Fashion can be viewed in many different contexts. Is it purely functional? Is it purely aesthetic? Is it something else entirely? We love when designers explore these questions and create their own unique narrative and that is exactly what Latvian fashion house Keta Gutmane does so well. Her collections are urban, progressive and brush aside any societal inhibitors to create womenswear that is classic yet undoubtedly fresh.
Her Spring/Summer 2016 collection is the perfect example of her creative vision. Inspired by the visual imagery of legendary director Wim Wenders, the collection creates a dialog between the interior and exterior. Empowering garments that fuse contemporary tailoring with an avant-garde sensibility. Keta's designs are empowering, functional and allow the wearer to achieve whatever they wish. We love the materials used and the oversized coats, poplin shirts and slim fitting pants. The Brvtalist was fortunate enough to speak with Ms. Gutmane about her work, this collection and more. Please find our great Q&A below:
*click images to enlarge
The Brvtalist: Talk about the development of Keta Gutmane and the mission or ethos of the brand.
Keta Gutmane: Keta Gutmane wants to bridge the interior and exterior. We wish to propose an open dialogue. One that is democratic and carefully shaped by the contours of our creative process. The studio’s monochrome backdrop re-directs all my focus towards construction, tactility and textural research.
My goal is to insert classic tailoring into urban environments, to make structured garments wearable and comfortable. The looks are always monochrome and quite boyish, genders do not matter to me so much. I like different textures, like my signature leather finish fabric and other natural high-quality textures. The garments are made to be worn. This is very important.
TB: We love the high concept approach to your clothes that also happen to be very wearable. Talk about the balance of creating something that is conceptual but also practical.
KG: Thank you. This is very dear to me and maybe to another 10% of people (who perceive their individual space and the world like I do), who do needsome form of conceptual narrative. When working on a collection, research is my ritual. It allows me to touch upon some other worlds besides this one, to experience some alternative results. This is a way to better express my ideas and creativity.
I try to avoid making concepts just for the concepts' sake. I would like everything to be light and easy instead, so when ideas do not come so easy and this starts to bother me, I lighten up the approach a bit. I have not always succeeded in striking a balance between the conceptual and the wearable -- it is quite rare when this perfect harmony occurs. All in all, clothes are products, and they need to find their place into the wardrobes of their wearers. Regarding the design, my goal is to throw out all things unnecessary, stripping the pieces from any frills. I want the items to breathe and live on their own. When designing, I pay a lot of attention to textile, tailoring and craft.
TB: What are you inspired by at the moment?
KG: Right now, I am quite obsessed with the new wave of Latvian literature that tackles a specific cultural environment defined by the era of 1990s. In Latvia, this was a period of radical change and is currently perceived as an unique phenomenon. It truly marks that one generation who knew what it was like to be young in the 1990s. In order to find oneself and all things alternative or different, people turned to the so-called alternative culture. This is a story about youth, when everyone tried to oppose the world, to differ from others, to party hard, to drink hard, die hard, at the same time waiting for the end of the world that was supposed to come in year 2000..... The 90s are therefore forever linked to my teenage years. These events form a bright biography of a generation that I personally connect to extremely well..
TB: Talk about the concept for S/S 2016.
KG: The central topic for the SS16 is searching for one's identity. And loneliness. I was thinking about an urban tramp and wanderer. This is how I feel the process of walking. Walking is directly connected to thinking and one can muse and dwell a lot during walks. There is the feeling of bright existence and gained experience during walks, you can just be with yourself and perceive yourself as the real you.
When it comes to the narrative, the space and images of Wim Wenders films have had their impact on me. This is something very familiar to me, this is what I long for, and for a while I felt I grew together with these visual tangents. The characters of Wenders are in search of their location and home in a social meaning. It is about characters that find their identity in movement, during trips, who get lost and feel strange in an environment where they should actually be feeling like home.
TB: Can you also touch on the materials used, details, and design process to achieve your goal for the collection?
KG: The materials chosen are natural and light in terms of their structure and content. Classic elements of tailoring get mixed with the grunge of 1990s. I have used a black and white checkered mourning tartan associated with death and funerals and used it in the context of anti-authority symbolism. The spring/summer collection has elements of oversize trenches, mannish looks; asymmetricity and layering. The collection has graphic black and white color gamma. Used fabrics include Japanese cotton, cupro, leather finish, silk and colored mixed cotton-silks.
KG: Well, quite some time has passed since these works were made! When I look back to that period, those timeless values have stayed. On the other side, it is quite funny to look back. These projects made me want to be closer to real people, so they serve as a reminder to spend my time one hundred percent creatively and to be free of any limitations, to allow things to happen that are not connected to the brand itself. It is important to be free in ones existence.
TB: What's next for Keta Gutmane?
KG: Since I have many male clients, I am thinking about menswear -- how to include it into the womenswear collections. I will take this process slowly, looking for ways to balance it out right. It is an exciting preposition to me, exploring new tailoring dimensions and constructions.
The Brvtalist would like to thank Keta Gutmane for taking the time to speak with us. Her work is inspiring and we absolutely love her conceptual and psychological approach to fashion and art. We look forward to seeing the next chapter from the fashion house and fingers crossed for a menswear collection. For more information, stockists and more please visit Keta Gutmane, Facebook and Instagram.
Photo: Martins Cirulis
AD: Marlo Saalmink
MUA: Aija Udentina
Model: Annija @ Starsystem