#8 Naked Garments

STEPHANIE
POTHEN

For years Stephanie Pothen followed the beat of the fashion industry, regularly showing her collections at the Düsseldorf Fashion Fair and supplying international retailers, until, in 2011, she decided to open her “slow fashion” atelier in Düsseldorf Carlstadt. The speed of the industry restricted her. In search for more freedom and direct contact with the customer, she chose self-determination!

Stephanie Pothen, Düsseldorf

“I dream of women dressing beautifully in everyday life again, and also feeling a bit elegant and that this is the most normal thing in the world"

Date

22.01.2021

Text

Monika Hauck

Stephanie Pothen produces timeless fashion for a woman who walks with grace and confidence through life.

Tell us about yourself and your work

I am a fashion designer and create fashion for women. This is my passion. My collection appeals to a woman who does not follow trends but is always in style. The basis of the concept is to serve the women of today individually through my own store. Twice a year I develop a new collection. You can only find it in my store, which is also my studio. Care, quality, craftsmanship and sustainable production – these aspects form the basis of my work. Each piece is made by small tailor businesses in and around Düsseldorf – including the small customizations. This is how individual items of clothing are created, which you can love for years.

Buying clothes at my atelier is a very different experience and it may take a little more time. It is quite different if you order a garment anonymously or if you try it on and try it out together with the designer. You slip into it, you look in the mirror and feel, yes, this is my dress, this is me. Maybe the waist is a little too wide, maybe it should be a little longer or shorter – it will be custom fitted and ultimately it will look like it was tailor-made. In this way, a garment will become a companion through life, in which one feels beautiful and secure. In this way, clothes will also last for many years. It gives me great joy when I see customers coming back to my studio wearing fashion pieces, which they bought 10 or even 15 years ago.

 

What makes you passionate about your job?

Learning the profession of a fashion designer was my childhood dream. Thus, already very early on, at the age of 24, I founded the Stephanie Pothen label. I work according to the credo of designing only the clothes that I would wear myself. I love my work more than anything. The mixture of creativity and craft. The thinking, the concentration, the search for beautiful materials, the emotional ups and downs until the collection is ready. It is exhausting, but I love the challenge of creating something new every six months. After more than thirty years I am still excited when I go to a fabric retailer or when I am doing a fitting for a fashion show. It is a great moment when I can look at the new collection for the first time at a distance – the doubts disappear. This passion and dedication is possible because I do not have to account to anyone. I can follow my own rhythm and instinct. The relationship with the people who work with me, but also with some of my clients, has become close. This is a wonderful feeling.

“Buying clothes at my atelier is a very different
experience and it may take a little more time. It is quite
a difference if you order a garment anonymously or
if you try it on together with the designer.”

Stephanie Pothen

Who are your professional heroes?

Vivienne Westwood – still crazy after all those years.

 

The best investment you have ever done?

“Die Mause”, a small and very agile fabric cutting machine, which I bought right at the beginning of my career.

 

When and how do you decide what you will wear? 

I decide what will I wear five minutes before I leave the house. The secret to this is that I have a relatively small wardrobe and wear a lot of dresses. Dresses are easy. Dresses are also great for a woman who does not have much time in the morning for styling – the only thing you have to match are shoes and accessories.

Favourite piece of clothing?

Currently, my favourite fashion items are my sneakers from the brand Hidnander which I bought at the Identita Italiana store, right at the Düsseldorf Carlsplatz. They are 100% made in Italy and you cannot buy them online, just in store. I wear them almost every day. I like to match them with my elegant dresses. In the past, I would have always worn elegant high heels with a dress. Nowadays, I really enjoy wearing sneakers and walking through life with confidence and in wide steps – this is also what I recommend to my clients.

 

Can clothes evoke memories?

Yes, it often happens to me. When I see some of my clothes I can think of special situations. Or vice versa: I always know what I wore in which situation because, for me, my clothes are like my second skin.

 

You seem to have a close connection to your clothing. How do you care for it?

I handle my clothes with great care. I never just leave them lying around somewhere. I also try to not over wash or over dry-clean. Instead, always hang my clothes on a good wooden hanger and bring them outside for airing.

 

What do you do with your old clothes? 

I routinely review my wardrobe and sort out the things which I no longer wear. Some things I give away to people in need, others I bring to the secondhand store for resale. The store Liebligsstücke in Düsseldorf Flingern is great for this.

