A faux leather top made from pig’s blood and shoes made from repurposed lederhosen are among 15 contemporary Austrian accessories and fashion designs being shown at VDF’s products fair by the Austrianfashion.net initiative.
The platform promotes work from designers who are born or based in the country, and who produce their products both sustainably and locally.
“We believe small scale Austrian craftsmanship deserves a larger platform than it has, as it is wonderfully rich, diverse and proudly marching towards the sustainable,” said designer Claudia Rosa Lukas, who curated the Austrianfashion.net programme at VDF.
All 15 products are currently being showcased as part of the VDF products fair, which forms part of the Virtual Design Festival and offers designers and brands an affordable way to present their products.
Brandan Josh’s Blaziken trousers are named after a Pokémon and made up of chunks of second-hand jumpers, while the Divided Trousers by Steinwidder are created by ripping apart textile waste and sewing it together in new and interesting ways.
Scraps of traditional German leather trousers make up Matthias Winkler’s Triglav Lederhosen boots and jewellery artist Petra Zimmermann petrified old costume jewellery within a new, acrylic body to create her Vanity Vague ring.
Other pieces explore heritage fabrication methods, such as the leather Kollar necklace by Wilfried Mayer, which mimics the shape of a high-cut shirt collar and is based on the designer’s extensive research around classic, Viennese tailoring.
Sassa Ann Van Wyk opted instead to reimagine a straw boater hat as an undulating headpiece, called Summer Hat.
The edit also heavily features native, locally-produced materials such as loden – a dense woolen fabric that was first developed by Austrian peasants to ward off the elements.
Design brand Skarabeos created a detachable inner layer from the material for its unisex Jacket 01, while Germany-based label Agnes Nordenholz used it to line its Hunter bags, which are covered in sheep fur and resemble small creatures.
A number of pieces are distinguished by their unexpected use of animal byproducts, such as the cow horns that embellish Sagan’s checked Amaka and Ilorin bags and the pig’s blood and gelatine-based faux leather developed by Natalie Zipfel.
Julia Körner opted for the vegan alternative, choosing instead to imitate butterfly wings using a 3D printer to create her Setae Jacket.
Womanhood was another key topic – from the maximalist femininity of Narbon’s lace- and bow-laden collection, to Christina Seewald’s tongue-in-cheek Shewee clothing, which integrates the female urination device into its design.
Two different designers also hoped to address issues of psychology through their pieces.
The Portable Compulsion bags by Isabel Helf, for example, hope to act as a form of behavioural therapy for people with OCD through their satisfying lock-and-key functionality.
Aeternum’s Mourning Jewellery, on the other hand, is designed to act as a solace for those grieving the death of a loved one, by giving them a tangible heirloom to hold on to.
Other products recently showcased at the VDF products fair include an exposed LED lighting collection and massive, gold-coloured table by Tom Dixon and seven new releases by Danish brand Muuto, courtesy of designers from Anderssen & Voll to Cecilie Manz.