High fashion made in Germany

Fassbender – High fashion made in Germany

Fassbender is a Hamburg-based design label that combines the elegance of sophisticated tailoring with maximum functionality and resilience.

We talked to Christina Fassbender about her family business, her approach and high fashion made in Germany.

»For me, there was a real gap in the luxury segment that focuses on sustainability and offers garments that can be worn for a lifetime.«
Christina Fassbender in her atelier
Hello Christina, what did your path look like before you founded Fassbender?

Fashion has always been my great passion, both privately and professionally. After my business studies, I worked in the fashion industry and product development for over 10 years. After that time, I just couldn’t stand and support the way the fashion industry works.

The focus was only on the company’s internal contribution margin targets, without taking into account the difficult conditions in countries like Bangaldesh. Moreover, the product itself was no longer in the focus.

How and why did you finally decide to start your own fashion brand?

For me, there was a real gap in the luxury segment that focuses on sustainability and offers garments that can be worn on any occasion and, in the best case, will be worn for a lifetime. This is exactly where Fassbender comes in. It is an extremely fashionable and sustainable luxury brand that does not compromise in any of the areas.

I really wanted to do something that I could stand behind with all my values, something that would make me passionate about my work and perhaps also contribute to making fashion more responsible and “cleaner”. The biggest challenge is still to make the world understand that high fashion can also be “Made in Germany”.

How did the name come about?

Since I was gifted with a, in my opinion, very melodious surname, the decision was quickly made (laughs).

Is your brother still on board with Fassbender and who else might be important?

Sebastian is still an important part of Fassbender. His many years of experience in fabric buying and my passion were the perfect symbiosis. Then, of course, there is my co-designer and creative director Mattias Louwen, who has worked in New York for labels such as Alexander Wang and Calvin Klein.

As a friends and family business, my husband Lukas also supports me with his expertise and as the newest member we have Fatima on board, who takes care of social media and digital.

What do you understand by sustainable business?

The most important thing about sustainable management is not to compromise. Sustainability is an overall concept with many facets and levels. It is simply not enough to work on just one aspect. To be truly sincere about sustainability, you have to free yourself from the expectations of others and allow room for error. The whole thing is a long and fluid process in which you have to try a lot.

In the process, it is important to focus on certain things and to shimmy from one point to another until a circular context with conscious consumption is achieved. When it comes to suppliers, we emphasise certain standards that ensure that everyone is treated fairly and that there are no violations of workers’ rights.

We also take an innovative technology-driven approach to materials. We want to establish new methods and find alternatives to conventional materials that help us rethink sustainability. Holistically and in such a way that our business activities do not come at the expense of the environment or people.

What does the design process look like for you? Where do you draw your inspiration?

I am inspired through everything I see. Sometimes it’s details, art or travel impressions. Inspiration can actually be found everywhere. It’s enough to go out and look around on the streets. The creative exchange with Matti is especially important in the design process as we are constantly exchanging ideas.

Every new season starts with a vintage fitting. Before that, I rummage through all the vintage stores or my family’s wardrobes. We then lock ourselves in for days and create completely new silhouettes and proportions. There are no limits to creativity and we cut, drape or simply recombine. Finally, we pick out the silhouettes that are strongest for us from the looks and start drawing the collection in detail.

At the same time, we are in close contact with our fabric suppliers concerning new developments and innovations. As soon as the collection is drawn, the pattern makers start to make a cut for each style and sew a first proto. So throughout the year we have fittings where we try to bring each garment to perfection.

What does “Fassbender Second Life” stand for?

Fassbender Second Life is the latest addition to the journey of creating a holistic sustainable cycle model. Our customers can choose garments from previous collections and we give them the opportunity to get involved in the design process and create their own personal piece of Fassbender.

In this way, we want to create a collaborative approach that promotes longevity and points out that sustainability and fashion can work together. It just suits the vintage and second-hand spirit that has become a huge trend in recent years.

What are your plans for the future?

We want to make Fassbender even more transparent. Above all, we want to engage more with our community and create a bond through values. As far as our design language is concerned, there is also great potential to create a look that unmistakably stands for Fassbender and everything associated with it.

The pandemic in particular has opened up completely new possibilities in terms of sustainability and conscious handling. We should take advantage of this and continue to develop.

The focus is particularly on the materials, which are the linchpin of every collection for us and which we select using innovative techniques so that we leave the smallest possible footprint.

Thank you, Christina!

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