By Jordan Sapir
Anne Gorke is one of the first ecological designers I’ve met while working in Germany. When you really think about it, it’s not that she’s an ecological designer at all.
She’s just a designer.
She’s a woman and mother who happens to care about the environment and is adamant that her company doesn’t leave a carbon footprint.
I’ll be the first to commend Anne on her efforts.
On the contrary, being the cynic I am, I imagine the stereotypical ecological designer as a patchouli-smelling, granola-eating, burlap-sack-designing tree-hugger.
Anne absolutely defies this stereotype. Although I have seen Anne standing on her soap box preaching about the dangers and toxins involved in manufacturing textiles, there is one thing that is undeniable: Anne Gorke doesn’t design for the environment, her designs are simply good for the environment.
Don’t let her antics fool you. Although she is extremely passionate about the environment and ecologically friendly designs, she doesn’t let that compromise her design aesthetic. She’s inspired by funky things like food, color, and texture, and this designer is more shabby chic than Hippy Freak.
If you see her silhouette walking towards you, it looks as though she could be a model cast in her own show. Long legs, tall stature and the energy of an eight-year-old on Red Bull: Anne’s not only a conscious consumer, she’s a conscious producer.
German-born, her atelier is located in Weimar. Anne does her best to keep her production within a 400 kilometer radius. Tip your straw hats off to Anne and let’s give her an A for Effort or an E for Ecology.
Let’s get to know more about this young designer as we grill her on the economics of ecology and why the kooky designer was inspired to design an entire collection after her favorite meal of white wine and artichokes.
Let’s get on with it!
Jordan: Anne, how did you get your start as a designer? Why did you make the conscious decision to only use ecological fabrics?
Anne: Starting out as a designer was a rather slow and step-by-step process. It started with simple textile and up-cycling projects during university. The more I worked with textile material, the more I wanted… I literally could not stop working anymore. It was like a spiral.
Jordan: Your last collection was inspired by artichokes and white wine. As much as I love both, the latter is especially dear to my heart. How did the idea come about?
Anne: We had a dinner and my friend prepared some artichokes. I brought white wine, which was rather strange because I did not like white so much during the past months… red wine, yes, rosé, yes, beer, yes, but white wine was actually not so much my favorite. But strangely I felt attracted to white wine. So we had white wine and artichokes and the colors were perfectly matched together.
Jordan: It all sounds quite courageous. When I think of the courage and effort it takes to design using only ecologically friendly materials I think of a superhero. You’re kind of a fashion superhero. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Anne: Superhero! That would be cool… Unfortunately, I am not so familiar with superpowers. The only thing I could think of is to be invisible. Or super fast. But could you be also a healer? I would like to repair animals… Does that count? Or I would like to be a super fast reader. But that probably counts as being super fast. I am lost… Super fast would be my pick.
Jordan: Your music choice for shows is also very thought-provoking. How do you choose the music for your runway shows? If there was one song that could describe you as an individual, what would it be?
Anne: That is impossible to answer. There is too much music out there to decide on one song. It would end in one big bastard mix I guess. Right now: Sunshine is a Friend of Mine/ Rye Rye vs Bad girls/ MIA.
Jordan: How did I guess it would be an energetic song! You’re probably one of the most hyperactive people I’ve met. How do you maintain your energy level when you’re sleep deprived during fashion week? I always feel like I’m a character in Fear and Loathing in Vegas during fashion week. Tell us the secret. It’s green juice with a shot of adrenaline, isn’t it?
Anne: It’s excitement. And the fear of being too slow. And the hunger of wanting more.
Jordan: Well, ain’t that inspiring. Along with your energy levels, you’re also quite positive. I think there is a lot of negativity surrounding the fashion industry. What are the atrocities happening in the industry that make your blood boil?
Anne: There are some things that I find a bit outrageous. One thing is the conditions of the production. Even though everyone knows what is going on in Bangladesh and India, for example, they do not care where clothes are produced… And companies do not care at all.
Jordan: I don’t like the fact that the industry is so superficial, but I think a lot of designers get a bad rep from the cost of their designs. In retrospect, I think it is more commendable to spend more money on a product you know is healthy and eco-friendly than on something that is expensive to exclude the masses. What is the price of designing ecologically?
