Māgoa presents Christina Schatzeder, an Austrian designer who fulfilled her dream and started her own brand Cha.rak.ter couture. We are all very excited to see her new fashion line at this year’s LJFW. Read more about her work in today’s interview down bellow.
When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?
Actually, I can’t really define when it was, but I think I knew it already when I was a child. I always had so many creative ideas and I thought the best way to realize them is to become a designer.
Did you always want to work in fashion? Where did you study?
I am a dreamer and one dream was to become a fashion designer. I always just loved the idea of creating, but not only in fashion, it is just one part of all I mainly do. At 15 I started to visit a school of fashion for 5 years in upper Austria, in my hometown and then I moved to Vienna to make the master of bespoke tailoring.
Who was your biggest inspiration when starting out as a designer?
I had not a special inspiration, I just wanted to realize ideas.
What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?
Fear, self-doubt and financial uncertainty are always an issue when you are starting a business, but I think it is also a great opportunity to find a way to handle your fear. You have to find the right motivation to understand even when you make mistakes, you always learn something and the next time you make it better.
My first collection was called FREE OF FEAR, and I wanted to encourage one to feel free and to pursue new paths, to rise to new global as well as personal challenges.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style really depends on my feelings, sometimes I just love to experiment with my style or even change my style and that is also why I love fashion you can change whenever you want.
What is your favourite part about being a designer?
I love doing the research for a new collection and then mix and match the different parts to create a collection.
How do you want people to feel when wearing your clothes?
I want that they are proud and motivated about themselves. People should feel confident and relaxed wearing my clothes.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Take a long break or go on a journey before starting your business.
What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?
First, I thought I can manage everything alone, but the reality is you have to be open for support. You can’t do it all on yourself.
What is your favourite latest fashion trend and which one you dislike the most?
I really love that you see everywhere this touch of neon colours, it’s really great. The bright colours just make you happy.
Well, I think there is not something I really dislike, because it depends so much on the character who is wearing the trend items.
What was your inspiration for your BREATHE collection? What does it stand for?
I asked myself the question when does the moment come when we concentrate on breathing and simply let new perspectives affect us.
Attitudes to life such as BEING · BALANCE & BELIEF are the main inspiration of the collection.
I wanted to show the lightness of being in a combination of moving silhouettes, fine fabrics and attention-grabbing craftsmanship that creates a new dynamic elegance with an unexpected feel-good factor.
What are some of the most important factors when making new designs and picking the materials for them?
Each collection for me is like an education, I want to learn more and I want to experiment more. Sometimes I see materials that are normally not planned to be used for clothes, but I like the way to show that actually there is always a way to make something different than usual. So sometimes I see a fabric and know exactly what design I want to make out of it and sometimes on the other way, I draw some designs and I make different trials to choose the right fabric.
What’s your take on sustainable fashion?
We have to realise that the way we acted in the past in the fashion industry has to be changed and there is just one way to continue, it has to be the sustainable way. This means we have to create a way which is most considerate of humanity and the environment.
You opened your design studio in Vienna in 2017. What lead you to it, was it a rocky road to where you are now?
It was always my plan to create my own brand, but after completing my education, I wanted to gain more experience in the fashion industry first. Therefore, in 2009 I moved to Paris to work there, but unexpectedly after a year, I ended up in Côte d’Ivoire.
I loved it and learned a lot, but after 5.5 years in Côte d’Ivoire I decided to finally realize my dream by creating the brand Cha·rạk·ter in Vienna.
Creating your own business is never easy and will never be easy, but if you love what you do there exist always solutions for the difficulties.
What kind of role in your opinion does the social media play in fashion today?
Social media plays such a strong and important role in fashion. I love the idea that with social media you are able to communicate all around the world and therefore it’s an easy possibility to show your work a large crowd of people.
What advice would you give to young designers just starting out in the industry?
Don’t think too much, just do it.
You are presenting your new fashion line in LJFW this year, as a matter a fact you are closing the last show of the season. Is this your first time presenting your work in Ljubljana?
Actually, it’s my first time being in Slovenia and therefore I am really excited presenting my collection in Ljubljana. The LJFW is such a great opportunity for my young brand, I am really glad to be part of it.
What can we expect from your fashion line at the show?
You should expect the unexpected ;). The feeling for the show is: Breathe deeply and immerse yourself in new worlds.
What does the future hold for you next?
I don’t plan too far ahead so it’s more fun to be open for something unexpected or some surprises.
Christina, thank you very much for your time and answers. The best of luck with your career and upcoming projects!
Visit Character’s Instagram.
Photography: Geetha Breier