Interview with Paula Keilholz


You are a »Finalist« for the German Design Award 2023 – Newcomer. What does this award mean for you and your work?


The award is a recognition and also an opportunity that encourages me to continue to deal with big theoretical questions in the medium of fashion, to question norms through my design projects and to work towards a more desirable fashion future.


What do you see as the biggest challenges for you and your work in fashion design today and in the future?


I want to ask socially relevant questions and reflect on desirable fashion futures with and through the medium of fashion. I not only address the urgently needed material sustainability of fashion, but also ask, for example, what values a certain trend communicates. Also: what calls to action lie in garments?


What role does transformation design play in this for you? And why?


Transformation Design deals with the ecological change that is urgently needed, especially for the fashion industry. The study was a decision for more agency, because I am convinced that futures can be shaped and that imagining and planning towards "desirable futures" is important.


Are there any fashion designers who inspire or have inspired you? If so, can you describe what particularly fascinates you about their work?


Other designers' work is rarely the starting point for my design process. But of course there are still many inspiring fashion designers for me! Here are a few examples: Sense of Zeitgeist: Miuccia Prada, Strategy & Storytelling: Helmut Lang, Deconstruction and Construction: Maison Martin Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto, Glenn Martens, Innovation: Hussein Chalayan Pattern Magic: Vivienne Westwood.


How do you deal with the issue of diversity in your work?


Intersectional perspectives on design and the desire for diversity in all areas of design are essential for me. Fashion work, where especially the production work is racialised and gendered like the work of women read people in Southeast Asia, underlines the need for diverse representation and intersectional perspectives on modes of production as well as design itself.