Anne: Well, you cannot just do whatever you want. You have to come up with solutions to realize your ideas in a certain way. But it is possible. And, of course, the product has a certain value due to the production circumstances and the used materials. And this value reflects in the price. But it is all worth it. I really prefer to work that way.
Jordan: You put me onto this great Mr. T fashion video. I have to admit that when I’m down and out I watch it and laugh hysterically. Mr. T, I have to admit, is one of my idols. He’s also a style icon– who am I kidding. Who is one of your style icons?
Anne: Maybe it is a bit lame, but one is Patricia Field. But the greatest is Grace Coddington. I admire their work. Regarding personal style– it is hard to find authentic, real-life people with a great style in their everyday ways. Diane Kruger has an excellent way of dressing. And I like the consequence of Karl Lagerfeld and his sense of creating his own uniform.
Jordan: Speaking of idols. Marry, kill or shag.
Anne: Shag in the sense of dancing or in the sense of sex? I assume sex, right?
Karl Lagerfeld – shag in the sense of dancing.
David Hasselhoff – hug.
Tom Ford – marry!!!
Jordan: I believe I set you up to kill Mr. Hasselhoff, but I guess I’ll let you off the hook. There’s enough people out to get him.
We live in an age of social media. People connect on such a surface level – through computers and smart phones. Do you think that by creating for the environment, you’re putting people more in touch with nature? Okay, that sounds really cheesy; I apologize. Let me rephrase that. Do you think by using ecological materials, you’re getting back to the basics?
Anne: Getting back to basics I like. That was very good rephrasing! Actually, I notice that a lot of people lost any sense regarding products and the way they are produced. Products are just known as the products. Ingredients do not seem to matter to a lot of people. I hope that this changes within the next years and people start to redevelop a consciousness. But I actually think that this lack of interest is more a result of our consuming culture. Social media actually helps to reach people and get in touch with them… We are in touch right now via social media. And that is a good thing..
Jordan: Getting back to the basics reminds me of Sesame Street. Don’t ask me why. I guess it’s the combination of my ADD.and quirkiness. I know there must have been some bad German translation for Sesame Street, like “The kids who live on a street called Sesame,” or something really tragic like that. Anyway, which Sesame Street character would you be?
Anne: This grumpy one. My parents are like the two on the balcony. My brother is more the Ernie type. And I am that dusty blue one that lives in the trash bin… the grumpy one [Editor’s Note: Oscar the Grouch].
Jordan: My guess was the hyper one, Elmo. I’d definitely be one of the guys on the balcony. I think those guys get a bad rep. Germany sometimes gets a bad reputation for fashion. But we have to admit that they’re definitely doing their part here for the environment. A lot of German products and manufactures are environmentally friendly. How do you think the rest of Europe can catch-up with their environmental awareness?
Anne: I really don’t know. Being aware of your surrounding and nature and caring about resources needs to become cool. And a basic part of everyday life. That is.
Jordan: Being as your collection was based on food and fun at one point, what do you like to do for both and which city do you like to do it in? Not do it, like having sex. I mean figuratively doing it. Never mind. What turns you on? I swear the sexual innuendos are just a coincidence. What’s your idea of a good time?
Anne: Hahahaha … I’ll just do a nice shag with you next time we meet. No really – I enjoy a good steak with salad or a good burger. The fun aspect really really depends on my mood. I always enjoy a good movie at the cinema. At Munich I really like the Gloria cinema. It is the most deluxe cinema experience I ever had…
That’s all for now from the Green Chic Freak. We love her and hope you enjoyed getting to know her too. Check out her newest collection!
Jordan Sapir, mother of two glitter-laden girls, 2 and 5, studied Journalism and International Political Science in NYC, a place she once called home. She can slaughter five languages fluently. She has worked in a newsroom or two, walked a catwalk or three, and is all for an impromptu adventure. Having traded in her Prada for pretzels, the founder of Über Moms lives in Munich, where she is a stay at home mom and studying to become a certified nutritionist. She is a mommy on a mission and wants to help fellow mothers raise healthy happy families, and beat a PR here and there.