nelou talks to (1): Berlin-based Label P|AGE

The Berlin label P|AGE has been in existence since 2012. Two sisters of Polish descent are behind this project: fashion designer Iwona and management expert Ania. Each of their sustainably produced clothing and jewellery items tells a story. For example, the story of the women in San Juan in Guatemala. During a trip there, they discovered the cooperative that produces traditional fabrics and that has inspired both women ever since.

What is the best part about being a fashion designer?

To get inspired again and again. By people, by nature, by travelling. The best part is seeing women that wear clothing items from us. This makes us really proud. We are always surprised about the fact that one dress looks different on different women.

What has inspired you to become a designer?

P|AGE shooting
Photo-Shooting, Photo: P|AGE

This is probably due to the fact that our whole family is very creative. Maybe also due to the fact that this is a way to express our many ideas and our style. We always knew that we wanted to do something together, as sisters, and be independent and self-employed. The trip to Guatemala and the friendship with the women of San Juan have then got the ball rolling.

What piece of advice would you give to young designers?

It is very important to not see other designers as competitors. Every designer does something different, has another focus, has another story to tell. You should draw strength and form synergies from that. Also, you definitely need stamina. You should not expect to become a big name with your very first collection. Just try things, bustle about, find the right niche for you but stay realistic. Our many travels have helped us with that.

Where is your studio/showroom?

We currently rent out our brick and mortar store to have enough time and freedom for new ideas and projects. Our studio is located in Schöneberg.

What do you love about your city?

Well, we always knew that Berlin is the coolest city ever! Berlin is a mixture of extreme city, crazily mixed architecture and isolated places. If you want, you can meet for coffee with friends in the hustle of Karl-Marx-Allee and half an hour later, set sail with a boat on Wannsee.

Where do you find inspiration for colours, fabrics, cuts, patterns?

P|AGE naturally dyed garments from Guatemala
Naturally dyed garments from Guatemala, Photo: P|AGE

We travel a lot. From each trip, we bring back home new ideas, fabrics and patterns that are according to the country’s tradition. We have been far away in South Africa and Nepal but also like travelling to Poland where our roots are. Particularly close to our hearts is the cooperative with the women from San Juan in Guatemala who we visit regularly and whose projects we support. With the help of P|AGE, we were already able to finance a roof and support their small basketball team.

Which materials and techniques do you use?

We work with natural materials a lot. In our collections, we use hand-woven and naturally dyed textiles, according to Mayan tradition, as well as certified organic fabrics. Each clothing item has a label which tells its story. Here, the customer learns about which woman from the village in Guatemala has woven the fabric, which plants and barks have been used to dye the fabric. In our range P|AGE Jewellery, mainly natural stones such as quartz and marble are used that are cut and gilded by hand. The individual grain and colour of each stone make every piece of jewellery unique.

Which material was the one that was the most challenging?

Marble. We create jewellery from natural stones. Every stone originates from sculptures or design pieces and brings with it its very own history. With the history also comes its individual character and texture. Each marble stone breaks and crumbles differently and has to be cut to a different thickness, depending on its traits. This is something you only find out whilst you are handling the piece. Sometimes, it also goes wrong.

Who is the typical P|AGE customer?

Berlin women who are looking for something different and are usually bored by the monotonous ready-made clothes. Also, plenty of Berlin tourists who are looking for something special during their holidays.

Three items in your wardrobe that you can’t be without…?

A timeless dress that goes with every occasion and that can be combined with anything. Some special and unusual accessories to add some spice. And definitely a favourite piece that can tell a story.

Any winter must haves?

P|AGE Iwona backstage
Designer Iwona backstage, Photo: P|AGE

Something comfortable that keeps you warm. For example a cardigan for the cold days in winter.

What else can we look forward to?

We want to expand our line P|AGE Home that is still in its early stages. In this line, we want to offer larger accessories such as table surfaces. We are also currently shooting a fashion film with Hanja Koch.

Do you have some concluding words for our readers?

You should be interested in what you are wearing. Clothes are very close to humans and that’s why it is important that good fabrics are selected and used. We clearly see ourselves having responsibility – the customers should understand why things sometimes take time and have a certain price tag. You don’t have to own everything and follow every trend.

Thanks to Ania and Iwona from P|AGE!

Find all pieces by P|AGE here.

Text: Vivien Bergelt, Translations: Katja Reise