.

Neubau eyewear x Odeeh Fall Winter 2020 Modell Sarah 3 D 19
9) How do you hope to see the brand grow/ what are some of your goals in this next year?

Vis­ib­il­ity is key and we don’t believe in con­ven­tion­al big advert­ising cam­paigns or strategies that are driv­en by a cor­por­ate sense. That is why cooper­a­tions like ODEEHNEUBAU are sub­stant­ive and essen­tial for us. Such part­ner­ships enlarge com­munit­ies on both sides, a win-win pos­sib­il­ity for both.

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