Ever since she can remember, Leonie Barth has always been fascinated by designing and being creative. Moreover, she has been always interested in philosophy and social sciences. Leonie Barth studied at the University of Applied Sciences in Bielefeld, presenting “Ich ist ein Anderer” (I is an other) as her graduate collection. This fashion collection was designed with human science as inspiration. But, what is for Leonie “human science”?
For Leonie, fashion is an important component of our social being. She is a very visual person, so she could not imagine to do anything else than designing.
The first time Leonie Barth got in touch with eco fashion was when she interned at Honest by Bruno Pieters in Antwerp in 2013. “After I finished my Masters, I was selected to be one of the fashion finalists of 2014 at ITS contest (International Talent Support Award) where I was awarded with the Samsung Galaxy Award for the design I created for them. Afterwards, I moved to London and started to work for Mother of Pearl, a British runway brand, as Design Assistant to the Creative Director. I was in charge of designing the accessories. After 1 year and a half I decided to move on and start working for COS in accessories design”.
Leonie Barth has quite a few second hand clothes in her wardrobe- a lot of vintage denims. “I prefer the quality as well which is more authentic than denim you can buy on high street. Basically buying second hand is one of the most eco-friendly things to do. I am also wearing a lot of COS. Mainly because I know exactly where our products are coming from and a lot of pieces in the collection are made out of organic qualities. COS is paying a lot of attention to this, without feeling the need of advertising it. This responsibility just comes natural and the goal is to be 100% sustainable in the future. It is very exciting and amazing to be part of this process and I am proud of wearing our clothes” – she explain us.
In London there are so many great places to dine out and eat locally sourced products. Even a lot of pubs are doing this. We ask her to recommend our readers some of them. “Around my place ( I live in Dalston) a new Mildreds just opened- really good organic vegan food. Even for lunch you have so many options, if you want healthy and organic food. I can also recommend Ethos Restaurant, a place in central London- really good food. Theres also a farmers market every Sunday opposite side of my house which is really amazing because all the products come from local farmers”.
Leonie thinks being eco-friendly really means being conscious about what we are doing and consuming. “Do I really need a carrier bag when I am buying one sandwich for lunch? Do I really need to buy all these veggies and fruits that are wrapped in layers of plastic when I have other options? Do I really need to have 20 cheap T-shirts, or maybe its also okay to have five ones that have a good quality so I can wear them for a longer time. Do I really need to throw things away when they are broken? What about just repairing them? I think this is a good start to be ethical.
That is why Leonie likes the great documentary about sustainability “The true cost”, which she really wants to recommend as it is a reminder for how much responsibility we all have, as consumer and, in her case, also as a designer.
Leonie has always been fascinated by the phenomenon of personal identity, how we develop and which context the outer appearance matters for our identity. “At the beginning of my research, I dealt with Jean Paul Sartre’s “Huis Clos” and with Jacques Lacans “Mirrow Stage”, that discusses the awareness of our ego as a subject as well as an object. After my research, my key assumption was, that identity does not exist without a visible surface and its reflections. Mirroring ourselves is imperative to construct or own identity. When I talk about `mirroring´ I do not only mean a surface that reflects ones image, I also want to convey, that we need the reflecting of another person, our counterpart. We can only become socialized personalities by observing and imitating – this is mirroring. The collection is inspired by Lacan’s philosophic thought and the resulting idea that our mirror image completes our identity”.
“The collection follows the principles of symmetry and expresses the complementation of our egos. Clothes develop through the reflection of their own image. Missing parts are added and existing parts are reflected to create completeness”- concludes Leonie, which take us to another galaxy with her words. This is pure fashion art, don’t you think so? And it is sustainable, what more can we ask for?