I must admit the fashion world bores me sometimes and I am particularly talking about the plus fashion world. I just think that this industry often lacks originality, no matter which online shop I am looking at… everywhere is the same stuff. Finding new, refreshing labels which are motivated to make a change, trying out something new and original, is really rare, so you can imagine how stoked I am when I come across such labels. VAN DER NAG is one of these labels. Founded and directed by Tanja Nagy, VAN DER NAG is standing out due to smart and minimal designs, clean tailoring, high-quality garments and uniqueness. Though the label is positioned in Berlin (Germany), VAN DER NAG offers a world wide shipping. The sizing reaches from EU42 (UK14 /US12) to EU54 (UK26 /US24).
I have been lucky to meet Tanja through Instagram and that she has volunteered to answer some of my questions (see interview below). She has also been so kind to send me a piece of her collection. My outfit post containing this wonderful piece will follow up shortly.
I must say I can’t wait to see what Tanja and VAN DER NAG hold in store for us!
*All pictures are property of VAN DER NAG
First of all I would like to know what has moved you to establish a fashion label for plus size women? Is that something you have always wanted to do or is it an idea which you have developed recently?
Working in the fashion industry I was always surrounded by beautiful clothes that I couldn’t have access to. I always felt like an outsider and my style was always really limited by my size. I love fashion and I deeply love my job but the whole industry had an “ideal body” image problem that still unfortunately holds true to this day. I didn’t want to-and still don’t want to- conform to the unrealistic body image and often unhealthy standard that is being sold to society. I was never strong enough to stand up or fight these “ideal” body standards, but one day I decided that I wanted to change my current situation. I am a fashion designer and a plus size myself, so it was about time that I started being part of the change.
I have read that you have worked for labels and designers in London, if that is correct. Would you say that working for these labels have had any influence in the way you have created your first collection?
Yes, definitely working for other brands strongly influenced my first collection, especially the last job I had with Hermione Flynn in Berlin. I had the privilege to work alongside her during the creation of (IN)DIFFERENCE, in which she helped open my mind about not being scared to break down barriers, mock fashion and to create new concepts.
What has been your inspiration for your collection and where do you usually draw your inspiration from? Does current situations in society, lifestyle or economy affect your perception of fashion in any way?
The inspiration of my collection is men’s tailoring. I am playing with the “strictness” that comes from tailored garments, taking into consideration the problem that a woman with curves can face wearing those clothes. I have made the garments more fluid on the body, and have eased the strictness whilst “dismantling” the typical tailored garments in mixing them up a little.
Everything around me in the diverse city of Berlin inspires me. I am constantly observing people, places, and the many interesting sights that Berlin has to offer!
Visiting museums and experiencing Art is also a fundamental part of my creative thoughts process.
This summer, I went to the south of Italy and was astounded by the beauty of the architecture that was in front of me. One day I was looking up at the buildings of this pretty town on the sea, and I completely fell in love with the palette, which I will probably use in the future! My head constantly works to process and re-iterate where I live and the sights I see everyday, thus applying it to my work.
How many collections can we expect per year from you?
Now I am working on the Fall/Winter collection 2018 and this year I won’t have a Summer Collection, but from next year I will produce two collections a year: Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer.
When I compare the German plus size industry to the ones of our neighbouring countries, such as Britain, I feel like we are far behind when it comes to innovative fashion. What I am missing the most is good tailoring, intelligent and minimal designs and sophistication – which I happily see in your collection. How do you experience the development of the German fashion industry compared to others? And does that affect you and your artistry in any way?
Thank you Isabell, I am glad to hear that! I agree with you, I find the German plus size industry far behind in comparison to the rest of the fashion world. I would also add that it is rather outdated and old fashioned. I feel that Germans are a bit scared to dress outside the box (ha!) and to push pass normality. Although they are open minded about many things and I admire them for that, when it comes to fashion, dressing is kept low key and there is a fear of experimentation. It affects me as a designer but I try my best to filter the information and use what actually doesn’t block my creativity. London I feel is more risky and innovative about fashion, which is why I wanted to study there. I wanted to learn how to open my mind about design, and how I could be fashion-forward and innovative.
Do you have a team behind you or are you doing everything yourself?
It’s half and half- sometimes I am working with pattern makers and seamstresses and other times I do everything myself.
I really love the fact that you see the importance of high-quality fabrics. Do you provide fabrics and ingredients yourself or do you provide them by suppliers? Anyway, do you have any specific requirements towards the source of your materials?
Personally for me, fabrics are the make it or break it of a collection. I use very little synthetic fabrics, I have mainly natural fibers and you can see how it affects the garment when you wear it or when you touch it. I meticulously pick and choose the suppliers. I have a huge love for Italian craftsmanship so therefore 80% of my fabrics come from Italy.
How can I imagine the process of production? What happens after a customer has ordered a piece from your shop? Are the clothes already made or are they produced individually for every customer after the order placement?
At the moment everything is made to order, every request takes up to 3 weeks to have the garment fully completed. Depending on the time and season, I either produce it all on my own or with the help of other seamstresses.
What are your plans for the future?
I stand for body positivity and I don’t want to discriminate any body of any size therefore for next collections I want to have more sizes available. When it comes to future collections, I will be using more sustainable fabrics and recycled fibers. As well, a line of Basics made of organic fabrics is in the works!