Faustine Steinmetz SS17

WORDS Aya Noel & Alix Waterhouse

Denim sculptor, conceptual designer and craftsman, Faustine Steinmetz has claimed her space between art and fashion. The 35 year-old Parisian worked as a freelance graphic designer after graduating from Central Saint Martins and started her own label in 2013. She is sponsored by NEWGEN, one of the most internationally recognised talent identification schemes, who’s roll call includes Alexander McQueen, Meadham Kirchhoff and Mathew Williamson.

Faustine’s work begins with a classic shape, such as a mini-skirt or denim jacket, she constructs pieces, incorporating as many different materials and techniques as possible. “It’s like the work of a painter, I create the visual first, then I add the detail with a needle.” She reworks fabric, creating texture with labour-intensive techniques such as hand weaving, embroidery or Shibori (a Japanese knotting technique). Flat material is transformed into an almost three-dimensional sculpture, in one collection she cut second-hand jeans into multiple ruffled strips, creating a ‘denim-fur’ jacket.

Inspired by Joseph Kosuth, a conceptual artist from the 60s, Faustine says, “every object needs meaning.” She wants to create pieces that have a strong significance for everybody, finding her own vocabulary, by intensively reinterpreting the same object. This is why she is so fascinated with denim – it exists outside of trends. Denim is part of our collective memory as well as our everyday wardrobe. “I’ve been chopping up denim since I was 14, it’s in my DNA.”

Some designs take weeks to complete, “I love the freedom to create pieces I can spend a long time on.” In her last collection each thread was dyed individually by stirring in a metal vat, then left out in the sun to dry. The process was repeated five times to achieve the desired colour. Some people see her work as a silent protest against the ever accelerating rhythm of the fashion industry, Faustine simply appreciates the beauty of time.

This slow made, accessible couture, is being discovered by a growing audience, hungry for something more authentic. The amount of time and energy put into production is visible in each collection. Her stockists and clients appreciate the craft and innovation behind each unique garment and recognise that Faustine's pace is radically different from the current fashion system, her designs a true alternative to fast fashion.

Each purchase comes with a unique number which allows the buyer to check exactly how the garment is made. If you buy a made-to-order piece, the step-by-step details of the production process are sent to you.  Faustine wants to ensure her clients know exactly where, how and by whom her collection is produced

Using Format