 

What is sustainable design for you?

Things that are durable, repairable and so well-designed that you like to wear them and live with them even after many years. Materials are very important for sustainability in fashion but in my opinion a well-thought-through design is just as important. At the end of the day, you will buy less.

“Materials are very important for sustainability
in fashion, but in my opinion a well-thought-through design is just as important. At the end of the day,
you will buy less.”

Stephanie Pothen

What do you think about the unisex clothing? 

I think I will never be able to identify with this idea. I design clothes exclusively for women – stressing their femininity was always at the core of my work.

 

What do you associate with the city of Düsseldorf?

I live in Düsseldorf since I am 20. It feels good to live here. We have the river Rhine, many parks and a lively art and theater scene. But the city is also somehow sleepy. Really exciting, inspiring and courageous things hardly ever happen here. I wished for more radical ideas and concepts, also in fashion.

 

Do you have favourite places and restaurants in Düsseldorf?

I love the small parks in Düsseldorf and I always discover new ones. The riverbank – always good when I have to think something through and make a decision.

When it comes to the restaurants, some of my friends are fantastic cooks, so hardly any restaurant can compete with a great dinner at a friends’ place.

What is the best thing on the planet earth?

Nature of course. It reminds us again and again that it will outlive us. We are just visitors on this planet.

 

What is the best thing about getting older? 

I like myself much more than before and feel that I can rely more on my inner strength and intuition.

 

Key learnings in 2020.

The last year was certainly very tough for many of us and on different levels. But on the positive side, 2020 gave me time to reflect and work on the things which I have been neglecting. I have a loyal customer base here in Düsseldorf, which enjoys the personal shopping experience in my atelier. But, for quite some time, I wanted to get more digital, expand my reach and be reachable to people outside of Düsseldorf as well. The lockdown situation gave me time and also an extra motivation to finally finish my Online Shop concept, which just went live.

 

If you could time travel, where would you go?

My ambition is to be completely in this moment.

 

What is the best present for yourself?

A session of yoga.­­­­

 

When you meet someone for the first time, you pay attention to…

The eyes.

WE THANK SAY YAS TO YOUR BEAUTY
FOR THE WONDERFUL MAKE-UP!

#8 Naked Garments
STEPHANIE
POTHEN

For years Stephanie Pothen followed the beat of the fashion industry, regularly showing her collections at the Düsseldorf Fashion Fair and supplying international retailers, until, in 2011, she decided to open her “slow fashion” atelier in Düsseldorf Carlstadt. The speed of the industry restricted her. In search for more freedom and direct contact with the customer, she chose self-determination!

#8 STEPHANIE POTHEN

“I dream of women dressing beautifully
in everyday life again,
and also feeling a bit
elegant and that this
is the most normal thing in the world"

Date

22.01.2021

Text

Monika Hauck

Stephanie Pothen produces timeless fashion for a woman who walks with grace and confidence through life.

Tell us about yourself and your work

I am a fashion designer and create fashion for women. This is my passion. My collection appeals to a woman who does not follow trends but is always in style. The basis of the concept is to serve the women of today individually through my own store. Twice a year I develop a new collection. You can only find it in my store, which is also my studio. Care, quality, craftsmanship and sustainable production – these aspects form the basis of my work. Each piece is made by small tailor businesses in and around Düsseldorf – including the small customizations. This is how individual items of clothing are created, which you can love for years.

Buying clothes at my atelier is a very different experience and it may take a little more time. It is quite different if you order a garment anonymously or if you try it on and try it out together with the designer. You slip into it, you look in the mirror and feel, yes, this is my dress, this is me. Maybe the waist is a little too wide, maybe it should be a little longer or shorter – it will be custom fitted and ultimately it will look like it was tailor-made. In this way, a garment will become a companion through life, in which one feels beautiful and secure. In this way, clothes will also last for many years. It gives me great joy when I see customers coming back to my studio wearing fashion pieces, which they bought 10 or even 15 years ago.

 

What makes you passionate about your job?

Learning the profession of a fashion designer was my childhood dream. Thus, already very early on, at the age of 24, I founded the Stephanie Pothen label. I work according to the credo of designing only the clothes that I would wear myself. I love my work more than anything. The mixture of creativity and craft. The thinking, the concentration, the search for beautiful materials, the emotional ups and downs until the collection is ready. It is exhausting, but I love the challenge of creating something new every six months. After more than thirty years I am still excited when I go to a fabric retailer or when I am doing a fitting for a fashion show. It is a great moment when I can look at the new collection for the first time at a distance – the doubts disappear. This passion and dedication is possible because I do not have to account to anyone. I can follow my own rhythm and instinct. The relationship with the people who work with me, but also with some of my clients, has become close. This is a wonderful feeling.

