She is one of Austria’s most promising young fashion designers – Sabrina Stadlober is a true fashion rebel, who isn’t afraid of rethinking style, fabrics and fashion in general, without losing focus on high quality and functionality of her menswear designs. The girl from Graz lives her dream and her hard work has already been honored with several design awards, like most recently with the Kastner & Öhler Fashion Award 2015.
Impressed by her authentic and reasonable designs I couldn’t resist but asking her for an interview in which we were talking about herself, her recent collection, who inspires her and how she produces her cloths. Meet the lovely Sabrina Stadlober and get to know a young Austrian designer, who we all have to keep in mind.
pictures by Conny Mirbach
How would you describe your style in 3 words?
smart, functional, reasoned
Did you always want to become a fashion designer? And what did your education look like?
When I was a little girl, I started to draw beautiful dresses. There was never an other option for me, I always loved fabrics and clothes. Only my interests in fashion changed, in my early years I wanted to design Haute Couture dresses, today I am interested in outdoor clothing and sportswear, so the complete opposite.
My fashion based education started at fashion school in Graz, when I was 14 years old. There I gained an education in sewing and pattern construction, while I was doing my A-levels. Afterwards I wanted to learn more about design and aesthetics, so I went to ESMOD in Munich to get a diploma in fashion design.
The combination of these two schools was very helpful for my career, I am educated in design and I know exactly how to realize my ideas.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career, so far?
My toughest challenge, but also best experience, was to develop an own collection in my final year at ESMOD in Munich. At the beginning I was free to do almost everything: wearable clothes, unwearable art, menswear, children, lingerie… This is the beautiful and difficult thing about creating a collection. There are many decisions to make and in the end everything should fit together. While this time I felt stressed and joyful at the same time, with every finished garment my idea grew and became visible. When I look at the result I feel happy and satisfied, I was able to create an authentic project. Of course I would improve a few things, but this fact motivates me to continue with another collection.
How and where do you produce your garments?
Right at the moment I am sewing everything by myself at home in Austria. The advantage is, that I run through the whole development process, from the idea until the finished product. I love sewing and working with my hands. I put so much work and emotion in my garments, so I have a connection to all of them.
Another reason why I sew them by myself is, that I am able to control the quality while the manufacturing process, which is very important to me. This is a temporary solution, I wish to have an atelier one day, with a team that shares my philosophy of fashion. Ideally working in this team should be a benefit for everybody in terms of learning and improving.
Where do you get inspiration for a collection?
My inspiration comes from literature, nature and sportswear. I try to translate these topics into smart design. New inspirations come naturally between projects, topics fascinate me and I do research on them, later I try to involve them somehow into my work.
My first collection was focused on outdoor clothing and expedition. Inspired by “Tom Sawyer” by Marc Twain and men like Thor Heyerdahl, Roald Amundsen und Heinrich Harrer, I created an expedition crew of adventurers and explorers. I developed their equipment from nature studies and expedition elements. The collection contains coats with backpack details, a cape shaped like a tent, functional shirts…
The ambition of my work is to make high quality garments, that could be friends and companions on the way of live.
Who is your favourite designer and/or fashion brand?
My favourite designer is Aitor Throup. He is a British menswear designer with a great sense of aesthetics. His garments are highly innovative and he creates genius concepts. I was able to pass an internship in his Studio last year and it was a great experience. I appreciate his way of working, because he doesn´t follow fashion seasons, he takes the time that he needs to create his garments.
My favourite piece of him is the “MONGOLIA JACKET”, a functional riding jacket that moves with the person, who wears it.
What do you love most about your job and does it have a downside?
What I love most about fashion is the development process of a new product. It is challenging to dress a body right and to choose the right fabric. But at the end of your work, you get a visible and tangible result, in form of a finished garment. Besides for me clothing is a fascinating phenomenon that you cannot avoid. Even if you don’t care about trends, you need garments to keep you warm, or cover and protect your body.Fashion has a great history, there has been almost everything, but technology still allows new creations and inventions.
The downsides of fashion are mass production and wasting resources.
I hope to improve the fashion market a bit, it is important to make people aware of good quality and durability.
If you can open your own store wherever you want in this world, where would it be?
It would be great to have a store in London or New York, the level of fashion is very high there. In this cities are many young creative’s, it is easy to find great partners for collaborations and to inspire each other.
Where do you sell your designs?
At the moment I take personal orders. It gives me the chance to adapt my designs to the individual needs of a person. So I can make sure, that the future owner gets a garment that makes him happy and hopefully accompanies him for many years of his live.
Do you have plans for the future?
I have a few ideas… I want to do garments for women too. The disadvantage of doing menswear is, that I cannot wear all of my designs.
I really enjoyed this interview with Sabrina and hope you feel the same way! If you want to keep track on her work and are interested in her cloths than check out and like her Facebook Page (click here) for more infos.