Something of an oddity in fashion, Faustine Steinmetz has a giant loom at the heart of her Whitechapel studio that isn’t decorative. The young designer from the suburbs of Paris weaves all her own fabric using techniques she learned from YouTube tutorials: “I wanted people to know that if they pay a high price, someone has been weaving the fabric for them for a week.”
Inspired by Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please, Steinmetz reimagines jeans and other iconic staples of street culture. Her first collection of hand-woven jackets and trousers look like classic stonewashed Levis, but a closer look reveals layer upon layer of pale, distressed yarn. This season she recreated Adidas poppers, a mock-denim jacket and an A-line skirt. But her real triumphs are her copper pieces. Steinmetz became obsessed with weaving strands of the metal into delicate silks. The resulting fabric is a feat of craftsmanship: clothes closer to sculptures than apparel. Scrunch the waistband of AW14’s jeans and they hold their twisted shape; crumple the cuff of a trench and it bends into position dutifully. In Faustine’s hands, everyday staples become works of art.
“Casualwear is really important for me because I always looked up to my brother,” she explains. “He was the first person I knew who discovered Air Max and I was really impressed. He died about 10 years ago. And I think this is why I probably just recreate his clothing over and over again, maybe.”
In a world saturated by fast fashion, Steinmetz rejects expectations, trends and labels. She doesn’t even like to be called a fashion designer. “I’m trying to avoid thinking that I am the USP [unique selling point] because I don’t think the designer should be. Because, you know, we all have quite generic ideas. You just have to find a way to make them special.”
Left: body by Falke; coat by Faustine Steinmetz; earrings stylist’s own.Right: body as before; dress by Faustine Steinmetz
Styling assistant: Susanna CavallaroPhotography assistant: Mio Matsuzawa