“Buying clothes at my
atelier is a very different
experience and it may take
a little more time.
It is quite a difference
if you order a garment
anonymously or if you
try it on together
with the designer.”

Staphanie Pothen

Who are your professional heroes?

Vivienne Westwood – still crazy after all those years.

 

The best investment you have ever done?

“Die Mause”, a small and very agile fabric cutting machine, which I bought right at the beginning of my career.

 

When and how do you decide what you will wear? 

I decide what will I wear five minutes before I leave the house. The secret to this is that I have a relatively small wardrobe and wear a lot of dresses. Dresses are easy. Dresses are also great for a woman who does not have much time in the morning for styling – the only thing you have to match are shoes and accessories.

Favourite piece of clothing?

Currently, my favourite fashion items are my sneakers from the brand Hidnander which I bought at the Identita Italiana store, right at the Düsseldorf Carlsplatz. They are 100% made in Italy and you cannot buy them online, just in store. I wear them almost every day. I like to match them with my elegant dresses. In the past, I would have always worn elegant high heels with a dress. Nowadays, I really enjoy wearing sneakers and walking through life with confidence and in wide steps – this is also what I recommend to my clients.

 

Can clothes evoke memories?

Yes, it often happens to me. When I see some of my clothes I can think of special situations. Or vice versa: I always know what I wore in which situation because, for me, my clothes are like my second skin.

 

You seem to have a close connection to your clothing. How do you care for it?

I handle my clothes with great care. I never just leave them lying around somewhere. I also try to not over wash or over dry-clean. Instead, always hang my clothes on a good wooden hanger and bring them outside for airing.

 

What do you do with your old clothes? 

I routinely review my wardrobe and sort out the things which I no longer wear. Some things I give away to people in need, others I bring to the secondhand store for resale. The store Liebligsstücke in Düsseldorf Flingern is great for this.

 

What is sustainable design for you?

Things that are durable, repairable and so well-designed that you like to wear them and live with them even after many years. Materials are very important for sustainability in fashion but in my opinion a well-thought-through design is just as important. At the end of the day, you will buy less.

“Materials are very
important for
sustainability in fashion, but in my opinion
a well-thought-through
design is just as
important. At the end
of the day, you will
buy less.”

Stephanie Pothen

What do you think about the unisex clothing? 

I think I will never be able to identify with this idea. I design clothes exclusively for women – stressing their femininity was always at the core of my work.

 

What do you associate with the city of Düsseldorf?

I live in Düsseldorf since I am 20. It feels good to live here. We have the river Rhine, many parks and a lively art and theater scene. But the city is also somehow sleepy. Really exciting, inspiring and courageous things hardly ever happen here. I wished for more radical ideas and concepts, also in fashion.

 

Do you have favourite places and restaurants in Düsseldorf?

I love the small parks in Düsseldorf and I always discover new ones. The riverbank – always good when I have to think something through and make a decision.

When it comes to the restaurants, some of my friends are fantastic cooks, so hardly any restaurant can compete with a great dinner at a friends’ place.

What is the best thing on the planet earth?

Nature of course. It reminds us again and again that it will outlive us. We are just visitors on this planet.

 

What is the best thing about getting older? 

I like myself much more than before and feel that I can rely more on my inner strength and intuition.

 

Key learnings in 2020.

The last year was certainly very tough for many of us and on different levels. But on the positive side, 2020 gave me time to reflect and work on the things which I have been neglecting. I have a loyal customer base here in Düsseldorf, which enjoys the personal shopping experience in my atelier. But, for quite some time, I wanted to get more digital, expand my reach and be reachable to people outside of Düsseldorf as well. The lockdown situation gave me time and also an extra motivation to finally finish my online shop concept, which just went live.

 

If you could time travel, where would you go?

My ambition is to be completely in this moment.

 

What is the best present for yourself?

A session of yoga.­­­­

 

When you meet someone for the first time, you pay attention to…

The eyes.

WE THANK SAY YAS TO YOUR BEAUTY FOR THE WONDERFUL MAKE-UP!