As part of the limited engagement with fashion designer Elke Walter at the NWBLK, April 30th-May 2nd, we are publishing the latest in our 13 Questions series. To read more about Elke visit her website, http://elkewalter.fr/ewmeets/. Sale hours Friday and Saturday, May 1st and 2nd, 12-6PM. 1999 Bryant Street at 18th.
Questions by NWBLK Creative Director Steven Miller, Answers by Elke Walter.
What is your (or the firms partners) background(s)?
I worked in advertising after I finished my studies. Alfred was in Antiques. We then wrote for magazines. I came to fashion like the virgin to a child. It just happened.
How did you come to found your fashion label?
People asked me where I bought the outfits I would wear. So I decided to make a business of it. That was in Hamburg in 2002.
What most excites you about the work you do?
My independence is very important to me and for my work. When I’m working on one-of-a-kind garments or sculptures, I just do what I like – or what I have to do. I follow my feelings. No boss, no limits.
What part of your process is most exhilarating?
Developing new forms, working with new fabrics. Giving the material a new meaning.
What do you do to “re-fuel” your creativity?
When I feel bad or empty or like I’m sitting in a deep hole, my creativity comes up and pushes me to new ideas – and then lifts me up. So it’s a circle of self-made re-fueling. If possible, I spend time outside in the garden. I love power-gardening. And a glass of Rosé or Champagne for the apéro.
We at the NWBLK believe that most people interested in architecture and design are also interested in other pursuits like food, fashion, music and technology. How do these things weigh in to the way that you think about your creative endeavors?
I’m interested in contemporary art, photography, design, and architecture. But what does all this mean? There are things I like and others I don’t like. I don’t feel very much influenced by all this. I don’t have a very cultural background. I’m Elke.
But – I need music. There is always some music in my head.
(we subsequently asked Elke what some of her favorite music and movies are….)
Answering this is not that easy, as I love so many songs and artists. And it all and always depends on my mood.
But - here’s a selection of artists. I can’t tell you special songs, that would take a lifetime: Benjamin Clementine, James Blake, London Grammar, alt-J, Disclosure, Bloc Party, Foals, The Hives, Clean Bandit, Chinese Man, Rudimental, Kat Vinter, Michael Jackson, Motown Classics from the 60s, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Nils Frahm, The Beatles, Jaques Brel, Françoise Hardy, Joe Dassin, Edith Piaf.
Spontaneously that’s all at the moment. I often listen to playlists on Spotify. Makes me discover new songs and artists.
Movies etc…Just saw WHIPLASH and INTERSTELLAR. Amazing!!! I tried to make a list, but honestly - could you write down all the movies you saw and liked? I can’t. It’s toooo much. I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and True Detective.
Who’s work most fascinates, inspires or repels you and motivates you to action?
Nobody special. Meeting interesting people motivates me. But this concerning my whole life, not only my work. Sometimes you get encouraged by someone who likes what you do. That’s motivating, and good characters are inspiring.
In what ways do you give back to your greater community? Do you teach or are you involved in sponsored events or fundraising? Do you have a charitable cause that you like to contribute to financially or otherwise?
I’m generous with those who love my work but can’t afford it. And I’m friendly and have a big heart for the rich. They always ask for discounts.
Many people that we talk to have said the travel is very important to their inspiration. Are there places that you like to go for inspiration?
I like traveling and meeting interesting people. But my favorite place is home since I live in Provence.
Do you attend trade-shows or fares; fashion week etc. when you travel?
Just once a year I go see Art Basel/Design Miami.
What are your favorite magazines? Digital or print?
Coté Sud, IDEAT, The Good Life – printed Edition. StyleZeitgeist Magazine online. I don’t spend much time reading magazines.
Where will we find you on the Internet? do you have a
website, blog? A favorite website or app?
My website www.elkewalter.fr is not regularly updated. But my facebook profile ELKE WALTER MODE, Instagram ELKE WALTER – and sometimes tumblr.
What is your favorite color?
NO favorite color! The world has too many beautiful colors to just chose one. But I only wear Black.
What’s the NWBLK?
A great concept invented and made by highly innovative and courageous people, the place to be in San Francisco – and the best one to show my work. Exciting.