The prodigious process of designing and creating items with a structure starting from one only thread is the core of Katharina Dubbick’s creative evolution.
The Berlin-based talent brings knitwear to the next level, supported by multidisciplinary research which draws from a variety of art forms including sculpture and fragrance.
What is your vision of knitwear? Why did you make it central in your project and production?
My interest in knitwear started from my studies at the Royal College of Art in London.
As a knitwear designer, I am able to design a garment with every little detail, influenced by the structure of the knit and I love the idea of building something tactile starting from a single thread, taking advantage of the benefits it brings. Just to mention one, it’s a no-waste approach since everything I design is fully fashioned with no cutting nor discarding any fabrics or other materials.
What would you say is your primary aesthetical inspiration?
I love to take inspiration from things that are not typical fashion inspiration.
Sculpture, for instance. I like to look at sculptures by Hans Arp, Jean Arp and Henri Moore. It’s like organic shapes remind me of abstract bodies.
My work is also rooted in fragrance. During my time at the RCA I collaborated with a perfumer, Meabh McCurtain, for the creation of a fragrance enhancing your body odor, instead of covering and modifying it.
I guess this kind of vision affected my work a lot, since most of my knitwear is close to the skin and enhances the body and its shapes.
For the production of your items you built a trustful collaboration with Italian artisans. What kind of expertise can you find there and nowhere else?
Yes, I do work a lot with Italian artisans and I find a great value there, but not only in Italy.
I work closely with a small factory in Veneto and others in London and Amsterdam. They are all amazing programmers that have a lot of technical knowledge. For me, personal relationships are important to build trust and get the best from everybody’s effort. Concerning the yarns I am using, they all come from Italian yarn mills.
I’d say there is a big shift happening now, where most companies are producing more and more sustainable yarns every season, which is exactly aligned with my intentions.
About sustainability. Among other principles, it seems to be the foundation of your brand’s ethics. Why is it important for your vision?
I think sustainability is a responsibility of every designer nowadays. It’s something we have to take on in the world we live in. We simply can not ignore this urge.
Sourcing good materials, defining the best ways to treat them with a no-waste logic, involving craftsmanship and always keeping an eye on details. This is the handbook of my brand’s ethics.
Use less, maximize the quality!
My attention has been caught by the UNDER MY SKIN collection. I find it interesting how you focused on the study of anatomy and the human body for designing it. What’s the story of this collection and its inspirations?
UNDER MY SKIN is a collection that I have developed with my sister Cissel Dubbick.
We built a solid partnership which shaped our duo project that goes under the name of KCDUBBICK. This collaboration came to life with the project “Knitting the future. 3D printing meets Merino wool” launching the challenge of combining technology with craftsmanship. We joined forces with @dhouselaboratoriourbano @dyloan_ in collaboration with @stratasys @thewoolmarkcompany @royalcollegeofart and we called our project UNDER MY SKIN. The goal we wanted to achieve was to create a 3D printed body and this is what came out of it.
The print is inspired by photos taken with a thermal heat camera, a military tool which maps the body temperature in different colors. We liked the result so much that we decided to digitally print the garments as part of the project.
Are you and Cissel planning to do more stuff together on a regular basis or even make your duo a permanent reality?
Me and my sister live together, she’s two years younger than me and she’s also a fashion creative. She’s doing her masters here in Berlin at the Weißensee Academy of Arts.
We are good as a team, but we are also willing to keep our own projects independent and separated. Since we were children we dreamed about having our own brand together, but our interests are in some ways different so we also need our personal research and creative ways.
Our sundry styles in some ways complement each other, but as we have been doing by now, we’ll keep on getting together naturally, also merging talents for projects which are fun. We are realizing more and more that we are stronger as a team.
Katharina Dubbick undeniably has a definite solid worth. Which ones are the signature-pieces of the brand?
The signature-pieces are the ARP-TOP and the CORPUS-TOP. The ARP-TOP is referencing Hans Arps drawings and sculptures which are a big inspiration of mine, as I already mentioned.
The CORPUS-TOP is using my signature rib structure, which is a combination of viscose and lycra that generates a peculiar rib structure, wonderfully stretchy.
What are your next moves? Tell me something more about your future plans.
I’m in the middle of a re-evaluation of my procedures and there have been a lot of changes within the company. I have also just moved studio to Marzahn, an industrial area of Berlin. It is an exciting new step to start working from the new studio from September.
We are working on the new collection for March next year. There will be a few Unisex/Menswear pieces that I am excited about.
Click here to discover more about Katharina Dubbick!
Interview by Elena Canesso
Art direction/ production @martagonzalezsilla
Ph assistant @rocixaltavx
Models @pablochouchou @claraaatorres